8 Questions with Yangsze Choo

Yangsze Choo is the author of The Ghost Bride and The Night Tigerhttps://yschoo.com/


Which talent would you most like to have?

A portrait painter. I've always loved the works of John Singer Sargent, ever since I saw them in person at an art exhibit. Nowadays we tend to see photographic portraits of people, but having your picture painted or sketched in pencil brings so many more layers of meaning. Failing that, I'd like to be tremendously athletic, because that's something I've never been good at...


What is your most treasured possession?

From a purely practical point of view --- my glasses, otherwise I wouldn't be able to see. But growing up my family moved every few years due to my father's job, and I had to say goodbye to many possessions. My mum asked us to keep only what we really couldn't do without. I remember a toy horse that I gave away when we left Japan. I thought I didn't need it, but I can't tell you how many times I've thought of that toy horse in the decades since!


What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A day spent traveling with family, exploring new places, and discovering delicious food along the way (that I didn't have to cook myself). Travel seems so far away right now, during these pandemic times, that one can only hope and dream that one day, not too faraway, we'll be able to visit again.


What is your motto?

How about "Nothing ventured, nothing gained", because I'm always encouraging my kids to try new things.


How would you like to die?

I suspect most people would prefer to die peacefully in their sleep, surrounded by loving family, and having lived a life of joy and meaningful service. I think that sounds like the nicest way to go, if possible!


If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be?

A large shady tree, in a peaceful place with plenty of sunlight and water.


What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

That's a hard one. Now that I have kids, all the virtues seem useful, such as patience, punctuality, reliability... in fact, I'd say that in general, the virtues tend to be underrated, rather overrated.


What is your current state of mind?

Slightly worried. I try not to read the news too much, but COVID cases are on the rise everywhere and I can't help but wonder where this is all going to end. I've been escaping by reading lots of cookbooks and fantasising about going out to eat again one day.