Supporting our Malaysian talent


Was at the Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival on Sunday, and wow does Malaysia have a lot of talented people in the arts scene. From music, dance and films, it’s great to see that the community is buzzing with people who are very passionate about what they do.

I’m guilty of only watching some of Yasmin Ahmad’s work for the first time at the festival. And I have to say that I really enjoyed her films. Even though these were old films, they were so relevant to our Malaysian society, and is still very relevant today.

I think the arts have always been one of the least favoured “careers”, mainly because there is a lot of uncertainty about whether it will pay well, therefore most people have always preferred to go to the safe jobs, such as accounting or engineering. And parents and schools tend to advise children to focus on these safe jobs. This doesn’t just apply to Malaysia, it applies to almost every country in the world right now.

Yet, when I was standing there watching these people perform, I saw a lot of passion, enthusiasm, and they look so alive. They were clearly very “into” their performance, and you could tell from their facial expressions, body language and the sheer energy that was in the room. Some of these performers do this while holding on to a day job, and  I wondered if they were the same at these day jobs. My guess is probably not.

So it all comes back to this – choosing to do something you love, is the best way to make you happy. We spend most of our time at our jobs, why shouldn’t we enjoy it?

There is an iconic TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson about the importance of doing something you are passionate about. And he extends this to education’s role in ensuring that the arts should be given equal weight as the other more traditional subjects such as math and science. I was surprised when I found out recently that many people in Malaysia have not actually seen this talk, so I will share this video here. And I hope it changes your life.