Photo: Miguel Henriques
“You look like an idiot.”
That was the first time I’d tried public speaking as an adult (well, I was barely an adult at eighteen), and a member of the audience told me that straight to my face. Harsh? Maybe. But maybe you’d think the same after I give you some context.
Photo: Rita Morais
I feel I should clear things up before you guys go grabbing the pitchforks. The title doesn’t condone you lying—and you shouldn’t try to pass yourself off as something you’re not—but you can reframe a story so that it matches your narrative.
Photo: Austin Distel
Freelance writing is the dream, isn’t it?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably fantasised about combining your wordsmithery with the nomad lifestyle. What an image that’d be, occasionally taking your eyes off the mountainous horizon of Costa Rica to reply to a work e-mail, one that’d celebrate your great work and promise your payment before the day’s end.
Photo: Timothy Eberly
I had many unorthodox interests growing up—I wanted to be a magician, an X-Games rollerblader, a breakdancer, a pro gamer, an MMA fighter—and thanks to the invention of the internet, I was able to truly learn just how lacking my country was when it came to these new interests.
For instance, instead of mixed martial arts (MMA), I would train kickboxing, only because it was one of the few martial arts gyms in Malaysian that didn’t involve Silat, Karate, or Taekwondo.
Photo: Dane Deaner
I remember reading a travel magazine and browsing the list of editors and writers, wondering how I could secure such a sweet gig. I used to picture these writers as a team of handpicked talents, each so sure of their craft, writers who could fly to Myanmar and find themselves a story behind every temple.
I would later land one such job and learn that things weren’t so mystical behind the scenes. The writers had trouble coming up with story ideas, their work often met the chopping block, and the editorial team didn’t function as smoothly as I had thought it would.