During our production crew meeting today, our team listed all the odds and problems stacked against us. Well, not stacked against us, more like piled upon like concrete blocks. Problem after problem with the same complaint each time: “Why aren’t people being a little more supportive?” I surprised myself by being calm about the situation.
When I first started the project, I was so angry with the things going wrong that I wanted to write an expose. “I’m going to write a tell-all and I’m going to bitch out the entire industry!” I said. I’m going to humiliate everyone and tell everyone that, in the immortal words of Gwen Stefani, “This shit is bananas”. As time goes on however, that desire has lessened and I’m ust focused on getting the play up and I don’t really care if the world actually knows how difficult it is to do anything artistic in Malaysia.
Sometimes I wonder if I’ve grown completely indifferent at a young age. Instead of feeling a fiery passion and anger when facing a grave injustice or hypocrisy that I would have felt when I was younger, I’m just a little annoyed. Unsurprised and perhaps a little disappointed. I bitch about it but I do feel nothing inside.
I lack the anger or the drive to write long blogs and campaign on how the world could be a better place. I should try and campaign to change things: the environment is awfully unfriendly and unwelcoming towards new acts. For our art scenes to thrive, there needs to be more nurturing. Fair enough, I’m new and I don’t expect people to bend over backwards to help us. However, our experience is akin to entering a new school whereby not only are the kids ragging on you for being a newbie, so are the teachers, the cleaners and the pakcik security guard.
I never really considered giving up however, despite how tough it can be. I wonder why at times. I reckon, one of the reasons is probably my pride. I find it incredibly embarrassing to give up on anything. But a bigger motivation is that I actually relish the challenge. I relish how difficult the problems are and I relish being able to stare down the impossible and succeed.
And when I succeed at something which was pretty difficult, I find that I want to challenge myself again and again.
Changing the environment to make things easier never even crosses my mind. Which begs the question: am I being selfish, in pursuing my dreams that I’m not doing my part to make a change?
At the risk at sounding patronising and possibly, lackadaisical, this addiction to challenges makes me dedicated to pushing myself as far as possible despite the insane obstacles ahead of me. It makes me so focused on me that the thought of raising awareness, changing things doesn’t even cross my mind. Life is tough here, but by God, despite how tough it is, I’m going to try and make it. It’s a strange way of being self-absorbed, that so focused are you on your dreams that you forget that you live in a society and that you have a duty to your fellow citizens to make the country/state you live in a better place.
Or optimistically, I’m changing things for the better by succeeding. I’m sure there’s a ton of scientists that have saved the world despite motivated primarily by their ego.
The other disturbing possibility is that I am neither optimistic nor ego-driven, but that I am deeply cynical about life here in Malaysia. I do not see the need to campaign and write about how things are or could be better. It’s been done to death. Why flog a dying horse? There are so many things in this world that needs to be done and it’s best to focus on yourself and getting what you want out of life based on your own values. At the very best, if you do things in a way that is morally acceptable to you and succeed, the world will change for the better in its own little way. At the very least, you’ve achieved what you wanted, in the way that is morally acceptable to you and you’re happy. And perhaps that’s all that matters for now.