Life, Movies

Netflix movie recc: Suatu Ketika

If you’re looking for a feel-good, heartwrenching Malaysian movie, look no further than Suatu Ketika/Once Upon A Time. It’s based in 1952 Malaysia and my husband and I loved it. The movie had gorgeous cinematography, excellent casting, such loving attention to detail, heart-wrenching plot twists – all the things!

I was born in the 1980s in Singapore and my parents were born in the 1950s, so it was wonderful to watch a reimagining of 1952 Malaysia. Those barefoot football scenes in the rain were utter nostalgic perfection. I’m looking out for more movies by Malaysian director Prakash Murugiah!

Life, Love

Happy New Year!

I cannot believe it’s 2022, but here we are. I hope and pray that this year will be an easier one for us, wherever you are in the world.

Malaysia has seen some devastating floods in recent weeks. Please donate if you can, and/or spread the word.

I still don’t know when I’ll be able to see my loved ones overseas. Hold your loved ones tight ❤ Especially your children.

My podcast plans are delayed for the moment, but stay tuned!

Fantasy, Life, Love, Writing

My latest SBS Voices piece is up!

I’m thrilled to share my latest op ed on SBS Voices: Malay phrases I won’t be using on my children.

Speaking of being a mother and a writer, this article resonated with me SO MUCH: The Heartbreaking Ingenuity of the Mother-Writer. I could read this article a billion times and love it more each time. Only fellow mother-writers could relate to the creative, exhausting, hair/hijab-pulling methods we use to get our words down!!

As many of you would know, I am an avid SFF (science fiction and fantasy) fan. My latest obsession is the Green Bone saga by the brilliant Fonda Lee. Jade Legacy is coming out in November, and Fonda Lee has started up a one-year-only Patreon which gives patrons exclusive access TO COOL THINGS. Her series is incredible! Asian-inspired, which I absolutely love. No shortage of strong, complex female characters alongside believable male leads.

I absolutely love Fonda Lee’s Jade City and Jade Legacy. One thing she wrote about so brilliantly, which I have never read elsewhere, is the diaspora experience. I’m a returnee to my Malaysian motherland and to have her write about what it’s like to be a foreigner, how it changes you so irrevocably…that was really validating, to see reflected back to me. I was born in Singpaore, moved to Sydney when I was 12, lived in Jordan from 25-27, married at 28 then moved to Malaysia at 30 and I’ve been here for almost 8 years. All of this shapes me, my parenting, my writing – the lens through which I view the world and interact with it.

Family, Life, Love, untigering, Iris Chen

Reconciling Asian Values with Peaceful Parenting

If you’re an untigering Asian parent like me, check out this INCREDIBLE recording. Iris Chen is an unschooling Chinese American mother who inspired my article as well as my daily commitment to untigering.

I loved listening to her conversation with Joline from Chapter Zero Singapore, Syazana from Sassy Mama Singapore, and Justina from Raised with Wonder in Malaysia. My people! It’s so validating hearing them share their stories which are so familiar to mine. I love the beautiful parts of Malay culture and want to embed that into how I raise my kids, but I reject the toxic parts. It’s an ongoing process for me, my husband and my children. One day at at time. We have the gift of living with my elderly mother-in-law, so that’s another layer of nurturing for my children.

If you love her content, you have the option of supporting Iris on Kofi.

Life

Eid Al-Adha Mubarak/Selamat Hari Raya!

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

A little late, but here it is. For those who celebrate, I hope you had a good, safe and reflective Raya. This is yet another lockdown Raya for my household in Malaysia. Vaccinations are rolling out though so reaching herd immunity is something to look forward to.

I’ve been learning a lot about staying still and counting my blessings during this time. All it took was a global pandemic to keep me in one place :p I miss my loved ones overseas and am so, so grateful for technology.

My latest article for SBS voices is up – My Malay-Indian kids help me get closer to my roots.

I’m working on another book! What it is exactly remains to be seen LOL. I’m leaning towards Muslim romcom or a Middle Grade fantasy. SFF (sci-fi and fantasy) will always be my first love, but after writing and revising my YA contemporary fantasy, a genre change could be refreshing. Wait and see eh.

I’m a very intuitive (read: chaotic panster) writer so I start off with immersing myself in audiobooks. I’m jotting ideas or sparks of inspiration now in an actual journal, using actual colourful pens!

Some non-SFF audiobooks I’ve really enjoyed so far are:

Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

The Other Half of Happiness by Ayisha Malik

Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jallaludin

Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalalludin

Family, Islam, Life, Writing

Selamat Hari Raya/Eid Mubarak!

Selamat Hari Raya/Eid Mubarak! My kids are all asleep after an exciting and exhausting first day of Eid. We made it, alhamdulilah, to the end of Ramadan. And what a Ramadan this has been. May we meet many, many more. May there be an end to global oppression.

We’re back to MCO 3.0 in Malaysia. Inconvenient but necessary because Covid19 numbers shot up once again. This is my second Raya/Eid in lockdown…I miss my family and friends back in Sydney. I don’t think we’ll be able to fly back to visit anytime soon, so in the meantime, we have our family Whatsapp groups, video calls, messages….this is our new normal. What a test of patience.

In writing news, my latest article on SBS voices is up: I loved reading fantasy growing up but there were never any characters like me. Stay tuned for more!

Life, Love, Parenting

Ramadan is almost here

It’s literally days away from Ramadan! How did that happen? Wow, time does pass. I feel like this amazing owl gif captures my whole 2020-2021 mood.

Speaking of Ramadan, I promised my kids I would try extra hard not to be grumpy and be extra patient with them in Ramadan haha. It’s such a special month, and I can already imagine all three of them joining in our buka puasa/iftar/breaking of our fast after watching Upin and Ipin. I’m hoping the Ramadan bazaars will be back because they’re such a treat….but with SOPs like masks and social distancing in place. Wait and see, eh.

My three kids are already almost 6, 3.5 and 1.5! Part of me is like noooooo they’re growing so fast and the other part is calculating when all three will be in preschool/school :p My 3.5 yo made me smile today by telling me, “Narwhals are beautiful!” AW. She’s not a fan of manatees. Yes, my 6 yo is currently obsessed with Octonauts. My husband and I cannot get “Creature report!” out of our heads gahhhhh.

There’s been a lot of really awful racist book twitter happenings (click here) reflecting very real-world harm. BUT! If you’re a BIPOC author like me, please, please, please, keep writing your stories. They matter. You matter. Your stories matter. Our stories matter. Flood the gates of traditional publishing with our stories until more and more change happens.

Note: I don’t need to eat Pocky to feel more Asian. I BLEED POCKY.

Stay tuned for more updates!