If We Dream Too Long

$22.00 SGD

By Goh Poh Seng

Widely regarded as the first Singapore novel, If We Dream Too Long explores the dilemmas and challenges faced by its hero, Kwang Meng, as he navigates the difficult transitional period between youthful aspirations and the external demands of society and family. Shy and sensitive, he feels detached from mainstream life and is unable to identify with the values that animate his friends. Kwang Meng takes refuge in dreams of exotic faraway places, and imagines merging himself with the sea, which he loves. Yet amidst this uncertainty, the reader feels that all is not lost, that the young dreamer will eventually find his way. Kwang Meng's experiences reflect the author's fascination with the question of self amidst the dreariness and aimlessness of an increasingly urbanized and materialistic Asian society. This book also provides a fascinating portrait of Singapore as it was in the 1960s, a landscape and society that have undergone many changes but remain faintly visible in modern Singapore.

Since its first publication in 1972, If We Dream Too Long has moved and delighted generations of readers. This much-loved novel has been used as a text in university literature courses in Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and has been translated into Tagalog and Russian.


"Goh Poh Seng's If We Dream Too Long remains a landmark in Singapore literature. It is also a wonderful read. For those from his generation, it will be wonderful to have him with us again, while for an entire younger generation who may not have read his work, Dr. Goh's writing is a testament to Singapore's literary heritage." - Phan Ming Yen

Goh Poh Seng (1936-2010) was a pioneer of Singapore literature in English.  Goh was distinguished as a novelist, poet and playwright. He wrote all his life, and has published four novels and five books of poetry. In 1986, he emigrated with his family to Canada. He was working on Tall Tales and MisAdventures of a Young Westernized Oriental Gentleman when he passed away.


Publication Year: 2010
178 pages, 215mm x 139mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-445-6, Paperback

Ridge Books