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Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs

Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs

小小宝贝 brought home a book from school for his weekend reading. Children’s book, how exciting could it get? He picked this book – “Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs” from the little library in his classroom.

It’s a very simple children’s book about the author’s childhood which he spent with his Nana Upstairs – his great-grandmother and Nana Downstairs – his grandmother. It was beautifully drawn with short, easily comprehensible sentences that described the activities he had indulged in with his grandmothers, down to poignant little details, that seemed a great deal to a child like the sharing of mint candies, sitting tied to chairs so that they didn’t fall off. All these would have been very mundane activities to adults.

Then one day, his Nana Upstairs died and she was no longer sitting in her usual position in her bed. The drawing of the bed took up a whole page, the void was amplified.

Tommy began to cry.

“Won’t she ever come back?” he asked.

“No, dear,” Mother said softly. “Except in your memory. She will come back in your memory whenever you think about her.”

From then on, he called Nana Downstairs just plain Nana.

And then Tommy grew up, Nana Downstairs also grew old and moved upstairs and then she, too, joined Nana Upstairs with the stars.

With its simple sentences and beautiful drawings, it tugs at the heartstrings of both adults (me) and children, while reminding us that passage of time spares no one, even our parents who have grown old without us realising it. Cherish the time with them if you are lucky enough to still have them with you.

What I've Been Up to…

What I've Been Up to…

What I’ve been up to lately? Besides juggling my full time job of being home butler and numerous other ventures, I’m trying to put together my travel photos (in vain) and yes, I’ve picked up reading again. 

Sorry ‘Cher! Not the regular classics from our booklist, but it’s better than nothing right??? 😁

It’s probably due to the lack of good dramas to watch at the moment. No decent ones with good looking male leads (a definite MUST!) and reasonably entrancing plots. I refuse to squander my time away on watching substandard ones. 

I’ve managed to finish a few fantasy books by Trudi Canavan (an Australian writer). I’ve loaded her books into my Kindle then forgot all about them. 😅 She’s no Rowling or Tolkien but her first set of books still managed to keep me glued to my kindle. 


I got bored with the 2nd set though. Sigh! Why is it so difficult to find a good fantasy genre writer?? Eagerly waiting for Rowling’s cursed Child. 

So now… I read Chinese Internet Novels! 😂😂😂 Surprise! I know I know! Eh! Stop twitching your brows! 

The last time I read Chinese novels was in Germany!! When you’ve nothing to read, anything goes!! 

China drama was the spark that ignited the chain reaction. I’d always been anti cdramas because I found them boring (think 红楼梦! Gah! I was forced to read it for my book review in school! Couldn’t stand the wimpy Jia Bao Yu!) Only the 还珠格格 was watchable. Everyone told me that 步步惊心 was good. I downloaded it into my iPad and conveniently forgot about it. Haha! It seems like I keep downloading stuff without reading or watching them. 

I finally watched it years later (like 2 years ago) when I was overseas, without wifi. For a gadget addict, no wifi is like going through drugs withdrawal!! Ya! Couldn’t play my games! Go ahead! Plunder my bases!! 😭 

I went through my downloads and decided to give 步步惊心 a shot. No fish, prawn also good yah?? After the first episode, I was hooked. That started my downward spiral into cdrama addiction….

It was based on an Internet novel by 桐华. I’ve a habit of reading the novel after watching the movie/drama to find the details that have been missed out. And vice versa… Complain about the details missed out on the movies based on my favourite novels… (Nitpicker I am!) 

(Side story : I hunted down the Chinese translated novel of The Ring after i watched it in the cinema. And gave myself more nightmares after that! It’s truly a brilliant book that explained the loopholes in the movie plot.)

Back to 步步惊心 novel, it’s extremely well written with the right touch of humor, romance and chim literary description and poems (I admit that I skipped some of these, just like how I skipped the bits with the incessant singing of Tolkien’s hobbits). No wonder she’s now elevated to the statue of 中国四宝. 


Once I find an author whom I like, I will not rest til I’ve finished reading all her books! She has the ability to draw the readers into the world that she’s created, imagine the scenary through her lyrical descriptions and step into the shoes of her characters, sharing their joys and pains. Once you start reading her books, you wouldn’t want to put them down. Even with some descriptive parts, being a little more chim, her books are extremely easy to read (well, at least I didn’t have to keep referring to my Chinese dictionary!). 

Another author whose books I’ve read is 顾漫. She specialises in writing modern novels that are quirky and fun to read. Though they are not as 文采绚丽 (in other words, chim) as 桐华’s books but I still like them enough to want to buy the physical books. Hehe. I like the way she names her characters in creative puns. The only complaint I have is that all her male characters are brooding epitomes of perfection and the females are competent when alone, but ditzy in the presence of the omni powerful male partners. 


Oh well, I’m still looking forward to the new cdrama which is based on one of her books. I’ve decided I’ve had enough of the angsty palace drama and I need some light hearted modern comedy. Look out for 微微一笑很倾城!

Recently I discovered that the library is well stocked with these books!!! Yay!!! 🤗