1

Different but Not

Often, I might come across as some arrogant dweeb because for some reason, I just know.

I can’t prove that it will happen but I know it will.

I don’t have special powers that allows me to see the future, I can’t predict it nor do I have premonitions about the future but when I do see a trail coming, I can see the outcome.

I recently discovered the existence of pattern thinking when Dr. Temple Grandin wrote about it in Drawing Autism and this is what it is (or I like to believe). I can only see when I connect the dots between one piece of information with the other. The more the better. And often, the theories I come up with ends up like a piece of abstract nonsense no one can resonate with. Maybe it’s too farfetched for them to grasp, the idea that I join the dots from no where and have this crazy thoughts presented on a silver platter for them to digest must have freaked them out.

So that’s my problem.

When I can’t explain it for people to understand and I see that they are either confused or not take it seriously, I get upset. This is when some people who experienced it think I’m too in their face. Too much to handle. Then I spiral in that frustration hole because I know that if something doesn’t change, the hypothesis I made will come true. Anxiety builds up, communication breaks down and the bridge falls apart.

“How would you know?” people would ask.

“I just do. I can see it. I just don’t know how to explain. I have this feeling..” I used to say.

And the conversation tend to end with me being weird statement or I just give up entirely trying to convince people because most of the time, I expect things to go the opposite but..more often than not, it doesn’t. Sometimes, I wonder if I’m just seeing things or people just don’t want to see what I see.

Then, there’s the second part I find it most difficult dealing with.

“You can say ‘I told you so’..” they say.

I don’t like saying that. I don’t enjoy being right because I don’t want to be that person who thinks she knows everything. I don’t and I will never be. It’s just circumstances happen to end up like that. It’s as if I’m being put in my place for doing something bad or negative.

I know you will say it’s all in my head. Perhaps you’re right. But I don’t find satisfaction having people coming to me after telling me that I’m right after all. Why?

Because I don’t know to respond.

Am I suppose to say “See, what did I tell you?” or should I sympathise that things end up the way it did? Latter would have depend what kind of situation because …

the third part of my issue is, after three rounds of trying to make things clear and no changes were done, I remove myself from the situation. In my head, I have to make one of two decision – do I stay and get wrapped in the spiderweb of frustration or do I get out before it gets too deep?

The moment I realised what the situation is, I will assess all ways to improve because I don’t like feeling like trapped. If I can’t improve after doing everything I can, I have to make the decision to get out. Otherwise, it will affect my energy, mood and mind. The three elements that makes up my compass and not having control either one of it, I will be screwing myself for something unnecessary that I foresee beforehand.

To me, I break things as logical as possible. If it’s beyond my understanding, I try to look it up and read about it. Find some form of explanation to answer all the questions in my head. The same way when people ask me if I drink. I don’t because I don’t like the taste or smell. Also, I don’t like the effects it gives when I get intoxicated. Using religion as an excuse to me is a copout. Not to say I don’t believe in God but I have my own journey with religion. I look into the details, the reasons because in the end, the religion I embrace is actually logical. People’s interpretation makes the true meaning of religion diluted and superficial. But that’s for another story.

Tash told me that I’m intimidated by the way I think and do things differently but in reality, I’m not that different. She’s right. Just that, I grew up with this perception that I’m such an alien, I don’t belong in this world but being here doesn’t seem like I’m all that different. In fact, I’m quite normal. Nothing special.

Blah. At 29 years old, we all have to grow up every other second. It’s a never ending journey and mine just so happened to have the table turned around.

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Be Autistic

So I wrote “at some point I will dedicate a whole blog for my Industry Research Project” turned out to be last Sunday. That’s where a whole chunk of my data hoarding will be unloaded – be-autistic.com and all because I went on 3 hours of digital detox when I wrote The Future of Autism below.

Yet, I foresee I’ll come to a point when danywhere.com and be-autistic.com will meet in the middle personally. But I’ll cross that bridge when the time comes. Right now, as a surprisingly overachiever and overambitious alien, I’m running two blogs at the same time. Ho ho ho. Merry Christmas to me!

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A Matter of Perspective

IMG_3285.JPG

Everyone has their own expectations and outcomes from things they want to learn. I came to Hyper Island with no clue what I got myself into.

But everyday, I learn something new, from different people, same people, other people or just myself.

Maybe it’s the fact that I’m living in the moment, paying as much attention to the little things that my perspective might be somewhat different when I hear what others thought about their experience being here so far.

Maybe because for all my life, I’ve always been that kid who had to figure out how to do things alone. Have to build a pathway so others can see clearer. Pretty much self-learning since I could remember because that’s how I’ve been brought up.

Working with Tourism Selangor, at a time when digital media was the biggest mystery to Malaysia cemented the fact that with a lot of reading, determination, passion and awareness, I manage to make the most of what I didn’t know I had. I spent countless hours to get my head wrapped around this responsibility that could’ve destroyed my career given the politics that surrounded it.

I even remember YB Elizabeth Wong, then one of Selangor’s Exco who kept telling Fazly, my then manager to ask me to not “work too hard” but for a couple of years, I kept at it because there’s so much I needed to learn and it excites me when I found a breakthrough (some experiments didn’t go as we planned but that’s why it’s called lessons).

So being in Hyper Island is no different to me, except that experience is amplified by infinity more. To me, self-learning is the only way I know best. So when people ask if I had learned anything from a particular module even when it’s so vague and abstract, I would say I have.

Different people have different expectations and outcomes.

To me, it might not be something obvious that we can use but I know in the future I will go back and apply it. I wouldn’t say I know everything, because I don’t. Pushing myself to dig deeper is still something new. A better way of doing things.

I’ve written about this for my Design Thinking Critique paper – using my past experience as a case study. It’s just about looking at things from another point of view, another window to see how I can do better in the future.

Business Transformation begins today. Just the thought of going through a whole new group for the third time does scare me a little. Although, I’m very excited how this module takes off from the last module Digital Technology, which happens to be my favourite.

Life is a work-in-progress when it comes to learning. Altering the way we think can do wonders to ourselves.

4

Play, Rewind, Pause: The HI5 Experience

Northern Quarter

It’s a rather new discovery this part of me I just got to know. Probably a little less than a year and having to move to Manchester just amplified that notion about me being an introvert. My tendencies have kept me questioning about myself more since I’ve moved here. Of the things that I am more comfortable with versus the things I should be doing.

It hasn’t occur to me what culture shock feels like until I removed myself from the environment I’ve built for a lifetime. It is then that I am able to see the other side of myself without trying too hard.

First week at Hyper Island made me feel like I have a mental disorder. Of course, I meant it in a good way.

I liken the first day as my bubble bursting in thin air the moment we were meant to mingle with other people in Hyper Island. As with every other first day, I know how I will be – awkward. I’ve always thought of myself as somewhat socially inept. Not on an extreme level but to a certain degree, I lean towards it.

For that, I played along where I could but then Hyper Island one-up their game by getting us all to do a personal presentation about the 3 events or people that had impacted us. Each of us, including HI managers and facilitators did it.

Hyper Island Crew 5_6

“It’s an equal level playground this new school of thought,” I told myself.

Everyone had something to say, something to ask, something to answer yet there I was shutting it all down as fast as I could. Well, I tried to and felt guilty thereafter and what an odd sensation to feel – a deep conscience telling me what I did was wrong and it carried on till the next day.

Hyper Island went on another level and kickstarted a Reflection Session after we “check-in”.

It’s funny that there were two running themes that went on prior to my departure and here I am diving head first into it and unearth the very core of my emotions based on these themes (self awareness and reflection).

Wait, what am I doing in Hyper Island you might ask? Masters in Digital Marketing Management is what I got myself into and what’s better – it’s a super accelerated course. Somehow, I have a knack for getting myself into madness no matter where I go.

Piccadilly Gardens

Hyper Island Crew 5_3

Hyper Island Way Week taught us all to be aware and reflect on our actions individually, small groups and eventually to the entire crew. Imagine how nerve-wrecking that experience had been on the second day itself (and will continue till the end of the program). It’s no wonder I needed 3 days to recover from all that “therapy” when we first started. Yeah, I excused myself from the after-class outings because I was emotionally and mentally exhausted from all that digging and thinking. It doesn’t help that I’m really loving the apartment I’m staying too.

Hyper Island Crew 5_2

Brilliant way to kickstart though. Brilliant indeed to break our walls on our very first week.

Even my past therapy sessions didn’t feel as intense as this.

But, on the upside, it taught me to make improvement every single day. Just one thing at a time. It was what I had got myself to do the last 6 years on a personal level. This time, it’s on professional AND personal level. Oh boy.

I knew everyday that I’m thankful for this diversion He got me to do. What was known as my back up plan is now my primary plan and I’m grateful for the opportunity. I know now that, I had to be here right now at this moment because I’m ready on all level. It might tear me apart and stitch up together but I will not be able to appreciate the greatness that HI delivers if I wasn’t where I am today.

Yeah, this is where I’m suppose to be and I better make sure to do the best I can.

Two weeks ago, Max, our program manager asked us to write a letter to ourselves and sealed it in an envelope. I suspect it’s for time capsule but anyways, one of the things I wrote to myself was about making a deal with the introvert side of me. I may take any one weekday off to recharge and any one weekend for the same reason but the rest, I need to make effort to join the crew for whatever they intend to do, as long as I’m ok with it. Everyday since then, I do my best to push myself from falling back to my comfort zone. To others it may seem almost insignificant but an effort is still an effort.

Hyper Island Crew 5_4

Hyper Island Crew 5_5

I’ve enjoyed my time so far. I really have. The people are fantastic. Crew 5 (that’s what we’re called) are from all sorts of background and countries. It’s amazing to know how other people from other parts of the world think and feel. In such a short time, they have shaped me to be a better person one way or another. Truly an amazing chapter in my life even if I don’t even know what’s ahead of me for the rest of the year but with open mind comes with an open heart.

It’s refreshing to not know what other people’s religions are or races for that matter. Malaysia has been so accustomed to pigeon-hole humans into different sectors and lifestyles – they are either Chinese, Indians, Malay or others who believe in Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam or none of the above. That itself sort of become our crutch in the real world. Everything has to fit into some kind of stereotype and it’s in HI that I learned none of these really mattered.

None whatsoever. Zilch. Nada.

Hyper Island Crew 5

Everyone respected each other. If you happened to say something insensitive, you can be sure that feedback will be given from the horse’s mouth. We’re wired that way in what I would call the Hyper Culture. It makes us more productive, effective and human in so many ways.

We have this space to make mistakes, forgive ourselves and other people for it and make it better. What has been playing on my mind is, now that we’ve created a whole different bubble for ourselves, by the time we get back to real world, that bubble is going to burst and I look forward to see how we can apply all these methods and culture to other people.

To summarise our program, it’s about cultivating some form of leadership qualities in all of us and take ownership of the consequences we are about to cause. I hope you don’t think we’re going do things quietly without any impact..because we will.

Last week was the start of the incredible journey of masters with real clients and mentors from all kinds of industry. I don’t know how to feel but naturally, I’ll give all I have to be better as solo and team player.

 

6

#TSBreakAway Featurette: The History Dream

This year has been a big revelation for me. Where Australia’s trip last winter made me realised that I’ve come full circle with myself, two weeks ago, my trip to Kuala Kubu Bharu cemented my reason for being here. In Malaysia.

While for many, it’s either about not having a choice or tied down to family and such.. for me it’s none of that. I could at anytime leave this country and had planned that way since I was a kid. I desperately wanted to get out since young because I’ve never felt like I belonged here yet here I am. Where my friends thought I’d be the first to leave and never return, it hasn’t been the case.

Till today, I remember the one thing my mum said when I was in Leeds, chilling at Nix’s house a year ago.

“So decided to move there?” she asked or something to that effect.

In that moment, part of me wanted to say yes but I didn’t and I knew if I did, she’d support my decision. That was the plan, has always been the plan.

And like the saying my English teacher once told me, man proposes, God disposes. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

That is until this trip.

It was a spur of a moment, one day sometime three weeks ago I suggested to Anis to head up to KKB to meet the uncle she had wrote about in her blog for #TSBreakAway and see what he thought about it. Then I mentioned it to Nigel who wanted to tag along. The week later, she told me they will be going on Friday. I was with Ashraf who was the resident mentor and videographer for this project we’re involved and casually asked if he wanted to go up too, see if there’s anything we could add into the #TSBreakAway footages.

KKB Group Profile

So at 6AM all of us (three #TSBreakAway Zombies and one Xplorer) were up and made our way to KL Sentral train station. This would be my first time going to KKB by train and apparently it was a first for the guys too. From here, we had to switch train in Rawang after an hour and then head to KKB in 30 minutes.

The train ride was very scenic and by the time we were in Rawang, the train we took was empty. So hey, we were like kids taking over the carriage like our own, talking about the 80’s and 90’s like it was yesterday while snapping photos and recording the view in between.

If I had to take a trip to anywhere, this fun bunch would rank at the top of my list.

Serendah

KKB Train

We had no plans when we got to KKB, just another random day exploring an old historical town and meet this charming uncle Anis interviewed. We didn’t expect that our trip would be something mind blowing, to a point that it was literally breaking us away from the norm. So as we were tracking down the route Anis took for #TSBreakAway solo assignment back to the tailor shop, she told us she was intrigued by this old barber shop (roughly about 40 years old) on the same street from where the uncle was working but didn’t check it out then because it was busy with people.

So I had this “brilliant” idea to get the guys to give us a reason to drop by and help Anis get her story. What I didn’t expect was for them to go along with the plan. I kinda sorta challenged Ashraf to cut his hair and get a shave since it looked like he needed a fresh look. Nigel too but only Ashraf agreed to do it. I did however got Nigel to do the old school shaving tho!

KKB Barber Shop Ashraf

KKB Barber Shop Nigel

KKB Barber Shop Nigel 2

Once the guys were done with their “spa” session, we continued on our next journey like kids going from one candy shop to another. I like how in this town, no one looked at you like you don’t belong here. They just continue doing their thing (at a slower but peaceful pace) and treat us like we’re part of them. Despite the uncle didn’t remember Anis initially, he entertained us with his stories of yore. Made ourselves comfortable in his 50 over years old shop, watching as he cut the wool for his customer and even managed to teach Nigel a bit of Pinyin. Who knew they both shared the same surname? Of course, he wasn’t spared from being lectured too for not able to read Mandarin. Haha! It’s like watching father scolding his son for a mishap. Ah KKB.. you sure know how to charm us.

In case you’re looking for this particular uncle to do your pants or suits, just ask anyone in KKB for “The Shirtless Uncle” and they all know who you are referring to 🙂

KKB Tailor

You know how when you got the ball rolling with one story, you went and dig deeper? Yeah, this was exactly the case. We moved from one shop to another just looking for something, anything. Then Nigel read about this other uncle who has an old watch shop which coincidentally was just around the corner from where we were. I mean, c’mon, while you’re here you might as well do what’s in your bucket list. But when we arrived, we didn’t expect that it would set the course of our adventure after this.

KKB Watchmaker

You know how when you go to a shop in a city, they’d be breathing your neck or for some reason, it makes you feel like you either have to buy something or get out of the shop quick? This was neither the case. We hung out at his place, admiring the many beautiful black and white photos of him and his shop which was taken by other photographers in the past. We talked about his background and what he love to do. Then, I heard a dog barking at the back and his wife was so sweet to show me her pet. Feisty looking little poodle. Cute tho. But feisty, bouncing away while barking at me and I was told this little one bites. So yeah, I just leaned my back on the wall adjacent to the dog. Later, she told me about two other cats who are friendly with the dog and brought them out for me to play with. Yeah, we pretty much made ourselves very comfortable.

A spirit I have not known existed in KL or Selangor. That ease I love and strive for is in this old town after all.

Anyway, after all that shop talk we’ve made, the owner of the watch shop decided to bring us to check out his daughter’s cafe, a few doors away from his. Too bad we already had our lunch (one where I was scampering around looking for a clean toilet and an aunty from a kopitiam across the street was accommodating and got me to use hers without any expectation. She even wave and greeted me when I passed by her shop again later that day). Seriously, no one here forces anyone or expects anybody to get anything from them.

When we were at the cafe looking around at the 80’s local music posters and antique memorabilia scattered all over, his daughter went up to Anis and took out her phone to show a photo she took of a namecard she thought would be useful to us.

“I think all of you should check out the small photography gallery. You’ll like it! But I don’t know if it’s open today but you can call this guy.”

KKB Cafe

This must be the gallery Anis mentioned earlier in the day which I’ve never heard of despite visiting KKB a few times in the past. There’s only one place that sounds like this which also housed many other art related items but given how everything are, it’s no surprise that the gallery is not open. Well it is, you just have to call a few days in advance. I guess we’ll have to make another trip back and get inside the gallery. Seriously, it’s almost unheard of to know that art takes place in towns like these here. If there are, no one’s spreading the word. Which is sad.

This whole place calls out for a revival. THE perfect town to have art residency. Which got my head buzzing and throbbing, I wish I could manifest those emotions into papers. Slowly eventually I will. Some kind of community project all four of us made a pact to work on. I hope.

KKB Kedai Runcit

That burning sensation was only secured even more when we met Aunty Sim Ling Ling who threw us off with her generosity. Initially, we didn’t know what we stumbled upon since the owner of the shop went to KL for acupuncture. Then we roamed inside the shop looking at the things hung from the ceiling. You’ll find anything and everything here, it’s amazing. So she slowly emerged behind the counter making conversations with us and we being the cheeky kids, asked her all the old school items we could think of when we were kids. Excitedly, she said yes to all of it and even ran inside to grab it.

Where could you find “Buku Tiga Lima” that still costs 20 cents or pencil with rubber tip would still be 10 cents?

All of a sudden, we all had an idea to buy something from her as a souvenir to commemorate this surprising adventure of ours. Aunty Ling Ling was so jovial entertaining us with the things in the shop and also her tuxedo cat named Baby.

From one thing led to another, I don’t know what got me agreeing when she said “Let’s have coffee?” and walked really fast to the kopitiam next to her shop. In my head, I thought she said, maybe when we come again, we’ll have coffee with her. I didn’t expect to have coffee there and then.

We all ordered our drinks and the moment she found out that I’ve been looking for this particular Kaya Puff KKB is notorious for, she immediately got up and went to the shop.

Ashraf, Anis and I looked at Nigel, who was on the phone at that time.

“Psst..Nigel, we have a situation. Need to intervene..Psst…”

KKB Kaya Puff

By the time Nigel got off the phone, she came back with a box of Kaya Puff all ready for your mouth to salivate. *slap head*

And that she’s got this smile you just cannot not smile back at her. Cannot not accept her gifts. Cannot not accept her friendship. Just can’t.

Of course, I’m saying that in a good way. She even told us about the aunty who makes the kaya for the pastry shop..who happens to be doing it right that moment in that very kopitiam we were in.

KKB Kaya

BEHOLD! She was so efficient, she pre-ordered a tub of homemade kaya and delivered to our table each. Like what is this? Am I really in Malaysia?! By this time, we were all shaking our heads, didn’t know how to repay her kindness with and that she refused our money when we wanted to pay for it made us feel even more unsure. Appreciative of her kindness but also didn’t want her to think we’re taking advantage.

“No, no. I’m not petty over these things. I just want to share.” She told us.

At this moment, only then I know the real meaning of Malaysian Hospitality (MH). If we wanted to dig any story from KKB, this is the deepest KKB allows us. The heart, the bulb, the inspiration. You cannot go any deeper than this. No way.

So, as usual, you know we had to check out how this kaya was made and it takes 7 hours to make a big pot by one old lady and sells it around the town. When I asked if she wanted to sell it out of KKB, she said no. Dang it! Looks like I’ll have to come back here and replenish my stock.

KKB Kaya 2

Looking back, it’s true, KKB is mainly populated by the elderly folks who prefer the quiet and slow paced life. Which reminded me a lot of my late grandma who till she was bedridden, insisted she needs to work, to get the mind working. And that’s exactly what each of them are doing here..that and also because none of their kids wanted to take over their business because the bigger cities offer so much more. Hard working people makes me want to work harder.

Part of me was sad by this fact but another part of me can kinda sorta relate to their kids because it’s been years since my dad been pestering to take over his business but I refused because really, what he’s doing and what I need to do is on totally opposite spectrum. But I still feel sad for them because when they are no more around, what will become of KKB? This town can’t possibly die out of natural death! Over my dead body.

So enter that buzzing brain of mine which Ashraf, Nigel and Anis added more fuel. We just need a plan to execute this thing. I’m sure combining our nutty brains together, we’ll be able to do something but yeah, as of right now, I’m letting the pot simmer for a bit. I still have other paperworks to complete. Gah!

Oh yeah, so how did we end our session with Aunty Ling Ling?

Sneakily, she already paid for our drinks beforehand. Oh Aunty Ling Ling, you really blew us away with your sweet charm. Sigh.

KKB Group Photo

To end this unforgettable trip we did, I found this draft poem I wrote while I was in the train in Sydney a few months back. One I think describes KKB profoundly to me.

A return trip is in order!

Ticket to the Unknown

It ain’t so bad,
This train to no where,
Worst case would be to arrive
To a place you’ll write your story
For the rest to read and navigate.

There’s a moment in our lives,
When the ticket you bought
May not be the place you thought;
You’ll arrive in peace and harmony
But then, peace is anywhere no?

Such is the life this dwarf leads
For those hunters may not see
The beauty therein lies
in front of thee.
Oh what a waste when it flee.

So where will you go,
What will you see?
Just take a trip
Wherever it may be
and just hold on tight for this journey.

Sidenote: Nigel took some superb black and white photos from this outing. I think this is by far he best work, you gotta check it out here!

Video
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twenty one pilots: Holding On To You

If there’s something I’m well known for is to constantly take hold of the direction I’m heading. Often times, it’s not always the way you and I see it but most of the time, it’s always how He wants it.

So what do you do? What do I do?

Take the ride and make it our own.

I think if there’s anything that I can take from all the trips I’ve made – whether on my own or with strangers, it would probably be that just being there, observing, be part of life, His creations, our doings..it’s probably the most alive thing I would ever experience in my existence.

I don’t exactly have a bucket list of places I want to go. I just go. It doesn’t have to be places no one else has been or the number one I have to be. In that moment, where time and space meets, I take it. I make it a part of my chapter, my life..just simply my own thing.

So right after #TSBreakAway ended, I’ve been bombarded with “What’s next?”. Like do I have to know what to answer? I’ve only just started breathing. Ask me next month maybe?

But that’s the thing with me and I don’t know what everyone might think..I don’t plan out in detail but I do somehow know where I should end up in. How I’m getting there, that part I leave it to the Guy Upstairs to write for me. I am after all his character to play with.

I know that if I’m lost, I’ll find my way back. I go back to basic, to where I know best.

This song, twenty one pilot’s Holding On To You best describes how I feel the whole year. Last year, I might struggle finding sanity, this year it’s finding my faith where faith may seem to disappear.

#TSBreakAway is a sum of that, of my miseries, my frustrations, my joy and my passion for the things I do and love, for the wants and needs and for what I want to change. I’m thankful that many share the same vision as I am in making it happen, to an extend, giving me their hand to lift me up when I’m in darkness and for all that has happened, that madness I put myself into, I only have them to thank for.

I don’t know what I can do best. I don’t know if I’ll be doing the next big thing or if I can come up with anything. I do know that when it’s something so dear to me is at the brink of extinction, I become protective..yet powerless at the sight of seeing it dying.

A lot like our earth really. That urge to hurl at the sight of a balding Earth is unbearable.

Still, I do wonder why He created me. I probably annoy more people than I can count but at the end of the day, if you do what you know is best – everyone else can talk about you, of what they know about you and it doesn’t exactly matter. It could be good, it could be bad. Just keep doing what matters to you. What makes you feel better being alive. The rest will be taken care of eventually.

I think I know where this post is heading or why I ended up writing it (my fingers, it’s all their doings really). That I’ve grown up since young being called with all sorts of names, some hurt me more than others but today, knowing why I do what I do, and do it well with the help of others – it doesn’t kill me anymore. It doesn’t kill me to think that “You know what, you can’t please everyone. You can’t make everyone like you”.

That, they can believe whatever version of you and that’s ok.

Sasha gave me possibly the book that changed my life at 25 and this was part of what I’ve been carrying myself with,

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

So yeah, I’ve accepted that I am weird and it’s no easy task to fit in in a society that thrives in normalcy or whatever it means. I am ok being on my own. Ok that I only have friends I can count with my fingers who knows me. If you’re not part of that, I am fine by it too.

Just that, I’ve had too many complications in the past, where it blinded me too many times so as of late, I’m only invested in what is worth my mind and soul.

1

Down Under Healing Formulas

Image

I’ve been trying to write, every single day. Not because I had to in order to get this place active but because I want to.

Too many words, phrases, emotions..all boiling in one pot in my mind. Yet I don’t know what to do with it.

So everyday I sit, I pen it all out but at the end of the day, it’s left hanging. Either unfinished or I’m not satisfied with the delivery.

Today, I scrap everything off. Starting fresh. Still don’t know which direction I’ll be taking but I hope to end up with something closer.

I’ve always written about travel as a means of searching for something. More than anything, searching for myself. A bit vague to go places to look for something you don’t know what it is yet for some reason somewhere somehow you manage to findit. Whatever it is.

Since Australia happened, all that searching sort of stopped.

Like I’ve completed my rounds. I call it a full circle.

I could go as far as finding my closure.

And that’s silly, what on earth do I have connection with Australia to have closures anyway?

My past.

That’s what it was. Everything Australia held were my past and I finally returned after 17 years because I’ve got my head straighter. Feet firmer on the ground.

I have gathered a bit more knowledge about who I am and what I’m here for by Him.

So this task in Australia, as grand as the continent itself; it also buried so many memories inter-related to all the things I’ve done and met. While some of it are ghosts to my memories, I have to face it up front in order to move forward.

And that’s exactly how it turned outwithout planning to.

My late grandma’s memories were one of the biggest culprit to this self discovery journey. The thing is, I still do push any thoughts of her at the backof my mind, so far behind, sometimes when it pops up, I get a sudden surge like it just happened yesterday and get overwhelmed by it.

And then I shove it back again.

My first trip to Australia was with her. One and only trip with her. So having to fly on my own this time was somewhat strange to me..I guess. Despite flying solo many times before, this was different. Don’t know why.

It being Queen’s Birthday the day after I arrived, Syiks had a day off and we spent the entire day and night out in Sydney doing the things we love. Whale watching was one of the agenda I was really looking forward to. She didn’t know there was such a thing so close to her and I’m glad we did it for the first time.

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So many childhood memories crashed over me like a tsunami the whole time but I tried to keep it at bay. Somewhat hard but eh, just enjoy the ride.

During the speed boat ride, I manage to spot the hill we once stayed back in the day. I remember being in love with the sight. The cliff. The space. It still looked the same today.

I remember even back then I was struggling to find myself because I grew up thinking I should be a certain type out of a cookie cutter yet deep inside I knew I’m never going to be that. Struggle it was, still is but I’m stronger to fight for it now. Back then I didn’t know any better.

Therefore, I kept doing things the unusual way, say and act differently.

Watching the whales in it’s entirety was a gift from God. It’s so good to know that the Aussies know how to balance developing a country and taking care of Mother Nature. Every time I see a bald patch, it feels like someone break my heart into pieces.

To know that there wereonly 200 whales a decade or so ago left and since then they’ve took every action to stop the killing, today there’s about at least 20,000 over whales. Good job Australia, good job.

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We also spent the afternoon at Circular Quay, where the Opera House is situated. Just chilling out, watching the sun setting two days straight was a magical experience to me. The day before it was on the plane, this time on the steps of the Opera House. My favorite discovery on this day was the Opera Bar. The live band playing contemporary music with a jazz touch was perfect. So perfect, I didn’t want to leave.

What I like about Syiks is that, in some ways, maybe she doesn’t even know it (or maybe she does?) – she knows when to just let me be. Just hang around. If I don’t talk, she’s ok with it too. We sat at the steps of Opera House for at least 2 hours.

I love that. I just love that part.

Being able to indulge without being indulgent and she lets me be.

It’s perhaps one of my best memories for as long as I’ve lived. If I were to stay here, this would be one of the things I would do often.

We passed Manly Terminal and photographs I took back when I was 11 did a slide show on it’s own. I remember posing with my grandma and not so willing to take with her at one point in my orange turtleneck top.

I’m still that – not so willing to take photo of myself. Sometimes, I’m sure it can be annoying.

Australia (it started with the journey from Canberra to Sydney) was also the point when I started film photography. And wouldn’t you know it – after being on hiatus for more than a year since my old E-510 went on comatose, I’m back on the horse again with this trip, armed with a one week old sidekick.

He is quite the mastermind. The Scriptwriter and Producer to my story. All I can do is just bask in His greatness, the only way he knows how. He is my greatest Storyteller. There’s never one point in my life where I’m not mesmerised as He orchestrated my life, leaving trails along the way for me to thread together.

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Since Vivid Sydney’s last night fell on Queen’s Birthday, the entire city lit up vibrantly for the last time. I felt so overwhelmed, what with the memories of the past and to experience what passion can do to a country. God, I’ve never felt so much excitement in my life then to see art taking the stage in all sorts of medium. To see that everyone interacted with it was what gave me so much more inspiration and happiness.

It made me realised that art is not just for the selected few, the elite ones or the eccentric minds. It’s for all to enjoy and when you bridge ideas and public together, you create something so amazing, it becomes an identity. That’s what Vivid was all about. I’m so glad, I managed to fly down and be part of it even though it wasn’t planned.

Here’s the thing, people kept asking me what I’ll be doing while I’m in Australia. Honestly? I have no idea but to chill out. I walked, I took my time, I spoke to so many people I never knew and it was my kind of trip. It was different from any other trips I’ve done in the past. Didn’t have a schedule, don’t have to run for something or be somewhere. All I did was purely going with the flow from the moment I woke up at Syiks’ apartment right up to grabbing dinner with her and exchanged stories about what we did the whole day. Telling her my new found love forAboriginal art was one of the highlights of my museum visits too.

It was just different.

I won’t lie, I did imagine what I’ll be like if I were to move here and this would be it.

That is until our roadtrip to Newcastle happened and I found my exact visual in my mind of escapism. Nobby’s Beach in winter was painted exactly the way I had imagined since I was a kid if I have a place to run to for peace.

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Many a times, I would say that I’m no beach person but I can imagine me coming here just to find solace. Especially when there’s no one. It’s just that piece of heaven on Earth I wish to have close to me.

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In a way, I’m lucky to have known Syiks because Newwie (as I’ve been accustomed to for a decade) is where her family is from. Unfortunately it was a short trip as we had to run back to Sydney the night after to catch a flight to Melbourne early morning.

I named this road trip as my mini Great Ocean Road trip. Each one will be explained better in another post. Right now, I need to settle this tangled emotions that’s been incubating inside.

Having never been to Melbourne before but had more than my fingers could count friends being here throughout my life, I’ve heard so many good things about it. About how I would love it and that it’s so me.

Took me 28 years to be here alright and I can see why I would love it.

The one thing I forgot having after so long is to have a friend who could literally read melike a book front to back, back to front.

Enter my slightly cuckoo, twin friend of mine.

I’ve known Nuddin for 11 years. We grew up being damn close friends because to a certain extend, we do think quite similarly. The one fella I could spend talking on the phone for what? 6 hours was it? One of those record back in the day.

Anyway, so as we grew up, we keep in touch where possible – he still loves giving surprise visits and I’ve been invited to go to Melbourne since forever by so many people. The moment I paid for my Sydney trip, I convinced Syiks to fly down with me to Melbourne as well to see my twin from different mother and father.

Having families all over Australia, Syiks made her plans with her cousins in Melbourne when we arrived. So when I touched down, Nuddin texted me several things and places to do while waiting for him to finish his work. Spent 3 hours at the Hollywood Costume exhibition at ACMI. Didn’t realised how involved Aussies are in the Hollywood scene until then.

Again, I have no idea what to do in Melbourne (not because there’s nothing to do), I just left that job to Nuddin suggesting me whatever works. Knowing him knowing me so well, I trust he has a few of things lining up for me.

The weird part was, I just saw him sometime in January when he came back for a short holiday and to see him in his turf was as if I’ve not seen him for a long time.

He brought me to The Grill’d because we were starving and loved the whole concept of this joint. There’s a solid idea, brought with love through food and then give back to the people again. Things Malaysians wish to do but somehow isn’t like that when it happens.

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It was such a good catch up session for three days. I forgot what it’s like having a friend like him. We could talk about everything and know that there’s no judgement for who we are. The fact that we know each other so well just made it so much easy to fall back into comfort. Finishing each other thoughts and such, dude – you’re like one of a kind in my list of friends. Yes,I just realised that and if he ever reads this, he’ll have the biggest grin on his face I’m sure.

It’s that easiness that I had forgotten. Just be.

Fact that he was so excited to show me his city reminds me of what I do for my job. The thing with him is that, don’t bother asking if he doesn’t wanna tell what he wants to show you when he said “You’ll see”. It’s that joy of sharing part I find most fun about.

And knowing him, when he says “You’ll love it”..I know for a fact it’s true.

We zig-zagged in an old arcade by Flinder’s Street up to the 8th floor and there lies the best view of Federal Square.

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Then, he introduced me to his friend he happened to know when he was exploring this very old building. Stephan Mclaughlan, the gallery owner was quite the man we got to talk to. Never in my days would I see myself listening and talking about Alfred Hitchcock. Stephan’s a big fan and yet another passionate, straight to point man. We even talked about James Bond because he saw the package Nuddin helped carried for me.

We also got to know how the networking works in Melbourne for an artist to be successful. Who he chooses to display and how to tell if it were to be a good show.

I wanted to record every moment of my stay in Australia in tape so I can watch it again but alas, all I could do is depend on my photos, photographic memories and writings so that I won’t forget this feeling.

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I was also delighted to get Yoga and Nuddin meet up for the first time while I was there. Very grateful to have all my friends freeing their days for me. The best thing about this trip is that, all of us got to do something we’ve never done before. Yoga told me about igersmelbourne‘s photowalk happening the day after and I made sure Syiks and Nuddin were to join us. IgersMelbourne stands for instagram melbourne. None of us except Yoga had done this before and it really inspired me to do things better with my work. This photowalk is kinda like an extension to what #TSDayOut is all about, which is awesome – I get to enjoy what others plan with one objective in mind, which is to explore.

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While Sydney was more relaxing for me, Melbourne was go go go because there’s so many things my friends wanted to bring me to. It was a nice balance, a need and away from the reality for at least a little while.

I’m also very lucky to have Nuddin’s girlfriend to not murder me for spending time with him 3 whole days straight. As I’ve been accustomed to the past, I don’t exactly have the best records with my best guyfriends’ girlfriends. But yeah, I’m so thankful this is not the case at all. Thank you for that Kamilah.

I think I know what this is about. This mind had wanted to shout to the world.

I finally am able to be happy with where I am at, enjoy being me and having people around me who allows me to do so without telling me.

I can’t undo the memories of the past but I can make better ones today.

Will I ever return for another trip to Down Under? That’s for another post to reveal what I’ve got plans for.

This might not be your cup of tea, this post I mean. But that’s why I write, why Danywhere exists. It’s the wanderlust theories I come across that makes me want to write. To get it out of my chest. Who reads it does not matter to me but I do appreciate if you happen to finish reading till the end.

Aussie doings will be elaborated further now that I got this out! Phewh. What a rut I got myself into.

However, during my flight to Sydney I manage to write this without having any preconceived ideas about what my trip would me to me.

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Battle Victory

Finally, it feels like it,
Like these demons are taken down,
The warriors are crying for victory.
Is this what it feels like,
When the endless battle is ending?

Oh that closet filled with darkness
Is released from evil tricks and mind.
Reborn with renewed faith,
Today, a new day has begun
For a dwarf finally gets her fun.

It feels strange, alien somewhat;
Where blurred line becomes clearer,
Horizon looking better,
Happier in fact.
Well, here’s to a new adventure.