Twenty-six-year-old Wayne Lim from Kuala Lumpur says that the support of friends and family have kept him on the right path in life.
The tall, young man is a picture of confidence if you were to meet him today.
But he wasn’t always this way because of his “dark” past, he says.
“I may seem confident on the outside, but that confidence comes from the experiences I’ve gone through. It’s not the kind of confidence that comes from training, school or one’s background,” says Lim.
“I guess that’s why I identify with the character of Batman, Bruce Wayne,” he laughs. “And that’s also how I got that name in college.”
His face turns serious.
“My father, who was a businessman, was murdered when I was 13, and I never knew my mother because she left soon after I was born,” he reveals.
“As a child, I was raised firstly by my grandmother because my father worked outstation, and subsequently, by an aunt and uncle. I grew up with my cousins and they are the only family I know.”
Lim says that he’s never met his mother, and has only seen pictures of her from his parents’ old wedding photos.
“I’ve never spoken to her nor met her personally. Apparently, she’s still alive but I’ve never attempted to contact her. Though she’s the one who gave birth to me, I was raised by other relatives and they’re more like my parental figures,” he adds.
But he admits he was curious and ended up finding a social media profile that closely matched his mother in terms of appearance and description.
“Initially, I looked down on her because she was working at a bar before I was born. I blamed her for giving birth to me, but not any longer because it’s all in the past.
“I never knew why she ran away and while I can understand there might have been circumstances which prompted her to leave, I can’t see it as justified,” he admits.
“My mother’s side of the family did keep in touch with me. But she herself has never reached out to me, not even when my father or grandmother passed away,” he says.
Lim reveals that because of his traumatic childhood, he did go through depression and anxiety attacks when he was younger.
“I’ve even tried to self-harm, and I didn’t really have a concept about ‘self-care’. Of my own accord, when I was 22, I decided to seek treatment,” he says.
Although depression wasn’t talked about much at the time, Lim says that his uncle, despite being the typical ‘stern’ middle-aged Chinese man, did try to understand what he was going through and reached out to him.
“Growing up, I was a loner and as a child, I was often bullied and treated differently by others for my ‘uncertain’ background,” says Lim.
“My studies deteriorated when I was in secondary school and I went from the top to the bottom of the class. I also had issues with my teachers,” he says.
“But I was fortunate to have good friends in both primary and secondary school, and that helped me get through those difficult times. Some of them came from similar backgrounds, and understood what I was going through and I really appreciated that,” he adds.
Lim left home when he was 20.
“I had an argument with my uncle because of a misunderstanding and left home,” he says.
After he left home, Lim befriended a college student from Bangladesh. His friend was willing to take him in – rent-free – for a month.
“I was walking around outside with my pet bearded dragon on my head and this college student from Bangladesh was very curious. We started talking, became friends and he took me in,” he shares.
Lim was grateful for the kindness of his new friend.
“Even though he was practically a stranger, I thought that I had nothing to lose. I got to know him better, taught him how to ‘survive’ in Malaysia. I even helped him make a police report when he was mugged. And when he got conned in a real estate scam, I helped translate some documents which he needed that were in Bahasa Malaysia,” he says.
Subsequently, Lim moved out and ventured out into all kinds of jobs. Even though his relatives tried to reach out to him during that time, he chose to live on his own.
“I learnt to be independent, street smart, and how to interact with people from different types of backgrounds,” he says, adding that he has now returned to live with his relatives.
“People say ‘blood is thicker than water’ but the full quote ‘the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb’ actually has the opposite meaning,” he says.
“A lot of the people who have impacted my life positively are those I’ve met such as my friends, work mentors and bosses.
“I see some of them as responsible figureheads or ‘father figures’. They have helped me get on the right path, showed me what to do and what not to do ... how to get through life,” he explains.
Lim, a self-proclaimed ambivert (he enjoys “time alone” to collect his thoughts each day), is an artist. He works in research and development where he develops graphics, videos, tutorials and trains teachers.
“I’ve explored many different fields including waitering, stockbroking, renovations, and entrepreneurship (marketing animal feed products),” he says, adding that art is “the way I express myself”.
Though he is “currently dating”, Lim says that he doesn’t want to have any children of his own.
“There are many children in need, such as orphans, and I’d rather help them because I can identify with their situation.
“Even if I can’t support them financially, I’m able to give them the emotional and social support that they need because of what I’ve been through,” he concludes.