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!
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 WPO, 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 dumb ass 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 Hyderabad; the red crescent moon above Dubai Burj Khalifa.. 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 suspicion, but my Awards invitation letter cleared the situation 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 (surprisingly, 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... ?