Authors With Cats: Meet Rainbow Chili


I don't limit myself to American cats on this blog. Today, you can meet a cat who lives on the other side of the world, in Singapore. Her name is Rainbow Chili. She is definitely not the cat of author Clarissa Goenawan...or is she? You be the judge.

Rainbow Chili by Clarissa Goenawan

Let me start by confessing first: This cat is actually not mine. In fact, Rainbow Chili doesn’t belong to anyone.

I live in Singapore, a tropical city (which is also a country) in South East Asia. Just like most Singaporeans, I live in a government-built flat.

It’s not uncommon to see stray cats loiter around the public housing estates. You can easily spot them curling up under public benches or inbetween parked bicycles.


Many locals are cat lovers. They’ll walk around their neighborhood armed with cat food and sometimes, even a container of water. Passersby, young and old, often stop to pet the cats. So even though they are stray animals, these cats are well-loved and well-fed.

When my youngest daughter turned one, she began to walk steadily and we started going for walks around the neighborhood. During one of these strolls, a certain stray cat took her interest.


At first, my little girl would only stare at the cat for a very long time. But soon, she started looking for that particular cat; ‘my cat’. It didn’t take long before she named the cat ‘Chili’. My elder daughter—who is a big fan of My Little Pony’s Rainbow Dash—suggested adding ‘Rainbow’ to the name, and that was how we got ‘Rainbow Chili’.

My daughters and I are always looking forward to seeing Rainbow Chili—in the morning when we leave the house, in the afternoon when the girls return from school, and in the evening when we check the letterbox. Even though Rainbow Chili is not our cat as per se, she brings us a lot of happiness.


Clarissa is an Indonesian-born Singaporean writer. Her debut novel, Rainbirds, is the winner of the 2015 Bath Novel Award. Her short stories have won several awards and been published in various literary magazines and anthologies, such as The MacGuffin, Your Impossible Voice, Esquire, Monsoon Book, Writing The City, Needle in the Hay,
and many others. She loves rainy days, pretty books, and hot green tea. Find out more at her website:

Clarissa's novel Rainbirds (look at that beautiful cover!), debuts today. Yes, today: March 6, 2018. You can find the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at other fine booksellers.