An interview with R.S. Vern

An interview with R.S.Vern

1 June 2012

Haee interviews R.S. Vern in a rare sitting at home. This is one of the first few times they communicate. Otherwise, they pretty much ignore each other most of the time.

Minuted by Middling Industries

Haee: Why do you write a book on middlings?
R.S. Vern
: I live in a small country where majority of the population is middle class. Many of us work hard in pursuit of a better livelihood, or migrate in search of a dream/ career. Sometimes, we end up feeling bored, confused, alone, unattached and unachieved. But I would like to think this is perfectly all right and a lot of us feel the same way. After all, life is not about having that perfect ending, but having that extraordinary journey.

Haee: What’s your definition of middlings?
R.S. Vern: Middlings live in the city. They have a comfortable standard of living and rely on their own expertise to sustain themselves. They place great emphasis on independence and have great concerns for the environment. Whilst they appear well rounded and established, they often have insecurities locked within.

Haee: When did you start writing this series?
R.S. Vern
: I started conceptualising this series in 2008 during one of my trips to Japan. I was sitting at a café on a weekday afternoon and I saw Japanese salary men in their work suits and brief cases, gazing out of the window listlessly, seemingly waiting for time. When it was six o’clock, many of them stood up and left as if it was time to go home. I later realised many of these men were unemployed and simply needed to either pretend they were going to work so that their families wouldn’t judge them as incompetent or follow a routine which they had become so familiar with. I thought that was rather peculiar and yet, so poignant in this society we live in.

Haee: Why do you constantly have rules that your characters are being subjected to?
R.S. Vern
: Whilst we are all free to make our own choices, we also need a set of rules to live by. And that is the dilemma most of us face. We hate being caged in by rules and regulations and yet, we feel lost and aimless without them. In new environment, all the more we need a set of rules to discipline our thoughts and make sense of the new. We are always conditioned to adapt at the end of the day.

Haee: Why do you use me as the protagonist in your series?
R.S. Vern
: This series is about middling lives and it is something that is quite close to my heart. I feel it is less brutal to see life through the eyes of a cat.

Haee: So are you writing you as me, if you know what I mean?
R.S. Vern
: Actually yes, I know what you mean. The answer is yes and no. Yes, because I am somewhat very much like you, independent, restless and free-spirited. No, because I think I am somewhat like Tom and Jane too as I am often bounded by the demands and realities of living in the city I am in.

Haee: In Book 1 “Haee The cat with a crooked tail”, Tom and Jane are portrayed as middling characters that constantly wish they were doing something else. Is there an underlying message behind this?
R.S. Vern
: Middlings often ask themselves this question: “Are we not as happy as those who are much better off in this world?” We often find ourselves doing something we may not enjoy best because of the realities and demands of living in the city. But I think most of us have a secret desire to live a life that is less demanding and more frivolous.

Haee: Just for the record, I do not have a long and crooked tail. Why does my character in your book have a long and crooked tail?
R.S. Vern
: Middlings are never perfect people. All the characters in this series have physical imperfections about them. You have a long and crooked tail. Tom has claw-like hands. Jane has chronic hives. Whie has a big red nose that almost covers her face. It is fiction after all.

Haee: Thanks for the session. Look forward to Book 2. Chill.
R.S. Vern
: Ok. Chill.

How middling cat Haee spends his 24 hours in day

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What middling cat Haee does in a day.

Middling Industries recently conducted an observation on what its famous cat does in a day. This was charted across a duration of 1 month, in the house of R.S. Vern (owner/ writer of Haee). At the end of it, we asked Haee if he feels happy and contented doing the things he does everyday. This was what Haee said:

“Although I go through a standard and comfortable routine everyday, it does not mean I am totally happy with what I do. Although I am well-fed and never have to worry about going hungry, it does not necessarily mean I am fully contented.  I often wish I have more time in a day. If I could have an extra 2 hours everyday, I would choose to exercise and get fit.”

We believe what Haee meant by exercising is simply wandering around the house. But this is based on our assumptions only.

An interview with Haee by R.S. Vern

 

An interview with Cat Haee
An interview with Cat Haee

17 October 2012

This is an interview with Haee by R.S. Vern. Haee is a middling cat from book series “Haee and the other middlings” created by R.S. Vern. Silent and pensive most of the time, this is the first time he has granted an interview with a human being. After the interview, R.S. Vern revealed she thought she knew Haee, but actually, she does not now. The interview ended abruptly with Haee walking away.

Minuted by Middling Industries

R.S. Vern: So how do you feel now that people are reading about you?
Haee: *blink *blink *purr….  Life goes on. I still eat, sleep, poo, daydream, wait for death.

R.S. Vern: What’s your favourite drink?
Haee: Root – beer. Preferably with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

R.S. Vern: What’s your favourite food?
Haee: Chopped chicken liver is my all time favourite. Occasionally, I like nibbling on prickly plants… just to tickle my throat.

R.S. Vern: Favourite song?
Haee: Currently, it’s “As long as you love me” by Justin Bieber.

R.S. Vern: What’s your favourite TV channel?
Haee: MTV.

R.S. Vern: Do you have an all time favourite book?
Haee: “The Outsider” by Albert Camus. I am intrigued by the character of Meursault. I respect anyone who would die for truth, even if the truth is hard to bear or accept.
When Meursault was sentenced to death at the end, he told the chaplain he had naturally wished for another life sometime. But it meant nothing more than wishing he was rich or could swim faster. It was the same thing and he said finally, “One which would remind me of this life.”
That’s an intriguing statement.

R.S. Vern: Any literary hero?
Haee: Quasimodo, the tragic hero from Notre Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo. He’s romantically humane beneath that totally deformed outer body.

R.S. Vern: Is there a particular book you enjoy reading during rainy days?
Haee: “One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich” by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Reading it always reminds me the importance of simple things like a piece of bread, a book, a match, a string and most importantly, what freedom means.

R.S. Vern: What do you plan to read next?
Haee: I was just picking up “Down and out in Paris and London” by George Orwell.

R.S. Vern: Ok. Getting back to favourites. Do you have a favourite colour?
Haee: Are you trying to be funny? I’m colour blind.

R.S. Vern: Em… ok. Sorry… (Embarrassed)
Haee: Don’t be sorry. There’s nothing to be sorry about. I’m still alive.

R.S. Vern: Oh… ok. Yes. So you have any favourite food?
Haee: You asked me that earlier.

R.S. Vern: Oh… sorry…
Haee: Stop saying sorry.

R.S. Vern: (Clears throat) If there’s one thing you can change about the world, what would it be?
Haee: To have better and cleaner air in the city.

R.S. Vern: Have you ever wished you could be something else other than a cat?
Haee: I don’t mind being a cat. But sometimes I wish I could walk on 2 legs and not 4. Like you.

R.S. Vern: Why is that?
Haee: Then I can be a bit more normal and perhaps taller.

R.S. Vern: Huh?
Haee: (Rolls eyes)

The interview ended abruptly here as Haee walked away.