Be curious. Not judgmental.Walt Whitman, American poet of Leaves of Grass
Born, bred, raised in Singapore. That’s how I’d write the short version of my biography as Sofia M.
But the longer version might include some side notes like, maybe, I’ve not been literally bred here (since the folks probably floated in on a wave from the island of Java, Indonesia to this island past the Singapore Strait), making me a Javanese Singaporean. And that maybe, I’ve not spent too much of my youth here in Singapore either, as I’m always traveling, writing, dreaming elsewhere.
- Unique sights from Singapore, right down to the ocean tankers sea view
I’d like to imagine I’ve visited all too often the worlds of Horseshoe Bay with Nancy Drew and Bayport on Barmet Bay with the Hardy boys, before delving into the dangerous, drug-addled mysteries of Sherlock Holmes and the anxiety-ridden, sensitive detective stories of Hercule Poirot.
Many hundreds of classics later—from Jane Eyre to Castle of Otranto to At Swim-Two-Birds—I find myself getting lost instead in some more recent tales like the Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Assassin’s Blade series… etc. etc. Well, can one really be expected to list all the books that one’s inspired by?
Still, whether it’s swimming in the most remote, and coldest, waterfalls of the Scottish Highlands or hiking up the tallest, sometimes volcanic, peaks of Bali, Indonesia, I’m usually doing one or both of these things. And for real, this time.
- Mount Agung, Bali | Sydney | Isle of Skye, Scotland
- Bangkok | Ha Long Bay, Vietnam | Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
In fact, one of my earliest childhood memories of seeing snow for the very first time, on a horse farm in Kentucky, US, is something I’ll never be able to forget. How can anyone ever forget seeing and feeling anything for the first time? Skydiving in Sydney for the first time (never again). Eating horse meat in Japan for the first time (not this either). Even falling in love (uh, could it even be called love then?) .
- No luck with snow, not in Kentucky, and certainly not in New York, the last time I was there
But put me on a beach somewhere, inside a caldera, over a rainbow anywhere, and I’d probably still be there… six hours later.
Still reading, maybe.
Besides, if you’re still reading, looking for a real biography, then you might need to read on.
I did spend more than a decade of my life teaching English to both primary and secondary school students (i.e. middle and high school), as well as university undergraduates. I read English in Nanyang Technological University (NTU) where I gave up pursuing Engineering and picked up even more reading, writing, editing, even play-writing. A play I wrote, A WOMAN’S WORLD, was staged then, but I’ve had some of my poetry published in a local magazine some time back as well.
I also wrote and published my thesis on Kazuo Ishiguro, NEGOTIATING FORMS, EXPERIMENTING GENRES, in 2017-18 with an interrogation of how this wonderfully talented Nobel Prize in Literature Winner of 2017 ‘bends’ expected forms and genres in his writing. For instance, in Never Let Me Go, he uses familiar science fiction tropes like the clone narrative and the school-house story to explore ‘unfamiliar’ or disconcerting themes such as morality in an age of ever encompassing scientific advancements, in order to overturn such ‘familiar’ notions of what it means to be human, and perhaps even, I would later argue, what it means to write a science fiction novel.
I’m genuinely humbled by a comment made by one of my thesis examiners that the first chapter providing a summary of the theories of genre through the decades right up to the present, is one of the ‘best’ s/he’d read! In fact, if you’re truly interested, my thesis can actually be found on NTU’s library website [here].
Or, you could definitely drop me an email, and I’ll be happy to share its e-book version with you.
Nevertheless, today, I’m very much more focused on writing for my own classes [here] and am only beginning on my foray into the world of publishing fiction!
If you feel like supporting me, follow me on my Instagram @sofiamoxie and check out my instaquotes and microstories there!
And so, till we meet again!