- My experience of Singapore has always been the duality of it. On the surface, it’s so Westernized and cosmopolitan… but underneath it, there are all these layers of deep-rooted conservatism that highly influence life in Singapore. I wanted to show that [duality].
- When I see all the immigration policies that are happening and the way this country [United States] is treating refugees, for me to say, ‘I’m an expat, not an immigrant, and therefore I can turn a blind eye,’ that’s not a moral and ethical way to live.
- My favorite part of my job is never having to doubt that I’m doing something of value. And I don’t mean this in the global sense; there are more practical ways to help people. But I do think that--and this may be selfish--I am working at something that’s making me a better human.
- I’m Singaporean and I’m Chinese, so, yes, food is a big part of my life and of my writing. Because I write mainly Asian characters and settings for a predominantly American audience, food is just one more way to explore my characters’ cultures and customs in a manner that (I hope) never feels forced.
- I tried as much as possible not to view my characters through a modern lens. Obviously it’s very difficult to put aside my personal biases and experiences, but I tried not to psychoanalyze my characters from the vantage point of 2018. I tried not to impose my own beliefs onto them, and I tried not to let whatever was happening around me color the way that I was telling the story.
- Essay writing is very difficult for me. Part of it may be that I grew up in a very private family. You know how in Asian families you don't air your dirty laundry? Additionally, I think I've always been drawn to writing because I love to imagine, so fiction seems the natural fit. I love imagining settings and characters and situations, and I guess essay writing doesn't fulfill me in the same way.
- I really love that slogan “Empowerment through Entertainment”. Literature is really the only art form that lets readers access the deepest thoughts and emotions of a character. It's so powerful to be able to understand and empathize with a character who on the surface may seem completely different from you.