The wildness of this life grows & grows & continues to astound me with how large it is, how little I know of it. I am 17 now, & in a year & a half I pack my bags to leave for the unknown that university brings. My mother has taken to imparting bits of seemingly random advice on me these days (don’t forget to turn your jeans inside out before you put them in the washing machine, or you need to schedule self care on your calendar otherwise you will work to death, or just be kind to yourself, okay?). I know that she knows that we both know that our time together is growing short.
I've never loved Singapore, but I have lived here for 10 years now & it is home in a default sort of way, terracotta red & smelling of durian. Some days I'm eager to escape this breathless humidity, repeating image of some country which strains within its own body, unsure whether to cling to tradition or surge into modernity. Some days it feels I am already running.
But the irony, of course, is now that I am growing hyperaware how fast my time is ticking down, I can't stop noticing what I never did before. Finding things to adore, things to stick to, that my eyes have always skip-stumbled over: a gecko humming on the wall, exhilarated by its own smallness. Tourists at a bus stop smoothing down their frizz-static hair, already learning the language of a country halfway between humid & a hard place. Orchid on the table, gasping & singing into bloom. This is the way that remembering happens.
Dear friends, it is an infinite honour to share that I have a mini-chapbook out today from one of my favourite independent publishing houses, Platypus Press, on memory & monsoon season. The chapbook is part of their gorgeous 2412 project, where they are releasing a chapbook by one of 24 different authors every day leading up to Christmas. The best advent calendar is the literary sort, no?
You can read the entirety of "Monsoon Dream" right here, & add it to your shelves on Goodreads right here. It is simultaneously a rumination on what it is to leave behind the place that raised you... & a love letter to Singapore, a country I swing between exasperation with & adoration for. I hope you find as much light in reading it as I found in bringing it to you.
I truly cannot wait to hear your thoughts.