If you could choose a fictional world to live in, which one would it be?
Both the Avatar series: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. There’s an intrinsic beauty and spirituality to the universe that you can appreciate even as an everyday person, or someone without any sort of magical or divine powers. The connection between people, cultures, as well as humans and earth are big themes that become tangible in this world. I have so much respect for the work that the writers, artists, and show creators put into the world-building to make both series the modern epics that they are.
What’s an upcoming project—personal or otherwise—that you’re looking forward to?
I am currently on the writing team for the television adaptation of Sonny Liew’s The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye. I studied the graphic novel in school, and it’s a dream to bring a local treasure like this to the TV screen. The story resonates with me greatly as a Singaporean creator, so I hope I can do right by it.
What’s something you’ve learnt or discovered about yourself over the past year? What led to this discovery?
I’ve learnt that it’s okay to say you’re not okay. The people around you want to be there for you, and pretending otherwise doesn’t benefit them. Working on yourself doesn’t mean you have to be alone—I have a wonderful support system that I’m grateful for, and I appreciate their patience with me as I internalise this lesson.
If you had the choice to invite one historical figure to dinner, who would you like to talk to?
I would have dinner with Laika the dog, who was the first animal to head to space, so I could take her away and give her a good home, instead of having her being shot into space and left to die. Let’s just assume no other animals would’ve been sent in her place.
What’s one childhood memory that you remember really well?
We had moral education classes in primary school—once, we were given an exercise where we were shown a cartoon image of a kitchen and were asked to list exactly 10 items we’d bring into a bomb shelter with us. Amongst the many resources like food, water, torchlights were three different pets. I remember being confused about why they weren’t automatically counted, but also generally being very troubled by the exercise. I don’t think the teachers ever actually explained what we were supposed to learn from it, so, I am still confused. Maybe they were too?
What’s something that isn’t taught in schools now, but you feel should be?
A basic class on anthropology. Learning about diverse cultural and religious practices and celebrations is a necessity, especially in the country that we live in. Specifically, it is crucial for people to learn that they should listen to those from different backgrounds about how to respect them and their cultures. We have to be critical about the way that we approach others in order to learn that.