You’re currently working in a bouldering gym. How did you start climbing, and what do you enjoy about it?
I started climbing when a friend introduced me to it during one of my summer breaks in college, and I’ve been hooked on it ever since. The most enjoyable part about climbing is how personal it is, because you have to figure out a way to climb the routes that suits your own body type, strength level, and climbing style.
You have quite a number of tattoos—can you explain what each one is/means to you?
The first one I got is below my right collar bone. It’s the mathematical formula of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, used in quantum mechanics. It states that there is inherent uncertainty in the act of measuring a variable of a particle. I learnt this formula many years ago in school studying Physics, and it somehow stuck with me as a brilliant metaphor for how I would like to handle facing uncertainty in life.
The second is in the middle of my chest, and is a line drawing of the exact pen and pencil that I use to write and draw.
The third is a single line under my left breast, as a homage to my mother who had a left mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer many years ago. But of course this one is of course the least visible.
The fourth is on the back of my left arm, and is a line drawing of the bai ban mahjong tile. The bai ban is the Confucian symbol of filial piety, and mahjong has recently become a weekly family bonding activity after my mother taught us how to play.
The fifth is on my right leg, and is a thick line that follows the shape of a figure eight knot if my leg was put through it. The figure eight knot is the knot climbers use to secure the rope to their harnesses before they climb on a high wall, and is one of the key elements of ensuring safety. It is not an exaggeration to say that climbing itself has been a lifeline of mine since I started it, and this tattoo was dedicated to how much it means to me.
If money was no object, what would you be doing?
After doing the ethical follow ups of making sure my family is well provided for and making donations to choice charities, I would be doing one of these three things: either opening my own climbing gym in a different country, going to film school, or renovating a caravan so that I can live out of it while driving to different outdoor crags and mountains to climb on natural rock. Oh, and also get more tattoos.
What was the last thing you read/saw/watched/heard that really left an impression on you?
Bo Burnham’s latest Netflix special, titled “Inside”. He is my favourite comedian, and has gone above and beyond his previous live performances to produce a hauntingly insightful view of how we relate to the world through the lens of media. I highly recommend it.
You’re given the ability to implement/change one law in society—what would it be and why?
This is a tough question; there are a lot of things that I do feel need to be changed. Or updated, to put it more succinctly. After reading this question, I literally sat for 5 minutes trying to decide which issue is the most important to tackle, and the best, all encompassing answer I can think of is to make it compulsory for early, legitimate education of racial sensitivity, LGBTIQA+ history, sex education, mental health awareness, and neurodiversity.
What’s something you’re no longer into now that your past self was very much into?
I used to be very into writing. I would journal consistently everyday, and regularly write poetry and short prose. I would say that the more I developed my visual art, the less I felt I had to express in words. It’s been years since I’ve done any creative writing, but I still journal occasionally.