To have heat stroke
I experienced heat stroke quite often during my runs. In 2016, I had my first in Sumbawa, Indonesia when I ran for 320km. And the temperature was about 40 to 43 degree Celsius. I had another during TITI Ultra in 2017. The climate was hot and humid and I think I was pushing myself too hard by running too fast during the first 50km with minimum hydration. Afterwards, my feet started to feel heavy; I felt cold and my chest hurt. I felt week and I was stricken with nausea and headaches. I managed to drag myself until the 75km mark and then I finally gave up and quit. That same experience occurred at other races, one in Rinjani, Indonesia and during the Penang Eco 50k. The worst feeling I have experienced was when my eyes went blank and my muscles cramped up, but I was still awake. I had to quit to get help from the medical crew.
I lived in Bandung previously, where the air is a bit cooler, so I think that was a big factor when I run in places that are hotter and more humid. Now I live near Jakarta, with a very different environment; this helps me a lot especially when I prepare for running in hot and humid places. Now I hydrate more during the race and also during my training to avoid suffering from heat stroke again.
I GOT T HI S I NSPI R AT I ON from Malala Yousafzai. She said: “One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.” So, I believe that one love, one photo, one message can change the world. I conceptualised ‘Out in Japan’ where I shot 1,000 LGBTQ people in Japan. I got sponsorships from Gap to provide the wardrobe for my subjects. I spent about a year to shoot all 1,000 people. I’ve used crowdfunding and volunteers to be engaged in this spirit of supporting LGBTQ people, and believing that one day, same-sex marriage will be possible in Japan very soon. This is what I’m also doing with ‘Out in Singapore’ as well.
I T’S 2 0 1 8. It’s time for people to understand that we should have basic human rights. LGBTQ people contribute to society. They work hard, pay taxes, but the country isn’t accepting of who they are and I feel ashamed. It’s not just about LGBTQ; I want it to be about fairness for other people too.
I WANT TO F E E L P ROUD of my country so ‘Out in Singapore’ is a way to do that. At least, within my project I want to tell the whole world that Singapore is improving.
PHOTOGRAPHY I S MY GREATEST LOVE . Photography is my love/wife/husband/beloved and I am using this medium to share the love that I have with the world.
I’M NOT SURPRISED that Taiwan is progressive with same-sex union. In Asia, Taiwan is the country with the most understanding of arts, movies, photography… even more than Japan. When it comes to their films or music, they don’t censor indiscriminately.
I CANNOT BLAME HOMOPHOBES. Theyarethatwaybecause of how they were brought up. Hopefully, one day they will have an opportunity to realise that what they were afraid of was nothing. Like bungee jumping. If you’re afraid of that, just do it. And after that, you realise that it’s no big deal. These sorts of things take time.
I ’ M NOT V E RY E D U CATED so I’m not very good at reading and studying. Anything I discover is through my eyes and derived from my experience.
THE HUMAN BODY is a miracle and I’m shooting a miracle every day. Think about it: your mom’s egg and your father’s sperm made you. That’s a one in a million chance that you exist. This is a miracle.
I F YOU R E A L LY have the heart or determination, you’ll realise that it makes a lot of things possible. I’ve experienced that, so I try to share that with young people who are probably looking for their own path in life. Nobody can take away your determination and strong passion. Even if it doesn’t go well at first, you just pick yourself up and go for it again.
THE ONLY VACATION I took in my life was when I was 18. I backpacked to India and Nepal for a year and a half. Now as a photographer, I’m going to different countries; shooting, meeting people, looking for places to hold my exhibitions. But I don’t call it a vacation… it’s more like a journey.
A VACATION should feel like its purposeless. You just relax. You look at the sea, look at the sky. When I was in India I was close to that: no purpose. I took some photos, got inspired. Now, I’ve become a person who constantly sees how I can connect to the world.
ART CAN CHANGE THE WORLD. Art changed me; it saved me. If I hadn’t watched some amazing films and listened to amazing music or looked at great photographers’ work, I wouldn’t be here. Now I want to keep on spreading this spirit. I just want to use this little time that I have to share as much as possible.
I ’ M ST I L L C HASI NG MY D R E A MS. Big dreams. I wanna be the Asian version of Mother Teresa—saving the world through my photography.
PHOTOGRAPHERS whom I love and admire; they’ve been around for 60-odd years. I can’t compare myself to them yet. My career of 20 years is only the beginning, so I’m quite lucky that at this stage, I’m doing quite a lot of stuff.
D E AT H I S A F I NAL D E S T I NATI ON of every living thing. So, instead of dealing with what’s sad, I spend more time, heart and effort to give those who are dying more love near the end of their lives. Making them feel loved is the only thing I can do. When the day comes, of course, I will be sad but I will be grateful and be thankful for the love they have given me as well. It’s not sadness, it’s a beautiful goodbye. That’s how I deal with death.
I WANT to look forward to a beautiful death. Ideally, I would like to die at my own exhibition and after my speech; just as when people start to applaud. I want to die on stage.
OR maybe I’ll die while I’m still shooting.