Minutes after birth you held my head to your lips and whispered, Difficulties are fires. It came unbidden, unplanned. Your mother s voice speaking through you. Ma would have been horrified. She would have accused you of being irresponsible. Failing in your first duty to me as a father. You never told anyone that you had whispered your mother s words to me before the Azan except me. You couldn t wait to tell me.
In the early seventies, a father defies the two-child policy in Singapore and insists on a third. He wants a second son to help protect his frail daughter Sarah. When another daughter is born, he breaks with Islamic tradition and whispers a personal mantra into the ears of his new-born daughter Sal. As she grows up, she hears her father repeat these words.
Twenty-five years later, Sal loses her way as she struggles against the tide of pragmatism that surrounds her. As her family try desperately to look for her by sifting through their own memories of their lives together, Sal reaches out to her dead father and attempts to fight the fires within her.