20 Jan 2018: Penang Nyonya Colouring Book

This book delightfully depicts the items typically found in a Penang Nyonya’s life and household in the early twentieth century. Colour these beautiful designs as you please, while learning about a unique culture.

Grown-ups never truly grow out of the things which interested them as children, do they? Take colouring books for example. These days, such books are no longer regarded as belonging only to the realm of young readers. Though not exactly a recent phenomenon, CNN reported in 2017 that adult colouring books are all the rage right now, and that the once-niche hobby has now grown into a full-on trend everywhere, with experts from different fields suggesting colouring as an alternative to meditation.

colouring book inside

Unleash the creative spirit from within you! (Colouring by Cheah Li Sun)

One of the latest adult colouring books to hit the local shelves is artist-writer Harriet Lim’s Penang Nyonya Colouring Book. As the title indicates, the contents in this slim but generously illustrated volume delightfully depicts the items typically found in a Penang Nyonya’s life and household in the early twentieth century. Inspiration for the drawings came from Harriet’s Ah Mah (paternal grandmother), the third wife of a Teochew merchant, and they range from kitchen utensils, kebayas, sarongs, brooches and belts to exquisite household furniture. Each page features a lively interaction between text and illustration, making it a great way to learn about the Nyonya lifestyle while having hours of relaxing fun honing your colouring skills!

The author hopes that her book will help kindle a greater interest in Nyonya culture, and keep it alive for future generations.

About the author: Harriet Lim was born in Singapore but grew up in Penang, where she enjoyed the mixed traditions of her mother’s Cantonese origin, her father’s Anglophile ways and her paternal grandmother’s Nyonya heritage.