Manek Mischiefs completes the trilogy of stories of the unusual and unique Peranakan community, after Kebaya Tales and Sarong Secrets. Manek Mischiefs is a rich, gutsy collection of short stories immersing the reader into the vivid, multi-hued world of the Peranakans. Here, the babas take centre stage: masculine perspectives, voices and protagonists are put under the spotlight, even as ﬁery and headstrong heroines pursue their passions in the face of powerful obstacles. Just as Kebaya Tales was inspired by the the stories of the author’s mother, this book is inspired by her father, Mr Lee Koon Liang. He was a baba from Malacca who could not speak a word of Chinese but had an excellent command of English and Baba Malay. The cast of characters seek to forge individual identities Within a unique cultural heritage facing the challenges of modem times. The stories are accented with photographs peppered throughout — of exquisite beadwork, bejewelled adornments, gilded artefacts from private collections, personal belongings of the babas, and of course, twinkling, manek-encrusted accessories.
“I grew up in an extended family setting and remember a home full of delicious, spicy and piquant aromas as my nyonya mother loved to cook, but do not remember either Grandma or my mother ever doing any kind of embroidery or beading. They told me they just did not have the patience or the inclination. However, watching them dress up for a formal event in their elegant sarong kebayas always meant watching them slip on, as the final touch, those gorgeous, colourful kasut manek, a necessary accessory to complete their graceful outfits. I have decided to name this book after the vibrant and brilliantly-coloured manek, the last book in this collection of stories about a beautiful heritage culture and community. It has been a wonderful journey through the images and words involving sarongs, kebayas and now manek. I have learnt a lot and enjoyed writing these stories. I’m pleased this trilogy is complete.”