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YONGL | The beginning of my photography journey

YONGL | The beginning of my photography journey

12 DECEMBER 2014

          My mother bought me my first slt camera three years ago, it was an inexpensive entry level slt camera which I still uses up to now and within that period we decide to pay in segment for like 2-3 years just for it. Previously I was just fooling around with a small digital camera and once borrowed a dslr camera from my uncle to try out for fun, my mother – she mostly understands and also trust in my passion for taking photographs (since I didn’t paint that frequently anymore haha). Due to deficiency of skill and money, I ended up self-learning and shooting with just one simple 18-55mm kit lens for two full years unceasingly (it’s actually dedicated).

       Afterward I advanced from high school and as well realizing that I have to find myself a scholarship (Finished up in receiving The Star Education Fund scholarship! ) in order to get into university for my favorite course in creative field (currently I am majoring in film & animation), and then there’s a photography subject for 3 semesters in the foundation year (it finished so quick!) and I’m glad that I met Mr.Chemat on the track way that I have taken, after his lesson I was required to have a prime and telephoto lens to finish up the tasks specified (street genre kind of) and that is essentially the first time I came in touch with new lenses, more technical aspects and also some principles of photography, like a more proper education rather after years of self, it did bring a lot of benefits to me. My university's foundation year is over and I’m walking into my majoring (First year). Nowadays I’m on my own again on photography and looking back it was a very long road, definitely I will continue to shoot and as well see where the wind will take me to.


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YONGL | Story and journey to Sony World Photography Awards 2015

YONGL | Story and journey to Sony World Photography Awards 2015

22 APRIL 2015


          Well this feels a bit of surreal, travelling alone to somewhere so far for the very first time and the entire trip is fully sponsored by Sony & World Photo Organisation (WPO). I have never been to a foreign country, the farthest place I ever been to is like Johor, Malaysia. I never sit in an airplane and today… perhaps all the tough work do really pays off at the end.


         Thinking back to the starting point of my photography journey it’s a mixed emotion, it is absolutely not easy specifically at the point where I just begin to become a self-taught photographer, and I am so thankful that I have true friends who are really supportive (I can’t list all of you out here but I’m going to remember you all till my last breath) and my family too (even if it took me quite a long time to convince my parent, and the three years installment plan for my very first camera is now worth it). Also, thanks to a specific college in Penang for rejecting my scholarship application which eventually leads me to MMU in Cyberjaya, thanks Mr.Ayman & The Star Education Fund for having faith in me all through the scholarship interview. Consequently meeting my foundation lecturer Che’ Ahmad Azhar whom his street photography works – Walk Of Life, heavily inspired and taught me that dedication as well as patience is really important and from the philosophy and teaching of his, it further elevates my thinking and direction towards my works in photography.


           Sometimes life is about give and take, and finding a balance. I wish I could inspire more people to go pursue whatsoever they like or are passionate in, or even try finding them, and it is not just for money or fame solely or anything materialistic and luxurious. My airplane departs in an hour time. I do feel a little bit scared but then I remember my name which my parent gave – ‘勇’ Yong which means courage. Wish me luck!


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YONGL | SPM - My key to freedom
Nov 06, 2018

YONGL | SPM - My key to freedom

1 JUNE 2013


          2012 - During my high school life, I’ve no other choice but to take up science as my major even though I want to do art. My Form 3 class teacher once said to me, “oh, I didn’t know that you can actually draw. Did you know that drawing stuffs have no future? Don’t waste your time on drawing. It’s better for you to focus and do revision for my subjects”. I was devastated after hearing that comment. 

          However, I did not take that criticism seriously and continued doing what I am passionate in as well as my belief that this path will bring me to great heights. I remember my parent telling me that they have no money for my tertiary study, I figured out that a scholarship is my only way out, and to get a scholarship I need a good result. Statistically, scholarships are more likely to be given to a student studying in the science stream rather than the arts. I will need to endure 2 of my final years in high school and ace the exam so that I can pursue my passion degree in creative field with a scholarship. (and I made it!) 

           I believe that anything we do in life there will always be obstacles and challenges and we have to always keep our heads up and never allow pessimists to push us down. I’ve also learnt that we have to give ourselves some self-respect, faith and trust in ourselves. Besides that, we also need to put in a lot of effort to get what we want. We are the controllers of our own life, and all of us have the power to control which path to take..


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YONGL | My first photography sharing in Nottingham University Malaysia

YONGL | My first photography sharing in Nottingham University Malaysia

28 NOVEMBER 2016


          This is my first ever art, photography talk and sharing in an "Incitement" event organised by the awesome team @JCI Youth University Of Nottingham Malaysia Campus 3 weeks ago, I get to share the story of my journey all the way from painting on papers to shooting on camera, then creating artworks digitally. My family is not financially capable of supporting my tertiary education and passion, so I have to study hard for SPM; securing a full scholarship to study what I like and participating in competitions for gears, equipments and funds are my only way out. 4-5 years ago my mother believed in me and bought me my first ever inexpensive entry level slt camera with 3 years loan, and it improved my life forever. Currently I'm glad that I get to do the stuffs I'm passionate about every day, I don't mind sleeping less and working long hours or going additional miles for these stuffs, still much better than doing or studying something which I'm not truly passionate about (plus it's for the grades) when I was in science stream in highschool.


Update: Full video of the speech will be uploaded to my Youtube page - YONGL soon. 


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YONGL | My first flight - London
Nov 05, 2018

YONGL | My first flight - London

22 APRIL 2015

        This is my Story. My first time stepping into an airport (KLIA) and my first ever aeroplane flight in my life is FREE thanks to World Photography Organisation, but a tedious yet unforgettable 14+ hours flight with a transfer in Dubai DXB to London LHR back in April 2015. My university friends sent me off. My passport was freshly made a few months ahead of the flight. I was alone and I remember I have to look at the person in front of me and imitate their actions during the security check (etc) because I have zero idea of how the process of boarding an aeroplane is like. I also realise the importance of signboards in big airport like DXB. 

        I smiled like a dumbass when the aeroplane took off because that is my first time experiencing the fast acceleration. I stared at the window most of the time during the flight. There is no one beside me the entire journey. The vibrating seat when the aeroplane leaves KLIA bracing the sunset storm and thunder; the total darkness across the Andaman sea and Bay of Bengal - news of MH370 flashed across my mind; the bright city lights above Hyperabad; the red crescent moon above Dubai Burj Khalifia.. The only Chinese I saw in DXB transfer train smiled and nodded at me, then we parted ways. I was the only Asian boarding the midnight flight from DXB to LHR.

        I remember every single details visually. I watched the sun rises above the horizon; the freezing water droplets on the window and arrived in LHR early morning, had a "small interview" session in the airport. The immigration officer bombarded me with tons of questions with suspicioun, but my Awards invitation letter cleared the stituation easily and gained the officer respect in return. The Awards night falls on the same day I arrive. I had zero sleep, I was tired mentally and I just went up to the stage and delivered a short speech smoothly (surpisingly, because I was a quiet person back then) right from my heart without any preparation ahead, people like it. I am not sure if anyone recorded my short sleepless spontaneous speech on the stage. Now, I wish to find the footage back haha


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YONGL | Scoliosis & Mount Kinabalu

YONGL | Scoliosis & Mount Kinabalu

12 JUNE 2017

           I feel like pushing my own limit so I am going to climb Mount Kinabalu with 3 of my friends this Wednesday, wish me luck! Scoliosis (S shaped spine) has become part of my life ever  since early form 2 in high school, it is idiopathic. I’m still thankful that I do not have any breathing difficulties or any heavy pain which regularly comes along as a package for a Scoliosis patient. My last meet up with the doctor is like 3 years ago, andmy curve is like 40 something degrees, I have not and refuse to go through any operation yet of putting steel rods into the body to fix the spine, hopefully not in the future too.

17 JUNE 2017 -  The Summit of Mount Kinabalu!

           The first 6km hike to Laban Rata is fine. (We forgot to take our lunch pack, we started hiking around 9.20am and manage to reach Laban Rata around 1.50pm) I guess my daily 3km run and stairs climb helped me a lot, I gradually got used to my scoliosis back sore as well. The last 2km climb to the summit after the rest in laban rata is mentally and physically tough for me personally. Summit climb starts around 2.30am, it's chilly cold and my LED light unfortunately spoiled before the summit hike starts, I have to depend on the lights from my friends and mountain guide as well. My hiking bag shoulder strap broke unexpectedly before reaching Sayat-sayat check point which is kinda frustrating (my friend Pau helped me to tie it back). I got sweet nice shots along the way up (although it's not recommended to shoot while summiting because it will be even more tiring haha). I couldn't make it without my friends, I have to thank them for sharing the weight of my camera prime lenses, each weighs around 800g-1kg, also an extra pair of sock, heat pads from Angeline and the surgical glove from Gabriel - I realize the normal glove is too thick for me to use the camera. Lastly also have to thank our mountain guide Mr.Ivnur who is also a photography enthusiast for guiding and helping us all the way to the peak, and bringing us to the nice spots around the peak and helping us with the group photos!


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YONGL | Hope & Despair - My first Digital Art solo exhibition

YONGL | Hope & Despair - My first Digital Art solo exhibition

8 AUGUST 2017

          This means a lot to me. I started my digital art self-learning journey via Deviant art few years back when I was in high school. I still recall a high school teacher roasted me saying that I'm wasting my time doing art but I never concerned. In 2012 and 2013 midst of SPM, some of my works are published in local newspaper. In 2014, I saw the chance in Nandos Art Initiative competition and decided to give it a shot but I was only shortlisted as finalist. Around 2015, I tried again and I finally got it - The first placing of the category. Meanwhile I get to have my own solo digital art exhibtiion! It is originally set in the end of 2015 or early 2016 but there's lots of delays from my side due to my final year project and thesis. Lastly, now as I am months away to my graduation ceremony I have an empty gap of free time to finish this up!



Update: You can view all of my solo exhibition works digitally here - https://www.yongl.my/hope


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YONGL | Scholarship, University & Graduation

YONGL | Scholarship, University & Graduation

30 DECEMBER 2013

          Back in 2013, I was kinda in a desperate state and looking for scholarship for my tertiary education to study something which I'm always passionate about. I will have to endure studying form 6 if I fail to do so (not going for science stream again.. it's hell to me). I was rejected couple of times (for interview) by some other intitutes and Multimedia University is the only one that accepted my application for interview (and eventually into the course). I still remember the interviewer asking "You have 10As and so many A+s, why do you still apply for this course - Animation & Visual Effects?! Are you crazy. You can be a doctor/engineer/astronaut blah". My response "Yeah I guess I am crazy haha."


          I will always remember the conversation with Prof.Rasat throughout the award ceremony in 2013. It's 2017 now, I did my best for the past 3 years, very appreciative for the opportunity given to study here, fulfilled my responsibility, obligation and also met some great and supportive friends, lecturers, and mentors . Thesis and Final year project officially ends, 1 last semester to go, no more 'creative' system, cage and syllabus to follow, it's time to keep the momentum, twist the throttle and double the hustle.


11 SEPTEMBER 2017


          A big thanks to my 4 years education sponsor and those who gave me a chance to pursue higher education - The Star Scholarship, Multimedia University and my family. My parents once told me form 6 would be my only choice after SPM due to economical constraint. SPM result and a full scholarship are the keys to my tertiary education, so I grinded like crazy throughout the last 2 years of my high school - there is no regrets. Life altered when I came to Cyberjaya, Selangor :D I met a lot of great lecturers mentors and friends . I did my best, fulfilled my responsibility, no bonding and I am a happy first class graduate!


           Back in 2013, I was kinda in a desperate state and looking for scholarship for my tertiary education to study something which I'm always passionate about. I will have to endure studying form 6 if I fail to do so (not going for science stream again.. it's hell to me). I was rejected couple of times (for interview) by some other intitutes and Multimedia University is the only one that accepted my application for interview (and eventually into the course). I still remember the interviewer asking "You have 10As and so many A+s, why do you still apply for this course - Animation & Visual Effects?! Are you crazy. You can be a doctor/engineer/astronaut blah". My response "Yeah I guess I am crazy haha."


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YONGL | Unleash 2017 Speaker - Madrid, Spain

YONGL | Unleash 2017 Speaker - Madrid, Spain

19 SEPTEMBER 2017

       #UNLEASH2017 – was another amazing experience that I had the pleasure to attend. I want say thank you to PANGEA for sponsoring my trip to Madrid, Spain for my second experience travelling overseas. I was invited to give a talk in a 3-day youth convention & conference called the TEATRO CIRCO PRICE on my photography experience and journey along with other amazing youths from all around the world. I would also like to extend my gratitude to Sandra, Irene and Javi. I will send you guys a self-made photobook from Malaysia! 

          This was truly a priceless trip, also my second oversea trip to somewhere so far. I’ve met many amazing people during that time. They all have very inspiring and motivating stories when they share it during that conference. A big shout out to Max, Prince Wasim, Alexandru and Lucia! I’ve also decided to tour Madrid on my own time during that trip. I managed to get lost a couple of times but I am glad to be able to take over 300 photos (Thanks to Raúl for the recommendations). I’ve also visited many museums that was recommended by Lola. Absolutely flabbergasted for a village boy like me. Finally, I’ve also managed to meet a ‘neighbour’ from Singapore, Ming! I have no regrets. Adios Madrid!  

           This was truly a priceless trip, also my second oversea trip to somewhere so far. I’ve met many amazing people during that time. They all have very inspiring and motivating stories when they share it during that conference. A big shout out to Max, Prince Wasim, Alexandru and Lucia! I’ve also decided to tour Madrid on my own time during that trip. 


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YONGL | Riding Ha Giang Extreme Motorcycle Loop
Oct 30, 2018

YONGL |  Riding Ha Giang Extreme Motorcycle Loop

          Grateful that I am still in one piece and alive, the rural mountains of North Vietnam almost took my breath away. Riding in it feels so god damn surreal (and dangerous- single lane but 2 ways, shitty road condition, sands and rocks, trucks) I will return one day. 

          I have to thank both of you Hoàng Hà & Sin Wei for the hospitality. The trip is not possible without u guys. I will never forget the motorcycling experience there, one step closer to riding around South East Asia? (still lots of steps to go) One day in far future hopefully.

          Riding a motorcycle in such environment ..you will feel that you are so small and unimportant, all your worries, sadness and negative emotions become insignificant and infinitesimal, the cool wind will numb all your negativities. (more physical numbness if you didn't wear any biking gloves or jacket)


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