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
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
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
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!!!
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
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
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
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
Hi friends, I'm trying out a new feature on this blog (on top of regular posts). Let me know what you think. 🙂 Brevity features short weekly posts on the interesting, incisive, or inexplicably moving ideas inspired by my Harvard professors and classmates. It's a record of the detail in those intellectual and creative moments, as well … Continue reading Brevity: Can Fiction Save Felons?
I applied to Harvard under the Early Action round in 2016. After getting accepted, I decided not to apply to any other US school, so this post is definitely not a tried-and-true method. This is how I did it personally, and bear in mind that you might find it helpful or not. So pick whatever … Continue reading Unlocking Your Dream College: Essay Tips, by a Harvard Student
Dear Writing, It's an open secret that I love you but have never felt very sure about you. You're a complicated lover -- sometimes, you come so close I can breathe your scintillating effervescence and feel you intimately against the insides of my skin; other times, I'm reminded by your improbable capriciousness. You don't belong … Continue reading Embracing Rejection At Harvard (also unexpected surprises)