How To Shatter And Challenge Cultural Stereotypes In The Creative Sense

There are times when cultural stereotypes hold us back from going after our dreams and creative passions. As an Asian Australian of Chinese descent, I’ve often felt this way. But then there are also times when we somehow find the strength and spark of courage to challenge expectations that we have of ourselves, and the expectations others have of us.

For a long time, I struggled to call myself a writer. My migrant Malaysian parents encouraged me to pay more attention to maths and science subjects at school – and I did and was much better at them than English. Two years ago, stringing words together for posts on this blog was a struggle. Today, I’ve written a draft of a book.

I see someone out there. Florence and the Machine, Melbourne 10 November 2015 | Weekly Photo Challenge: Eye Spy

I see someone out there. Florence and the Machine, Melbourne 10 November 2015 | Weekly Photo Challenge: Eye Spy.

Culture needn’t be a barrier towards what we can achieve if we have self-belief. Finding that self-belief, however, usually means standing up to what we’ve always believed in.

To chase creative passion and overcome perceptions we’re not good at it, we need to practise. practising our art is key. Just like how Rome wasn’t built in a day, it takes time to craft art from the heart. Art can be learnt whoever we are simply by making time for it.

When I wasn’t memorising maths formulas as a kid, I scribbled words, sentences and chapters in a green leather-bound notebook. Hobby, as what my Chinese-Malaysian mum thought writing was to me back then. Hobby, which is what many whom I know think writing the book is to me today. And they leave me to it; we’re all entitled to “hobbies”. When we get engrossed in practising what we love doing, we dream and forget what holds us back in the first place. On getting lost in her thoughts, Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine says:

“I try to maintain a healthy dose of daydreaming, to remain sane.”

At some point, the artist in us might feel confident and long to share our art with the world. But sometimes the status quo might work against us. Tired of getting rejected by publications in an Australian media where non-Anglo voices are seldom heard, blogging beckoned to me. When others have a social life, I’d stay home and blog. And enjoy it. Liberation. No limitations. By starting something, creating our own opportunities and doing what others have not done, we move closer towards smashing bamboo-ceilings and stereotypical perceptions of us.

Being Asian Australian or coming from any culture that often stipulates what we can and cannot do, we have to forget what we’ve always known for one moment and simply be bold to chase that dream of ours. Being a part of a tribe helps us to see who we want to become and become them. Surrounded by others with like-minded interests, we come to think of becoming someone outside of our skin, look beyond the “barriers” of skin and realise focusing on potential rather than where we’re from helps us see that anything is possible – we find acceptance amidst positivity.

Stereotypically in Asian cultures, listening and respecting others is a virtue (see Confucianism) and growing up, I was taught to keep to myself and let others speak. Ironically, speaking out once or twice is not the end of the world and expressing emotion is what makes art convincing. Talking to other bloggers on their blogs, some have been nice enough to visit my blog and that’s inspiring: with a supportive crowd behind us, we feel comfortable to be anyone, comfortable to share our worth. By looking to others we become confident, as Florence offers:

“You can forget anything, and actually being a part of a crowd, of a group, can itself be freeing.”

Not all of us will have the privilege to live off our creative passions. Sometimes life gets in the way. It’s also fact we play many a role in our lives; we might fit the stereotype in some instances and not fit the stereotype in others.

Look up.

Look up.

Sitting at home some months back, writing my book with money on my mind. Sitting at home more recently, looking for a job late at night. Sitting at home the other day, packing my bag for work the next day…and looking forward to tomorrow. Not “losing face” and being able to provide for myself has stuck with me for my entire life as a person of Asian descent. While the past is past, at times we’ll still hold onto it and it’s nothing to be ashamed of as we chase our dreams. On moving along, Florence suggests:

“It’s important to not reject the past. It’s (about) a sense of not feeling like it defines you, but accepting it, embracing it, and then letting it go. It’s not about turning your back or pretending that things didn’t happen. It’s about trying to be in the moment.”

There’s a time for passion, and there’s a time to be realistic. “Balance”, as one might call it. To put it more simply, when we allow ourselves to live both passion and reality, we chance upon and live opportunities from the best of both worlds.

When we challenge creative cultural stereotypes often we get attention and are judged, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Countless times others ask how my book is coming along and each time I end up saying, “I don’t know” – and yet again question if I like what I’ve written. Flattering moment but also a reality check: no matter how different someone is compared to us in terms of background, what they do and the way they live, they can inspire us. As Florence says on feeling the intensity of day-to-day intimacy with those around us and humility:

“It’s good to be vulnerable in amongst the grandeur; you shouldn’t lose that sense of intimacy and vulnerability with people.”

There's more to life than focusing on our dreams. it's also about sharing these dreams with others.

There’s more to life than focusing on our dreams. it’s also about sharing these dreams with others.

The other night I leaned against the front barricade at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl watching Florence and the Machine. Florence pulled a fan up on stage for a hug. Lucky fan looked so happy as the 12,000-strong crowd cheered. Creativity, and art, lifts us when we all share it and share in it as who we are. Putting my camera down during the next song, Florence hopped in front of me. As I sang her song, she looked at me. With such a twinkling, sparkling eye. No regrets putting writing aside for a night.

At the end of the day, achievements and challenging stereotypes don’t wholly define us. Not a means to an end. Instead, it’s the simple gems of fleeting moments past and present that will stick with us whoever and wherever we may be as we chase passion. Work hard. Dream hard. Have no expectations. Have fun.

Have you made your dreams come true? Do you find concerts inspiring? (This post is my last for a while. Be good).

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239 thoughts on “How To Shatter And Challenge Cultural Stereotypes In The Creative Sense

  1. Dear Mabel:
    How to pursue creative passion or overcome those things about us are not good at? I would like to continue to practice but also constantly absorb new knowledge, like a Michelin restaurant chef must go to try new and different flavors can develop their own new menu below.
    I hope you can get you will success , before that, we can give you the enthusiastic support and encouragement. 🙂
    Have a nice day!
    Meihsiu

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    • Very wise words, Meihsiu. It is so important to be open and learn new knowlege and skills. That way we can improve ourselves and thus our art. It is also so encouraging to see you practise your watercolour art quite often, and your works of art catching to the eye.

      It will take a while before my book will be out. But I will keep working at it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I always get a bit of a kick out of confounding people! Doing things that people don’t expect you to do or be capable of. The thing that always depresses me is looking at the photos in the business pages of the corporate leaders (almost always white males) trying to look and sound like everyone else around the corporate boardroom table. That’s why I was taken aback about a story of a Melbourne manufacturer who was developing a revolutionary denim fabric which provides superior protection to people in motor sports and other areas. The photo of the guy showed someone with tattoos and a ratty beard, who would look more at home in the front bar of a rock and roll pub than the board room.
    Thanks for some great, thought [provoking posts this year, Mabel.

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    • Hard not to get a kick out of confounding people. Not so much of “I told you so” but the fact that I am capable of moving forwards in spite of resistance, at least for me.

      Two very different sets of stories and images you chanced upon there in those publications. We all have different ways of expressing ourselves when it comes to fashion. Often, a piece of clothing that looks a “little left of centre” surprises, and it really shouldn’t.

      It has been great reading your comments here this year, Graham. You’ve said some insightful things, thank you.

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  3. You have the talent and the strong will – you will get there, where you want to go, Mabel! I go to concerts sometimes, but not to get inspired maybe – to get happy and uplifted!
    Enjoy your break now, and Happy Holidays to you!

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    • I don’t know, Leya. I like writing, so I will keep doing it. But at the same time, I like doing other things to, and going with the flow. I supposed that is like you and photography 🙂

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      • The thing is – you are young and there are so many possibilities. One fine day it will hit you like a bolt of lightning – THIS is it. And then you will know exactly what to do. Or, you will just wake up one morning and find everything neatly sorted out for you by your brain during the night. Or, you will just stumble on the perfect job or idea or person.
        Stay alert!
        Hugs
        Ann-Christine

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        • You say such inspirational words, Ann-Christine. “THIS is it”. That must be a great feeling and I hope you felt that 🙂 Things will fall into place, as the saying goes. Fate, it’s something I believe in and I’m always optimistic things will work out.

          Hope you get to take more photos during the holiday season. Hugs right back at you ❤

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  4. First of, how are you Mabel… been while since the last time I came here. And now, I read the big surprise. Writing for a book? Congrats…
    Talking about stereotyping, you are right. We usually forced to fit in or we force ourselves to fit in so we are welcomed to a group. Something that really not my thing actually.

    Well, hope all is good with you and really learn alot from this particular post. Thank you so much

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    • I am not too bad, Ryan. Enjoying life as it is. I certainly missed you around. I hope you are well?

      “forced to fit in” Brilliant, simple way of putting it. We want to fit in because sometimes that is the way we can get ahead and move up the food chain, to loosely put it. Yes, I’m writing a book. But finding time for it is hard.

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        • Semangat! And it also means strength! I remember my Bahasa Melayu classes in school now. Really don’t know about my book. Each time I open up the draft, I don’t like what I read.

          I stop trying to fit in. I like it. Maybe I will blog about it. Or put it in the book.

          Liked by 1 person

          • How about both, blog and book. 😀
            just take a deep breath for a while, someone told be that before whenever I had enough about something. After that… open again the draft and maybe you will find new pov.

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            • Blog and book? Already hard enough to find time for blogging…but I’m up to the challenge. So you dared me 😀

              Sometimes when I stop and pause, I drift off and start thinking of random thoughts. There’s a big part of me that is lazy 😀

              Liked by 1 person

                • Haha, I missed reading your blog. I will pop over and catch up with you soon.

                  I hope my book won’t be expensive. But I suppose it will depend if it’s paperback or hardcover, and the design and so on. So much work for a book!

                  Liked by 1 person

  5. I absolutely love your take on the challenge Mabel and the inspiration contained in this post. My family figuratively beat the creativity out of me as a child, wanting me to focus on a business career rather than the dreams of a silly child. In some ways, it was good, because that focus allowed me to have a successful career which allowed me to pursue my dreams which allowed me to find my inner creative child all over again. So its all good. And my parents are all supportive of my finding my dreams now …they’ve grown up a lot since their early parenting days. And I do find concerts inspiring. Used to be a big concert goer in my NY days. Have seen one concert here in Sydney and look forward to seeing more…but more importantly, look forward to your book

    Dreams come true!

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    • You are such an inspiration, Lisa, for following your passion of sailing. Perhaps one day you will write a book about it all and come to inspire others to follow their dreams 🙂 Seems to be a matter of time, and if you follow your heart, “dreams of a silly child” will fall into place.

      Like my parents, I think your parents wanted you to have opportunity, opportunity to support yourself – more importantly to take care of yourself hence the business endeavours. Hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Australia 🙂

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  6. Mabel you have worked hard and my sincere congratulations on completing the draft of your book! I agree there is a balance to be found in life. I wish you all the best in the time ahead. May your time away from the blog be rejuvenating.

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  7. Reading this reminds me, I used to write a few “books” when I was in primary school. They were handwritten and bounded with somewhat nice hand drawn covers. I remember passing them around the classroom and they were instant hits.

    I’m not sure if they are still at home. I’m pretty sure I saw them once when I came back from my UK semester, so mom did not discard them with all my other stuff in the Great Purge. Let me see if I can find them the next time I go home!

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    • “instant hits”. My, my, CL. You are a closeted writer. I really enjoy your blogs, and I actually do look forward to the day you publish a book 😀 I wonder what these hits are. Guessing fiction.

      Good luck finding them. I don’t have my green leather-bound book anymore. Oh well.

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  8. Congratulations on keeping up with your hobby and completing a draft of an entire book! No mean feat.

    Of course, Confucian culture and writing aren’t mutually exclusive, and the most obvious parallel is work ethic. My own personal theory is that cross-cultural pollination is the way humanity evolves, and mixing Chinese/Malaysian values with growing in a somewhat diverse Western country like Australia is a perfect example. Most of all, be yourself (okay granted ‘being yourself’ could be said to be a somewhat western concept, but be yourself as well as know where you come from, right…)

    I can’t wait to read more of your perspectives in long form.

    Also I have a theory that the best writers are music fans, and music is the purest art form for communicating the emotional experience of being human, and writers are those who try to do it with only words yet always recognizing the musical effect…

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    • Work ethic. Cross-cultural pollination. Spot on. Different values help us understand different perspectives, and the more we interact with those who are different to us, the more we realise there is no right or wrong answer a lot of the time. Hence, as you said too, be yourself.

      I like your theory. Music helps us feel the world around us and love like nothing else.

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  9. Hi Mabel, How well I can relate to the post! . Like you I too, studied math and science, and throughout my career, I struggled to write anything beyond business proposals and emails. Today words come out spontaneously, I love to play with them and find myself immensely enjoying this creative pursuit.
    I wish you the very best with your book. May the fruit of your labor be very sweet. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Amazing shots of the show Mabel and as always your writing is so inspiring and well written. I know you will make an excellent writer and your books will be so interesting. It doesn’t matter what you do, if you do it with love and passion, it will work out in the end.

    Enjoy the break and know you will be missed. 😀 ♥

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    • Thanks, Sonel. No Mr Wobbles shots this time round, he’s had enough of the spotlight for a while 😀

      Books? Plural… I am only thinking of one book so far. But to be very honest, I have a feeling my second book will be fiction. “…it will work out in the end” I don’t know about that, but I trust you ❤

      Have fun with the friendly creatures in your yard this festive season.

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      • I am sure. He is so humble and sweet. 😀

        Lots of books, I think. You are such a great writer, so you will write lots of them.

        Thanks, I am glad you do. You must just trust in yourself as well. 😀 ♥

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        • Planning on doing more photography next year, and I hope to incorporate shots of Mr Wo in every post or so. He will be famous in no time, and your Vervets will be jealous 😀

          It is already a struggle writing one book. But thank you for the encouragement. Writing makes me happy, and so I do it. Trust? Sometimes I’m scared of myself, scared of the trouble I can get into…maybe it’s time I listened to that inner voice ❤

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          • Glad to hear that Mabel. I love your photos and if Mr Wobbles are in it, just the better. I love seeing him. 😀

            Yes, the poor Vervets. LOL!

            You’re very welcome and I think mostly everyone have that problem. I think it is time. ♥

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              • Oh, I am very glad to hear that Mabel. He is such a cutie and so adorable. I think he can feel good about himself all the time and I don’t think so. The Vervets will just tell him there’s nothing wrong with feeling good about himself and just teach him new tricks. 😆

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                • I do think looking at Mr Wobbles from the side, he looks like Voldemort (bad guy from Harry Potter) 😀 The Vervets around your place sound like they have good intentions at the end of the day. Challenging the fact that all monkeys are cheeky and selfish.

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                  • LOL! You’re not serious?! I don’t think so though. Mr Wobbles remind me a lot of our Vervets here. Sweet, kind and adorable. Nothing bad at all. 😀

                    I like to believe so. They’ve always been kind and friendly towards us. Because they’re so much like us humans, they will have those traits for sure. 😀

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  11. like you, i also struggled to call myself a writer. to be completely honest, i still do. and so i shy away from labels. i tell myself that i’m simply one of those people who enjoy writing, with my blog as an avenue for it.

    it’s good that you really take the time to connect with your passion in writing. like you said, life does get in the way sometimes and it’s sad how some people do not have the luxury of time to indulge in their creative outlets.

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    • Your blogs about Melbourne are entertaining. You are a blogger, hence a writer! But it’s good that you don’t feel the need to be bound by labels. Glad you found a reason to blog – to be happy and as an outlet of expression ❤

      I wish I had more time for writing. Last month I said I'd finish editing the first chapter of my book…but sadly life got in the way. However, I strongly believe there will be the right time for it. Am positive.

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  12. Our passion is an integral part of us no matter how well we might try to disguise it or deny it but I agree, it does not define us. Do we all have a passion? Overt or hidden? Perhaps, perhaps not? I also have found a wonderfully supportive community with bloggers and writing enriches my life even though I have only met one or two in person. Hobbies and passions sometimes become more important as we age when careers and finances are established. I feel incredibly lucky to find my passion/s. Even though they will never pay the bills, they make me feel happy and whole. Never give up your passion Mabel. I always enjoy your insightful, articulate and yes, passionate dialogue on this and my blog. Good luck with self publishing and I look forward to hearing about the book’s release. Still, I hope you will continue to blog too?

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    • Passion is a hard thing to define. It might not manifest itself to us when we think it might; it might not be something we are love when we are young. Sometimes it takes a series of events and a long while to discover what our passion really is. It was only two years ago that I felt my passion for writing. Before that, never took it seriously.

      It is a great rosemaling community you have created there over the years on your blog and social media. Passion certainly brings us all together, even if only for a moment or two. Those who get to make a living off it for a lifetime – I’m sure they work hard for it. And luck and fate has a part to play to.

      Certainly will continue blogging. Love the community here, and it’s also a place where I can share photos that inspire me 🙂

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      • I am glad to hear that you will keep writing and blogging. It is surprising that you only found the passion to write 2 years ago. I don’t deny the hard work some put in to support themselves in their passion, but luck has so much to do with it too. Sometimes I read about some of those really motivated individuals who lose the plot, after all the hard work they put in to set themselves up. Power corrupts or spoils, (as the saying goes). Then it seems they have lost the passion they once had, due to greed, or desire for control. Perhaps we should keep the passion as our driving force, enshrined in our own personal mission statement?

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  13. Amazing concert shots, once again. I don’t know how you do it! 😀 Sorry to hear you won’t be posting for awhile, but then again, I feel myself pulling away from blogging and hey, I need to get working on my book, too. I’m assuming you’re going to be focusing on it? In any case, good luck. Keep on bucking those stereotypes…xxoo

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    • You’ve already got one book out, Lani. So proud of you and when work stabilises for me, I’m looking forward to getting it 😛 We have to stand up to live before we can make time to be creative. Funny how life works.

      Should be devoting more time to the book in the next few weeks. As well as tidying my closet 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  14. About not being able to say how your book’s coming along: Writers aren’t generally good at judging their own work. One day we think it’s brilliant. The next day it barely looks good enough to wrap fish in. And somehow, through all that, we have to keep faith with it because if we don’t we can’t write it at all.

    A few times I’ve felt a consistent spark in a piece of my own work that made me think, Yes, I’ve got something here, and I have to trust that, even knowing the world may not agree. And when I don’t feel that spark? I can abandon the piece–not everything works, and that’s a legitimate decision–or I can go on, knowing that this is what I need to write in order to get to the next thing–in order to become the person who writes something better next time.

    Congratulations on finishing a draft. That’s an accomplishment.

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    • Very insightful thoughts about the writing and crafting process. I feel that all the time – one day I might think I have a bit of a story going, the next day I will think it’s utter rubbish and incoherent. It is interesting to hear you considering to keep writing on even when we feel stuck. The more we write, the more ideas and pieces of the puzzle we have to work with.

      Congrats on getting The Divorce Diet out there. A milestone when it comes to writing.

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  15. You are so right Mabel…there is so much more to life…living life and experiencing it to the fullest, is a life well led. And in that, if you can also achieve your goals, that’s a bonus!! I take life as it comes and try and enjoy it as much as I can. Like they say…if life gives you lemons, make lemonade! Wish you all the best with your book. I am sure you will be great 🙂

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    • “life gives you lemons, make lemonade” That is one of my favourite phrases of all time! Happiness lies in the every day moments, from that cup of coffee we might savour each morning to coming home after work in the evening to a warm hug. Agree with you achieving goals is just a bonus. Every day is a day to be thankful for 🙂

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  16. I admire your persistence of following your dream. It’s not easy, but you seem to know your goal and are willing to go through the path. It would be a big reward, when you get there.
    When it comes to creativeness, we tend to think of arts and writing more often. I have been reminded and educated by reading and watching some programs, that it probably take no less creative thinking for scientists and engineers to do what they do (go to the moon, making automobiles and airplanes, creating PC, smart phone, webs, and problem solving…) But, they do have to learn the tedious (boring) math and formulas before they can be create though. I guess there are many creative things we can explore if people don’t have the talent to play music or to write a book. I know this is irrelevant to your topic here.
    Thank you for your inspiring post, Mabel. Congratulation for completing the draft your book! You are so very brilliant!! 🙂

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    • No, I actually think what you wrote here was very relevant. We have to go through the motions no matter how repetitive they may be when it comes to pursuing passion: there is always sets of skills to learn, and there is always some sort of logic and formula – themes – when it comes to everything from passion, storytelling and the science stuff.

      I don’t know if I’d feel a big sense of satisfaction when I do finally get my book out there. It is one of my dreams, but really I just want to have a good time 🙂 Your photography is always brilliant, and it inspires me to take better shots, as always. Much love ❤

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      • It’s important to feel that you enjoy what you are doing. Writing does take a lot of energy and time. I admire you, Mabel. 🙂 I forgot to let you know that these images are great. I know they are difficult to capture due to the lighting, movement, …. Enjoy the weekend. 🙂

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        • All art takes time. Even photography; you always have to have your equipment ready ready to capture the moment. Or you have to observe your angles from different surroundings and then craft out the image you want to take……art is always so spontaneous. I enjoyed the Florence concert a lot, wasn’t thinking about taking photos and just snapped away 🙂

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          • So true, Mabel. I was just explaining to my husband, the rules of photo, who has zero interest in photography. The more you learn, the more to learn… I guess one can be creative only after one can master the rules… Thank you for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

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            • Mastering the rules takes hours of practise. Along the way, there’s always room to be spontaneous and break away, creating our own rules. That always takes a lot of confidence, though 🙂 And thank you for sharing your photos with us, as always.

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  17. Congratulation on completing the draft of the book! I am myself ages away from that but then again I havent been doing any writing for a couple of years now.
    Parents always have their own ideas on what is good for their children and not always they match up with the dreams of the kids. Good that you continued with your passion 🙂

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    • I am sure that manuscript of yours is filled with meaningful and funny stories, like your blog post, whether it is fiction or non-fiction. Maybe when you get well you will have more energy to do it!

      Til this day my parents don’t want me spending time on writing, and even some close to me wonder why I devote so much time to it. It would be hard to give up since that is how I express myself best. It must have been hard for you to walk away from swimming.

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    • “Beat the stereotypes… be yourself!” Such a great phrase. I love it. No one is us but ourselves.

      It will be a break from blogging for me…which means time for moving along with the book and that means busy. How ironic!

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  18. Congratulations on completing your draft! How exciting! You must be so proud! It takes time to craft art from the heart – I loved this quote Mabel and your blog was truly inspiring. I especially liked the pictures of Florence and how happy the fan looked being bought up on stage! I believe it is incredibly important to challenge stereotypes and you certainly do that every single day with your blog and your book. There is so much creative expression emanating from you that I honestly haven’t seen from typical Asian culture. We need to all move away from stereotypes and just be 100% us in our unique, beautiful true form. This is what truly matters in life and is the key to happiness ❤ xx

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    • I still remember the day I completed the draft. Completed it exactly a year after I said I’d complete it. Felt relieved, sort of a feeling that spoke to me that I’m a writer. You are right. Being ourselves is the key to happiness. And when we be ourselves, we feel comfortable and free, free to achieve what we want.

      I love the word emanating 😛 It has been challenging finding time to blog, and write my book. But, I’m a big believer in fate and the stars aligning, and believe there is a time and place for everything. Thank you so much for your support, Bec. So glad to have connected with you, and actually meet you ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi Mabel,

    I am so glad that the draft of your book is ready. Congratulations, you surely are at the right track, chasing your dreams! They do materialize if we stay focused and determined.

    I am also happy for you for having challenged the cultural stereotypes, which very few get the opportunity to do. Asian culture compels us to follow what pleases our parents and children are conditioned to do so very early. By the time they grow up, their dreams hover around what they are expected to do! Nobody expects us to ‘be yourself.’ It is still the same. Nothing has changed despite so much of exposure.

    I love concerts. Music is very close to my heart.
    You have compressed so much into this post Mabel, you will definitely be a very successful writer one day. My best wishes. Hope to see more at your blog soon. Stay blessed!

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    • I too am happy I have a draft of a book out, a skeleton of a manuscript to work with. The hard work comes in the redrafting stages – as a writer you question if you believe in what you have written, and if the stories do actually resonate with you. I suppose you can relate, having put out a couple of books.

      “By the time they grow up, their dreams hover around what they are expected to do!” That is such a profound phrase, Balroop. That can be a constraining way of living life – your goals are determined by others. Then again, if that is what we value, nothing wrong with that.

      Looking forward to reading more of your blog soon. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can surely relate with all those redrafting stages, especially with my first book of poetry. I have spent many nights trying to re-read and make it worth presenting. Besides that self-publishing was no easy task for me as I had to learn step-by-step by following the tutorials of Kindle. Eventually it was self-satisfying and now it seems so easy!

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        • And no wonder your poetry books turned out well. Won’t be surprised if you publish a few more books at some point. There’s the writing process, the editing process, publication, copyright, design and so on when it comes to putting our a finished creative product. Good on you for learning all of it 🙂

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  20. Stereotypes are stupid, please don’t let them limit your life (I know they don’t, hehe). If Asian people are not creative, then, if we are talking about writing, what about the thousands and thousands of books that are published every year in China, Japan, etc? As you said, most people can’t live off their passion, but that doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon what you like to do. Keep writing and don’t give a cucumber about what other people think! 🙂

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    • Such a good point. It’s funny how Western art tends to be recognised around the world, but not really so with art coming out of Asia (at least from Australia’s perspective).

      “don’t give a cucumber about what other people think” Love this phrase and how you used the word cucumber! If we really love what we are doing, then we can make time for it. No excuses, and no excuses to just be ourselves.

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  21. I’m so proud that you’re chasing your passions, do it Mabel. I can relate to what you say about the parents, mine always just considered piano as a hobby too and never let me do anything more seriously with it. Unfortunately though, piano is also very physical, so I can’t just jump to the professional level I want to me just like that, I should have been able to have the hours and hours of daily training before so as to do be able to perform professionally. So thats how it has to stay, as a hobby. People say (about anything) never too late, but yes too late. You’re not too late, create and live your passion! xx

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    • I think you hit the nail on the head there with (Asian) parents not wanting their kids to do more with taking music lessons further. Probably our parents wanted to give us the opportunity to appreciate art…or perhaps try to uncover some sort of musical genius in us.

      You play the piano very well today, I know it 😉 True that. Never too late to go after passion. If you want it, go for it. No excuses. Simple as that.

      Like

  22. Inspiring post, Mabel! There will always be people that do not belive in what you are doing, but I have learned to just keep on pursuing the dreams I have. Sometimes you have to let go of the people that brings you down.
    Go girl!!! I am cheering for you!
    I also find concerts very inspiring! 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks, Hanne. We all have our own ideas, and so why care what the naysayers think? At the end of the day it is us that knows what makes us happy. So if we have a dream, go after it as much as we can.

      Concerts are always special. They don’t come around too often 🙂

      Like

  23. Stereotyping can do so much damage to a person as a whole human being, but yet, I can’t deny who and what I am, and some of that is a few stereotypes when comparing to others. Comparing is a natural thing, so the patterns of life cannot be ignored.

    You didn’t say why you’d be away from your blog. I do hope it’s for something you want to do.

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    • So true. We often compare ourselves to others in order to distinguish how we are different from others, and see how we can improve ourselves and our skills. So stereotyping is not all that bad. We are certainly who we are, each of us is that way. It’s time we all start accepting that.

      I thought it would be a good break to stop working on blog posts – and photos – for a bit. Could use a bit more time to work on my book, as well as focus more energy on the work front. Might also do a few spontaneous travels here and there if I’m physically up for it.

      Like

  24. Certainly the concert photos are great….given the fact they are taken in half-light, Mabel.

    Are you writing fiction or non-fiction book?
    I have niece who is romance writer…she left her engineering field. That’s what she did at university.
    Here is her stuff: http://laurajardine.com/ She writes under a pseudonym. It’s been a serious challenge since the Internet ..in my opinion, has devalued the fictional writers..in terms of payment. Book publishers are under very serious financial pressure nowadays for a lot of reasons.

    She is half-Chinese and lost her mother (my sister). She is sensitive to diversity matters. Did you know the world of English language romance books do not have many protagonists who are non-white? Or even the whole subject of interracial love still is not explored…. So she is “righting” this through her novels. If you look carefully at some of the book covers, the heroine may be Asian or hero may be Asian.

    Just write and not even think about what others think of your writing. Write without mental nor societal barriers. Wishing you well of writing the best from your head and heart combined together.

    Like

    • My book will be non-fiction. I’ve entertained thoughts about a second book, and it will most likely be fiction. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

      Good on your niece for pursuing what she’s passionate about, and props to her for getting a book published. There’s always the route of self-publishing, but that itself is also challenging and you often have to learn the ropes yourself and be across the whole spectrum of publish from design to copyright issues. I’ve always noticed that romance novels have a lack of non-Anglo faces. More diverse faces would be great. Though I’d point out that I’ve never been a fan of romance books.

      Writing, and any art form, is a personal journey as much as it’s a social one.

      Like

      • I used to romance novels as an older teen. I actually have not read a novel in the past..um decade or more. And I did my undergraduate university degree in English Literature!

        Like

        • I’ve never understood the appeal of romance novels. Of the random few I’ve picked up, I found the plotline over the top and unbelievable, or they were saturated with bedroom romp scenes. I’m sure other art forms have gotten you attention over the last few years and probably why you don’t have time to read a novel.

          Like

          • Reading something quite literary seems to take too much intellectual effort for me after work. (A well-written novel, not romance stuff.) Then the mass market appeal novels turn me off.

            So I read a lot of non-fiction.

            Like

    • So true that barriers can be imagined. Very well said. Sometimes it’s all in our head. Working hard often gets us somewhere. But at the same time, it’s so important to have fun and enjoy the moment.

      Like

  25. Thought-provoking as always Mabel. I think we shared a bit of the same philosophy on a few fronts this week. Practicing our art and believing in ourselves – words and thoughts to live by. and PS, love Florence and the Machine !!

    Like

    • I like to think so too. We always seem to always be on the same wavelengths with quotes. The more self-belief we have, the more motivated we are to work at out art. Glad to know another Florence and the Machine fan. They are a great band!

      Like

  26. Mabel – all the best to you on your writing. Selfishly, I hope you will continue blogging and not take too much time away from it, but I do know it’s hard to fit everything in, especially while juggling time at a job with limited time off. I don’t think writing is your hobby — I think it’s your vocation, and your job is your “day job” that carries you over for now. I’ll look forward to that book, meanwhile hoping for future blog post too — Sandy
    P.S. I especially like “listening and respecting others is a virtue”. Life would be so much more pleasant if more of us remembered that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always appreciate the support, Sandy. I’m planning to blog once again in January, but we will see how work goes. At this stage, however, I feel my draft of a book needs a lot of care and attention; it really needs a lot of work. My dream is to sell a million books one day and live off that…who knows, maybe that might happen. Maybe not. Life is a game.

      Agreed. Life would certainly be much more pleasant if we all accepted each other for who we are, and are nicer to one another.

      Like

  27. Excellent post, Mabel and wonderful concert shots. Glad you are following your dream and writing about topics that are important to you. Happy, too, that you let it all go for a moment and just enjoyed Florence and the Machine!

    Like

    • Thanks, Jane. And I’m also working hard and following my dream of going to concerts and supporting the artists who inspire me 😀 While I enjoy photography, writing will always be a bit more closet to my heart, and I’m determined to work at it.

      Florence and the Machine were amazing ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  28. I would recommend reading “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. She talks about a number of the things you have but what she writes may also help with other things you’ve said.

    This is a great read and I love your concert photos. (We saw Elton John on the weekend at Mt Duneed Winery – that’s one for the bucket list!)

    Like

    • Thanks for the recommendation, Heather. I will put that on my to-read list. Sounds like a book that extends what I’ve written here.

      Lucky you got to see Elton John. Very classy artist and I’m sure you enjoyed his show.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. This is a highly inspiring post. If we just do what we love, our passion will speak for itself. We would never have to look back then.
    There are times when reality strikes us, which might not be the path we want to take, but that is anyway given. Don’t be afraid of that!

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  30. My daughter introduced me to Florence and the Machine. (She makes a mix CD for me every year.) I love The Dog Days Are Over. It sounds like she was an inspiration for your post.

    Writing is such an impractical thing that, Chinese or not, choosing to become a writer is a huge leap of faith for all of us. Although I do remember hearing my Chinese sister-in-law, a successful bank executive, laughing scornfully about someone she and her husband knew. “He still thinks he’s going to write the Great American Novel,” she said.

    I’m glad you started blogging. You have a lot to share with the world. Best of luck on your book.

    I’m going to take some time off too. I’ll be flying across the country to visit my daughters for a couple of weeks. When I get back, I need to concentrate on my new novel.

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    • I love the symbolism and imagery Florence and the Machine incorporate into their songs and videos. They inspired my book too, actually. It is very nice of your daughter to make you a mix CD each year. Keeping up with the songs of the past and present.

      Choosing to pursue any art form seriously should be applauded. I hope the guy who had ambitions to write that novel got around to trying his hand at it. Art can be such a fulfilling activity.

      Happy holidays, Nicki. And good luck for your book. I’m sure once you’re back you’ll have plenty to blog about.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. You never run out of cerebral quotes, Mabel, aside from the nuggets of wisdom. Those are what keep us from reading your every post from start to finish.

    “To chase creative passion and overcome perceptions we’re not good at it, we need to practise. practising our art is key.” That really captivated my thoughts especially because it holds true to being blogger. I didn’t study journalism or anything close to that course. However, writing stories for my blog proves that practice indeed is the key to improving writing skills (even in photography). I started with 200-300 words until I was able to do a lot more than that—from notes to real stories. Of course, my work is not something great or anything to that effect but it reflects the kind of improvement one can get from practising. I never knew I could use this newly acquired skill to impress my employer at one point. That was when I applied for a higher position. Well, I wasn’t hired to become a writer but it feels comforting that noticed that during the interview. It eventually turned into a lengthy discussion. You get the picture.

    I don’t regret pursuing Computer Education because I later found that I could really teach based on performance evaluation. I describe this experience as a dream come true that came late. Most my “dreams came true” stories were realized because of my now enhanced communication skills.

    I watched a lot of concerts when I was in college. It’s like the “in thing” back then. I haven’t really used them though for inspirational purposes other than as ways of diversion to the daily grind of college life.

    At this point though, I could equate concerts as great alternatives for movies and TV series. The kind of life people in the corporate world have entails watching concerts too given the chance–to unwind.

    I believe watching a concert would be no different from watching your favourite TV series. It seems cliché but the whole point of doing what you love is having fun. Concerts, movies, long hour walks…singing your hear out…they all provide fun. I’m referring to anything that reminds us that there is actually more to life.

    That’s how I get back on track: veering away from the routine every now and then.

    Like

    • I really am very flattered some out there take time to read my blog posts from start to finish. Very, very humbling. So thank you, Sony.

      You are a classic example of how hard work can turn into something bigger, something that can inspire others around us. 200-300 words these days must come more naturally to you. Then there are your travel blog posts – and the grammar ones – that provide such a cohesive overview of what you want to convey to anyone reading them.

      And such skills can be transferable, and even help us do other things. As in your case, writing helps you in your work and climb the corporate ladder (to make a living).

      “concerts as great alternatives for movies and TV series” Certainly, concerts are also forms of entertainment and relaxation. Yes, they remind us there’s meaning in play and fun. What I do think that sets concerts aparts from entertainment forms is that it often takes effort to partake in that form of relaxation: one if forced to get up and show up for an artist…and forces to us to get up and go out there and experiencing something once in a lifetime.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for the uplifting words, Mabel.

        By the way, I now like Taco. I was at the foodcourt the other night and was about to order a burger when I saw a Taco house. Got one for SAR 8. Good buy I must say. Love the tomato, carrot, cabbage, chicken, and cheese in it.

        Like

        • No worries, Sony. That’s the beauty of the blogging community here – we encourage each other to go places with our creativity.

          Nice to hear you like tacos. There are the soft shell one, and then there is the hard shell kind. So the next time you can try the other kind 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  32. Liebe Mabel ja hab meine Pause beendet und wie heißt es so schön der Himmel ist grau der Geldbeutel ist leer alle Geschenke gekauft es Weihnachtet sehr hab einen schönen 4 Advent mit ganz lieben Grüßen Klaus in Freundschaft

    Like

  33. OMG Mabel !!! This is so amazing, I’m freaking out by just reading the post itself, the whole experience must have been much more greater for you ! I love how you find meaning and wisdom in everything you do and experience, it’s a really unique ability! One of a kind, you are really special Mabel. I hope you know that ❤

    Did you film the you-tube video yourself as well?! It has a nice quality, I enjoyed listening to her live in that! 🙂

    I hope if you are going on a break, it proves fruitful and relaxing for you. Wish you all the best in life, Much love to you ❤ ❤

    Like

    • Very nice to hear this post made you happy, Zee. I really enjoyed writing it. More importantly, I enjoyed watching Florence and the Machine for the second time, this time up close. Luck was on my side. So inspiring, and Florence is an inspiration for my upcoming book 🙂

      The YouTube video was filmed by another awesome fan at another show. I really was enjoying the concert with me eyes 😀 That is why you see all the photos are shot to the right…when Florence came to my side of the stage, I was jumping all the time.

      Looking forward to catching up with you soon, Zee. Glad to see you are back and cannot wait to read your meaningful written pieces of wisdom ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, that is aweesommee Mabel. I’m so proud of you for the book and so happy that you had the time of your life at the concert. And thank you for sharing these precious moments with us as well ^_^ ❤

        I'm glad to be back too Mabel, I always look forward to your visits to my virtual place. I hold your words close to my heart every time you leave your thoughts with me on any of my posts ❤

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  34. Hi Mabel, I was little tied up so couldn’t read all you earlier post, also had to move to a new domain (www.makeupandbreakup.com), will catch up on all your pending ones and looking forward to our exchange of thoughts from the new place.
    Have a lovely weekend.
    😀

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      • Apology Mabel not in communication, was tied up at different front. Yes, little change and hope this change will make our conversations much more engaging and exciting…
        Yes, new year and hope new things and new way of doing things are the order.
        Hope you have a lovely weekend. Will catch with all pending posts.
        take care!!!
        😀

        Like

        • All is good. Moving to a new domain and server is a big jump, but it looks like all is going well for you. ‘Love and Light” – I love this signing off phrase in your latest post on your new blogging platform. So upbeat, so positive, and full of goodness 😀

          Liked by 1 person

          • Somehow I like phrases and this one was close to me “love and light”, that’s what we all want in life, more light and spread of love and gratitude and not carry any attitude and make life so colorful and enlighten for everyone…yes, the spread of positivity and goodness makes life a better place. It is for us “Make a Difference” , a difference in other’s life.
            take care!!!:D

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            • So well said, so poetic. Love it, and thank you for sharing the meaning behind your catchphrase. I think that is what most of us artists want to do with our art. For me, and probably you, we want to show the beauty in diversity and unique creativity in this world 😀

              Liked by 1 person

              • Yes Mabel, I couldn’t have agreed more on how you have summed up…we all with our creative mind need new ways to express and connect. The beauty in diversity and the unique creativity around us and the way we look at life. I was just going through your last post and I thought I need more time and gone through in detail before I share my perspective…
                😀

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                • You are so kind, Nihar. Take your time. Interpreting creativity takes time too, I’m sure you know that all too well. Life would be so boring without art and creativity. When we create, we often bring something unique to the world, which we all can learn from and feel inspired to be the best we can be.

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  35. Another beautiful post, Mabel. Always a great idea to explore and appreciate different art forms. They widen your perspective and inspire you to push the boundaries of your artistic instincts, they bring you a little closer to your own chosen medium of expression. I am sure the concert must have filled you with energy and emotions which you could best express through the medium that’s closest to your heart — words! And the result is this lovely, inspiring post. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Uday. Art has no boundaries – we can include pretty much any perspective(s) in the art that we craft.

      Florence and the Machine were nothing short of amazing. So inspiring to see artists up on stage so absorbed in the music and yet so attentive to the crowd at the same time. Art can certainly make a difference in someone else’s lives, and I hope to achieve that through my writing.

      Like

  36. Sounds like you have been a writer since the beginning, with your childhood green book. Good on you for keeping the flame burning against the odds. Lovely pics too.

    Like

  37. Hey M – read this while on the go – and congrats on your book – also a enjoy your break from posting – seriously – hope u get nice and recharged because u are such a gift to this community and your thoughtful and unique comments are so nice to get – and affirm and expound many posts – anyhow – have a nice weekend too 😏

    Like

    • Always appreciate your support, Y. You’re always a positive force to be reckoned with, you know it 😉

      I am enjoying my break. It feels very nice to enjoy life as it is and have more energy to reflect on life. Have begun editing the draft of my book – and from the looks of it, it really needs major surgery before I can present it to the world! You live and you learn 😀

      Like

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