Word on the Street: Wen Pu Wong

“How old am I? I’ll be turning 27 this September. I actually almost forgot my age. It’s been a terrible past couple of weeks, and it feels like age is catching up with me.

I’m a graduate student here at Nanyang Technological University, and my workload is pretty heavy at the moment. I spend a lot of time writing about the books I’ve read for my research masters, and I’m suffering because of it.

Yes, there was a time I actually enjoyed writing – creative writing, that is, not critical writing. I write because I want to express things that I’ve been through. If I’m hurt, I want to write about my hurt.

It’s very autobiographical, very honest, and it’s an experience that requires me to dig deep into myself. I never lie in my writing, and I’ve never written about anything that didn’t happen to me.

As a creative writer with a certain vision, I’m also very particular about how things are written. I like whimsical writings that are polished, that show clear hallmarks of care in the composition.

To me, it’s not just about writing that wants to say something; it’s about writing that wants to say something in a certain way.

With this is how you walk on the moon, my friends and I wanted to challenge conventional ways of writing in Singapore, which is currently dominated by social realism. We thought it would be timely to publish an anthology of experimental, anti-realist writing instead.

The response? Actually, when we first got our hands on the book, we sent it to a couple of critics, and they came back with this rather catty review. It said, ‘Everyone needs to protest this book by buying as many copies as possible and burning them.’

The book was accused of having a hidden agenda to promote and normalise astrology, bestiality, cannibalism, necrophilia and postmodernism, amongst other things. When I first read the review, I was very pleased. We were so proud that we were able to offend so many people in so many possible ways.

We did want to push the envelope, and this book has loads of content that you might find offensive. For example, if you don’t want to know about how to save the world by giving a blowjob, you might want to give it a miss. If you want fiction that’s a little unconventional, this book is for you.” – Wen Pu, 27


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