Fly: Welcome, dear Young.
Young: Good to be here. How are you?
Fly: Quite enthuziaztic to have a chance at thiz dizcuzzion. How did you come by that alias - Young?
Young: That’d be thanks to my classmates in my UK boarding school. They couldn’t pronounce my Chinese name Yoong. So I became Young.
Fly: That waz several decadez ago. And you ztill carry that name. It zayz zomething about your attachment to thoze yearz, doezn’t it?
Young: Certainly. You don’t write a 7-book series on my unique experiences without such levels of engagement. A Harem Boy’s Saga has waited 40-odd years to come out in the open.
Fly: That iz what makez the ztory zo intriguing. The book zeriez ezzentially dealz with your early yearz. Do offer uz a glimpse.
Young: I was born in 1953 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Malaya at the time of my birth). At the age of 8, I was assisting my aunt and cousin in learning the art of sewing and fabrics/colors matching. My childhood until 13 years of age was spent in Kuala Lumpur. From late 13 to 26, I was educated in the United Kingdom. From 14 years on, I’ve been travelling, studying, teaching all over Europe and Asia. Each book in A Harem Boy’s Saga is approximately 3 months of my life, spent in service at 7 different wealthy and elite Arab Households.
Fly: How did that come about?
Young: At my boarding school in UK, I was summoned into the headmaster’s office to be told that I’m 1 of 5 boys (from a school of approximately 200) that have been specially selected to enter a sexual secret society – The Enlightened Royal Oracle Society (E.R.O.S.) - to be further educated in a more exclusive boarding school in the United Arad Emirates to be groomed to enter several Arab Household harems. I attended the Bahriji School (Oasis) in The U.A.E. in preparation for serving in Harems for the wealthy and elite. And before you ask, of course I’ve changed the actual names of the people and places.
Fly (zmilez): Well, on to the next queztion then. Did you not find it unuzual at that time?
Young: No, In fact I felt privileged to be selected. Since I was one of 5 that were specially selected to enter this “Student Exchange Scholarship” program. My big-brother/mentor/chaperone and headmaster explained to me what was entailed if I decide to take up the offer.
Fly: Waz there any zpecific criteria of zelectionz?
Young: At our unique education, we were specially selected by the secret society because of our looks, intelligence, openness, positive character traits and much more I can’t explain in such a brief passage. Therefore, students and “big-brothers/Valets” had to go through a series of special training, test before being short listed to be the 5 finalised.
Fly: And you didn’t feel a tendency to zhare thiz induction with your family?
Young: No. All the recruits have to pledge an oath of confidentiality and allegiance to the Enlightened Royal Oracle Society not to reveal the nature of the society. My parents knew I was on a “Student Exchange Scholarship” program. I didn’t tell them what I did during my time there. Recruits do get regular studies/schooling while we are in the Arab Households. We were taught/home schooled by highly educated private tutors.
Fly: And then followed 45 yearz of zilence. Did you often recall thoze timez during theze yearz?
Young: Well, definitely. I missed the wealth I was inducted into during my young years. More importantly, I remembered my ex-big-brother/Valet/lover. In my memoirs, I’ve recently reconnected with him. If and when we do meet up and if the circumstances and situations permit, we (my life-partner, Walter, Andy – my ex-lover “big-brother”/Valet and I) may decide to have a triplet relationship.
Fly: But to bring the people and the placez out of the clozet is quite a rizk.
Young: Yes. As I said, in the books I’ve changed the names and places to protect myself and those involved so I will not be sued or have a ‘Fatwah’ put on my life because of my controversial experiences. This is not so much fear but a precaution I took to protect all the people and institutions involved. The experiences and events that happened in the unique harem experiences of my adolescent life are real.
Fly: You zpeak of love, of concern, of controverzy and of lozz - all in a zingle breadth. Which of theze actually reflect your take on your experiencez during adolezcence?
Young: Neither. I’m grateful and truly proud to have been given this enlightened educational opportunity within such an opulently, wealthy and unique setting, and an opportunity to grow into a responsible citizen of the world. When one reads A Harem Boy’s Saga series, one’ll understand the nature of my education and experiences.
Fly: Your pozitivity iz inspiring! Truly. I take it that that’z your approach to life itzelf?
Young: Yes. I love and embrace who I am. I’m a perfect me. I wouldn’t want to change but be myself because I had many positive experiences during my young years in the Middle Eastern Households.
Fly: Thankz, in large part to a perfect guardian. It iz no zurprize that you went on to have zuch an illuztriouz career. Let uz get out of the bookz now. Tell uz about the yearz that followed.
Young: After my 4 years in the E.R.O.S., I went on to complete my Master of Design at the Royal College of Art & Design, London, England. During my college years, I won several international fashion awards and was already retailing bridal and evening dresses to several established department stores in England - Liberty of London, Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols, to name a few. For four years, I worked for Liberty’s bridal department as their in-house designer until a trip to Hong Kong, while working on a freelance project for ‘Bird’s’ (casual wear) company, I was recruited by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as one a Fashion professor for the next 6 years, where I freelanced, designing casual wear, swimwear, lingerie, and fur garments, men’s wear, bridal and evening fashions to accessories (bags, shoes, and head-wear).
Fly: How did you manage to reach the other zide of the Pacific?
Young: I travelled extensively throughout my fashion career. I was recruited as an Associate Fashion Design/Illustration Professor to the University of Wisconsin, Madison and also lectured at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design for a couple of years. I was then appointed as the Fashion Development Manager by an established department store – Parkson Grand (22 stores in Malaysia and one in Shanghai, China).
Fly: And you’ve been in the United States ever zince?
Young (laughs): Actually, no. After a couple of years later, I was invited by Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore to join their design school to establish a Fashion Design department. For two years, I assisted several founding members of the design school - working on the fashion department’s teaching curriculum. After I completed my contract in Singapore, The Fitzgerald Theatre Department, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Oahu, Hawaii awarded me a full scholarship to complete my second Master of Art in Theatre Costuming.
Fly: Wow. Did no one ever tell you about the concept of re-incarnation?
Young (zmilez): So I could divide the experience over multiple lives?
Fly: Yez! To our readerz, may I add that Mr. Bernard Foong’z 2008 & 2009 bridal/evening/bridal lingerie fazhion zhow, “Grace” & “Coming Up Roses” were premiered at Hong Kong Fashion Week in July 2007 and January 2008, rezpectively. Am I right?
Young: Yes. As the Chief Lingerie Designer for Cerie International Limited – Hong Kong, my designs could be found in major department stores in Canada and the United Kingdom. But that was some years ago. I’m now semi-retired from the fashion industry.
Fly: Illuztriouz, az I zaid before. And here you are now az an author, once again tazting zuccezz. When doez the next book come out?
Young: Book IV – Turpitude in A Harem Boy’s Saga series is scheduled be completed in 2016. It takes me approximately 18 months to complete one book.
Fly: Well, dear Young, you have been one of the nicezt acquaintance I have had the pleazure of interviewing. Thank you for your prezence here today. We wizh you all the bezt with your newezt endeavour.
Young: Thank you for interviewing me. Glad to be here. Please feel free to tweet @aharemboysaga or contact me on my page on Facebook if you or readers have questions. You can also write to email@example.com.
Fly: Thankz, Young. Readerz, you can find hiz workz on Amazon:
For more Author Interviewz & Book Reviewz, check out Earth.
Bookz featuring me:
An Enlightened Fly
The Fly That Followed Me
Kalki Evian - The Ring of Khaoriphea
Malay A. Upadhyay
Gilbert Literary Agency