Surrounded by pink and tulle

Two friends are getting married (to each other) later this year and I'm going to be the maid of honour (thank you, guys!), so I've spent several days this week shopping for a dress that I can wear at the church ceremony. It has to be cream, champagne or pinkish (but not too rich of a pink like fuchsia), not full-length but not too short either, preferably not bedecked with lace, and I have to be able to tend to the bride's train and generally help her out while wearing it.

This is harder than it looks. We found one solid candidate on Wednesday, but it was way over budget and didn't look as amazing as its price would suggest.

On the bright side, this gave me an excuse to investigate almost every clothing store along Haji Lane. I was there around lunchtime on a weekday and was surprised at the number of casually-dressed shoppers who were also out and about at that time.

I'm tied up with Writers' Festival stuff this weekend, but the dress search will resume next week. If anyone has any suggestions, leave them in the comments? Everyone says Daniel Yam will have something, but that's been a bust so far.


Writing advice from other people

I've been collecting links with good advice on fiction writing, and I figure I might as well plonk them here so that I don't lose them in the morass of my hard drive or email archives.
I'll keep updating this post as and when I come across new links.



Singapore Writers Festival: a hit list

I'm a little late with this post, since the Writers Fest kicked off last night, but there's still a whole week of programming to go. A quick run-down of my picks, which I'll admit are biased because some of the writers involved are friends:
All events require a Festival pass, except the book launch and QLRS 10th anniversary party; the literary tour doesn't require a Festival pass but you'll have to get a separate $10 ticket for it. (Yes, it's a little confusing.)

Oh, and don't forget to come to my events next weekend, if they tickle your fancy.

Other picks by other folks:

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Heads up: Singapore Writers Festival

Don't say I didn't warn ya: The Singapore Writers Festival kicks off later this week and I'll be speaking at two events.

1. Writecamp

On Saturday, 29 October, Dave Chua is putting together Writecamp, a free "unconference" --- think a Barcamp-style event focused on writing and publishing. It runs from 2 pm to 6 pm at the National Museum of Singapore, and I'll be telling some stories around the topic of "A day in the life of a travel writer".

The Eventbrite page for Writecamp has more information on all the talks and RSVP details. The exact time of my talk will probably be finalised only on the day itself (that's how these "unconferences" roll).

2. "Is Facebook killing the blog?"

On Sunday, 30 October, I'll be on a panel with Pat Law and Gilbert Koh about blogging, writing and, er, Facebook (the Facebook part was not my idea). The panel is at 3:30 pm at the Salon in the National Museum of Singapore (the big white colonial building along Stamford Road).

The official event description is here, to which I'll add that I'll probably say something about the place of long-form writing both online and offline, why writers (should?) blog, and how that fits in with all the other (fun) stuff writers can do online. I also promise to do my best not to get bogged down in a "debate" about whether Facebook is "better" than blogging.

The Writecamp event is free, while the blogging/Facebook panel is ticketed, which means for the latter you need to purchase a $15 Festival pass. It gets you in to all panel discussions, Meet-the-Author and In Conversation sessions and screenwriter events, so that ain't bad.

I'm still scanning the festival guide to see what other events I'll be attending, and I'll put up a post about that later this week. Sadly the Joe Haldeman seminar on writing science fiction I wanted to attend is sold out. My bad for procrastinating on signing up.

If you want to know what I look like, here's a short profile of me on the Singapore Writers Festival website. My hair is pretty long now, though, which tends to discombobulate friends when they see me for the first time since I got back from London. Hopefully it won't discombobulate the audience at either event.

Come by and say hello!

Edited to add (18 October):
I just found an error in my bio in the hardcopy festival guide (page 70). I do not currently write for Popgadget, Singapore Metblogs or Yesterday.sg, although I have in the past. The error seems to have been introduced when the original text I sent to the festival was edited.

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Settling in

About a week after I got back, I started sneezing. A lot. Could've been the haze, could've been the cats, could've been the air.

Okay, could've been me.

The question that keeps popping up in conversations with friends is: "So, are you glad to be back?" Which suggests there is a reason not to be. London was, is great, and there are many things I miss about it. But there are many good reasons to be home in Singapore too. Slipping into Singlish as I asked the sales assistant for help at the duty-free shop at Changi Airport --- mmmmm. That first crackle of warmed-up roti prata as I tore into it with fork and spoon. Being surprised with that perfect dollop of homemade Peranakan-style sambal belachan.

It's not only about the food, of course, but food is a good kind of shorthand (not quite on the order of a metonym) for everything else that makes a place real and resonant.

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