Sunday, October 18, 2020

Letter to my Son : A project with Felix Cheong

Felix Cheong: " A good short story must have an eye-catching opening, can someone suggest an opening sentence to his short story? "

*I raise my hand*

Felix: "Chris"

Me: "His nipples hurt."

Something special happens when quantitative and numerical types get to collaborate with cultural and aesthetic icons. When software engineering meets fantastic design, you end up with a trillion-dollar company like Apple. 

At a much smaller scale, I am firmly aware of my personal biases and relish any collaboration opportunity with artists or poets. But that is hard because personalities can clash and projects delayed indefinitely. Imagine the sparks that will fly if some collaborator-poet discovers that I want Donald Trump to win in November! 

But something interesting cropped up during Phase 1 of the lockdowns. 

Felix Cheong, who was my instructor when I signed up for his writing classes eons ago, asked me whether I would like to contribute to his project where fathers were invited to write a letter to their son. This was huge risk for Felix because he suffered through my extremely pornographic fictional troll writings, the kind of fan-fiction you read on 4chan or reddit. 

Felix Cheong is one of the most prolific writers in Singapore with so many books under his name. His projects are also eclectic, spanning from poetry to prose and he might even have composed songs or plays. He has a serious business dimension too as I used to read his articles on The Edge. 

He is also a great dad - I know because I was able to spend some time talking to his son who is a Dean's Lister in SMU Law School. In contrast, I'm struggling to stop my son from streaking butt naked around the house. 


So for the next few weeks after being invited by Felix to participate in this project, I dived into this aggressively as I have not published anything for a very long while. The idea that I can publish with a very credible publisher under the traditional publishing model (as opposed to self-publishing and waiting for some paycheck to come from the distributor) was a very important milestone for me. Getting some contact with a good publisher is important on my next step as I start building a serious business. 

Without spoiling anything, I did not write some soppy letter to my son telling him that he can pursue any passion he wants, society has pretty firm rules on who gets to win the game of life and who gets to struggle in their parent's basement, remaining forever inconsequential and unloved in society. My son is still 5 years old, I pray he would not read it with scorn like the ranting of his old man when he finally sees it when in his teens. 

My letter falls firmly under the work or career management category.  

For folks who miss my writing, you can pre-order the book here via this link

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