Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Gina Yap Lai Yoong
Today, theSun published an interview with Gina Yap who have written four novel and will be soon coming out with fifth novel. Here is the article.
Headline: Writer of Malay Fiction
By Bissme S
There are very few non Malays who write Malay fiction in Malaysia. But 29- year-old Gina Yap Lai Yoong is one of the exceptions. To date, she has produced four Malay novels.
“I love the language (Bahasa Malaysia),” says Gina, a freelance graphic designer and copywriter.
“The language can be gentle and rough at the same time.”
She finds that whenever one tells a Malaysian story in the national language, the story seems to have a more authentic feel.
“The words sound better in Bahasa Malaysia compared to English when describing Malaysia’s atmosphere and our emotions,” she says.
“Besides, there are more publishers for Malay fiction compared to English fiction. If I write in Bahasa Malaysia, my chances of getting published are higher.”
She says she does not use highbrow Bahasa Malaysia in her novels and one can easily read her novels without referring to a Malay dictionary.
“My aim of using simple bahasa is because I want people who do not read Malay novels to read them,” she says.
Yap’s journey to becoming a novelist began in high school. She started reading more to improve her language and essay-writing skills, which slowly cultivated a love for words in her.
Once, her English teacher caught her writing poems, instead of paying attention in class.
“I thought my teacher would get angry and I would be punished,” Yap remembers.
Instead, her teacher was impressed by what Yap had written.
“My teacher told me that she would like to see me published one day.”
It was her teacher’s suggestion that first gave Yap the idea that she could become an author.She has her first novel, Experiment Cinta, published five years ago in 2011 under the pseudonym Geena Edora. She was only 24.
“My publisher thought a Malay novel with a Chinese name would not sell well,” she says of Experiment Cinta which centers on two best friends who are seeking love in all the wrong places.
The following year, she produced her second novel, a crime thriller called Ngeri, about a group of film students who write a script about a murder mystery which starts happening in real life.
This time around, her new publisher Fixi allowed her to use her Chinese name. Ngeri became a success and shot her to stardom.
Then in 2013, she wrote Mangsa, which is a sequel to Ngeri, where the inspector in the first novel returns to solve several missing person cases.
She recently returned to this story thread with the third book in the series, Obsesi. The book will be on sale at the Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair at Putra World Trade Centre from April 24 to May 4.
“Now, my readers are expecting someone to die in every one of my novels,” she says with a smile.
In between, Yap came out with Serangkai Hidup last year, which centres on eight individuals who undertake a meaningful journey to fulfil their dreams.
There are plans to translate Serangkai Hidup into English and if everything goes well, the English version will hit the shelves probably next year.
Besides writing, Yap has also embarked on a new project. Early this year, she took 14 aspiring writers under her wing to help them complete their manuscripts. She meets up with the writers
individually every month and has even gone to one of the participants’ house and sat with him as he wrote his pages.
“I am not their tutor,” she says.
“I see myself more as their writing partner. I will be with them for one year.”
Yap is offering her services for free.
“I am self taught writer. I have never taken a creative writing course. I am only teaching them from the experience I gained from writing my five novels.
“I do not know any writing jargons. I know you can feel very small when scholars start using writing jargons and you feel very lost.”
She adds that she is here to give the writers support and help them to carry out their dream to complete their manuscripts.
As for her future plan, she wants to find a foreign publisher in the United Kingdom and publish English fiction for the world market.
“My dream is to earn a living as a writer of fiction,” she says.
“I can only achieve this dream if I am able to reach a wider readership base."