I am one who believes no luck could happen without good people in your life. Generous people. People who support you from the bottom of their hearts. I guess when you believe it, you also attract those people. In my case, it is often true. For example, this exhibition and talk at Apple Sydney store coming up in two weeks would not happen without two great friends in my life. While I am slightly panicking as it will be the first time I hear my Chinese accent out of a speaker, I’d like to first express my gratitude for their generous support along the way.
1. Every introvert needs a friend like Jo.
Jo is another of my random Instagram encounters, a woman with the most unique rockabilly+vintage Asian+Japanese kawaii+modern chic style. It was a rainy day in 2013 when we first met. Jo turned up at the cafe, fully equipped with polka dot raincoat, colourful umbrella and rain boots. Under the raincoat, it was a colourful vintage dress. Oh and she was wearing her signature cat-eye glasses too. I thought to myself perhaps I was under dressed like I always was – if you would spy on me, you will find out I am in the same shorts and white t-shirt almost everyday. As usual, I didn’t have an umbrella either so I was a bit wet. I only wish I was dressed a bit nicer.
That afternoon we talked for hours. Jo traveled a lot and just came back to Sydney from South East Asia at the time. I was also curious about her marriage overseas as I saw the wedding photos she posted earlier. She laughed and told me, ‘They were fake, impromptu wedding photos! We thought it was fun so we did it!’ She also showed me photos of her, dressed in a bright-coloured qipao at the Chinese Garden of Friendship. At the end of our meeting, she invited me to go to the Chinese New Year Dragon Dance with her. I said yes in excitement, but later regretted as I was worried that I would look like a hideous Chinese ghost!
Luckily the Chinese New Year Dragon Dance didn’t happen. But over the years Jo has invited me to many other interesting events. Every time we hang out, except our quick CBD lunch catch-ups, we would do something inspiring together. Once she took me to a story-reading event inside a pop-up wooden house at The Rocks; I clapped so hard at her speech about how to eat yum cha like a Chinese at Oxford Art Factory; She wrote her ideas about our city on the wall at IdeaBombing at Kings Cross car park – typical me, when she passed me the chalk, I blushed, said to her, ‘Errr … I don’t know what to write’. I admire Jo’s passion in experiencing different things in life (unlike me, these days I just hopelessly experience eating and massage) and her respect to other creatives’ works.
On our recent lunch date, I told Jo about the invitation to present a talk at Apple Sydney. I was excited about Mundane Matters being recognised, but I was also in doubt – how on earth am I going to talk about my work without shaking my voice? Oh my god people are going to hear that amplified mechanical vibration constantly emitted from the speaker! Jo was very excited for me. She suggested, why don’t you have someone you know interview you, instead of yourself talking on the stage? She encouraged me to accept the invitation. More people need to know about you and your work! I listened. As I dragged the Thai egg noodle out of the soup, all the doubts were gone. I started thinking whom can I invite to put this talk together.
Notes: Jo runs Betty Brooch, a wonderful mini world of hers. More people need to know about it too.
2. Cam – when an idiot meets another idiot.
Last night we caught up with Cam. After a few beers and Margaritas, Cam said to me, ‘Danling, for people who don’t know you personally, you are like from another planet.’ I frowned. Anett agreed and told him she called me ‘alien’. He continued, ‘You are this creative person with a cool haircut and lots of ideas and you are always happy. But I know you and you are just an idiot like me!’ Three of us started laughing. I felt like crying. I told Cam you are at the top of favourite people list.
Therefore, Cam will be my interviewer at the talk. In fact, I would rather have Cam talk about his stories. He is always curious about other people’s stories, and a greater listener. But when he talks, you’d hear the most amazing story or the funniest expression from him. If it is appropriate, I wish he could throw some kisses to the audience like a rock star, or share his stupid chili stories. But on the other side, he is also one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met. I respect and admire his knowledge in sound, history and culture. Having a busy life of a father of two, he still drinks whisky and dances with his wife, takes the kids on the bicycle for a ride, makes music, writes articles and produces podcasts. He humbly called himself a failure when someone approached him for career advice when he was hanging out at 2am at a bar in Chicago. He told us before he got a bit tipsy last night. If I knew he was going to call me an idiot, I would have laughed at him and said, ‘You just have the look. You are an idiot like me!’
I don’t know how this talk between two idiots will be. But at least I guarantee it will be the most honest talk you have ever been.
I thank Jo and Cam for their love and support. Hope one day I can do the same for them.
Exhibition & talk details:
Date: Thursday, 4 February 2016
Exhibition: starts at 9am
Address: Apple Store, 367 George Street, Sydney
RSVP to the talk on Apple website
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