Painted land­scapes in Lhasa, Ti­bet

Female (Malaysia) - - FEATURE -

Like Noma on a foodie’s wish list, Ti­bet is pretty much on ev­ery wan­derer’s bucket list. For Skii, it wasn’t when or why, but how. The an­swer pre­sented it­self through her paint­ing teacher (Cul­tural Medal­lion re­cip­i­ent Ong Kim Seng), who plans one over­seas paint­ing trip each year. In 2017, it was Ti­bet. (For three years prior, Skii had de­voted one day of each week­end to learn the art of paint­ing from Ong.) Here, fi­nally, was this in-house coun­sel’s op­por­tu­nity not just to go to Ti­bet but to also paint land­scapes and vil­lages as part of a paint­ing en­tourage.

“I de­cided to take up the chal­lenge of go­ing to a high-alti­tude re­gion to paint be­cause aside from the scenic sur­round­ings, it was steep in cul­ture and I wanted to ven­ture to dif­fer­ent sur­round­ings to gain more per­spec­tive,” Skii elab­o­rates.

She man­aged 10 paint­ings while travers­ing the monas­ter­ies, hilly re­gions and the vast Lu­lang For­est. “We even got to set foot in the Po­tala Palace, pre­vi­ously home to the Dalai La­mas,” she says. Skii’s big­gest take­away? Her en­coun­ters with the monks and vil­lagers.

“Though we could not con­verse with them, we felt their warmth through their ges­tures and smiles. One thing that struck me was how con­tent they were. The calm­ness ex­uded by the peo­ple we in­ter­acted with def­i­nitely made me ques­tion what ‘progress’ does to peo­ple’s in­ner psy­ches,” she muses.

Travel tips: “The alti­tude can be chal­leng­ing; we had to ac­cli­ma­tise and choose paint­ing spots that were ac­ces­si­ble. The aver­age age of the paint­ing group was 50-60 years and spe­cial care had to be taken to en­sure that there were enough oxy­gen can­is­ters and ex­tra buses had to be char­tered in case of an emer­gency repa­tri­a­tion.”

Philo­soph­i­cally, Skii of­fers this: “Tak­ing a break from (our city life) helps. Only when you are able to some­what dis­tance your­self from the hus­tle and bus­tle, and find an in­ner oa­sis in your mind will you be able to gain con­tent­ment and a deeper sense of what hap­pi­ness means.”

Ti­betan travel pack­ages can eas­ily be found on­line. Un­for­tu­nately, paint­ing master Ong isn’t plan­ning any more Ti­betan trips.

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