In My Hands Today…

My Mother-In-Laws Son – Josephine Chia

My Mother-In-Law’s Son centers round a Peranakan woman, Swee Gek, who is in an abusive marriage but is constrained by the limitations of women in her time to take positive action.

Her marriage is further strained by Choy Yan, the eponymous Mother-In-Law of the title whose values are archaic and patriarchal. Taking place in a 1949 -1950 Singapore that is just recovering from the onslaught of the Japanese War, Swee Gek’s Chinese husband, Wong Kum Chong, is inadvertently drawn into participating in Communist activity against the Colonial Government by a communist agitator, Teng Xin Nan.

Narrated from the perspectives of different characters, My Mother-In-Law’s Son is a revealing story of a Singapore and her people struggling to find their feet in the aftermath of a war. It also shows how people going through difficult circumstances can be susceptible to revolutionary ideas. Through Swee Gek’s personal fight against her oppressors, this novel also explores the meaning of love: of whether love can be unconditional or that it is always accompanied by possessiveness.

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