Scoring on stage
Article from the Sun daily by Bissme S. (posted on 8 May 2018)
KUALA LUMPUR-BORN Abimanyu Masilamani is a man of many talents. The 28-year-old is an actor, singer, songwriter, scriptwriter, and voiceover talent. He has also appeared in various theatre productions, films, television shows and advertisements.
In 2016, his work in the theatre production Sand The Musical earned him the Boh Cameronian Arts Award for Best Performance in A Lead Role.
More recently he received praise for his performance in OlaBola The Musical, where he played goalkeeper Spiderman Muthu. Some fans even commented that he had a voice like Motown legend Stevie Wonder.
Recently, he spoke with theSun about his evolving career.
What was your childhood like?
My dad was a corporate trainer before he retired, and my mom is a housewife. I am their only child. Growing up alone, without siblings, can spark your imagination. You create a world of your own.
How did your singing and acting career begin?
I am a self-taught singer and actor. I’ve loved singing ever since I was young. I am always humming songs.
My grandfather was a musician. He played the accordion, [and] was even in a band. When I was a teenager, I was ‘thrown’ into school plays. I would act, direct, and write scripts.
All these activities have indirectly influenced my love for entertainment.
Did you join the entertainment scene after finishing school?
No. I took a few short courses in IT and became a network engineer. But deep inside, I wanted to be a singer and actor. So, four years ago, I quit my job to focus 100% [on] my singing and acting career.
I knew I was taking a huge risk when I left a stable paying job. But I knew if I did not take this risk, I would live to regret it. I also became a part-time fitness trainer to earn extra income.
Do you remember the first audition you attended?
Yes. It was for the musical called Mud KL. The story centres on three friends of different racial backgrounds – Mamat, Meng, and Muthiah –who came to the big city of Kuala Lumpur to find a better life. They have to go through various obstacles before finding success.
I wanted the role of Muthiah. But I did not pass the audition. A few weeks later the company Enfinity, which auditioned me for Mud KL, called me back and cast me in P. Ramlee The Musical. (Enfinity is also the production company behind OlaBola the Musical.)
Tell us about your future projects.
I will be acting in my first feature film. It’s a horror-thriller about a group of friends who spend a night in a haunted resort.
You have also formed a music band.
It is called Abi & Co. There are four of us in it. We play a fusion of ‘western’ and Indian classical music. We have already produced several English- and Tamil-language singles.
What is your advice for someone who wants to break into the Malaysian entertainment scene?
The journey within the entertainment world is full of challenges. There will be a lot of rejection. But you must learn to deal with the disappointment. You must learn to pick up the pieces, move on, and continue to pursue your dreams.
What is the greatest misconception people have about the local entertainment industry?
People used to tell me that I will [face discrimination] in the Malaysian entertainment scene because of my skin colour. They said [most people] prefer those with fairer skin, so I will be sidelined.
Let me tell you that this is not true. If you are willing to work hard, you will be rewarded. In 2016, I won a Boh Cameronian Arts Award. That is enough to tell you I have not been discriminated against.
Hip to be square
Article from the Sun daily by Yeo Chia Hui (posted on 6th Oct 2015)
TWENTY two-year-old Trisha Toh started out as a regular user of Instagram.
However, what started out as a platform for her to document her food adventure has now propelled her into a very accomplished photographer, photo and food stylist.
Her Instagram feed is comprised of pictures so aesthetically pleasing that it more than explains her fan base of 67, 000 followers.
"Since I was young, my mother would bring me and my brother out to explore new places to eat. It was like a treat; so after I graduated from high school I decided to continue doing this on my own. This was back in 2012 when the local food scene began to pick up. Then a while ago, a close friend, who is also a talented "Instagrammer", introduced me to her client who was looking for someone to shoot their new products. Despite the doubts I had, I went ahead with it and it turned out that they liked my work. Now people are starting to recognise me although it's mostly through Instagram recommendations," said the freelance creative.
A soon-to-be tourism and event management graduate, Toh said that this passion of hers remains a hobby as what she studied is completely different. Even then, her résumé is quite impressive as it contains names such as DoubleTree by Hilton, Chatime Malaysia, Tino's Pizza, and The Spice Peninsula Co.
She also coorganised #ChasingSquares last year, a mobile photography exhibition which raised funds for underprivileged Malaysian youths.
What exactly does a photo stylist do?
There are many categories of photo styling, but since I work with food a lot I'd say I'm a food stylist. Food stylists assist the photographers in making the food look good for the camera. Sometimes, we have to get manipulative with the food because we need to show the best angle. And you know how food looks good in some pictures? Yeah, sometimes they aren't edible because you do not know the things that we may have done with it (chuckles).
How would you describe your photography style?
It changes over time but I focus a lot on the subject. It's about what I've done and where I've been, so it's always documenting what I'm experiencing. I'd say the mood of my pictures follows my own mood.
Would you also say that your style is minimalistic?
Minimalism is true as this theme omits everything that's not important, and focuses on what matters. I guess I do apply that a lotin my pictures because I always focus on the subject and the story more than anything else.
If a picture tells a thousand words, what do you want to convey through yours?
I guess it's about the present. What I'm ultimately aiming for in my pictures is that they're not styled – they're about living in the moment. I think it's important to forget about trends because that's not what photography is about. Photography is about capturing the moment and sharing it with people. There shouldn't be any competition about it, especially on Instagram.
Some people believe that Instagramphotography is not real photography. What do you think about this?
The beauty of photography is that it doesn't matter what platform you use because ultimately it's about the pictures that you take. For me especially, Instagram plays a huge role in what I do because it acts as a sort ofportfolio. By looking at your Instagram profile, clients are able to learn about you, your photography style and potential. It serves as a good platform.
• Find her at: @trishates.
• She uses: Canon EOS 600D.
• Her go-to editing apps: Snapseed and VSCO Cam.
• Photography tip: "Natural light is very important for a good picture."
• Portraits she wants to capture: Her grandmothers.
John meets jazz
Article from the Sun daily by Pam Kaur (posted on 15th Oct 2015)
JOHN Dip Silas (pix) began his musical journey at the tender age of five when he learnt classical music on the piano.
As a kid, his only exposure outside of classical music was playing in church on Sundays.
"I've always found classical music very structured and predetermined, where the rights and wrongs are veryclear. I did not want to stick to something so rigid. I wanted to play something more free, more expressive," shared Silas.
As his curiosity developed, Silas started listening to many different genres of contemporary music. It was during that period of searching when he discovered jazz.
"Jazz sounds very free and artistic. I realised that jazz could be the platform for me to express myself and break free from structure, classical music, and be unique," said Silas, who's a part-time tutor and facilitator at University of Malaya's music faculty.
With a burning passion to learn more, Silas packed his bags and left to study music at the Australian International Conservatorium of Music in Sydney. There, he met Gavin Ahearn, an Australian pianist, composer and producer, who's also Silas' lecturer. Ahearn's coaching deepened Silas' love and understanding for jazz, planting the genre in a special place of his heart.
Unlike many young Malaysians studying abroad, Silas did not have long-term plans to live and grow in a foreign land. He always knew that he would come home and develop his career here. Although jazz is not popular here, he believes God has a plan for him.
"I rather make a name in my homeland than in a foreign country," the 26 year-old added.
It has been over five years since Silas' return and he has been making a reputation for himself, having played alongside some of Malaysia's top musicians such as Juwita Suwito, John Thomas, and Daniel Fong. He has also played with internationally acclaimed musicians such as Michael Simon, Shunzo Ohno, and Mark Kelly. Silas recently played at the Publika Jazz Festival with Razlan Shah and at the KL international Jazz & Arts Festival with Najwa Mahiaddin too.
Currently, he is working on a project with veteran jazz pianist Michael Veerapen for the 2016 Malaysian Jazz Piano Festival and Competition.
Why did you choose the piano?
I grew up with the piano. The keys have always been part of my life. I was interested in the saxophone and bass but I found that it is hard to be a multiinstrumentalist if you do not have the finance to own the instrument, and the time to master each one. Although I've been playing for many years, I am still learning new ways to play better on the keys.
How is the local jazz industry doing?
Honestly, it is not very big in terms of the number of musicians and opportunities to play. We only have about three to four venues which are supportive of jazz music here in the Klang Valley. Jazz is underappreciated because it is not something that the younger generation listen to here in Malaysia. But as the local jazz community starts to grow, it opens an avenue for people to understand and enjoy jazz music.
Have you composed anything of your own?
I am focusing on writing nowadays, and one of the tunes I have written is called Bar One. I am also planning to record an album in the near future.
How do you balance your life, as a pianist and part-time lecturer, especially when your gigs are usually at night?
I am thankful that I am not overworked. However, I always ensure that I eat right and rest enough to keep going.
What is your advice for those who are passionate about jazz music?
Listen to real music and enjoy it before learning the instrument or the genre. My experiences with today's younger musicians are that they tend to pay too much time listening to current music.
Strokes of genius
Article from the Sun daily by Ong Kah Shin (posted on 27th Oct 2015)
IN the four years she was studying biochemistry and molecular biology at Brown University in Rhode Island, United States, Charis Loke was occupying herself with many things on the side. Being an artist at heart, Loke was attending all the animation, illustration and comparative literature classes she could find. She also learnt German, computer programming, African dance, and took lessons at the Rhode Island School of Design. To top it off, Brown University funded her to teach art classes to science students.
"Even though my Malaysian scholarship required me to graduate with a science degree, I spent most of my time in university doing what I loved after all – and that's the beauty of the American education system," said Loke.
She returned to Malaysia upon graduating, and joined non-profit organisation Teach for Malaysia (TFM) in late 2013. Loke is still serving under the programme, teaching English and art in a local secondary school while continuing to freelance as an illustrator. Her dream is to illustrate full-time, and conduct art workshops for the public instead of only teaching her own students.
"The ultimate goal is to keep making work that makes people think about the world around them, and inspires them to make art in their own way. That's what artists like Datuk Mohammad Nor Khalid (Lat) and Shaun Tan did for me. I loved Lat's work when I was growing up and I still am a big fan now," said the 24-year-old.
What do you like about art?
I like how illustrators tend to be quite collaborative, and that the Internet means there is a lower entry barrier nowadays for people around the world who want to get into art, especially younger people who may not be extremely well off. When I was in secondary school about eight to nine years ago, I was trading art with online friends from many different countries, and that gave me the confidence to continue making art. It's so easy to put your work out there nowadays.
How is the American art scene different from ours?
In terms of art education, they do seem to have a more hands on approach compared to the theoretical one in our national art syllabus. And I suppose you get paid more for illustration jobs there. In both cases, there's the problem of people who think artists can work for free.
Which of your artwork are you most proud of, and why?
The Dinner comic that I made two years ago seems to resonate with a lot of people. It's an interactive comic about relatives who ask about your career choices. After I put it online, many complete strangers sent me emails about how they really identified with it. In terms of artwork, it's not great – the drawing quality is passable.
But it was about a topic that lots of Malaysians could identify with. So in terms of impact, I'd say that was something quite substantial and more rewarding than any awards.
What are some of the challenges that you face as an illustrator?
The same as other people, I think – trying to get better at capturing movement, using line and shape better, likenesses, perspective, and fluidity. All so that I can convey the ideas in my head better. You will never be 100% satisfied with your work, and that's part of being an artist.
Other than drawing and illustrating, what other aspects of art interest you?
Video games. I think video games are the future of art; I love playing them, and the relationship between storytelling and visual art that games encapsulate so well. I also did a bit of 3D modelling in university and would like to get into sculpting so that I can understand forms better.
Article from the Sun daily by Pam Kaur (posted on 5th Nov 2015)
HER name is Amira Sachie Amar Kenji Abdullah and when she sings, you will be well pleased.
Inspired by her mother who used to sing as hobby, Sachie developed a deep sense of passion for music as a child, and she couldn't picture herself doing anything else. At 18, she decided to pursue her dream with the stage name Sachié Amira, backed by many life's struggles that taught her to never give up in anything.
Sachie is a budding young talent who has no qualms taking on the challenge of singing different music genres. The singer-songwriter of Japanese, Korean, Indonesian and Malaysian descent doesn't limit herself because she believes in continuous learning to hone her skills.
Sachie, which means happiness, was christened by her Japanese father. The name couldn't be more fitting as this bubbly 23-year-old has so much zest for life!
Who are your biggest encouragers?
They are none other my family – my mother, father and grandmother.
Where do you draw inspirations to write songs?
I'm inspired by many different experiences in life. Some of the experiences I incorporate into my songs are based on relationships, public affairs such as political issues, which I share in a metaphor of love. My creative outlet is my room. I like to collect my thoughts in my room because it is where I most feel myself.
Who are some of the local artistes you have sung with?
I've yet to sing alongside a local artiste but I've been blessed to be able to do the opening show for Girls' Generation. Aside from that, I've sung backups for Ning Baizura and Datuk Siti Nurhaliza.
Given the chance, who would you do a duet with, and why?
Undoubtedly, it would be Beyoncé. I am a big fan of Beyoncé because I am inspired by how she manages her life and juggles her many roles as a woman. I'm also captivated by her strong vocals. To me, Beyoncé is perfect.
What are some of your views about today's music industry here in Malaysia?
I am really proud of it. The growth is constant I'm proud to see that there are many new elements to music, even though a lot of it are filtered. The local musicians are changing the course of our industry.There are many talented people here.
What are your hopes for the industry?
I hope that there would be more freedom and support. Local talents lack respect here. We are undervalued because of the mindset that foreign artistes are better than us, when actually we are quite good ourselves.
Could you share with us the dreams that you wish to achieve through music?
I wish to be recognised and respected here in Malaysia, to begin with. I do hope that I'd also be an internationally recognised artiste, and go on a world tour spreading love through my music.
Article from the Sun daily by Pam Kaur (posted on 29th Oct 2015)
BEHIND the charming smile and athletic build is a man of many talents.
Throughout the week, Dinesh Gopalan Nair would hold haemostats and forceps, but he would switch them for make-up brushes when the weekends arrive. If he’s not busy dolling up clients, Dinesh can be found performing for events and television shows.
Dinesh’s exposure to make-up began 18 years ago when he was pursuing Bharatanatyam (classical Indian dance) professionally. Because performing often involves stage cosmetics, his talent in applying make-up developed simultaneously with his passion for dancing.
“The art of applying make-up came very naturally to me. I found the task very effortless and enjoyable,” said Dinesh.
With desires to hone his make-up skills, Dinesh signed up for short courses – after completing dental school – to gain an in-depth knowledge of make-up and its application techniques. In 2012, Dinesh decided to utilise his talents and founded bridal make-up service, BLUSH Beauty & Beyond with Hanujah Mageswaran, who’s also in the medical field.
Despite having deep fondness for make-up, he has no plans to ditch dentistry to pursue beauty full-time. “I love dentistry; it is a huge part of me. Right now, all three of my passions are rolled into one large ball because I like all three equally and I will keep them going,” Dinesh explained.
The 26-year-old shared that he is juggling his many passions with grace, and credited his ability to do so, to his family and Bharatanatyam tutor for being his greatest cheerleaders. “I owe it to (my tutor) Miss Sudha Sasikumar for it is because of her I began to admire a woman’s beauty. I must say, I was very much fascinatedby hers. She is simply elegant,” expressed Dinesh.
Dinesh dreams of having a nice, comfortable studio one day to better service his clients with different make-up looks.
What is your pet peeve when it comes to working with clients?
I have low tolerance towards facial hair, especially undone eyebrows because they are supposed to frame the eyes. I would ensure that the brides I work with at least get their eyebrows threaded. The beauty industry is very competitive.
How would you advise those who are passionate about make-up?
Firstly, it is very important to love what you do. Hanujah and I would often go the extra mile for our clients just to give them the best. I agree that there are many make-up artists out there but then, there are also many ladies who are getting hitched. You will never run out of business if you back passion with quality, persistence and building a good, memorable rapport with your client.
What is a good smile and how do you achieve it?
For a start, visit your dentist regularly. It will help to keep oral health in check, at least. However, a good smile comes from within. Make-up and teeth-fixing are superficial methods. It is how you feel inside that would earn you a flawless, genuine smile – something neither lipstick nor braces can fix.
Given a choice, which famous person would you like to work with?
Kim Kardashian because her eyes are perfect for the type of make-up I am known for. Aside from that, I think she has the ideal face to carry the glamorous look.
Any advice for everyday make-up users?
Pick make-up that would best suit the occasion you’re going to be attending. Always invest in good skincare, and please do not go to sleep with your make-up on.
Name five make-up essentials.
Lip balm, face mist, a good moisturiser, mascara and blotting powder or blotting papers.
Current read: The Magic by Rhonda Bryne
Make-up application playlist: R&B or Katy Perry
Go-to foundation brand: Chanel
Preferred java: Latte
In a digital daze
Article from the Sun daily by Yee Jie Min (posted on 8th Oct 2015)
WHAT did it take for Fazil Fuad, 27, to be at the top? The managing director of creative technology enterprise Company27 (C27) came up through the ranks from his breakthrough photography gig with Nike, but most importantly, he learnt how powerful visual language can be.
Fazil started as a junior art director for an advertising agency, but his venture into creative technology began when he was headhunted by Rocket Internet which founded Zalora.
This was where he grasped the utilisation of art in technology – from something as pure as photography, it became a matter of user experience and user interface design.
"Essentially, what I am interested in is how human beings interact with visuals, whether it is a photograph or screen. Human being interfacing has made its way into, and crafted a whole vision in my life and career," he said.
What did you learn?
When I was with Zalora, what was interesting was how fast it grew. I was in charge of the front-facing aspects of the website. One of the bigger parts of my job was studying how people interact with visuals. We uncovered a lot of things. We managed to track that shooting clothes on different models would sell to different market segments.
Caucasian models work very well in Malaysia, and my theory is that Malaysian consumers are very aspirational. It is not so much of wanting to wear that dress – they want to be that person.
Images sell your product; you don't even read the description. But whether this person is happy, or will return (to purchase again) comes from the description. The purchasing behaviour of people in general is 90% very skewed towards visual interfacing.
How is it different being a creative director and a managing director?
The CD role demands one to be constantly thinking out of the box – most of the time, leveraging on ideals as opposed to logical or financial restrictions. Basically, being the craziest person in the room.
As MD, I had to adjust to a more wholesome approach, balancing what is best for the client, and C27's business objectives. We have a pack of very talented people and it gives me the ability to move the company into the directions that we want.
I have many mentors, which I fall back on in a lot of things. But why this company is here, and why I am managing director, is relevance – the passion to keep up with things.
Right now, it is still very daunting. I look at myself as a creator who works with equally minded people who want to do cool things.
How do you define a leader?
To me, a leader is a good communicator. In any relationship, 90% why things fall through is because of the lack of communication. It has the most destructive power when it comes to breaking an organisation.
What is the future?
Everyone says privacy is dead but I disagree; I think the definition of privacy is evolving as we strive to live more efficient lives. There is some information you can't give out, but our tolerance towards the invasion of privacy will evolve.
I believe products of the future, and their user experience will be extremely curated. In that sense, one day we will be totally fine with giving out certain amounts of information in order for us to live more efficiently.
For example, I don't want to click three times to get the leather shoes I want. The platform should already know what I like and should only show me things that I will actually buy.
How do you keep up?
You don't have to keep up – the world makes sure you keep up. Everyone is bombarded by content every single day. Information is pushed towards you and you need to filter it yourself. To keep up with trends takes a lot of reading and experiencing, not so much of going out and getting it anymore.
Lean and mean
Article from the Sun daily by Yeevon Ong (posted on 20th Aug 2015)
SO what happens when you are born with good looks? You get booked. Runways after runways, John Tan has been modelling since he was in his second year at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) studying marketing. Upon graduation, Tan kept his stride in the fashion industry and did an internship with L'Oréal Malaysia.
While he was living the fast-paced life on and off the runways, Tan was also a fitness trainer specialising in Fast Fit which he took up about two years ago. He was also a personal trainer for a short period of time.
The 25-year-old Manhunt Malaysia 2012 winner has also written and published a coffee table book – John Tan 1 (read as John Tan First) – featuring extensive photos of Tan himself. The first part covers his journey for the perfect physique as well as his very own workout plans, daily diet, exercise tips and body part training while the second part is more intimate, revealing the thoughts and inspirations that drive the man behind the photogenic good looks.
Despite having established a name in the modelling industry, Tan is seeking another kind of satisfaction from the cameras. He is planning to exercise his chops in acting and aiming to be a regular on the big screen by 30.
Tell us about the book.
The idea came up just before I got signed with my manager. We thought that I was not ready to go into acting so we came up with the book as a branding exercise. All the recipes and home workout programmes in the first part of the book are my own. I was quite fat back then; 101kg was my heaviest before I started going to the gym to build my body.
How did you manage to lose so much weight?
I was 17 when I was 101kg but I was quite active even then. I joined a lot of co-curricular activities and did sports in school but my movements were very limited because of my body size so I wanted to change that. Also, it was time to enter university and I was determined to look better. It was a new phase of life and I wanted a new body for it. By then I lost about 20kg from jogging, badminton and going to the gym. That was when modelling agencies started to approach me on Facebook for castings.
What's your diet like these days?
I'm on a natural protein diet so no protein shakes for me. Currently I take about 10 eggs and two to three yolks a day. I was on 30 eggs a day when I was bulking up a few years ago. Also, I don't take sugar at all and Itake salt and oil in the minimum. Thestrict diet is to prepare myself for an upcoming shoot for a Penang-based Hokkien film.
Do you think your good looks are an advantage?
Yes, I think they are an advantage because people notice me first from my looks. In terms of modelling, that'show they find me. Looks are a stepping stone for me.
What goes through your mind when you walk the runway?
"Is this (modelling) what I really want to do?" Of course I do enjoy the stage and the outfit changes but the show is over in one or two minutes after walking, posing and returning backstage. I ask myself what I gain from it personally.
Article from the Sun daily by Joyce Ang (posted on 22nd Sep 2015)
HAVING spent most of her formative years abroad, and with a thriving career as a dancer in the United States, one would not expect Joanna Tan to return to Malaysia. Admittedly, she didn't either but it's been two years and the bubbly lass is not regretting her decision.
Growing up in a musical household, Tan's family has always been supportive of her artistic endeavours. She began her dance education at the age of four when her mother enrolled her in ballet classes, and her flair for movement was evident as a toddler.
"My mum and sister both played the piano, so before I could even walk properly, I was already moving and spinning whenever music was playing in the house," laughed the 25-year-old. However, she briefly stopped dancing to focus on music performance and artistic gymnastics. But through a series of fortunate events, dance eventually made its way back into Tan's life.
"I was given the opportunity to pursue a degree in dance at Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi. Upon graduation, I danced professionally with a contemporary dance company and taught dance too," said Tan, who currently teaches dance and Pilates as well. Since she moved back, Tan has collaborated with numerous artistes and dance companies, both local and international.
Why did you decide to return to Malaysia?
I was born in Malaysia but grew up in a few countries. I ended up studying and working in the USA. When I decided to return, it was for a variety of reasons. I knew I wanted to give back to the dance community by sharing what I had learned abroad. I also wanted to be closer to my parents and extended family and there was also a longing to be grounded after moving around for so much of my life.
How did you end up becoming a teacher?
I began teaching dance while still pursuing my dance degree. Over my summer breaks, I was invited to choreograph and teach as a guest for companies and arts schools. Upon returning to Malaysia, I was offered the opportunity to teach dance at an international school. Teaching dance as a school subject is very different from teaching at a dance studio or for a dance company. I thought it was a great opportunity to develop further as a teacher and I've not looked back since.
Are there moments when you feel like focusing solely on either dancing or teaching?
When I first moved back, there were moments when I missed dancing every day and disliked teaching fulltime. However, I've learned that I'd eventually feel burnt out if I were to focus on either teaching or performing. What I've learned from dabbling in both pathways is that I can't do one thing without the other. If I'm dancing, I need to be teaching. If I receive, I need to give too.
How do you balance between the two?
Honestly, I don't know the answer to that because I often feel unbalanced! However, I'm thankful that both pathways correlate with each other. Often, I plan dance lessons in my head while I'm taking dance classes. The main thing that keeps me grounded is my community – the people around me help keep me in check. They remind me to take it one step at a time, and focus on the main objective.
"Above all, love deeply." Whether we recognise it or not, without love, we wouldn't be here. Be grateful for the life you've been given and the choice you have with it – either to build yourself up or to build others up.
Taking the plunge
Article from the Sun daily by Rachel Law (posted on 2nd June 2015)
WITH our years to rehearse for her next Olympics, you and I would think that Pandelela Rinong Pamg would have taken a well deserved sabbatical of at least six months after her historical win at the 2012 London Olympics. But the Bidayuh (Sarawak) athlete returned to train in no time, having picked up several more medals at regional and international tournaments that followed.
“I started preparing for the 2016 Olympics two months after the 2012 Olympics wrapped up. Schedules for competitions are packed year after year. My coach would increase training intensity a month before a competition if not we’d head to China for training camp which is harder and cuts my Sunday rest to only half a day,” said Pandelela.
As if her daily routine doesn’t sound gruelling already. A typical day for Pandelela begins at 7.30am where she would train for up to nine hours a day for five days a week. On the weekends, the 22-year-old is kept busy attending interviews and events. Nonetheless, the modest young lady remains spirited – especially at the mention of her favourite K-pop group BIGBANG – and shared her hopes to learn a new diving technique this year and qualify for the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“I’m also hoping to receive more attention and support from sports officials and sponsors so that the diving scene in Malaysia will continue to grow and improve. On a personal note, I want to improve myself spiritually and be a better Christian,” said the sports science undergraduate.
Enlighten us please: how complicated is it to dive?
Diving is a closed skill (or self-paced) sport that possesses similar characteristics as gymnastics except that you dive into the water. It requires high concentration and strength to execute somersaults and twists before entering the water with minimal splash while overcoming the phobia of height and landing flat on the water. Landing flat on the water is as painful as being hit by a car.
You train for years for that one shot during a competition. How do you deal with the stress?
I have always been challenging myself to take risks and never give up. Many failures come with greater successes in the future and all I need to do is pray for patience and God’s guidance.
Do you feel pressured to bring home a gold or silver medal next year, following your impressive achievement at the 2012 Olympics?
Yes but learning to compete under high pressure is good because it makes you mentally stronger. It also motivates me to improve my physique. It isn’t impossible to win a gold medal for Malaysia but I need a lot of support from coaches as well as sports associations and officials.
How do you usually celebrate victory and respond to criticism?
When there’s a win, I would share the news with my family and friends then take them and my coaches out for meals. If I didn’t perform well, I would assess the possible factors and move on. I would usually laugh off unreasonable criticisms and focus on training harder. It’s better to make peace than hold grudges anyway.
Which professional diver do you look up to most?
I admire (American diver) David Boudia. He championed the 10-metre platform diving competition during the 2012 Olympics. He gives me a lot of motivation whenever we catch up during competitions. Like me, he’s also a Christian.
If you were given a day to hang out with BIGBANG, how would you spend it?
Invite them over for a diving lesson, especially T.O.P because I know he loves to swim.
What are the foods that tourists must sample when they visit Sarawak?
I would definitely recommend kolo mee, laksa Sarawak, tomato mee, kueh chap and kek lapis.