was inspired by my mother who was a refugee during the Vietnam War. That’s why I have an innate desire to tell the stories of survivors from various walks of life. My project for the physically disabled community of Cahaya Mutiara Ubud Foundation (YCMU) in Bali, Indonesia highlights the challenges and triumphs of these inspiring souls.
I believe that every soul who inspires through exceptionally tough experiences can contribute and communicate with future generations, and this will eventually motivate us to shape generations into a better world. Not only does photography allow me to learn more about the world I exist in, I also get the opportunity to express my perspectives through this art form. I’ve been documenting my connection with Bali since my first visit in 2013. But it was in 2015 that this specific chapter of photography and volunteering began. I had won a scholarship for the Foundry International Photojournalism workshop which meant that, for a week, I became the student of Maggie Steber, a
photographer. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d ever get to meet and learn from such legendary photographers at the Foundry workshop. Because of this experience, I started documenting a long-term story about the inspiring lives of the YCMU members in Tampak Siring, Bali. At the same time, I began volunteering too. That’s when my connection with Bali became stronger. The place allows me to find a spiritual peace that I cannot find back in Malaysia. The people at YCMU also remind me how privileged I am. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to encounter such beautiful souls. Looking at them fighting every day to just live a normal life, I am so inspired by their tenacity and want to share their stories to people across the globe. I hope that my photos offer glimpses of their lives while educating others about rare genetic disabilities and To be a good travel photojournalist, you have to have an ardent passion and love what you do. Empathy is just as important. I want to tell stories that have as much depth as they are beautiful. Society tends to judge something based on what they see outwardly, but I want my photos to capture the true spirit, emotions and personality of my subjects – things that we don’t necessarily see at first glance. To quote Paulo Coelho, “everything we see, everything that is in front of us is just the visible part of reality. We have the invisible part of reality, like emotions for example, like feelings”.
As a photojournalist, it is important to be more sensitive and less self-centred – and share the knowledge, so it will be passed down to the next generation.”
The kids at Cahaya Mutiara Ubud Foundation in Bali get ready for a cultural performance. Nana and her renowned mentor, photograph er Maggie Steber (
Life’s unexpected moments of joy. are Nana’s captures emotion. imbued with
life Enjoying community over a campfire.