Saturday, June 13, 2009

The East Coast Chronicles -- My travel buddy

Suhaimi Abdul Wahab, also known as Mie Pak Lah, was my travel buddy to the east coast. He was my junior at the MARA Institute of Technology (ITM), studying fine art, those many, many years ago. That's how I first knew him.

When he went for the entrance interview at ITM's art and design school, he brought along an art porfolio when everyone else, his peers, brought along only themselves! Needless to say, he frightened the other candidates away!

But that is Mie Pak Lah and his desire for perfectionism. When he does something, he wants it to be as perfect as possible. (This, of course, becomes a problem when he has to depend on other people and their work doesn't meet his exacting standards!)

As a student, he was outstandingly skilled, especially in his drawings. He impressed the lecturers when many other students failed them.

Mie has never worked for any establishment, management or organisation, except that sometimes he teaches art on a part-time basis at some universities/colleges. Upon graduation, he traveled the world to Europe and many parts of Asia, living the life of a so-called bohemian. Wherever he went, he would do paintings and sketches, getting whatever payment he could get for them, surviving only on this.

I guess this makes him a naturally seasoned traveler -- one who can survive in any situation.

It was good to do this road trip with him because both of us wanted to paint live, and we both wanted to document the state of Malaysia at this time. It was a great opportunity for us to bounce ideas and challenge each other.

Furthermore, when Mie crits my work, he doesn't sugar-coat his comments. Sometimes it's tough to swallow, but then it is the bitter pill that makes us better.

No comments: