Follow Bound Feet Blues updates at Yang-May Ooi’s new blog at

Bound Feet Blues author and performer, Yang-May Ooi, has launched a new website and blog at The new site brings together all her creative interests and projects into one space.

Yang-May writes:

I will continue to blog about my memoir Bound Feet Blues, just over at the new Tiger Spirit My World blog – so if you’d like to follow my updates about this book, please do check out Tiger Spirit and click through to My World.

What else will you find on the Tiger Spirit blog?

Well, having spent many decades as a creator of work – ie as a novelist, business book author, memoirist, storyteller and stage performer – I want to offer support to others who are, or want to, follow a creative path. So in addition to blogging about Bound Feet Blues and my other books and creative projects, I will also be publishing multi-media content offering tips, inspirations and stories that can fire up others who want to be more creative, productive and authentic in life and at work.

Yang-May Ooi

Tiger Spirit is a resource hub exploring how we can dream wild, work smart and live true. It shares my own journey – which is still ongoing! – as a way to talk about universal issues that are relevant for many others. I will also be interviewing others who work or live in a creative way so we can all benefit from their diverse experiences.

I hope you will join me over at Tiger Spirit and become part of what I hope will be a lively online hub.



About Yang-May Ooi, Tiger Spirit

Yang-May Ooi is a writer, speaker and actionista. She has successfully combined her creative career with her professional career  for over 20 years – as a bestselling author, award-winning TEDx speaker and acclaimed stage performer as well as a respected lawyer and asset manager in the City of London. Tiger Spirit is her resource hub exploring how we can dream wild, work smart and live true in life, art and business. Go to My World for more articles and multi-media content.

Twitter: @tigerspirituk         Facebook:

An intriguing and evocative new video trailer for Yang-May Ooi’s memoir Bound Feet Blues – A Life Told in Shoes [video]

We are delighted to unveil this new video trailer for Yang-May Ooi’s memoir, Bound Feet Blues – A Life Told in Shoes. It features photos from the book as well as some from Yang-May’s personal photo albums which we hope evokes the mood and themes of this powerful family memoir.



Yang-May writes:

Writing a memoir isn’t an ego thing for me. Rather, it was a way to look back at my life – and also the lives of the women who came before me in my family – and to make sense of the challenges and heartache as well as remembering the joy and human connections that have made me the creative artist I am today.  I write my own story to transform the personal into the universal.  My hope is that readers will be inspired by the stories in Bound Feet Blues to look back at their own lives and find the moments, stories and people who can inspire *them* going forward.


You can buy a copy of Bound Feet Blues from:


or the publishers website at Urbane Publications

Beauty and Violence at the Shoreham Wordfest October 2017 – talk by writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi

Writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi will be appearing at Shoreham Wordfest Literary Festival to talk about her memoir Bound Feet Blues: A Life Told in Shoes (published by Urbane Publications). She will be discussing the key theme of the book, Beauty and Violence and why it is still relevant to talk about the brutal practice of bound feet today.

Do come and join her for what will be an intriguing event!



VENUE:  Ropetackle Arts Centre, Little High Street, Shoreham By Sea, BN43 5EG ¦ ¦ ¦ 01273 464440





How much do you love your daughter? Do you love her enough to bind her feet, if that means she can have a life of wealth and luxury?


In this talk about her memoir, Bound Feet Blues – A Life Told in Shoes, writer/performer Yang-May Ooi explores the love that drove mothers to bind their daughters’ feet in ancient China – and why remembering the brutal practice of foot-binding is still relevant for us as modern, Western women today.

Bound Feet Blues interweaves the story of Yang-May’s great-grandmother whose feet were bound, with the author’s own personal coming-out story to explore what it means to be a woman, not just in ancient times in the East, but also for us today in the West.

The talk will be illustrated with historical photos and family archive pictures. Yang-May will read sections from her memoir and also perform a short extract from the stage version of Bound Feet Blues.

You can find out more about Yang-May’s memoir Bound Feet Blues on the book’s Amazon page:

The complete one hour solo performance Bound Feet Blues is now available on YouTube [video]

We are delighted to share the video of the complete one hour solo performance of Bound Feet Blues – A Life Told in Shoes. It is now up online on YouTube. So if you didn’t manage to get tickets for the live show – or if you did see the show on stage and would like a reprise – here it is for everyone to enjoy.


The show run is now over but you can  BUY BOUND FEET BLUES, THE BOOK – please click on the links below:




Watch the Evolution of a Performance – Bound Feet Blues [videos]

Watch the evolution of writer Yang-May  Ooi as a performer in these three short videos which capture her performance of Bound Feet Blues in its three incarnations – from the very first scratch night performance in March 2014 to the full production in Nov/ Dec 2015.

March 2014 – Scratch Night, Conway Hall

This is the first ever performance of Bound Feet Blues in public. When Yang-May took to the floor, she was trying out an unfinished script without a director and just seeing where the experience would take her. In the audience was one of the producers of the South East Asian Arts Festival (SEA Arts Fest) who invited her to bring the completed piece to the Festival in Oct that year.

Yang-May captures the drama and tension of that first performance in the book version of Bound Feet Blues, available from Amazon.

Oct 2014 – Showcase, Tristan Bates Theatre

The showcase performance was a one night performance at Tristan Bates Theatre, London that was sold out even before the show was widely publicised on the BBC and elsewhere. The showcase was directed by Jessica Higgs and produced by Eldarin Yeong with R&D funding from Arts Council, England. It was part of the SEA Arts Festival 2014. The performance was 4+ star reviewed and its success enabled Yang-May and her creative team to move forward with the three week full production the next year.

Nov/ Dec 2015 – Full Production, Tristan Bates Theatre

The full production ran for three weeks at the Tristan Bates Theatre. Of the 15 performances, 12 were largely sold out with people queuing for returns. The creative team now included Hua Tan who designed the beautiful set and evocative lighting, costumier Carol Alayne  and production manager Crin Claxton. The production was supported by funding from Arts Council, England, THFC (The Housing Finance Corporation) and Maclay Murray Spens. It was part of the SEA Arts Festival 2015.


The show run is now over but you can  BUY BOUND FEET BLUES, THE BOOK – please click on the links below:




Smashing stereotypical portrayals of East Asian women in books and theatre [video]

Yang-May Ooi, writer/ performer of Bound Feet Blues spoke at the launch of the Anglo Asiatic Arts & Heritage Alliance launch in April about “Tiger Spirit Women” – dynamic, intelligent, independent and fierce East Asian women who are the anti-thesis of the stereotypical portrayal of them in books and theatre in Western culture.

Yang-May says: “My creative work is dedicated to smashing the stereotype of the docile, passive China-doll like East Asian woman who exists solely in the domestic sphere and to portraying us as we really are – active agents taking our place in the world, capable, empowered and forces to be reckoned with.”

In her talk, she discusses her two novels, The Flame Tree and Mindgame, and Bound Feet Blues as well as her new theatre and book project Butterfly in Blue Jeans.

You can watch her whole talk in this video below (approx 8 mins):


You can  BUY BOUND FEET BLUES, THE BOOK – please click on the links below:




[Video] Highlights from the 2015 production of Yang-May Ooi’s Bound Feet Blues now up online

We are delighted to share with you highlights from the Nov/ Dec 2015 production of Bound Feet Blues – A Life Told in Shoes, the autobiographical solo theatre piece by writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi. You can watch the 2 min video below.

The show was directed by Jessica Higgs and produced by Eldarin Yeong with set and lighting design by Hua Tan.

The videographer was Continue reading

How we perform our selves in every day life [Bound Feet Blues, the BOOK]

Bound Feet Blues, the BOOK, explores the theme of performance in theatre and in our every day lives, using the metaphor of bound feet and fashion. Writer/ performer and author of the book, Yang-May Ooi, explains why performance fascinates her.

Yang-May writes:

Bound Feet Blues, my memoir in book form, opens at my first staged performance of the theatre version of the Bound Feet Blues story. The first chapter describes what it felt like for me to step out in front of an audience under the spotlights to perform the story of my family and my own life.

That first performance at Conway Hall described in the book was captured on video – highlights below:

Acting and Authenticity

We sometimes mistake performance or acting as inauthentic. We think that acting means pretending to be someone that we are not. Of course that is factually true when actors play a fictional role or are portraying a real person on film or in a play but even then actors always seek to be real and honest in the emotions that they depict. For me, portraying myself and my family on stage, it was deeply important to be authentic to my own story and also theirs. The emotions and story I portrayed were real and truthful within the frame of the drama.

The experience of that performance made me reflect on the performance of my self over the last few decades.

“Performing” My Life

In the book, Bound Feet Blues, I write about how I “performed” the role of a Bright Young Thing in my student days in Oxford, going to balls and dressing as a beautiful “China Doll”. Later, I “performed” the role of a high-achieving lawyer in London in the yuppy atmosphere of the ’80s. When I came out, I “performed” as a boyish lesbian in baggy chinos and lace ups. It was only after all this experimentation that I finally came to be able to express who I really am – a mix of feminine and masculine, sometimes high powered, sometimes slobby and lazy, sometimes beautifully dressed, sometimes not.

Yang-May Ooi at Pride “performing” the tomboy self. This photo is one of many in her book, Bound Feet Blues

How do you “perform” different aspects of your character?

We all perform who we are to some extent. Think about how you show Continue reading

Doing the Unimaginable – Bound Feet Blues at the Oxford Literary Festival

Writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi will be featured at the Oxford Literary Festival in a solo event as part of the St Hilda’s Writers Day on Saturday 09 April. Yang-May will perform an extract from Bound Feet Blues and talk about Doing the Unimaginable – how and why women in China practiced the brutal process of footbinding on their daughters for a thousand years.

Yang-May writes:

I’m delighted to have been invited back to Oxford by my old college St Hilda’s as part of the Oxford Literary Festival. Bound Feet Blues opens in Oxford as I stroll across Magdalen Bridge from St Hilda’s to a summer ball with a gang of my friends in our ball gowns with our boyfriends in black tie. So it feels just perfect to be heading back to Oxford to talk about my show and the accompanying book of the same name.

Here’s some blurb:

The brutal practice of footbinding is unimaginable to us today but was the norm for women in ancient China. In her one woman show Bound Feet Blues – A Life Told in Shoes, inspired by her great-grandmother who had bound feet, writer/ performer Yang-May Ooi explores what led those women to do the unimaginable in breaking and binding their daughters’ feet for the sake of beauty – and why footbinding is still relevant in modern times. In this talk for St Hilda’s Writers Day, she draws from the themes of love and courage in her theatre piece to discuss what it means to do the unimaginable as mothers, daughters and creative artists today. Yang-May will also be performing a short extract from the show.

There’ll also be the chance to buy a copy of the book – and I’ll of course be around to sign your personal copy.

Bound Feet Blues performance photo: Yang-May uses her hands on stage to demonstrate footbinding

If you’re in the Oxford area on Saturday 09 April, it would be lovely to see you at this one hour event. If you’d like to say hello afterwards, please do drop me a line and I’ll keep an eye out for you – or just come up and say “hi”.

If you know anyone in the Oxford area who might be interested to come along, please do tell them about the event. It would be great to see some warm and friendly faces in the crowd.


Bound Feet Blues: Doing the Unimaginable – Yang-May Ooi

When: Saturday 09 April 2016, 12pm (1 hour)

Where: Jesus College, Oxford – Lecture Theatre

Tickets: £12




If you can’t make it you can still Continue reading

Bound feet and what it means to be a woman – The Women’s Institute, East Dulwich 03 February 2016

Writer/ performer of Bound Feet Blues, Yang-May Ooi, will be speaking about bound feet and what it means to be a woman at the WI (Women’s Institute) East Dulwich SE22 on Wednesday 03 February 2016.


Yang-May writes:

I’m delighted to have been invited to speak at the WI at the Literary Evening with Local Authors. Here’s the line up for the evening;

Lloyd Shepherd is an author of three historical thrillers, The English Monster, The Polished Island and Savage Magic.  He will be speaking to us about his latest book, Savage Magic.

Yang-May Ooi will be presenting on her newest book, Bound Feet Blues which is a story told through the shoes she has worn in her life. Yang-May is also author of the best selling novel, the Flame Tree.

Rebecca Mackenzie will be reading an excerpt from her debut novel, In a Land of Paper Gods.

Harry from Dulwich Books will also be joining us with the above mentioned authors books as well as a selection of their top picks.

I’ll be talking about why bound feet are still relevant to us today as modern women in the West and how feet and shoes can invite us to think about what it means to be a woman.

bound foot in chinese slipper


normal foot in high heels


I’m also looking forward to meeting the WI members and hearing the other authors talk about their books. It’s going to be a fascinating evening.

It’s a private WI event – if you’rea member it would be lovely to see you there. If not, you can enquire Continue reading