Catching Up

My last three posts have all been Caturday ones, which means I have not blogged properly for about two weeks. I shall try to do better.

I was in Singapore from 6th to 10th September for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content. And in George Town (Penang) from 8th to 12th October, for some badly needed ‘me’ time.

Don’t ask me what I was doing between getting back from Singapore and leaving for GT. I don’t know where the time goes these days. I do know that it takes forever for me to get back on track if my routine gets disrupted.

So, updates …


Not much change here. I was chief judge for this year’s Scholastic Asian Book Awards (SABA) and we announced the winners at a party celebrating the Singapore Book Council, or SBC’s 50th anniversary. The SBC is the organiser of the AFCC and it used to be the National Book Development Council of Singapore. Thank goodness for the name change.

The winner of this year’s SABA is Joel Jacob for a fantasy novel called Wing of the Locust. I’m excited about working with Joel on this novel which draws on Filipino myths. We will also be publishing with the two runners up: environmental thriller Red Eyes by Varsha Seshan and Blue Squared, a verse novel about body identity, by Dora Tsang.

This year we also published SABA 2016’s winner, Codex by Aditi Krishnakumar; as well as two of the shortlisted mss: Dragonflies, Jigsaws and Seashells by Varsha Seshan (yes, the same Varsha who wrote Red Eyes) and The Laughing Monster by Golda Mowe.

By the way Dragonhearted by Xie Shi Min won the Hedwig Anuar Book Award 2018. Dragonhearted was, of course, on the SABA shortlist in 2014 and we published the book in 2016. I hope the sequel will be ready next year.


I also hope to publish the sequel to Codex next year, plus Joyce Ch’ng’s sword making adventure, Fire Heart. Note that I didn’t say sword-fighting! I really like the story’s attention to detail with regard to the sword-making process. It’s a coming-of-age novel about a young woman who finds herself through the process of being a sword-maker’s apprentice. Good stuff.

My Short Story Collection

I was supposed to launch the crowd-funding campaign for my short stories, but the illustrator ghosted me. That’s the second illustrator to ghost. No, it’s not me, it’s them arty farty emo types!

I want illustrations for the stories, but I’m wondering if this is a sign that I should forget about them. Then again, when have I ever believed in signs?

My Love Life

I re-installed Tinder, but of course all that’s done is reinforced my opinion that men on dating sites are generally weird, and not at all in a good way (yes, there is a good kind of weird).

I like this one guy whom I met back in April, but he is definitely not interested in me beyond someone he has a laugh with. Ugh.

I don’t really know what I’m looking for. Wouldn’t say no to a serious, committed relationship, but can’t imagine meeting anyone who’s on the same page with me on that front and who ticks all the boxes too. Mind you, the boxes are few and I don’t see why they shouldn’t exist. We all have likes and dislikes and standards, right?


I am reading so slowly because I get too easily distracted by Facebook and Twitter. However, I need Facebook and Twitter to keep me sane and remind me I am not the only one in the world, which is what it feels like when I am just here, editing and cooking and doing the laundry.

I have been reading a lot of Japanese fiction, including this writer called Hiromi Kawakami whose stories are just the sort I like — about quiet lives and unremarkable people who nevertheless have a little spark in them, some quirk, or eccentricity that makes them so endearing (to me). I have read The Nakano Thrift Shop (Allison Markin Powell) and Strange Weather in Tokyo (translator: Allison Markin Powell) and have just started Manazuru (translator: Michael Emmrich). The first two are definitely on my list of comfort reads.

New Friends

I met two interesting people:

  1. Azlina, who I was introduced to by Rama, of the SBC, when he was in KL a couple of weeks ago. She has written a book that must not be named for reasons. However, I am in the middle of it and it really is quite a good read. I like Azlina as she seems like the best kind of crazys and has had an interesting life, which evidently contributed to the creation of the stories she’s published.
  2. Mary Tang, an artist and maker of dolls whom I met at Komichi Tea House, one of my favourite hang-out spots in GT. Sadly, I came home the day before her show opened in GT, but I aim to catch it in November. Also, I have commissioned a pontianak doll from her. (I had so many ideas, actually. A penanggalan doll with a head that detaches, and a hantu tetek that unzips and spills out tiny breasts, like those little sacks we used in games of Five Stones.)

That’s about it, I guess. Or rather, what I can remember as I’m half asleep. Sorry, but it’s Sunday and I’ve been ferrying the kids about. I hate driving.




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