A magical insight into a vanished world, where tradition and custom proscribe relationships. The values and structure of a wealthy patriarch's household are challenged by the innocence of a young village girl, whose maturity and wisdom belie her age and upbringing. The force of love is a powerful force for transformation, and the quiet disintegration of a whole way of life in post war Singapore is beautifully evoked.
Years later, First Wife was to say that all her husband's acts of folly, the buying of that expensive doll for the Egg Girl was the worst, for it had set in motion all the others. Foolish and mad! A disgrace to the ancestors! He donated large sums to the temple and the death home, and was tight fisted with his own family, giving each wife a carefully calculated sum to spend on household expenses, and was never spending any money on his children and grandchildren beyond the Lunar New Year ang pows and the fees for their tutor. That was all in order. But to buy a costly gift for a village girl, and to send it to their home, as if her parents were people of note, to risk gossip and idle speculation - that was unpardonable.