... the more I spoke to family members, the more I realised that what I want to write about is not prancing princesses and usurping sultans. I want to celebrate Ya, the African slave who came to a strange country, and Cik Puteh, one of my family’s Chinese ancestors who came from Shanghai. ... The stories of how they converted to Islam would be as peculiar to today’s readers as the experience was to them all those years ago. Throw in childhood tales of orang bunian (fairies) and jinns and I think I have a soap opera on my hands.And it's the story of Long Ya, she begins with today.
(The photo of Dina is by Shahril Nizam and was taken at the KL Literary Festival.)