Sometimes I ask myself why I am still trying to make a living in the Malaysian performing arts scene. It is – more often than not – a moneyless and thankless industry where many become jaded.
I too have fallen victim to this darker side of the force, wanting to quit the industry many times. So, why stay? To me and to many of those in the arts that I have spoken to, there is only one reason. And that is, pure and simple, because of passion.
Cheesy? Maybe, but it is what keeps many of us working in the Malaysian arts scene. You do it because you love it. It’s that simple.
And this is what has come out of so many post rehearsal or show conversations at the mamak, when the talk inevitably creeps back to the industry. Amidst all the frustration, anger and sadness there is also hope. Suggestions and ideas get thrown around, most of them amounting to nothing. But that little glimmer of hope growing from the seeds of passion is always there.
Because no matter how much we hate the attitudes, work culture and the measly pay, ultimately we still love what we do. Why else would we suffer through it?
And this, to me, is the reason we need the awards. Not because we want to win (sure, that too) but the real value of the awards (in my opinion) is that it makes us feel appreciated. Honestly, by the end of the night most of us will barely remember who has won what, but as the old cliché goes “it’s not about winning or losing, it’s the taking part that matters”.
And for that one night each year you truly feel like part of a community; that no matter what your contribution to the scene, it does count. It is a night when everyone can get together and socialise, veterans and newbies alike. All coming together to celebrate their love of the arts.
I’d like to believe that at times like these the little jaded monster growing inside each of us gets a little smaller, and the hope for the future of the community grows. And to me, it is this love for and sense of belonging to the arts community that makes you want to stick around and do more.