A reader asks, I answer (part 2)

To resume from yesterday's entry:

3. Do you still dream of becoming a publisher in New York?

No. It pays too little (it always did, but at this point in my professional life it's really way too little) and to have to start from scratch in that publishing world at a time when online media and other infrastructural factors are shaking up the industry, is just more risk and jumpstarting than I'm prepared to do right now. I'm happy as a writer and I'd rather channel those energies more into developing that career, then hopping over to something else (though it's a related field).

4. If you could turn back time to when you were 19, what would you change?

Tough question. I want to say I would tell my 19-year-old self to believe in herself more, rather than to presume there is a cut-and-dried formula for making career choices in Singapore. But I'm not sure that she had the chutzpah at that age to find ways to go on and do interesting things anyway.

I suppose the overseas education was critical in influencing a large part of who I am today and that is the one decision I wouldn't change. Whether I got there by dint of a government scholarship, parental financing or some other funding source was important too, but it's hard to say definitely right now that I would go back and tell my 19-year-old self to say no to the scholarship offer.

I don't think we get do-overs and I don't think we should dwell on them, either.

5. What do you think of Singaporeans who leave behind friends and family for overseas studies and decide to settle there permanently?

No differently than I think of people who choose to live here, be they Singaporean or not. People from many countries choose to go overseas for many different reasons; I think it's safe to say that more people today will live and die in a different place from where they were born. There's no need to pronounce judgement on that.

Someone I interviewed today mentioned the importance of being comfortable in your own skin. I don't think I've ever articulated it that way myself, but that's it, really. Be comfortable in your own skin, and leave other people to be that way too, as long as they're not threatening to hurt you or anything.

* * *

So those are the five questions I was asked. Hm ... that didn't take as long as I thought it might.

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