8 Questions with Yong Shu Hoong

Yong Shu Hoong is the author of several poetry collections, including Isaac, dowhile, Frottage, From Within the Marrow, The Viewing Party and Right of the Soil.


Which talent would you most like to have?

I think I’d welcome a little bit more of the sports gene, as I’d written about in one poem ‘What I Lack’ (from 1997’s Isaac). Not to the extent of being a competitive athlete, but sufficient to boost the masculine pride. Or at least to be less awkward in a social sports setting – like shooting some hoops with the boys. I fare better at non- team sports, like swimming, especially those not involving a ball. Of course, this talent (or lack of) is just something I’m more self-conscious about when I was younger. It hardly matters these days.


What is your most treasured possession?

Treasured items, non-quantifiable in terms of monetary value, might be too numerous or personal to reveal (maybe this is just my way of saying “I can’t decide”). Let’s talk about a physical object I’d spent money to purchase and which might still be worth something today: a painting by Singapore artist David Chan called ‘A Match Made in Heaven’ (2005), oil on canvas, 110cm x 110cm. It features a real dog and a robot dog on a wedding cake.


What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Freedom from the mess of worldly concerns.


What is your motto?

Still waters run deep.


How would you like to die?

In my sleep, the night after I’ve cleaned my apartment. Swift and painless, like falling into easy slumber in the knowledge that I’ll wake up to good coffee the next morning.


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

A tree, in the company of other trees, in a place that has never met man or machine, and never will.


What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

A firm conviction about right and wrong.


What is your current state of mind?

Somewhat contented.