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
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
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 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!
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
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”
🌟 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
Remembering Louis Cha (Jin Yong), my favorite author, in the language I read him in. Today, he died at age 94. May he rest in peace. 今天，就让我难过一下吧。 六岁那年，爸爸几乎每晚都把我拉去公园散步。傍晚的树叶和微风很浪漫，是个听故事和讲故事的好时候。当时的我已经喜欢上了读书，但是天天手上捧着的都是西方读物：英国的艾尼德.布莱顿（Enid Blyton）、美国的《神探南茜》（Nancy Drew）、《甜蜜谷》（Sweet Valley Kids）系列，以及一箱又一箱的外国入门侦探小说。书本中的主人公虽然年龄比我长了几岁，但是都陌生的要死。他们需要喝下午茶，敢用姓名称呼他们的父母，出门要围围巾。 有一天我们又在绕圈的时候，爸爸通知我：“既然我们这几天散步你不愿意给我讲故事，那就我来。我来给你讲讲我最喜欢的。” 他选择了《射雕英雄传》。 说实话，一开始，我是很排斥他这个选择的。对于一个只背过唐诗、论语和三字经的我来说，中国文化是枯燥无味的条条框框。爸爸讲的那个故事的开端是一个臭道士，场景是一个年代久远的乡村，里面有一群叔叔阿姨天天在打架。我很不耐烦地威胁爸爸让他讲一个有公主和王子的故事，结果他告诉我这个故事里会有我这辈子都会想要的爱情。 他说的没错。 就这样，爸爸把这个故事的蓝图在我幼小的脑海里展开。我从不稀罕到走火入魔般地着迷。六岁那年，人生之三大难题如下：降龙十八掌到底是怎么打的？爸爸为什么不是桃花岛主？我应该到哪里去找武功秘籍好能称霸武林？但是，故事太长了，爸爸后来工作很忙，没有时间跟我在公园绕圈。我便开始去烦他，泪眼汪汪地求他继续把故事讲完。 他一指书架，对我说道：“都在那里，你自己看。” 结果是，我苦苦地啃了几个月，也没读懂。《射雕英雄传》分为了四册，我走到哪里都带着一本，搞得母亲对爸爸颇有微词。书中世界之丰富超过了我之前所读过的一切。里面形形色色的人和我有着类似的姓名，一样对长辈又敬又爱，年轻却充满了超越时代的侠肝义胆和令人动容的儿女情长。 后来，我慢慢长大了，却年复一年于这江湖流连忘返。在金庸的文字中，我似乎逐渐能从见自己，到见天地，却至今还是无法见众生。 现在，我二十岁了。我在新西兰出生，新加坡长大，美国读大学。从小到大，我在学府里读得最多的是西方文学，现在在哈佛主修的专业之一也是英语文学。至今，我读了荷马（Homer）、莎士比亚（Shakespeare）和简·奥斯汀（Jane Austen），也读了萨曼·鲁西迪（Salman Rushdie）、托妮·莫里森（Toni Morrison）和J.K.罗琳（J. K. Rowling）这些当代文学的泰山北斗。但是，至今，再也没有一个作家能让我如此留恋他笔下的世界，那些人的刹那芳华、仁义与柔情。 白马带着她一步步的回到中原。白马已经老了，只能慢慢的走，但终是能回到中原的。江南有杨柳、桃花，有燕子、金鱼…… 汉人中有的是英俊勇武的少年，倜傥潇洒的少年…… 但这个美丽的姑娘就像古高昌国人那样固执：“那都是很好很好的，可是我偏不喜欢。” 咱们就此别过，人生离合，亦复如斯。 金庸就是金庸。 四海列国，千秋万代，也就只有一个他呀。
The number of papers I've written this semester: 7. Words that appeared in my first 10-page screenplay*: Wong Kar-wai. Temple. Claypot. Kant. Fortune-teller. White peach tart. Mahjong. Wikipedia. Red Mansion Dream. The Gods are real. *If you are intrigued and would like to read it in exchange for giving me your genuine critique and constructive … Continue reading After the Darkness, A Meadow of Books
Life Updates: the odds and ends of this at times extraordinary, at times off-kilter month of October Happy Halloween, dear friends! 🎃✨ I can't believe October is coming to an end -- this month I sat for my first college midterm (Anthropology), submitted my first graded college paper (on Oedipus Rex), had my story workshopped for the first time … Continue reading Book Reviews: Sel Takes on the Classics! Part 1
1. Sundays on hammocks in hot Singaporean-like Cambridge weather. Hurrah! 2. Learning. The room is warm. My pulse is throbbing at an almost manic pace. In a hitched breath's moment of unconscious cerebration, it occurs to me that I am surrounded by knowledge coming to life -- in eager minds, raw stories, bustling thoughts, and this … Continue reading Things I Love