Born in Singapore
I was born Foo Bong Soo, Maureen.
My father was Hainanese and my mother is Peranakan. They met and fell in love during WWII and they both spoke different languages then - go figure. My father was a chef on a ship so he was hardly at home during my growing up years. Yet, he made time to make babies to ensure that my mother was never alone, seven daughters and one son to be exact.
My mother occupied her time with cooking, sewing, cleaning and pleasing husband when he was home, which left her little time for anything else. I was brought up by my maternal grandmother who was the epitome of Peranakan matriach. While I am vocally challenged with the Hainanese language, I can speak in Baba patois, a language that would have been as extinct as the dodo bird if not for Baba diehards.
My love for drawing was encouraged by my grandmother. We would use recycled exercise book paper, doodled on outdoor granite floors and walls, and no matter what I drew, my grandmother would say "Chantek"(Pretty)! It helped that I was her favourite granddaughter!
Although we were poor, life was simple and yes, fun.
Today, life seems complex.
Yet in the midst of this complexity, I find joy in looking at all things beautiful. There are too many tragedies, a focus on too much suffering and while I am not so naive as to ignore the realities, I seek a balance.
Maybe when we focus more on the bright and beautiful, we will have reason to create more happy situations in our lives.
I hope my art will evoke in you a sense of exquisiteness, beauty, brightness, playfulness and joy.