I met someone for dinner just a few hours ago. He is an AZAIG reader has been asking if we could meet up for dinner of coffee. We arranged the time and venue and the place to meet was High Street Kensington. I had no clue what is in store for me.
As soon as I walked out from the station, I saw someone standing by the exit and as soon as he looked up, he asked… “Zewt?”. After a brief introduction, we left for dinner. The place to go was “Whole Food Market”. It’s a supermarket plus a food court, and the food here is mainly organic.
After we ordered our food and drinks, he generously paid for me as well and we found a place to have our meal and thus began a very enlightening conversation…
The man in question is freelance photographer and producer of the book “Malaysians”. Besides being a freelance photographer, he also runs an art gallery here in London, a venue for art students to parade their artistic talents. I think he is a man who appreciates art very much
Blogging under the nick svllee, he is a Malaysian who has been living in London for almost 30 years now. Despite being away from Malaysia for most part of his life, he calls himself a patriot; and I can't help but agree with him, totally. I know a lot of people out there perceive those who leave the country as people who have abandoned their roots. If you meet svllee, you think have to think again.
Being in London for 30 years now, I asked why he has not given up his Malaysian citizenship and apply for a British passport? By the way, his wife is a British too. His answer was plain, simple; but yet profound. To him, Malaysia is still his home and he would like to hold on to his root. How many of us will be like him?
Not only that, he is also very up-to-date with the happenings in Malaysia. From the Bersih rally to the parliamentary leakage to the body snatching saga to the bus crash to the Lingam saga… he knows it all. Honestly speaking, I am astonished. Here is a man who probably spent perhaps only a quarter of life in Malaysia but yet still so patriotic is still so well-aware of things in the country; I am astonished. How many of us will forget about things in Malaysia after being a year away?
He sees Malaysian as a very unique ‘race’. It is not just Malay, Chinese or Indians who fascinates him; it is the “dan lain-lain lagi” (so he claimed) who fascinates him deeply. This brought about the book ‘Malaysians’; which is a portrait of Malaysians faces, artistically snapped with caption from a professional journalist. Marina Mahathir wrote the foreword of the book. No, this is not a sponsored post.
I briefly browse through the book and indeed, there are many Malaysian faces whom I never thought will be Malaysians. We are indeed a very diversely wonderful race. Be proud of it we should.
The book is a project initiated for Malaysians. He is currently looking at producing another one, also about Malaysians. I wonder if I will have the privilege to appear or pen some thoughts there.
Svlllee is a living testimony of the saying…”you can take a Malaysian out of Malaysia but you can never take Malaysia out of a Malaysian”. 30 years in a foreign land, his most profound statement was …
“I really don’t want my country to go down the dump” (something like that…)