The Last Half of 2016

It may seem way overdue that I am writing this, but better late than never. It’s so important that I write these reviews (monthly, or half-yearly or yearly), because they enable me to organise my thoughts and count my achievements / happiness. As humans, we forget so easily. In a previous blog post titled 6/6, I reviewed the first half of my 2016 and ended enthusiastically by saying “Let’s see what the rest of 2016 has in store!” Little was I prepared for what awaited me. 

In July last year I had resigned in my role as Editor of Asian Geographic Magazine. My father was diagnosed with leukemia, and I made preparations to move back to Malaysia. During this month, I made a weekend trip back to Penang to see my father in hospital. In Singapore, I also met up with many friends to say goodbye. My landlady was also very kind in taking me out for dinners. In the writing world, I participated in a reading of my short story ‘Two Figures in a Car’ held by British Council Singapore at the Bishan Library. 

On the first day of August, my father passed away. It was one of the saddest days of my life and one I had been so unprepared for. The whole month was spent with family and friends as we arranged his funeral, dealt with the legal and administrative work that follows a death and had many dinners. I felt socially spent – I saw many people, and yet, all I wanted was to be alone. In the writing world, I also found out that I had been shortlisted by Berita Harian Singapore in their writing competition for my story ‘Pentagram’. However, because I had moved back to Penang, I was not able to attend their workshops.

In September, I began the process of settling down in Malaysia. I joined the Penang Writer’s Group and met up with them weekly to write at Karpal Singh Drive. Because I had quite alot of time on my hands, I revamped my website with a new design and also built a family tree on both sides of my paternal and maternal lineage. I had a short holiday to Hatyai, Thailand with my family and met up with three sets of friends from Singapore who came to Penang on holiday.

With fellow writers at the George Town Literary Festival (Photo courtesy of PWDC)

October was a busy month. I joined a writing workshop organised by Penang Women’s Development Centre (PWDC) called VOICES. I had an enlightening two-day session learning about gender and intersectionality in writing. I also participated in the MY Writer’s Fest @ Hin Bus Depot, helped out at the Soroptimist Charity Sale, did freelance work for Publicitas Publishing, spring cleaned my father’s stuff, went on a KL trip to celebrate my mother’s birthday, ate at Noble Season for my grandfather’s 93rd birthday and attended an art jam session called Artsy Sip.

In November I did more work for Publicitas Publishing, which was awesome. I also went to the Singapore Writer’s Festival to launch the ‘Love in Singapore’ Anthology published by Monsoon Books where I read an excerpt of my short story ‘The Ruby Case’. Back home in Penang, I did a reading at Constant Gardener and performed my piece ‘Daughters’ at the George Town Literary Festival, which I wrote for VOICES. In November, I celebrated my sister’s birthday at Ferringhi Gardens.

My December was spent in Melbourne, though I juggled a freelance job for Singapore Tourism Board at this time. I spent Christmas and New Year’s with family. Highlights include seeing Coldplay live at the Etihad Stadium, swimming at Half Moon Bay on Christmas Eve, eating delicious steak made by my brother-in-law, and spending time with my best friend and his wife – exploring Degraves Lane, seeing Banksy’s exhibition and eating lots of delicious brunches and lunches.

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