Book Of Life Stories

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A small book rich with the views of life’s lessons could make for a gift that goes a long way. By Kannan Chandran

In this era of mind-numbing blogs and self-indulgent rants, it’s not often that you come across a book that just offers reflective perspectives on life as it slips by.

Koh Chye Hock’s life isn’t extraordinary. Unless being a corporate lawyer at Chevron is deemed as such. But it is unique to him and his views, formed by years of growing up in various lands and as a keen observer of life’s lessons.

By penning his observations about daily life — the kind of things we relate to on a daily basis and quite often disregard as being commonplace — Koh has mixed in his worldview with an honest recounting of his life’s journey.

The Chronicler: One Man’s Diary On Life (2016, Write Editions) is Koh’s “sanctum of privacy and honesty”. He pens his thoughts as he experiences them, devoid of mask or masquerade. “If I write it down I don’t want it contaminated by untruths,” he notes.

The portable hardcover book (available as an e-book) is divided into 13 chapters that compartmentalize Koh’s aphorisms on a variety of topics, all of them commonplace and probably easily identifiable with the general population. It’s his knack to spot a glint in the mundane that brings out the character of the man in the book.

Over the years, Koh has seen a maturing of his mind through his journal entries. “It clarifies the thinking. Helping me gain deeper understanding of issues. The journal has helped me to be honest with myself.”

While we dream of our newly minted Joseph Schooling moment, we can certainly live by some of the extant observations and views Koh has noted about life over the decades.

As he points out in his book: “We take from the past, add something of the present and give it to the future. This is the continuity of life.”

The Chronicler is available in bookstores.

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