HERE’S the third-person paragraph I use when literary journals ask for a short bio:
Stephanie Ye is the author of the short story chapbook The Billion Shop (2012) and the editor of the fiction anthology From the Belly of the Cat (2013), both published by Math Paper Press. Her work has been staged as a dance performance in New York City, translated into German for an art exhibition in Berlin, and used as an O-level examination text in Singapore. She graduated from the MA in Creative Writing (Prose) programme at the University of East Anglia in 2014, where she held a UEA Creative Writing International Scholarship and won the Weidenfeld & Nicolson Best of UEA Short Story Award. An honorary fellow in writing of the University of Iowa via the International Writing Program, she is a recovering journalist.
HERE are 11 random facts about me:
1. I’m the youngest of three children.
2. My husband (referred to as Husband on this blog) and I have two cats (Maestro Moriarty Mario the Mucklebug and Sir Sirius Sky-Tiger the Snucklebug (above)).
3. My college education was entirely sponsored by a Singapore media corporation. In return for the scholarship, I was required to work for them for six years. I worked for them for eight years in newspapers, from reporting to copy editing to layout. My master’s is also being funded: I have a full tuition scholarship from my university and a living expenses scholarship from Singapore’s arts council. I’m really grateful to these organisations for enabling me to have amazing educational experiences abroad, and to graduate with zero debt.
4. I have little patience for literature snobs who pride themselves for eschewing popular/genre fiction. Sometimes you want lyrical prose about the subtle emotions of tragic people, and sometimes you just want a cracking good plot. With aliens. (This is not to say that lyrical prose, the subtle emotions of tragic people, a cracking good plot and aliens cannot exist in the same book.
I just have not found that book yet because life is unfair. I have found this book: Under the Skin (2000) by Michel Faber.)
5. I also have little patience for people who believe that you must either be a “cat person” or a “dog person”, and who assume that if you love cats you must hate dogs, and vice versa. I mean, what a limiting, unsophisticated worldview that is. Yes, there are people who only like cats, and people who only like dogs. But there are also people like myself and Husband who love both. The reason why we don’t have a dog but have two lovely cats is because we are busy apartment-dwellers who cannot give a doggie the space and attention he or she would need. Whereas our cats run our flat.
6. One of my short stories, ‘City in C Minor’, appears in the anthology Here and Beyond (ed. Cyril Wong), a prescribed literature text for the Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education (Ordinary Level) 2016-2017. It’s surreal to me that students are studying my story and that their O-level grade might depend on how they interpret it. The texts I studied for O-level lit remain deeply etched in my brain, so this is definitely one of the greatest honours of my life.
7. I cannot parallel park. This is not because I am a woman. This is because, back when I was learning how to drive, the Singapore driving test required you to demonstrate your parking prowess by not knocking over any of four striped poles placed at each corner of the parking spot. Hence, driving instructors would teach you how to park using the stripes as spatial references.
Unfortunately, in real life, there are no poles.
8. I have completed a marathon (Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2010). No, I did not run all, or even most, of it. I finished in 6hr 42min 9sec, which is not a great time by any standard. But I met my target of under 7hr and am very pleased I did it.
9. I have watched every single feature film Wong Kar-Wai has ever made. From my favourite to least favourite:
- 阿飛正傳/Days of Being Wild (1991)
- 春光乍洩/Happy Together (1997)
- 花樣年華/In the Mood for Love (2000)
- 重慶森林/Chungking Express (1994)
- 墮落天使/Fallen Angels (1995)
- 東邪西毒/Ashes of Time (1994)
- 2046 (2004)
- 旺角卡門/As Tears Go By (1988)
- My Blueberry Nights/我的藍莓夜 (2007)
- 一代宗師/The Grandmaster (2013)
(I will update this list when appropriate.)
10. I am a comic book
superhero character in Troy Chin‘s graphic memoir The Resident Tourist, Part IV (2010). I appear as my reporter alter ego, and the cameo is possibly the highlight of my journalistic career. Here’s a picture:
11. One wish I have which will probably never be fulfilled is to visit outer space. Alive.
HERE is a map that more or less shows all the places on Earth that I’ve been to.
AND HERE are my thoughts on how I’d like my corpse to be disposed of upon my death:
When I die, I really, really don’t want my body to be preserved and made-up for public viewing at my funeral! How grotesque is that, come on!!
When I die (ideally at a very, very advanced age, and in bed), I’d like whoever’s doing my funeral arrangements to get the undertaker to cremate me as quickly as possible. No embalming please — though I do recognise and accept the fact that my corpse might still have to undergo some cleaning/preservation procedures, especially since, like everything else in this world, there’s probably a waiting list at crematoriums.
But I’ve no interest in my decomposing/pickled flesh being dolled up and presented in a wooden box for my nearest and dearest (and the not-so near and dear) to stare at/cry over. Sure, of course my family (by birth/marriage) can go look at me for the last time and all that, before I’m cremated, but I’d like to keep the viewing party small. They should have been gazing adoringly at me when I was alive, anyway.
A short wake of one day should suffice. If a focal point for the event is really needed, I suppose an urn containing my ashes could be placed on a table (if the crematorium can do it quickly, that is). Worst-case scenario, a closed coffin. But I’d prefer a flattering photograph of myself, or a photo collage even. People can go look at the photos and say nice things about me. I don’t see why there has to be the big moment of going to “pay last respects” to my corpse. I wouldn’t be around to accept them, and I’m sure people won’t feel too beat-up about not getting to say goodbye to my unhearing corpse.
My ashes should be scattered at sea. Not kept in some columbarium niche or on a dusty shelf. I don’t want a gravestone. A donation of any size to an animal welfare group in memory of me would be lovely.