Written by Baby Mathen Mathews

The primal journeys of the Malayalees from Kerala to Singapore to carve out a future for themselves and their descendants in the book, FROM KERALA TO SINGAPORE: VOICES FROM THE SINGAPORE MALAYALEE COMMUNITY, illustrate the psyche of the real Malayalee.

The compendium traces the lives of the early Malayalees their aspirations, struggles, anxieties and achievements in the making of a diaspora dating back to more than 100 years to the period of British colonialism and the succeeding almost six generations.

From the multiple ‘Voices’ of the prominent individuals who gave their inputs in towards compiling this extensively researched publication and the other immigrants of various nationalities and races who also contributed to the development of the Malayalee diaspora in Singapore and the building of nation in general, the book is a gem well worth reading and reflecting.

Both the author’s creative craft and intellect are clearly illustrated in the compilation of their compelling narratives. The aspirations, the daunting struggle, the psyche and the resilience of the Malayalee to overcome odds have been well documented. Due credit must be accorded to the research team comprising many gifted and talented individuals who went out of their way in embarking on this challenging and arduous task of connecting with the various individuals and extracting the relevant information for the book.

The project was embarked on 2013 and had it not been for the support of various individuals and organizations the story would not have got off the ground.

Those involved in undertaking this mammoth assignment include prolific writers like the authors themselves, Dr Anitha Devi Pillai and Dr Puva Arumugam who spent time effort in encapsulating and weaving the tapestry of real life experiences and stories and socio-cultural networks of kinship, language, caste, political and ideological, economic, literary and cultural terrains of history.

The Malayalee community made up the second largest diaspora among the Indians in Singapore at any one time although the figures vary from year to year depending on the circumstances like migration to countries like UK and return to their native home country to be with their wives and families.  Most of the early Malayalees came to Singapore to work earn incomes to support their families back home in Kerala. But over time many found life here more comfortable and thriving that they decided to bring their families to Singapore and to remain in the country permanently. The subject of this book is about the Malayalees who have made this country their home, domiciled here and have a stake in Singapore.

Details of the book:

Title: From Kerala to Singapore: Voices from the Singapore Malayalee Community

Authors: Anitha Devi Pillai & Puva Arumugam

Photographer: Binod Therat

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Editions

The book can be purchased from Singapore Indian Association at $40.00 with part of the proceeds going to the Singapore Indian Association’s Welfare Fund or from Kinokuniya and Times Bookstore at $48.15. The book will be available on amazon after July and can be accessed on this link: