When I was five, my parents and I went to watch the first movie I ever saw. It was a story about an artist with a magic brush and everything he painted became alive. He painted birds and they flew away. He painted fish and they swam away in the river. Finally he painted a woman, she became alive and they fell in love. When we came home that day after the movie, I started to draw a portrait of the painter on the floor with some cake powder belonging to my mother. That was my first portrait.
Ever since that day, art has become my life. I would spent hours making sketches and drawings on anything I could find – cardboards, wrapping papers, newspapers, walls etc. In school, my textbooks were filled with sketches and cartoons on every unprinted inch of the page.
Years later, I started working as an editorial artist in KL. On one weekend back in Malacca, a little voice told me to go to France to paint. A few months later, I quit my job and flew to Aix-en-Provence, France. I did not even know where it was. I just followed my heart. After flying from KL to Paris and Paris to Marseille, I took a bus to Aix-en-Provence. After getting off the bus, I put my suitcase on the sidewalk, sat on it and asked silently.
“OK, I’m here in France now. What do I do next?”
As soon as I finished asking, a lady walked up to me and spoke to me in English. “Go to the building over there,” pointing to the Office du Tourisme. “They will help you find a room.” And I did, and began my sojourn in France.
The road wasn’t smooth and easy, but I believe that if you dare to follow your heart, the Universe will always be there to take care of you. There were days when there was nothing much on the dinner table but there will always be someone who will bring some cheese and wine in exchange for some drawings or sketches.
After a few years, I had another “message” to return to Malacca to set up an art centre in the old quarters of Jonker Street. Thus, The Orangutan House was born.
I believe that we all come to this world for different reasons. Some are born to be teachers, some entrepreneurs and some artists. No everyone come here to be a doctor or an engineer. Let an oak tree be an oak tree and a bonsai be a bonsai. Do not mould an oak tree to be a prized bonsai.
Like the Yin and Yang, there are two sides to everything. If there’s a positive, there must be a negative. If there’s light, there must also be darkness. Nothing is good or bad. They just are. The same applies to us too. We are all different, but we are similar. We’re the same, yet we are all different.