Neil was watching an episode of Bargain Hunt on cable TV when he decided to write a farewell tour-type travel guide of Singapore.
A British programme, Bargain Hunt follows the fortunes of middle-aged, middle-class couples in bright sweaters trying to make a profit at various antique fairs. Sometimes, they made 10 whole pounds. Riveting stuff.
After a shitty day fighting office fires from his Toa Payoh flat, he switched on the TV, watched five minutes of Bargain Hunt and said to his wife, “sod it, I’m going to quit my job now, go off on a farewell tour, complete the trilogy and then we’ll give Australia a go.” And he did.
A few weeks later, he’d handed in his resignation, finalised book plans with his publisher and set off with a rucksack and a bottle of water each day to unearth a few rare gems in Singapore.
A little over six months later, Final Notes From A Great Island was the fastest selling book in the country and stayed at No.1 for almost three months. Easily Neil’s favourite book, Final Notes travelled around Asia, Australia and the UK and is a popular choice with Asian literature students at the University of Hong Kong. Neil has never watched Bargain Hunt since.
What they say
“Neil Humphreys gives readers a wonderful inside look at Singapore from an outsider’s point of view. And it’s all written in an honest and humorous way. As soon as I started reading, it felt like I was in Singapore and actually visiting the places Humphreys talks about. He describes the people, places and the city in such vivid detail.”
Galaxie Magazine (Malaysia)
“Final Notes from a Great Island is a great read because it’s full of little scenarios that we can relate to in our daily lives. Far from trying to tackle the big issues, Humphreys is adept at capturing those tiny idiosyncrasies that make us who we are as people.”