Interview with Russ Soh
The essential Singaporean stories have an element of specificity, of particular names thrown into prose and poetry to create an immediate sense of native comfort. In this collection of stories set within East Coast Park and the East Coast Parkway, we see scenes all too familiar for us, but Russ Soh is a keen observer of details of everyday life that we miss all too often.
We talk to Russ Soh to find out more.
In what ways is Tales From the ECP different from your previous book, Not The Same Family?
Family is an examination of complex and often difficult relationships involving Singaporean families. ECP celebrates the park and its vicinity while capturing unique stories of individuals: east siders and park visitors.
Which story in Tales From The ECP do you feel most satisfied with, having written it?
Every one. I wouldn’t have included any story in the collection if I hadn’t felt that way about it.
What were some challenges that you faced when you wrote Tales From The ECP?
Identifying and naming the flora and fauna, and the birds and fishes in the park, which are not my forte. Describing the physical motions – such as those of the old man preparing to take a swim or the young boy trying to save the fish – in ways that the readers can actually picture them.
What do you hope to draw readers’ attention to in reading your stories?
The allure and charm of the ECP and its surroundings. The unique individual stories – of east-siders and park visitors – which might otherwise be lost and buried under the seeming mundaneness of daily life.
If you can spend a slow afternoon with any writer at your favourite café , who would it be and what would you ask him or her? (Where is your favourite café?)
Ernest Hemingway. I’ll ask him how I can further shorten my stories without adversely affecting the story-telling. Carvers and Co, 43 East Coast Road.
Finally, can you describe Tales From The ECP using an acronym?
Sure – TFTE!
Tales from the ECP launches tomorrow from 7PM onwards at The Pod, National Library Building. Details here.