Years before his political career took off, Othman Wok pioneered the writing of ghost stories and horror fiction in Singapore and Malaysia.
Othman Wok left an indelible mark on Singaporean politics and society: signing the Independence of Singapore Agreement 1965, overseeing the construction of Singapore’s first large-scale sporting arena, working to advance the quality of social welfare services, developing the Mosque Building Fund, and being (in the words of PM Lee Hsien Loong) “steadfast and unwavering in believing in a multiracial, multi-religious, meritocratic Singapore”, among many other accomplishments.
In addition, he pioneered the writing of ghost stories and horror fiction in Malay while working as a young reporter for Utusan Melayu and Mustika magazine between 1952 and 1956. These stories were fantastically popular, making him a household name in the Malay-speaking world, years before his political career took off. In fact, these tales may have been the first examples of horror fiction in either Singapore or Malaysia, in any language.
A Mosque in the Jungle assembles two dozen of the best stories from his three fiction collections in English: Malayan Horror (1991), The Disused Well (1995) and Unseen Occupants (2006). Curated by award-winning poet and fictionist Ng Yi-Sheng, this book provides an entry point into Othman’s fiction, and a window into the work of a “literary genius” (Farouk A. Peru, Malay Mail Online)