Singapore authors, storytellers at the World Book Fair 2015

One of the popular tales about Singapore's discovery and its subsequent naming as the Lion city is believed to trace back to the time when an Indian King on his way to conquer China, stumbled upon this little island.

A sequel to this story unravels the mystery of the famous Merlion (half-lion and half-fish chimera) which has come to be the country's tourism mascot.

Rosemarie Somaiah, a Singaporean storyteller and writer, tells everybody about this in her 15-minute-long limerick, in as she puts it, "really bad rhyme."

Rosemarie is part of the contingent of writers from Singapore which is the guest country in the ongoing World Book Fair 2015.

Singapore, has witnessed repeated colonisations and partitions, giving rise to its multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual character thereby vindicating its diverse literature and culture.

Peranakan author Joshephine Chia (58), who grew up in Kampong, a Malay village and later moved to the outskirts of London, describes how her identity frequently kept on changing with the state of her country: first as a British colony, then under the Chinese influence and later on the partition with Malaysia followed by its achievement of nationhood.

"We were first British, then we became Malays after independence and finally we became Singaporeans once we achieved nationhood," says Chia, whose book 'Kampong Spirit - Gotong Royong' is available for sale at the Fair.

Chia's book, a collection of short stories from 1955-65, the "dramatic decade" brings to life the colorful characters of the villagers with whom she grew up.

"Though deprived of modern comforts like water and electricity, multi racial neighbours lived harmoniously with each other with a strong sense of community and a wonderful zest for life," she says.