AS a kid, all I wanted to do was perform. I loved singing and dancing and one of my favourite TV programs was a variety show called Donny and Marie. Airing from 1976 to 1979, the show was hosted by siblings Donny and Marie Osmond. You’d have had to grow up in the mid-’70s to know why I was obsessed with the show.
I grew up in Johor Baru and back then if you lived in the southern part of Johor, you could get access to Singapore TV channels. As a kid this made a huge difference to my entertainment and social life! Local TV did not offer some of the programs I could enjoy on Singapore channels, back when the Internet, YouTube and Satellite TV were unheard of!
Once a week – I can’t remember which evening anymore – I would plonk myself in front of the TV, to catch the show. I’d be glued to the tele, singing along to Donny and Marie, until the show was over. The only time I’d stop was when they stopped, or during commercial breaks.
I also enjoyed looking at the trendy clothes Ms Osmond wore. She was a 1970s fashion icon! I coveted Marie’s bellbottom pants and maxi dresses.
I was so obsessed with the show that the more I watched it the more convinced I was that I should be in showbiz! In fact I would spend my waking hours singing or dreaming of performing on stage. I believed at that point I had found my calling and it was music!
However, much to my disappointment, my passion for the entertainment industry was not by equal enthusiasm from my parents. In fact they were not at all impressed I had harboured such dreams!
My parents who were themselves raised by traditional parents believed that music was something which people did in their free time. Not as a career.
To my parents, being excellent academically was the only answer to a “good future.” I was expected to work hard at school, get a good job (they believed in job security), settle down and have kids. They also perceived certain professions as more respectable than others.
I am not sure if they still hold these beliefs today as the way people do things has changed. In fact, jobs that were never thought of before exist today and more jobs and opportunities will continue to be created in the future.
As a kid conditioned to believe that adults know better, I found myself gradually and grudgingly letting go of my desire to perform. Before long I began to subscribe to what my parents believed in.
Looking back, I realise that that episode with my parents, and few other similar ones, taught me to hold back and instead do things which were expected of me. Mind you I am not blaming my parents as I am sure they raised me according to what they felt was right and to with the best of intentions.
But sometimes what we parents and adults don’t realise is, we steal our or children’s dreams. A lot of times we do so due to our own fears and limitations.
Because of my conditioning, I ended up spending a large part of my life doing things that were expected of me. It took me a long time to rediscover and follow some of my passions.
I admire people who are always true to themselves. One such person is author, illustrator, guerrilla artist and blogger Keri Smith. What amazes me most about Smith is her constant ability to be in tune with her true passions. And how she had always trusted her intuition. This, despite realising how different her perception was, in comparison to most of the kids she met, at school.
She inspires me to challenge my perception of life and how I have been living it. I love Smith’s attitude on creating. She does not believe in producing something just because she can. Instead, she strongly believes in producing things that are unique and have inherent meanings.
Smith’s Wreck This app which is available for iPad and iPhone, is one shining example. The app provides its user with the unique experience of being in the moment and letting go of control through fun exercises and play.
I find exploring the app very liberating as it encourages me to let my ideas out and put my judgement aside.
Using the app got me thinking about rediscovering my true passions. I need to let go of my need for control and allow my heart instead of my head to be my guide. I think letting go of control is wonderful. Many great artists have achieved amazing results when they chose to let go.> The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.