Dear younger me, Thank you for dreaming, for imagining, for gripping onto the pen, for believing in what started out as a ludicrous premise and committing to it, for the fitful fevers that consumed the page, for writing what you love and ache for, for a story that is by no means perfect—but what I … Continue reading 23: a birthday letter to my younger self
Read other internship diaries:Interning at CNN Fareed Zakaria GPS 🌎Interning at Northern Light Venture Capital in China 💸 TODAY MY CSF INTERNSHIP HAS ENDED. Yay! Celebrating a fruitful twelve weeks. 🌟 Feels like a good time to stocktake (without revealing anything confidential, cough): I’ve emerged with a lot more knowledge about many diverse fields and cool ideas … Continue reading Interning at Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Centre for Strategic Futures (CSF)
(felt incapable of typing in full sentences because of how much writing i've done recently so i'm going to do a list—throwback to my 2017 freshman fall list, Things I Love, teehee) started interning on Jan 11 at the PMO (Prime Minister's Office) Strategy Group CSF — my first ever public service/government internship! summing it … Continue reading life update: hello, march
There are two endings to Blind Mountain. In the censored Mainland Chinese version, the police comes and rescues the female protagonist from her rural prison. In the version for international release, which is the one I watched, the girl grabs the knife closest to her and, in a climactic eruption of violence, stabs her "husband" … Continue reading Movie Review: Blind Mountain《盲山》(2007)
看春晚 📺 吃饺子 🥟 幸福的滋味 躺在爸爸妈妈的手掌心 👋🏼 如此简单 拥有温暖被爱环绕的感觉 💞 Dear reader, wishing each of you a healthy, happy, fruitful and prosperous Chinese New Year — one that’s kinder to us, gentler on the world, steadier in these rocky times; 祝大家新春快乐，牛年大吉，牛气冲天，牛转乾坤，平安喜乐，健康万福 ❤️㊗️🐮🌟🧧🧨 With love,
Read other From A Foodie installments:From A Foodie: Tasting Japan & Its Shokunin Spirit 🍙From A Foodie: Tasting Taipei — worn, but lovely 🍹From A Foodie: California Dreamin’ 🌴 Hello fellow foodies, it has been a while ; ) COVID-19 has made certain food adventures impossible for most of last year. But since my impromptu walk to Chinatown … Continue reading From A Foodie: Singapore Chinatown Hawker Adventure!!!
This is the 100th post on the blog and the first post of 2021. Here's the full Chronicle. Thank you for being here, thank you for allowing my stories to enter your life : ) I love walking. The best way to experience a city is, partly, to be a flâneur: passionate wanderer, aimless saunterer, … Continue reading A stroll at dusk: Chinatown
2020 is a year of records set, plans broken, trajectories transformed, passions lived. It marks the first time I've stayed indoors for four months straight. For 120 days, I didn't take a single step out of the apartment. (!!!) It marks the most words I've written in a year, ever. All these years I've talked … Continue reading Goodbye, 2020
Hello dear reader, HAPPY HOLIDAYS! ✨ I was drafting my annual Year-in-Review post but became spoilt for choice when trying to narrow down my favorite read of 2020 to one. So a happy sidetrack: I pick my top read for each month of the year. What better way is there to sum up 2020 than … Continue reading 12 Top Reads in 2020
Spent a couple of days listening to writers and journalists speak virtually on topics ranging from billenials (billionaire millennials) to translating oneself to China's navigation of collective historical traumas. I've jotted down some notes. ⬇️ First off, THANK YOU to the folks at Hong Kong International Literary Festival (HKILF) for gifting me with a media … Continue reading Hong Kong International Literary Festival: Asian debut voices, Jhumpa Lahiri on linguistic exile, the politics of memory
Back in my sophomore year, for a class on global fictions, I read Liu Cixin's The Three Body Problem and even ended up writing a paper on it: Reimagining Communities: Hospitality in The Reluctant Fundamentalist vs. The Three-Body Problem. That was my first foray into hard sci-fi. Quite stunning. Yesterday, at noon, I watched him speak at the … Continue reading SWF 2020: 刘慈欣谈科学与幻想的无限可能
Singapore Writers Festival 2020 is happening from now till 8 Nov. 🎉Read my overview of the festival here. This is my first time hearing Zadie Smith's voice and she is just as sharp as she is on the page. Parts of what she says resonate so much it feels like she is stapling words into … Continue reading SWF 2020: Zadie Smith’s Intimations
Hi folks, it has been a while : ) First up: a big thank-you to the Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) team for giving me a complimentary Digital Festival Pass! This year, the festival will be FULLY ONLINE for the first time ever, making it accessible to book-lovers and wordsmiths worldwide! I'll be covering a few … Continue reading Singapore Writers Festival 2020!!!
In 1997, two decades after the end of the Cultural Revolution, Wang Xiaobo died prematurely of a heart attack. This was five years after his debut novella The Golden Age made him one of the most widely read and discussed authors among disillusioned youth in China. While initially met with hostility from the literary establishment, … Continue reading Book Review: The Golden Age 黄金时代 by Wang Xiaobo 王小波
中秋快乐～ Happy Mid-Autumn, my loves! 🌕🥮🎑 *** Ok, now some writing ramblings: My current novel draft is titled V6. The word count clocks in at slightly over 52,000. Today, I went back to read V2 and V3—it kind of shocked me how they present a drastically different novel altogether from my current draft (where are … Continue reading [Writing] Snippets from old drafts
Today’s post is not about reviewing products!!! For that, go to Beauty Diaries: My College Skincare Routine. Not only have I tried no new products in my four months of stay-home hermit life till August, but my 8 and 10-step morning and night skincare routines (which I once thought would persist till the end of days) … Continue reading Beauty Diaries: Skincare Life Hacks
I’m taking a leave of absence this fall! Perhaps, as early as May, part of me already sensed that I didn’t want to do another semester of remote learning—especially not during my senior fall. I got sad thinking about doing the last year of college on Zoom. It felt anti-climactic, disappointing, a poor facsimile of … Continue reading August sipped away like a bottle of wine
"Celebrations Together": Artwork by Khong Ka Yeung, Rulang Primary School Happy 55th birthday, my dearest Singapore! 🎂☀️🇸🇬 Each year, NDP (National Day Parade) is special partly because of the songs that I grew up with. I remember singing the NDP songs in school halls, classrooms, on the bus, with friends, teachers, family, strangers—all in unison … Continue reading Happy National Day! // my cover of “Home” by Kit Chan
July is... staying indoors all month (except for the momentous excursion outdoors to the polling station on July 10). My hermit life continues with my mom — neither of us have taken a step out of the house for months. Life meanders: the whole morning wrapped in blankets, my mom's home-cooked lunch right after light … Continue reading July things
for taylor swift when was the last time I listened to an album from the first track to the last, no pauses, no skips, no shuffling, no multi-tasking, and with my eyes closed? maybe it was six years ago when "1989" came out on my graduation night from nanyang. "folklore," in its entirety, is sixty-three … Continue reading a late-night love letter to taylor swift’s folklore
整个六月都在室内度过，三点一线的生活：床，餐桌，还有皮沙发。我倚着餐桌打瞌睡，在床上看小说，在皮沙发上码字和偷吃零食。窗外有烈阳，有蓬勃生长的仙人掌，依山（很矮的武吉知马山）傍水（游泳池嘻嘻）。 这个月至少读了十本小说。我流着汗，也流着眼泪，滴答在屏幕上，流成故事。 📚 The whole of June happens at home, facing rolling green hills. A defence camp hidden somewhere inside. Every day, I write (though you can easily spot some bad days 😓). In June, I've written a total of 20,498 words. I conceived the idea for IDOL last summer in New York and started … Continue reading [Writing Updates] June 六月
on my desk is a regular feature on the blog where I jot down brief thoughts on the books I'm reading, either for class or leisure. In light of the protests against racial injustice in the U.S. and around the world, I revisit a few formative works that have shaped how I think about race. … Continue reading on my desk: thinking about race
hi dear friends and readers, today i turn 22!!!! today i feel very very loved and very very blessed. thank you to each of you — you know who you are — who have made it so special. i've waited seven years to play this song (so let this be the soundtrack to this blog … Continue reading 22
Author's Note: 4 photos, 4 vignettes! I've typed the scenes out just the way they entered my head when these images first came alive, each with their own stories. The title draws inspiration from Prof Homi K. Bhabha's concept of the third space — disjunctive, hybrid, in-between spaces beyond borders that make ambivalent structures we … Continue reading [Story] Third Space
(This is an 'A Day in the Life' post that I've only done once before - read: A New York Sunday. So here's another one, credits to Kyla Zhao my love, for the inspiration.) 12:00am I go onto Canvas, click the Zoom link, and wait for the class to load. I'm on my bed, wearing … Continue reading A Stay-home Wednesday, by the hour
on my desk is a new feature on the blog where I jot down brief thoughts on the books I read, usually for class (and now also for leisure). Here are some of the books I've read since returning home from campus, during my hermit, 100-step count days inside the house. What's in your library? … Continue reading on my desk: the pandemic stay-home edition
On our way home from Changi airport, my face tightly clad in a N95 and my hands gloved up, the car hurtling towards my 14-day self-imposed quarantine in my bedroom, my mom casually mentioned, Isn't there some famous writer who said all you need is a room of your own? And money, I said. Virginia Woolf … Continue reading Quarantine Diaries: 14 days!
The first time I heard the word ‘coronavirus’ was at our last dinner in Istanbul. (note: COVID-19 is the newest strain from the coronavirus family, but forgive my then-ignorance of epidemiology.) "What virus?" I asked. "It’s happening to a few people in China, but no one knows what it is," J said. "How do you … Continue reading Life in The Time of Coronavirus
on my desk is a new feature on the blog where I jot down brief thoughts on the books I've read for the week, usually for class. This first installment covers some of the books I've read from week 2 to week 4 of Junior Spring. Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys An immediate classic. So … Continue reading on my desk: 1984, The Bluest Eye & more!
MY FAVORITE SEMESTER INTELLECTUALLY! ❤️ Before I gush, a few things: I'm back to four classes (and also auditing a fifth). This has been the best schedule I've had so far, with no classes on Thursdays AND Fridays. But in terms of sheer reading, I have to average three books per week (not including some … Continue reading My Junior Spring Harvard Classes ≧◡≦
Note: Thank you to Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) and to our phenomenal trip leader Jesse for the chance to spend two weeks of my winter break in Turkey. Harvard kids, apply!!! Check out the program here. *** The cypress and plane trees, the rooftops, the heartache of dusk, the sounds coming from … Continue reading I, Istanbul
新春快乐！Happy Chinese New Year 🧧🥟❣️ 祝大家鼠年大吉，心想事成，平安喜乐 🐹 A week ago I was making manti (Turkish dumplings) at a cooking studio in Istanbul alongside other students on the CMES (Center of Middle Eastern Studies) excursion. Today, after waking up way past noon, I wander into the living room in my PJs and see my family making dumplings. … Continue reading 2020 新春快乐 • Happy Chinese New Year
滚滚长江东逝水，浪花淘尽英雄。 是非成败转头空。 青山依旧在，几度夕阳红。 白发渔樵江渚上，惯看秋月春风。 一壶浊酒喜相逢。 古今多少事，都付笑谈中。 《三国演义》开篇 Roiling waves of the river flow, Rippling tides sieve out heroes, Wins and losses now hollow. The earth lies here still, Many sunsets come and go. A snowy-haired elder perches by, Seasons ebbing in his eyes. History’s many tales All washed down with wine, Drowning in laughter with … Continue reading 2019: A Tale of Many Cities
S I N G A P O R E — engulfed in days of tropical thunderstorms and endless showers. The city is crying and I wake up to the pitter-patter of tears streaking a windowpane accidentally left ajar. The floor next to the window is slightly wet. I leave footprints all over the wooden floor, … Continue reading winsome little nothings
What's in your magnitude? What's in your library? What's in your details? Happy Thanksgiving!!! This break, I've been on campus: empty cobblestone streets, a handful of lit windows in the wintry night, closed restaurants and libraries, vacant laundry machines — solitary, quiet, and kind of really nice. I've been reading and reading and writing and … Continue reading Thanksgiving with Books and BBQ
We tend to romanticize the past. For a while, I complained to friends that I was feeling the belated onslaught of the Sophomore Slump — call it the Junior Jetlag. Every seven hours, I would reminisce about my idyllic, fulfilling sophomore fall. But then, I went to read what I wrote one year ago — my pillow … Continue reading Conversation Sparks: Life, you’re the dancing queen
First things first: I'm listening to Lana Del Rey's The greatest on loop. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ndo8r_Hg_lg No other song has been able to put me more immediately in the mood of my novel than these guitar strums. The tint of melancholia conjures to mind the moment of nearly unbearable light, the breath right before sunset. On Sunday, … Continue reading [Late night thoughts] October is unraveling…
Author's Note: Wrote this story in March. Today marks one year since the gruesome murder (and dismemberment) of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. One morning before class, on a misty pink spring morning, I went on Twitter for the first time in forever. Behold then: a trailer for CNN's "Saudi Arabia: Kingdom of Secrets." The video automatically … Continue reading [Story] Remembering Jamal Khashoggi
I’m not sure that Morocco or France are my countries... No, my country is language. My country is a library. Have you ever felt utterly exhilarated just listening to someone talk? I was in a conference room somewhere in the basement of the Center for European Studies. Leila Slimani was in conversation with my Advanced Fiction … Continue reading Confession: “I Was Born A Writer”
Hello folks, we're entering week 4 of Junior Fall?! Summer feels like yesterday — banana shirt days in flip-flops, lounging in the shade reading novels, and smearing the ring of condensation on my fingers when sipping iced tea/milk green tea with golden bubbles/pineapple smoothies (happy sigh). My life has never been this routine and packed … Continue reading My Junior Fall Harvard Classes!
Working at CNN Fareed Zakaria GPS has been one of the most interesting internship experiences I’ve had. It has exposed me to the specifics of producing a show for air, what it’s like to work at a place like CNN, and the excitement of dealing with ideas, international news, and incisive analysis on a day-to-day basis. … Continue reading Interning at CNN Fareed Zakaria GPS
Saw a couple of tiny girls in Hongzi at Bugis today and suddenly remembered. Happy 102nd birthday, Nanyang! ❤ 一九一七八月十五，是宝贵的良辰。 在火药气味浓厚中，可爱的母校出现。 I remember those golden, burnt-edged secondary school days of folding notes and passing them with furtive glances in ordered classrooms when the teacher isn't looking; of six heads huddling over one glowing phone screen … Continue reading Ode to My Youth • 母校，生日快乐
Thank you, New York. Many things you were, but boring you were not. I will miss you. x Finished typing this list as I was standing in line at JFK — it's surreal how fast these two months passed (although there were patches when the days felt meandering and Mondays when I could not get … Continue reading Overheard in New York
Happy happy National Day, all my Singaporean friends! 🎂🇸🇬✨ It's weird how frequently I've thought of you, Singapore, in the day-to-day of my job. Like when the White House published a memo attacking China's developing country status in the WTO and the first thing my eyes were glued onto in the text (read here) was … Continue reading Happy 54th birthday, Singapore!
12:00am It's pouring in New York City. Curtains and curtains of rain in the darkness with speckles of light. Apocalyptic streets with the occasional yellow cab and barely any human alive. We are all drenched after dashing out from shelter in Central Park and scuttling up the restaurant's shuttle. And then in a state of … Continue reading A New York Sunday
Public announcement on the blog!!! : ) There's now a blog tab apart from Chronicle and Contact called... Academic 💙🤖📘🧬🌏 ...where I've pooled together the A-grade papers/creative coursework I've written for my Harvard classes. In short, I present to you the intellectual arc of my college career. There are some that I wish I could've done better, … Continue reading Tada! All my Harvard papers in 1 place.
🌟 07/10/2019 🦄 Just want to mark this date on the blog: July 10, 2019 (even as the minutes slowly tumble into July 11, 2019). If there's one day I want to carve into my memory from this entire summer thus far, it's July 10. It's the most exhilarating and stimulating day I've had in a … Continue reading A day ft. Jeff Zucker, Fareed Zakaria & Amanda Lee Koe
This marks the end of my third week in New York. Say what? It is true. This means three weeks of LIVING ALONE in the biggest city in the United States, actually WORKING eight to nine hours a day in a cubicle on the 21st floor of a massive glass tower, and actually being a … Continue reading Futuristic thoughts while grocery shopping
Read other From A Foodie installments: From A Foodie: Tasting Japan & Its Shokunin Spirit 🍙 From A Foodie: Tasting Taipei — worn, but lovely 🍹 Before you start reading this post, first play this song: California Dreamin' by The Mamas & the Papas. Los Angeles is like an idea. There’s Hollywood and its entire edifice (Disney franchises, Universal Pictures, … Continue reading From A Foodie: California Dreamin’
On May 31, 2019, I turned 21. The big 21 is sundrenched in Californian heat, pulsing in road trip vibes, and peppered with desert sand and surrealist tree-like cacti with muscled arms (think: the Whomping Willow in Harry Potter). Outside of the window are lonely gas stations, abandoned houses, and then a humongous pink ice … Continue reading The Big 21