NON FICTION: The Problem With Being A Writer

Boss and employee

I’ve started putting down books more lately. I’ll give them one chapter of boredom before I cut my losses and move on to the next book. I used to be a completionist when it came to reading, but as I grow older, I realise how little time I have to read all the books I want, so I’m learning to be more meticulous with my reading time.

It’s not the books, it’s me. I’m aware that different authors have different styles, and not all of them are going to suit me. I’m fine with that. The literary world is entirely subjective, and the path to bestsellery often consists of just craft and luck—both unmeasurable.

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NON FICTION: Supping In Sapa

Stu in a bath bucket

Yours truly in a Red Dao herbal bath. Photo: Affandi Hamid

I’d sent this piece in for a writing competition, but I didn’t make the shortlist, so here it is for you guys.

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I had begun my trip to the highlands of Vietnam expecting to learn more about the cultures of the Red Dao minority. What I hadn’t planned for was having the trip turn into a culinary experience, which in turn had me reminiscing my own identity and childhood.

It was a three hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Hanoi, followed by a nine-hour train journey to Lao Cai. Then came the hour’s drive up the winding hills to Sapa, punctuated by the 13km hike to a Red Dao village, where I was to spend two nights.

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NON FICTION: Remembering Who You Once Were

Guy thinking

Photo: Sunyu Kim

Some ten years ago I wrote this: “I woke up to a world greyer than usual. It’s as if Crayola came and took away the colours from my life.”

No, it wasn’t a Myspace post.

Sometimes I like reading my old work just to see what I was thinking at the time, and as much as I like to poke fun at my younger self, he does give me some hints as to why I am the way I am today.

If feelings were a scale of one to ten, I would have been hovering at a three for as long as I can recall. This was why I took to reading my old posts just to see how far back I’d stopped caring.

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NON FICTION: Want To Be A Writer In Malaysia? Here Are 10 Things You Should Know

So you want to be a writer in Malaysia

Writer In Malaysia: Girl behind blinds

Yep. I’m as bored with listicles as you. Photo: Joshua Rawson-Harris

Great. Another top-ten things article. Here’s a stick. See that dead horse? Go ahead. Have a go.

Despite the cliché, there’s a reason for all this trite. If you’ve ever asked me what it takes to be a writer in Malaysia, what courses make the best gig magnets, or what laptops produce the best word diarrhoea, then this piece is for you.

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NON FICTION: Things I Learned Wearing The Same Clothes (Almost) For A Year

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One year ago

Well hello again. It’s been a while since my last post, and I thought I’d take this chance to announce a discovery I’ve made. I’ve taken to a monochromatic wardrobe a while back, and upon further inspection of social media, have come to a conclusion that it began almost one year ago. This discounts the black tee, jeans, and working boots phase I had prior to that.

Contrary to what I expected, the year passed by relatively quickly (much quicker than I’m comfortable with, frankly), and I haven’t thought much of my styling options until today, when I felt that my black Doc Martens could use a polish, but realised that my black Vans were too scruffy to stand in as a replacement.

I’d like to think that a handful of you would be interested in the life of a goth ninja, so I present to you, the things I’ve learned being colourless for a year.

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