Good news! In October, one of my fiction stories was published in Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, an online space that captures the literary heartbeat of Singapore. Featuring talented local writers like Lee Wei Fen and Alfian Sa’at, I am honored to be published alongside them.
As a born and bred local myself, I am happy to be able to contribute to Singapore’s literary scene. I love writing about my country. It is a tiny dot of a city where many people across the world have mistaken it for being a part of Malaysia or China. It is neither. Instead, Singapore is an independent country that is more than its squeaky clean image. It is a city, with one of the world’s most hardworking people, that had progressed from a third world nation to a first world nation in a few short decades. Our land pulses with the energy of our people carrying big dreams and even bolder personalities. Over the years, we have attained world-class standards in education, science & medicine, tourism, engineering, etc. But these successes came with a price. We may be one of the richest countries in the world, but we, as with other capitalistic countries, cannot avoid the widening income disparity and the social impact of the increasing influx of foreigners/foreign talent. As a result, a sizable group of Singaporeans, despite their contributions to the nation, are finding themselves less and less represented, their voices fading into silence.
My story, Off Duty, was inspired by these oft-forgotten citizens that had worked hard to make Singapore what it is today, but are not reaping the same rewards as the younger generation. I hope to portray more slices of everyday Singaporean life in my future stories. For now, here’s the link to Off Duty: http://www.qlrs.com/story.asp?id=1129
Reading my short story at The Last Bookstore.
Last week, I had the opportunity to read one of my short stories at The Last Bookstore at downtown Los Angeles with four friends and winner of the Academy of American Poets Prize Caley O’Dwyer (whose poems, by the way, are quirky, witty and playful). Even though I was a bundle of nerves before the event, hardly able to swallow down my dinner, the reading turned out great and I had a fabulous time!
Thanks for coming!
As you can see from the pictures, The Last Bookstore, with its wacky decor and eclectic furniture, is quite a work of art. They have a great selection of books, including second hand ones that are out of print. My husband found a book that he’d been looking for for a buck, while a friend bought the first edition of an old book for five dollars. You should definitely check this place out if you are around the area!
Anyway, I can’t believe it’s almost the end of November! Time just zipped by, especially the last couple of months. It’s been hectic but fruitful, and the good news is, I’ve finally finished the first draft of my novel. Hooray! I’m still fine-tuning it before sending it to a couple of people to read for feedback, but the feeling of typing the words “The End” at the end of the manuscript is amazing. I’m going to take a break during winter (more like catch up on my reading and edit my short stories), then get back on the second draft next year.
As the semester draws to a close, just wanna give a final shout out to those who would like to submit their work to The Southern California Review. Guidelines can be found here. The deadline’s on 1st December 2013, so you still have a couple more days to send in your stories/essays/comics/screenplay. We’d love to read them!
So yes, I am writing a novel.
The very declaration still rocks my nerves a little and for a while, I thought that if I didn’t tell anyone about it, it might save me some embarrassment if the pages never see the light of day. Also, I didn’t want people to have the impression that since I am working on a story now, it means that I will have the published book in my hands by the time I graduate — this is the kind of unrealistic expectation that paralyzes more than motivates.
But I realized that there is no shame in attempting something new and working on it, regardless of its success. As Edmund Burke once said, “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” I love that quote. Writing a novel was way more difficult than I had expected, and while the journey had its low points and I had to scrape draft after draft and correct mistake after mistake, it also has countless high points where the deep sense of satisfaction that accompany a page of good writing makes the tough times worth it. Writing can be a pretty isolated activity, and I am really thankful for the support and feedback I’ve been getting from my fellow writers and lecturers in school. The literary world is as tough as it is so it’s awesome when writers band together to cheer each other on.
My novel, based on a family living in contemporary Singapore, is still in its early stages and is bound to change so I shall not delve into it. But I will continue to post updates on this blog so stay tuned!