Insights from this excerpt of an interview:
Prof. Mohammad A. Quayum:
Let me begin by asking you a question that I believe you have asked yourself many times, “Why, Suchen, why write?” Why do you write? Why and how is writing important to you?
Suchen Christine Lim:
‘I have often asked myself that question. To begin with: I did not set out to be a writer. As a child, I wanted to sell chicken porridge. As a teenager in the late sixties, I was a romantic. I dreamt of making revolutionary changes for a better, kinder Singapore. I was with a band of students, led by a Catholic nun. We were out to change Singapore. In the sixties and seventies, Singapore was a hard piece of rock without a heart. Economic survival and a utilitarian philosophy formed the basis of major national policy decisions. And we are still living with that legacy.
I was a failed revolutionary who became a teacher who became a writer. There you are. The sentence sums up my life. And reduces it. My life is richer and far more complicated. Where is my life as lover, daughter, wife or mother? I write because writing keeps me sane and out of trouble. Sometimes I despair because the world is full of pain and violence. Writing gives me the illusion I am doing something worthwhile and non-violent.’
~ in Peninsular Muse, Mohammad A Quayum (ed)