NON FICTION: Do The Littlest Things To Achieve Your Biggest Goals

Sculpture of muscly back

Photo: Simone Pellegrini

It takes 80,000 words to make a novel, about 10,000 words to be fluent in another language, and 52 kilometres of running to complete a marathon.

These are daunting figures in their own right, but perhaps less intimidating when viewed from this perspective: writing 250 words, learning one sentence, and running for 15 minutes each day.

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NON FICTION: Why I’ve Stopped Wishing For A Perfect Life

Three women laughing

Photo: Priscilla Du Preez

It seems as if my life’s just about making one blunder after another.

Things have took a turn for the better compared to ten years ago, but the mistakes keep coming. I still have issues to work on, wounds to heal, and a life to improve, yet I often mess them up by doing the wrong things.

Looking back, I wish I’d studied harder, worked harder, and didn’t waste so much time just loafing around. Who knows what I might’ve become had I applied myself much earlier in life?

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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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