Next Gen Next Gen en Making it her own
She started Milk & Honey just last Dec, which initially sold enamel pins. She then ventured into scented soy candles and recently, patches.

We speak to the former barista and assistant manager at Roost – she's currently a public relations executive – to find out how it's like merging a creative side with a small business.

Growing up, were you always exposed to art?

Yes, I would say so. I had a friend in primary school who was just very creative naturally. I asked her where she learned to draw and paint so well, and she told me to join the free art classes that were held in the school. I did, and that was where I learned how to handle a brush properly, draw properly, and how to blend colours. That's how my interest in art started.

When did you realise you were artistically inclined?

In high school, we had a subject called Pendidikan Seni & Lukis. I always looked forward to the classes, but then I thought it was because I enjoyed the classes, that's why I did well in them.

It wasn't until one time my teacher told me I may have an art skill I should harness. He got my friends and I to paint the school with murals. Every time we painted, people who walked past would tell us we were really good at it.

The compliments stuck with me and I thought that perhaps, after I graduated from high school, I could venture into art.

How did Milk & Honey come about?

It was thanks to my own interest in collecting pins. I was constantly buying designs drawn by other people so I thought, maybe I could come up with my own designs and if other people liked them, they could purchase it. The thought of having people buy my designs and pieces made me very happy to just share this joy of little, tiny enamel pins.

How do you get inspiration to design your enamel pins?

Inspiration comes from everywhere; it could be from a television series I'm bingeing on, snacks that I like, or phrases that I say.

For my monster pins, they were actually designed back in high school. I completely forgot about them until earlier this year when my mother brought it up.

She suggested that I turn them into enamel pins, because no one else has them, and no one else knew about them. I took her advice and even gave them colours, names, and characters.

How did Milk & Honey evolve from enamel pins to different products like scented soy candles and patches?

I've always been interested in details and candle-making requires a lot of thought-processes.

When I finally sat down after days of researching, I made a small batch and realise how important aromatherapy is to people today. We're so busy with our hectic lives that we sometimes need time for ourselves just to settle down and be calm. Scented soy candles have the ability to do that. I wanted to make it in a way people can afford it and be soothed by something so simple.

As for patches, I don't make them myself but I collect them throughout my travels. It's a great way to personalise your wardrobe by putting these little items on your jacket, bag, or shirt.

If you buy your clothes from say, H&M, you're bound to bump into someone in the mall with the same outfit. To really make it your own, patches and pins are the way to go.

How do you plan to expand Milk & Honey as a brand?

For me, right now the focus is to establish the brand as an enamel pin brand before venturing into a holistic lifestyle brand.

Along the way, I will need to have more original designs to work with. I plan to have pop up stores in bazaars to get my brand out there and see how my designs connect with the local community.

My enamel pins sell well overseas, but I also want them to sell well locally. Hence, bazaars are the way to go.]]>
Next gen Thu, 23 Nov 2017 09:24:36 +0000 Pheony Chin 505797 at
A class act
"After the first movie, I continued to learn more about acting. Some days I work on camera work, photo shoots and even learn to sing which helps me enhance my voice while also improving my English and Chinese language," the 13-year-old said.

Released today, The Kid from The Big Apple 2: Before We Forget reunites Tommy Tam (Ti Lung) and Tan as everyone's favourite grandfather-granddaughter duo. Jason Tan also reprises his role as Ah Bao while Debbie Goh takes over the role of Sarah's mother, Sophia Lin, and joining the cast is Hong Kong's Shaun Tam.

How have you improved from the first movie?

I think in the first movie I didn't know how to act as Sarah. I needed a lot of time to practise and needed the director to guide me. This time I can immerse myself in the character and be just like her. I learned that sometimes if I felt I didn't do the scene well, I could request to do it again.

How do you feel working with your on-screen grandfather?

The first time working with him I felt he is a veteran actor so I must respect him but now working with him, I can be his friend more than a granddaughter. He has taught me many things in acting and during shoots, he told me I can act this way and he will help me along the way. Every advice he has given me is important but the one that stuck was not to think there is a camera and that I am the character in the movie.

How do you think you are similar and different to your character?

In the real world, I am a tomboy unlike Sarah who is more feminine. In terms of similarity, she likes to learn and search for new and special things. I am like that too.

In your opinion, what does an actress need?

I think using your heart to act is very important, and having a strong command of the English language.

How did your parents react to you being cast?

Their first reaction was "wow, my daughter can act" but they said I can continue to do what I like as long as I keep up with my studies.

How do you feel about your schoolmates recognising you as Sarah?

On the first day of secondary school, many were surprised to know I was Sarah. Many of them were already my fans, and wanted to take photographs with me and get my autograph. Now they are less star-struck and enjoy talking to me about acting.

Will you continue acting?

I don't know as I still need to learn and find myself. If anyone decides to offer me a role, I will need to ask my mum first.

If you weren't an actress, what would you be?

A chef. But I won't say I will go to culinary school. It is just my interest and hobby. My dream is to become a YouTuber.

What's your advice for those who are the same age as you?

Don't give up and try your best to do what you want to do. Remember that continuous learning is very important, and don't be a bad person.]]>
Next gen Thu, 16 Nov 2017 08:27:35 +0000 Yee Jie Min 503729 at
Game on
Gaming was a hobby, a dream to him. It never occurred to him that he would be making a living one day as the gaming editor of or that he would become the talent manager for young gamers eGG Network's Tashbunny, Keegan "Keegs" Tan from MBT, and YouTuber Amanda "HamletVA" Yow.

It wasn't easy getting there though. A three-month internship at a PR agency made him realise the PR life didn't suit him. Taking a great leap of faith, in 2015, he created The Assemblage, a gaming and tech news portal at a time when the Malaysian gaming industry was nearly non-existent.

While he gained many skills running the portal, the income wasn't enough to get by on which led to a three-month stint as a writer for an automotive trading platform. At this point, he had gained a little fame for his work on The Assemblage and he landed a gig as the editor of Gamehubs, a regional media outlet for all things gaming.

The Assemblage took a lot of energy and time and the 24-year-old was tired of running it all alone so he gave it up and the news portal was absorbed by where he is currently the gaming editor.

Just like the games he plays and reviews, his story is full of twists and turns but it isn't over yet.

You've worn multiple hats as an editor, a gaming journalist, a gamer, and the founder of your own gaming website. Which role was the most challenging and why was this so?

It would definitely have to be the founder role since I had to juggle everything by myself. I didn't have the funds to get a proper team for myself so I had to do content creation, website development, server management, video editing, and advertising all by myself.

I barely had time for myself but it was a good experience nonetheless as I managed to pick up quite a number of skills and contacts that I wouldn't have otherwise, and it made me much more competent and valuable in the job market.

Who are your heroes?

X-Play's Adam Sessler as he's the one who made me want to be a gaming journalist back when I was growing up. The late Satoru Iwata, as the amount of hard work he put in not only helped HAL Laboratories and Nintendo grow, but also helped the gaming industry grow. It was inspiring to see how one man could do so much and became such a notable figure in this world.

What misconceptions about gamers frustrate you the most?

The first misconception about gamers that I don't like is that gamers are an unsociable bunch. Every time I try to prove them wrong by showing myself as an example, it's always "I don't mean you …" There are a bunch of us who enjoy outdoor activities, work regular jobs, attend social events, and do stuff regular people do.

The other one is the belief that gamers are just wasting their lives away. To us, gaming is a form of entertainment just like watching movies or reading books. Some of us make money doing it while others are just playing games purely for entertainment. There's no harm in that.

What do you look for in a game?

The story. I want a game to be able to tell me a story that will either blow my mind, affect me emotionally, or just something to take my brain off from reality. Even if a game doesn't tell you the story directly, as long as there's some sort of lore behind the game that I can research on, I'm more than happy there.

Then comes the gameplay aspect. Whether it's combat mechanics, how you travel from place to place or anything that you have to do in the game. While others may disagree, I feel that story takes priority over gameplay. You could be chopping wood, hunting for treasure, or saving the damsel in distress but if they're not going to give me a good reason for it, it would just be another chore that I couldn't care about.]]>
Next gen Tue, 14 Nov 2017 09:25:26 +0000 Zoe Liew 503054 at
From starving to successful
Self-deprecating to a fault, and completely vacant in the stereotypes often associated to the more pretentious circle of artists, Yim claims, "I had no other talent. When I was in Form 3, I tried hard to study all the subjects, but my results remained bad. I felt like maybe I had no talent in studying, and that perhaps art is the only choice."

Not being bound by the shackles of responsibility as the youngest in her family, Yim would go on to join an art school, winning multiple awards and being part of various exhibitions along the way, before her big break came last year.

After almost seven years of living as a "starving artist", Yim submitted her embroidered artwork The Floating Castle for United Overseas Bank's 2016 Painting of the Year competition, ultimately snagging the US$25,000, (RM105,050) grand prize and a residency programme in Japan's Fukuoka Asian Art Museum.

Do you come from an artistically inclined family?

My mum loves craft. Before our family had financial problems, she would do crafts and decorations, but after, she had to work. By the time I was born, she had stopped completely. As for my father, he doesn't love art, and doesn't comment on my involvement in it.
As my mum was a chef, she would decorate the food so we would have the appetite to eat. I used to help her, when she would take the time to arrange things like carrots into flower shapes, small things that made the dishes look nice. It fascinated me.

Did they encourage you when you chose art?

As a first year student in college, I studied the basics of drawing, and when my mother saw my drawings, she responded "Oh, this is so realistic. My daughter painted this!" Initially they were really happy for what I could do, but after graduation, they were worried that art could not help me survive.

I tried to alleviate their worries, so I never asked them for money, and I had to work many jobs to survive, but after winning the prize money, I think they gradually began to believe in my ability.

Do you think it's necessary to study art in order to create art?

No, it's not necessary. There are artists without an art background, but they still do quite well. Yet what I cannot deny is that art school really helps us to find our voice. After I left high school, I knew nothing about art. But studying Fine Arts in Dasein Academy of Art really gave me a good guideline on how I could become an artist and which direction I could go towards.

What made you join UOB Malaysia's Painting of the Year competition?

I think you know! (laughs) The money! Other than the prize, I knew the winners from previous years. Gan Tee Sheng (2013's UOB Painting of the Year winner) is my best friend and I saw how his life changed after he won due to getting a lot of different opportunities.

At the time, I was still very poor and I had to do a lot of different jobs to sustain my livelihood, so I used to dream maybe I could join this competition, and it could change my life. I did not think I would win, as my experience was mostly in installation art pieces and sculptures, whereas the UOB competition were about paintings. I tried my luck.

Where do you get your inspiration for art from?

I grew up in KL, living in a flat with four houses. I never spoke to my neighbours, or knew anything about them. After I studied in college, I had a project about research and photography in Malacca. In my very first trip, I saw the difference while living with my friend's family in their neighbourhood, where everyone shared their food and conversed with each other as part of a community. It was very new to me. It made me think about the environment and the relationships between people.

Why was it important for you to highlight culture and tradition through art?

We study the past to know the future. We need to know who we are. This is the topic I felt would interest others as much as it interested me. Where we come from, who we are. I think this is important.

What was the experience that you took away from your Fukuoka Asian Art Museum residency programme?

It was my first time to Japan. I felt like the way they spoke and treated each other is so much different than what I had seen here. It was an interesting experience, because that environment affected how I talked and thought about things, even the language.]]>
Next gen Thu, 09 Nov 2017 07:54:06 +0000 Mark Mathen Victor 501500 at
Springboarding to success
Alongside the other children in the group, Cheong began training for the sport and the rest is, as they say, history. However, glory only came much later in her career when she bagged a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, and finally won gold in the women's 10m platform individual final at the 2017 World Aquatics Championship held in Budapest, Hungary in July this year.

Growing up, did you ever imagine yourself to be a national athlete?

Of course, I never imagined I would be one of the national athletes in Malaysia to compete worldwide, but I feel really proud to be a national athlete.

When the national anthem plays, our flag is raised high up, and that really does bring pride and joy to the whole nation, that feeling is simply amazing.

As an athlete, I never really thought much about it but when people around me are happy and excited while telling me they are so proud of me that was when I realised the impact of it all.

In another interview, your coach Yang Zhu Liang mentioned you were previously an inconsistent diver. What changed and made you to become a world champion?

Diving is a technique-based sport. You can't always yield the same result 100% – anything can happen during training and also competitions. That is why, the right techniques and consistent training is very important in diving.

My techniques were not great when I was younger, but I am truly grateful that coach Yang Zhu Liang and the other coaches didn't give up on me, including the important people behind the scenes.

Thanks to their hard work and dedication, I could become a world champion in diving today. Still, I will continue working hard to polish my techniques and try to be more consistent.

How do you persevere and continue working hard to achieve your goals as a world champion diver?

My mindset is to not give up easily. Since I had chosen this path, I need to continue until the very end. Whatever we choose to pursue, it will never be an easy task, even more so for me when I'm suffering from injuries but still need to train.

Coaches may be harsh at times, but I know it means they truly care and want me to excel. Without a coach to push me, I will never know if I could exceed my own limitations. I believe with my hard work and passion, one day I would succeed.

I admit I had been inconsistent in competitions in the past. Maybe even in the future, the same thing could happen too. Nobody is perfect all the time. But when bad things happen, I choose to be optimistic and stay strong despite the failures. I will choose to learn from mistakes and return stronger. It doesn't matter how many times you fall, what really matters is how you get back up. I truly believe persistence and perseverance leads to victory.

What's a typical day like for you?

I usually rise at 7.30am, have a regular breakfast, and then begin my training at 8.30am. Training sessions could sometimes be in the gym, dryland training for diving – it all depends on the coach's arrangement.

I break for lunch at noon, have a short nap, and resume training at 3pm. Then at 7pm, I have my dinner and rest. This is considered a full day of training. However, if we have studies or classes, we would need to inform our new arrangements with the coach.]]>
Next gen Tue, 07 Nov 2017 09:30:52 +0000 Peony Chin 500811 at
Tasty morsels
"When we came up with the idea, I started telling my friends about it but most of them didn't believe we could do it. They wondered how we could prepare food on a scooter, but we were certain and confident that it would work out. Look at us now; we have proven that it can be done," Aiman said.

Serving a unique menu of toasted bread with different spreads, sandwiches and special coffees, Aiman and Aina each drive a scooter to their regular location in Setia Taipan with a one-of-a-kind crate fastened on the back.

They don't just use any scooter, but the Italian brand, Vespa. As avid Vespa fans, they both own eight vintage Vespas and the two which are used for business is a 1964 Vespa VBB 150 and a 1973 Vespa Sprint 150.

Open from 8.30pm to 2am, customers get to pick among three different buns – original, charcoal and chocolate – which are made by Aiman's father who is deeply passionate about baking and has his own bakery. You also get to pick the spread including chocolate, peanut butter, strawberry, kaya and butter. They also offer two types of sandwiches, chicken and seafood, as well as durian white coffee and hazelnut coffee, which is Aiman's mother's own recipe which she turned into a business.

What inspired TABS?

Aiman: We were looking for an idea how we could turn our hobby of collecting Vespas into a business. We started brainstorming how we could use the many Vespas we had just sitting at home.
Aina: Because Aiman's parents both had their own products, we decided to leverage on that.
Aiman: Combining that with Aina's passion for cooking, that was how TABS came about.

How did it all come together?

Aiman: I started by sketching the design and measurements of the crate – how many layers it needed to fit 200 buns. I then sourced for the materials and put them together. It took me three attempts to get it right. The crates aren't welded to the scooters and can be detached. We currently have three crates; two with us and one at our branch in Selayang.
Aina: Coming up with the menu, we taste everything before serving it to the customers. The buns are baked three times a week and we buy the spreads in bulk to maintain the stock. Other ingredients such as the vegetables, chicken and seafood are sourced daily to maintain its freshness.

What are your best sellers?

Aiman: Our best sellers are toasted bread with banana and kaya, chocolate and peanut, strawberry cheese, kaya cheese, and double mozzarella chicken.

What is the weirdest request from customers?

Aiman: We accept requests from customers as long as they are very sure about their choices. We got a customer who asked to combine chicken and chocolate and apparently, it works!

Will there be new items on the menu?

Aina: We are going to produce a hotdog bun and to go with it, we are making our own lamb sausage.

Any plans of expansion?

Aiman: We want to turn it into a franchise and open more branches so other people can try what we offer. We are also keen to invite those interested to open their own franchise with us. We can provide the Vespa, if they don't have one, the crate as well as all the ingredients that make the menu. Our aim is to have 10 branches next year.

What is your ultimate dream?

Aiman: We plan to open a cafe which will display all of our Vespas while telling the history of Vespa.
Aina: We also want to display our collectors' items. When you come in you can see items from the 60s to the 90s and at the same time, enjoy the food.
Aiman: I want to create an environment resembling a museum. This is our long-term plan and we are aiming to realise it in three years.]]>
Next gen Thu, 02 Nov 2017 07:24:47 +0000 Yee Jie Min 499281 at
Self-expression through football
While he hasn’t broken anything at home due to practising football tricks, his family is largely apathetic towards his hobby, as Lee claims, “They (parents) don’t really like what I’m doing. After understanding that it’s a hobby, they have become warmer with it, but they don’t really support me.”

Though the 21-year-old is currently pursuing a degree in pharmacy, Lee has also been actively practising freestyle football over the past four years, taking part in competitions, talent shows, and performances along the way to make his mark as a professional freestyle footballer.

Why didn’t you go into professional football instead?

Ever since I was young, I always wanted to be different than normal people. Freestyle football is not just a sport, it’s an amalgam of sports, music, and art. It has given me the opportunity and platform to express myself, as it’s different compared to traditional football, where I wouldn’t have a chance to express myself.

During performances, I can see the joy, excitement, and happiness the activity brings to my viewers, and it gives me great satisfaction.

What is the kind of training that goes into freestyle football?

It’s divided into three parts. The first part of training is pushing your physical abilities to break all your limitations in doing football tricks. In it, there are three divisions; the upper body’s control over the ball using the head, neck, shoulder; the lower body part, used for juggling the ball, doing tricks with your heels, all while standing; the final part involves tricks done while on the ground.

Basically, I’m trying to break my physical limit and personal records in these different areas. Repetition breeds familiarity.

The second part in training involves the preparation of sets and routines. During a competition or performance, no one likes to see the same tricks over and over again; the audience expects different tricks. What I do is combine tricks and transitions. The last part is the hardest part; designing your own trick. This is important, especially in international competitions.

Have you ever suffered from stage fright?

The first time I started performing, stage fright was commonplace. Luckily I had the encouraging support of friends that I performed with. The first time I was on stage was brief, but it was still nerve-racking. As time progressed, I overcame fears by setting my mind on what I had to, and not on who I wanted to impress.

The confidence boost from performing in front of Amber Chia and other prominent personalities definitely helped. Essentially, I got used to it as adrenaline washed over me.

How do you usually prep yourself before a competition or show?

Two weeks before the date of the event, I’d train solely for the routine so that it would become second nature.
There’s also the usual physical requirements I’ll try to achieve; proper rest, sufficient sleep, appropriate diet, and not overtraining.

Is freestyle football a feasible method of playing in a normal football match?

Definitely. Freestyle football consists of a lot of ground and taunting moves, such as dribbling past opponents, techniques that are shortcuts to get pass opponents. Professional footballers such as Ronaldo and Neymar also practise freestyle football in their training.

How long do you see yourself doing this?

I would keep doing this for as long as my body is physically capable of handling it. I see freestyle football as not just a sport, but also as a form of therapeutic, meditative exercise that helps release stress, allowing me to be calmer. It’s not just a sport, but a lifestyle.

Do you have advice for those who wish to get into freestyle football?

Don’t give up, even though it’ll certainly be disappointing and frustrating at the start, because you’ll be chasing the ball more than practising the tricks. Even when that happens, just keep pushing through the training. When I started juggling the ball at home, I was often scolded by my parents, but it eventually led me to meet the likes of Amber Chia.]]>
Next gen Thu, 26 Oct 2017 05:44:55 +0000 theSundaily 496832 at
Give me a beat
ABeatC or his real name Lou Soong Huey is one of them. He has been doing it professionally for more than 10 years. The 26-year-old lad is now doing more than just mimicking musical instrument with his mouth. He is trying to get the local beat-boxer community together while guiding new talents by sharing his own personal journey and experience.

“I am currently working on four different jobs at the same time. I run my own event company called Beatnation as well as a jewellery line, but my main passion will always be beat-boxing. I want to continue on creating music with beat-boxing for as long as I live,” said ABeatC.

What draws you towards beat-boxing instead of more conventional musical skills like singing, rapping or playing instruments?

I’m not a really good singer when I first started. In fact, I’m still taking singing lessons right now. Beat-boxing is quite easy to learn. I can make just about any sound with my mouth as the instrument. There are just so many things that I can do with beat-boxing. I am drawn to the variability of it.

What makes you stand out from other beat-boxers in the local scene?

Being one of the first-gen beat-boxers in Malaysia, I always perceive beat-boxing differently from others. I see it as more than just a global trend. I’m not into trends at all and always have the tendency of going towards the opposite direction.

Are there any beat-boxers that you look up to or modelled your career after?

When I first started, I used to look up to French beat-boxer Eklipse. I was blown away by his skills and how versatile he was. Now I see him more as a reference because of how far beat-boxing has grown. Another one is American beat-boxer Reeps who never fails to astound me.

Could you share a little bit about your experience backpacking and busking across Europe in 2014?

I travelled with my friends from Beijing heading to Europe through Mongolia and Russia before continuing on into Turkey, Armenia and finally India. The whole idea was to see the world via land. We walked a lot and hitch-hiked from one destination to the next one. We met some really good people and, of course, we had our fair share of unpleasant memories throughout the 13 months.

I saw a lot of buskers in the streets of Amsterdam. I was so inspired by them and bought an amplifier to travel around with. Whenever there was a crowd, I just put it down and start performing. Without realising it, I have actually performed across Europe. The entire backpacking trip was turned into my own mini European Tour (chuckles).

What is Beatnation all about?

It is an event company that started off as a beat-boxing community. I ran the community with my partner, Coex, to help gain exposure for all of us as we were already growing in numbers.
We did (beat-boxing) battles, workshops along with something that we called Beat Camp. After a while we realised we were doing everything too intensely and decided to change our direction into an event company focusing on beat-boxing, particularly youth-centric projects and events.

Could you take us through the process of releasing the single Losing You?

I wrote the song and gave it to my producer, Daekim and his girlfriend Jocelyn aka Stemilyn, who is the featured vocalist in the song. I was really surprised with the end result. Daekim realised my vision to combine beat-boxing and vocals with this song. I wanted to highlight beat-boxing as it is instead of making it sound like musical instruments. If you listen closely, you can still hear my tone.

What can we look forward to from ABeatC this year?

I will be releasing another single within this couple of months. There will be a six-song EP to follow towards the end of the year. All the songs will have beat-boxing elements in it and written based on my travel experience.
Beatnation is also planning a Beat Camp. This time the focus will be on youngsters with learning abilities. Beat-boxing could be a good skill for them to have and we are providing the tools that they need. We never know they could be the next Timbaland or Justin Timberlake.]]>
Next gen Thu, 19 Oct 2017 07:54:25 +0000 theSundaily 494391 at
Maw of the alligator
Wresting a streak of seven undefeated wins in mixed martial arts tournaments, Agilan would go on to challenge ONE Welterweight Champion, Ben Askren, before almost immediately suffering a loss to Askren by submission via an arm triangle choke in the first round of their much anticipated title match.

Critics of the 22-year-old cage fighter would say that his loss in May was an inevitable outcome due to overconfidence, or the apparent lack of hubris in challenging an Olympic wrestler so soon into his professional mixed martial arts career.

Striking closer parallels to Rocky Balboa than to Icarus, the hulking 175cm Agilan, sporting a dorky demeanour, is the antithesis of overconfidence, and anyone that has ever watched a Rocky film in their life would know that there is nothing better than the story of an underdog bouncing back from a crippling loss, fists clenched, stronger than before.

This is exactly what Agilan demonstrated on Aug 18, returning three months after the match with Askren, to decisively defeat Egypt’s Sherif Mohamed, wresting his eighth win on his 22nd birthday.

How did you get the nickname ‘Alligator’?

It’s a funny story. I fought in a tournament in Johor Baru. It was my first, and I had to fight someone that had more experience than me. His nickname was “Raging Bull”. To sell tickets, they nicknamed me “Alligator”, so that it looks nice. “Raging Bull vs. the Alligator”. Marketing, you know?

In which areas of mixed martial arts are you good at and trying to improve upon?

I’m trying to improve on everything, but my bread and butter is grappling. I like jiujitsu, grappling and wall wrestling. I’m good in these areas, but I’m trying to get better at it. I would also like to get better at striking.

Who are the people that keep you grounded in your life, those that stop the fame and glory from getting to your head?

My girlfriend manages everything for me. She’s always reminding me what I should do, what I should not, how to speak, and how not to speak. There’s a lot of things I’m still learning. My dad always tells me, “If you cannot be a great person, try to be a good person. Set a good example.” I just try to be a good person, and when I fight, I try to rip people’s heads off.

I imagine someone has to be in a different mindset, when they get in the cage and when they get out, to be able to flip that switch on and off. Have you ever left the switch on after a fight?

Never, but I get angry very fast. I’m still learning how to control my anger, but when in fights, I don’t get angry; I’m calm, yet aggressive. It’s hard to put anger, calm and aggressiveness together.
During training, I try to stay calm and aggressive, and it never happens, but when I fight, it comes. It is something that I’m blessed with I guess; a state of mind that only comes when it needs to.

In February, you began gunning for Ben Askren’s blood. What is your next goal?

After Askren, I’m not going to be speeding everything up, and I don’t want to rush anything again. I’ve learned a lot after my loss. I’m just taking my time now, especially to reinvent myself into a better athlete, not only for upcoming fights, but for the future.

As someone that was bullied in school, triumphed over the trauma, and made something of yourself, do you have advice for kids who are currently going through what you went through?

The best thing you can do against bullies is to ignore them, and prove that you’re worth better in life, and to prove that, the only thing you can do is improve yourself; work hard, study hard, pass your examinations, become somebody.
In the eyes of certain people, you’ll be worth something, but you’ll never be worth anything in everyone’s eyes. Do your best to ignore bullies. That way you stay out of trouble, and they stay out of trouble. Trouble comes from both sides. The only way to live life is to forgive and forget.]]>
Next gen Tue, 17 Oct 2017 07:57:33 +0000 theSundaily 493726 at
Taking centre stage
How has acting helped you in becoming a director/stage manager?

The stage manager stint was a one-off thing as the director was my acting teacher and she asked me to come on board as a stage manager. This year, I am focusing on directing and going on a one-year long directing programme. It's a masters level training without certification. I think having training in acting, I am able to see things from the actor's perspective as a director. This helps me in being a director as I then can relate from an actor's point of view.

What's your favourite show/stage show?

I think the one I really enjoyed acting in and had a lot of fun acting in was a show I did last year with Calvin Wong in KLPac called 16-Bit Coriolanus. It's a Shakespeare play done in a video game style. I had to play at least five characters in one and a half hours. The costume changes, the fight sequences – it was very fun and to finally to do a Shakespeare play in a modern way, it was the best.

Who do you look up to?

In terms of directing, I really look up to Christopher Ling of Theatre 360, his directing style intricates me; he has this eye for visuals. Another director I look up to is Calvin – his style and I love the way he directs, communicates and guides actors. Also, one of my earliest mentors back in 2012 to 2013, Alex Chua, has been a mentor and figure I look up to during my early acting days. His expertise is just one of a kind.

In terms of acting, on the top of my head, I really look up to Sharifah Amani. I've only seen her as someone who acts for TV or film but then, two years ago I saw her on stage at DPAC. It was called Another Country, where Malaysian actors were acting out a Singapore story and vice versa; she blew me away. Her presence on stage and her techniques as well, was something I look up to.

When you have a five-minute break during rehearsal, what do you spend that time doing?

The first thing I do is, I use the washroom, make coffee or a drink and check my phone. During that time, I really take a break from my character.

What do you do when you're not doing theatre?

I actually teach. I have been freelancing as a drama facilitator for children aged four to teenagers for the past four and a half years. That's my stable financial income. I teach all over the place around Klang Valley from schools, home schools to centres.

What's the last thing you do before you step out on stage, or before the curtain goes up?

We always do warm ups, individually or as a cast.]]>
Next gen Fri, 13 Oct 2017 01:23:20 +0000 Brianne Jasmin Aeria 492422 at