Self Discovery

Gyeongbook-gung Palace, Seoul, Korea [photo by Rosalind Hong]

Life is a journey full of beautiful discoveries. I was always a curious one, someone who is ever eager in learning new things. A wise lady once said to me, “Be afraid of not what the world is like out there but rather the inability to experience what it can offer”. She was right indeed.

I travelled a lot as a kid due to the nature of my dad’s job. Sometimes, it felt like we were nomads. Growing up, we never lived long in one place. Perhaps that was the reason why I was never uncomfortable travelling to new places, engaging with strangers. Since then, I knew the only way to broaden my horizon was to take chances and go places.

Seoul, Korea 
Though I have travelled across many continents, nothing could compare to the experiences I had living in a foreign country on my own. Being in the country where the hallyu wave originated from was probably the most challenging one I’ve experienced in terms of culture and language. It was quite taxing emotionally as well at the beginning knowing that I had to make sacrifices to be away from my loved ones. The dilemma faced when I was made to choose between what I wanted and what another person wanted without having the opportunity to discuss about possible solutions.

Nevertheless, I followed my heart and did what was right for me. It was time. Seoul was a beautiful city. I had the opportunity to learn about both their work and traditional culture during my one year stint there. I forced myself out of my comfort zone to learn a language that was foreign to me, I travelled places within Korea on my own. I learnt to be independent, to not let fear take over me, to tell myself not to panic when I couldn’t find my way back…I learnt that fear causes control and control causes what you fear most to happen. So relax, everything is out of control and it’s ok.

Jakarta, Indonesia [photo by Rosalind Hong]

Jakarta, Indonesia
The land of beautiful people and a truly unique culture. I was happy when I got the news that I would be posted here for a 6 months stint. However, it happened too soon after Seoul and I was again put in a terribly difficult position. I remember my parents were concern about me being away too often, and of course, I was also questioned about my commitment towards my personal relationship. At the age of 27, I knew I was at the peak of my career. I knew I had to do this before settling down. Again, I selfishly made a decision whilst offering numerous solutions to my then partner.

Jakarta was truly unique. Unique in the sense whereby you would actually be walking into a sophisticated and posh looking building, then walk out to slump areas just outside it. Work culture was of course rather different than those of the Koreans ; something I had to adapt to while making sure that complacency doesn’t set in. The city was so unique in a complicated way that I managed to experience for myself what poverty truly is, the fact that the human struggle is real and that no matter how difficult things were…they could still manage a smile that exude genuine warmth and kindness.

It was here that I decided to have my experience and emotions photographed. Being an emotionally driven person, I felt the pain and sadness of my subject but this has also taught me one very important thing, to appreciate and be contented with all the good things you have in your life. Nothing is ever enough until you learn the meaning of contentment. This led to me telling myself that it was time to go home to my loved ones, to be there for them and to put them first once again like how I always did.

Singapore, Singapore [photo by Rosalind Hong]

Here I am, in Singapore. It’s been 3 years since I’ve moved here and 5 years since Jakarta. I would have to say that it was through living here that I learnt most about myself. I still remember dad saying this to me when I was adamant about leaving KL for good, “Girl, I am worried about you. There are too many changes that you’re going through now. Your personal life, your career and now you’re moving out of the country again”.

Dear Daddy, 
Thank you for bringing me up in the best ways you could have. I do remember all your advice and I miss all your not-so-exciting stories on blood glucose level and blood pressure (they were really boring!). I am doing fine in Singapore on my own…I’m no longer that little girl you used to worry so much about, no one would kidnap me here! I may not be home as much as you would have loved to but I do think of you and pray for you every night before I sleep. I’m sorry I will continue to be a nomad and I know that even though you never mentioned it, you do miss me a lot. I promised you I will be happy so be happy I will.

Your Darling Little Girl

If there is one thing in life that I learnt through the years, it is that you are your only limit….