National Reading Movement

Alternate Realities of Singapore We Wished Were Real

Singapore is a safe country. But, as some would say, safe is boring. There are no mountains to climb, and most certainly, no dragons to slay. Don’t you wish that there’s more to life than this rat race?

If you’ve ever imagined a man running and avoiding obstacles as you drove along TPE, or wielded your umbrella as a sword to fend off imaginary ninjas, you’re not alone. Here are a few authors who also imagined fantasy plots for our sunny island and penned it down for our reading pleasure!


A Singapore Filled With Magic

Admit it, you’ve wished for an owl to deliver your letter to Hogwarts after reading the first book of Harry Potter.

Who hasn’t thought of using Lumos to light up the room or Accio to summon your television remote control?



There’s just one teeny tiny problem for Singaporeans reading Harry Potter: It’s set in Britain (for the most part) and may be slightly harder for us to imagine being in Harry’s shoes.

Thankfully, one Singaporean took the task of making Harry Potter more relatable for us into his own hands. With what started as a hobby, author Suffian Hakim’s online parody of Harry Potter gathered so much Internet fame, it inspired the author to self-publish the entire book!



In his book Harris Bin Potter and the Stoned Philosopher, a Singaporean boy wizard’s life transforms as he is introduced to the world of magic. You’d get to read copious amounts of hilarious Singaporean references such as the local counterpart of Hogwarts, Hog-Tak-Halal School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which is located on the PIE! And no, it’s not the Pan-Island-Expressway, but an actual pie.



From the use of local names to famous places in Singapore, Harris Bin Potter and the Stoned Philosopher makes us wish magic really exists in Singapore.


A Singapore Filled With Mythical Creatures

Where magic exists, mythical creatures appear. Dragons, gryphons, and manticores are quintessential fantasy creatures. Considering Singapore’s symbol is a Merlion, we do not think that it’s too much of a stretch to wonder if there are other mythical creatures around too!

In Nuraliah Norasid’s first novel, The Gatekeeper, we’re introduced to a fictional island based on Singapore — Manticura, where humans and mythical beings live together.



Like us, Manticura is a city-state where different races and cultures live together. However, the humans there are much less tolerant of other cultures. In fact, the government even seeks to reclaim the land from the mythical beings.

The Gatekeeper explores the kind of relationship humans and mythical beings may share if they co-existed, and the impact racism has on those victimised by it.

Thankfully, Singaporeans are more accepting of different cultures compared to the folks in Manticura (right?), and we’re confident that we’re able to live hand-in-hand with the mythical creatures!

Just imagine, these mythical beings would take up specialised roles in society based on their strengths. Having mermaids as lifeguards and swimming instructors? Nobody would ever drown again!


A Singapore Filled With Merlions

Medusas, Gryphons and Minotaurs all derive from Greek mythologies. Sure, they’re fascinating but wouldn’t it be nice if we were able to coexist with our very own mythical creature?

Thanks to Kevin Martens Wong and his book, Altered Straits, you won’t have a hard time picturing the majestic statue in Sentosa as a living, breathing, creature. In his book, he writes about two alternate realities of Singapore, one set in a dystopian future in 2047 while the other in set 1947.



In 2047, we see the world at war with an intelligent hivemind known as the Concordance. It can only be defeated by a Merlion. And in 1947, we look through Naufal’s eyes as he enlists special recruits melded with Merlions.

Just to be clear, we’re not wishing for the 2047 alternate reality to happen but the 1947’s reality where Merlions exist with humans. Think about it, bonding with THE Merlion.



No… not this cute plushie but this bad boy:



Pretty badass, huh?


Well, that’s our list, what’s yours?