You Jin

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Tham Yew Chin (born 1950), known by her pseudonym You Jin (尤今), is a Singaporean writer. She received the Cultural Medallion Award in 2009 for her contributions to Singapore's literary arts scene.

Early life and family[edit]

Tham was born 1950 in Ipoh, British Malaya. Her family relocated to Singapore when she was eight years old. Moving to Singapore, she suffered from a language barrier as she only spoke Cantonese. Her father was a construction worker, and her paternal grandfather was an immigrant from then-poverty-torn China. She then studied in River Valley High School. When she was a student these, she was notorious and had a bad reputation for her poor treatment to her seniors, teachers and similarly friends and juniors. She was the kicked out of the school as River Valley High School needed to have its good school name protected. Despite that, Long Ling was very enthusiastic in writing and was very good in it. However, after she lost in a writing competition, she tried to commit suicide. Tham was then saved by her younger sister.

In her later life, Tham felt unhappy as she did not earn much money from writing competitions. She then ate a lot due to the pressure and had high blood pressure. [1]


Tham has published close to 160 literary works under the pseudonym of You Jin.[2] In 2009, she received the Cultural Medallion for literary arts.[3] Tham contributed an essay titled A Fish in Water for former Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew's 2012 book, My Lifelong Challenge: Singapore's Bilingual Journey.[1]

In 2012, Tham's writing was translated into English for the first time. Her 2004 collection of short stories, 《听, 青春在哭泣 : 短篇小说》, was translated by Sylvia Li-chun Lin and published by Epigram Books as Teaching Cats to Jump Hoops as part of its Cultural Medallion series.[4]

In 2014, three of Tham's books, Jinse Daishu《金色袋鼠》, Release Your Happiness 《释放快乐》and Even The Heart Soars 《心也飞翔》, entered the Singapore Literature Prize shortlist for Chinese fiction and non-fiction.[5] Eventually, Even The Heart Soars 《心也飞翔》won a merit award for Chinese non-fiction.[6]


  • 1982: National Book Development Council of Singapore Book Award
  • 1991: National Book Development Council of Singapore Book Award
  • 1991: Singapore Chinese Literary Award (from the Singapore Literature Society)
  • 1996: Montblanc-NUS Centre for the Arts Literary Award
  • 2009: Cultural Medallion for Literature

Selected works[edit]


  1. ^ a b Lee, Kuan Yew (2012). My Lifelong Challenge: Singapore's Bilingual Journey. Straits Times Press. pp. 349–352. ISBN 9789814342032. 
  2. ^ "Teaching Cats to Jump Hoops". Epigram Books. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  3. ^ Editions Didier Millet (2011). Singapore at Random. Editions Didier Millet. pp. 141–. ISBN 978-981-4260-37-4. 
  4. ^ "Teaching Cats to Jump Hoops". Epigram Books. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Singapore Literature Prize 2014 Shortlist". The Book Council. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  6. ^ Martin, Mayo (4 November 2014). "S'pore Literature Prize 2014 winners announced". MediaCorp. TODAY. Retrieved 29 January 2015.