I missed his last public appearance due to work and was delighted to learn of this event at a popular indie bookshop. While the evening at the small book shop, where he spoke so softly I couldn’t hear, standing in between aisle of books at the back of the bookshop, was disappointing, I was glad for a chance to buy his new book and get his autograph.
This short memoir, only 78 pages long, is a delight to read. He mentioned that he had a writer’s burnt out after Five Star billionaire (https://vickychong.wordpress.com/2015/10/30/five-star-billionaire-by-tash-aw/) and couldn’t possibly write another fiction, which he had always thought he was only a fiction writer. So when a chance came to explore nonfiction, he grabbed it and found he was good.
Yes, he was good and I regret the book only offers bite size into his life. This book captures the same sentiments I have. He blends into every Asian city so well he was treated as a local everywhere he went. Many of his story could have been mine. One incident he shares resonated with me. In Japan, when I was with an American man and we were asking for directions, it was me the Japanese local explained to in Japanese although I couldn’t speak, and the American man could.
I particularly enjoy chapter four, where he narrates his secondary school years, when many were blissfully ignorant of the various gaps between each other – wealth, background etc. I was just as ignorant, only looking towards junior college and NUS, whereas some of my peers are considering MIT, Princeton, and other ivy leagues, which was never in my radar.
I hope he expands this book and add another to my collection.