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Chou Chou

Chou Chou (or smelly pillow) provides years of comfort, security and companionship for many local children... and adults. This wordless picture book charts the journey of a girl's relationship with her precious 'chou chou'.

Author / Artist : Quek Hong Shin



(View fullscreen for best effect. Click on < > to scroll through story.)


Download PDF • 1.47MB


"'Chou Chou' (meaning 'stinky' in Mandarin) or 'bantal busuk' ('foul pillow' in Malay) is an object that provided comfort and security. It can be a rarely-washed bolster, a small pillow or a favourite soft toy. The object absorbs years of sweat, tears and saliva, giving it a distinct smell that can only be appreciated by the owner.

Chou Chous are often handmade by mothers or grandmothers of newborns in a family. Filled with sun-dried bean sprout husks, they are lightweight and cool to touch in the tropical heat of Singapore. There are stories of how some people keep their Chou Chous well into adulthood and have never truly outgrown their attachment with the comfort objects."

- Quek Hong Shin


ACTIVITIES TIME After reading the story, here are some questions for discussion:

1. Do you sleep with a comfort object? Who made it / got it for you?

2. Why do you think Grandma mended the Chou Chou instead of getting a new one for the little girl?

3. Is there anything in your life that is irreplaceable?

4. What do you think happened in the last two pages of the story?

5. Is there a scent that you like that may come across as unusual to others?

Are you interested to know how a traditional 'beansprout husk' chou chou (pillow) is made? Watch this video to find out!



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