Francissca Peter.

WHO doesn’t know Francissca Peter? If you grew up in the 1980s, chances are you would have heard of this iconic songbird affectionately known as Fran, who graced our TV screens and radio airwaves.

With more than 20 No.1 hits in the local music charts, Fran has over 30 albums to her name. Who hasn’t heard of songs like the award-winning Sekadar Di Pinggiran, or the nationalistic Setia that dominated our airwaves back in the 1980s?

Malaysians would also know Fran as the other half of the popular duo, Roy and Fran — her “partner” was Royston Sta Maria and they proved to be an unbeatable duo act in the ‘80s. Dubbed “The Carpenters of Malaysia”, the pairing brought them immense popularity.

After all these years, she’s not slowing down yet! Still very much involved in the music industry, Fran is in the midst of completing her latest album, to be released next year.

She has also been ambassador for international aid organisation World Vision in Malaysia since 2004. A timeless and still sought-after vocalist, Fran shares with Well Lit. her selection of book picks; books that motivate her and keep her faith strong through the years.

WHAT’S CURRENTLY ON YOUR READING LIST?

I have several books on my list. However, I need to find the time to read them.

Between juggling my time being caregiver for my mum, performances, my duties with World Vision Malaysia and other charity organisations which I help where and when I can, as well as trying to complete my long overdue album to commemorate my 40th anniversary in music in Malaysia, I find myself with little time to do anything else!

WHAT’S THE LAST GREAT BOOK YOU READ?

I’m still trying to finish it. It’s called Face Of War by Martha Gellhorn who became a war correspondent in 1937. I’m really moved by this line in the book: “The superpowers’ rivalry looks like an egomaniacal side issue. The real issue is the gigantic dangerous imbalance in human life. Do our governments think we can perch on top of our weapons while most of the world’s people drown in misery below us?”

She wrote it several lifetimes ago, but it scarily resonates today when the world seems to be losing its humanity with wars and political ideologies that seem to victimise the ordinary citizen.

WHAT’S THE ONE BOOK THAT MOST PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED TO FIND ON YOUR BOOKSHELF?

Learn Tamil In 30 Days. Well, the 30 days came and went! Hopefully I’ll be able to jump on the 30-day bandwagon again when time permits!

IF YOU WERE TO ORGANISE A LITERARY PARTY AND WERE GIVEN A CHANCE TO INVITE THREE WRITERS (DEAD OR ALIVE), WHO WOULD THEY BE?

This is a tough one. There are so many inspirational writers out there but I will have to say Saint Pope John Paul II, Saint Mother Theresa and CS Lewis.

THE BEST BOOK-GIFT THAT YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?

I love books and was very happy to receive the complete novels of Jane Austen. She was not just an amazing author but she also offered an insight into the lives of early 19th-Century women, painting a realistic picture of what it was like to be a woman, which is still relevant today, and show their humanity for better or worse.

Another book I appreciated and which came at an opportune moment in my life was Moving On by Suzie Hayman.

IF YOU WERE MAROONED ON AN ISLAND, WHAT WOULD BE THE FIVE BOOKS YOU’D TAKE WITH YOU?

I’d bring along The Holy Bible, a book of my favourite bible verses, Golden Age Detective Stories, as well as autobiographies of Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul II. That should keep me going during my solitary island stay!

YOUR FAVOURITE CHILDHOOD BOOK?

I loved childhood icon Enid Blyton and all her books!

WHAT’S THE ONE BOOK YOU’D WISH FOR EVERY MALAYSIAN TO READ?

This is funny because it’s far from what I normally enjoy reading. However, I do have my moments and I’d have to say. all of Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks! Not only is he a delight to watch on television, he comes across as very real and down-to-earth and what’s more, his cookbooks are easy to follow.

Jamie believes in good, healthy natural foods and cooking them in the most natural way possible. I’m especially impressed with how he took on giant fast food chain McDonald’s and won! He proved that the meat sold in all its burgers was unfit for consumption. “Why would any sensible human being put meat filled with ammonia in the mouths of their children?” Jamie asked.

I really believe we Malaysians, known for our penchant for fast-food, should start cooking healthy food for ourselves and our children.

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