This title is part of Robert Yeo’s First Editions, his preloved titles.
The book follows the life of Kwang Meng, a young 18-year-old who has just graduated from junior college. He currently works as a clerk, a job which he hates and finds monotonous. Two of his junior college friends, Hock Lai and Nadarajah (the latter nicknamed Portia), follow different career paths in their diverging lives. Hock Lai becomes a white-collared worker, determined to climb the corporate ladder, while Portia intends to further his studies in the UK. Kwang Meng meets and strikes up a relationship with a local bar girl, Lucy, at Paradise Bar. Unfortunately, owing to their very different social backgrounds, the couple break up (initiated by Lucy).
Hock Lai tries to matchmake Kwang Meng with one of his female acquaintances Anne. Kwang Meng meets Boon Teik and Mei-I, neighbours who are both teachers, and whom Kwang Meng finds an ideal couple. Hock Lai himself gets married with Cecilia, whose father is one of the richest tycoons of Singapore. Throughout all this, Kwang Meng comes across as a rather passive figure, preferring merely to observe and seek solace through activities like swimming in the sea, smoking and drinking in bars. At the novel's end, Kwang Meng's father suffers a stroke, which destined him to take up the burden of supporting his family.
"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
Cover Type: Hardcover
Year Published: 1972