Sunday, September 13, 2015

Learning From The Best!

Medical clowning work is not an easy job. 

You have to be creative, you have to be good at listening especially to your clown partners and you have to be sharp and precise so that your spontaneous performance will be understood by your audience, in this case, children. 

You just can't rely on making balloons most of the time. It will freeze your creativity during your interaction with sick kids. As a clown you need to take risks to do the unthinkable, to throw in wild ideas during your clowning work in the hospitals.

That is why I am working to get her to come to Kuala Lumpur and teach us this December. 

This is Caroline Simonds, a 6-feet tall, 64-year old lady from Washington who run off with a circus and eventually started the clown doctors program in France in 1991. Now she leads Le Rire Medecin, a non-profit that sends 100 trained medical clowns to cheer up sick kids in 15 hospitals across France, every week.

They are going to celebrate their 25th anniversary next year and she told me that it is going to be a year long celebration.

Her book, The Clown Doctor Chronicles, is still my favourite book to read on hospital clowning work. 

She is the best! She will come to observe, to train and to coach Red Bubbles clown doctors for 5 days. This is once in a lifetime opportunity to learn from one of the world's top trainer in medical clowning work!

Of course, there are costs to it. Currently I am working to raise funds around RM20,000 to pay for her trip to Kuala Lumpur. It will cover her teaching fee, lodgings and meals while she is here. We have booked her flights (with extra legroom of course!) with the initial funding of RM5000 we've got. It is another RM15,000 to go. 

I am confident we can get it by the end of November and really looking forward to learn as much as possible from her.

Friday, May 22, 2015


We are working with a potential corporate sponsor for a charity project. 

Mostly we are talking on the details of the itineraries of the events scheduled in two weeks time. Yet, they couldn't tell us when the funds would be released to us so that we can start our work. When I asked about it the other day, they just keep telling us that we must meet to discuss it. 

So that's it. So I just told them we are pulling out from the project. Just like that. 

We just can't do it within the short time span that we have. We might able to do it but I don't think we are able to give our best especially for the sick kids.

Frankly, I've never been so brave before to do what I have done. I usually will procrastinate in making decisions. But not that very day. And I found that it is so liberating, (although I did spent the whole day being angry about it.)

And it has also made them to act.

They didn't apologised for what has happened. I don't really care. But they told me that they will still do it for the sake of the sick kids. Great! 

Maimonides, a Jewish philosopher in the Middle Ages once said, "The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision."

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Lousy Day

Today wasn't the the best day to perform. At least for me.
DR Lat was down with cold and could not make it for our Thursday's round. He messaged me this morning.
I went to the ward with quite low energy. Perhaps missing my clown wife. I hope he's getting better. Luckily Mr Uncle Twist Twist, my balloonologist came by for his cancer treatment and he became my surrogate clown wife.
The nurse gave us the weather report. Not many patients today in the ward. Baby Al-Fateh checked-in into the Isolation Room. He's down with fever and some boils.
Suet Yee is still there. The cheerful 9 year old girl can't go back until her platelet level increases to normal. It's time for clown manicure service! and naturally Uncle Twist Twist became our customer. Suet Yee picked the nice tiny stickers and I put it on Uncle Twist Twist's fingernails.
"Not the pink one! Not the pink one!" Uncle Twist Twist pleaded. I insisted Suet Yee to torture Uncle Twist Twist by picking out the pink stickers. But Suet Yee relented to Uncle Twist cry for help and gave him the yellow ones. Never mind, we still have many years to come to torture him.
We blew bubbles for Elvis, another baby who has been in the wards for weeks.
The nurses reminded us on our promise to serenade them with 100 songs in 5 minutes for the Nurses Day celebration next week. I have been thinking, wouldn't it be nice if we could have a cake and a barrel of KFC for them next week? Anybody wants to help? Let me know.
Today's clownrounds reminded me of a story of Liam Neeson, my favourite actor. He kept a quote by Samuel Beckett in his dressing room as inspiration. It says, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Neeson said, "You’ve come offstage, you’ve done a lousy performance for whatever reason, and you get a chance to go on stage the next night and the night after that for four or five months. You make it better, but you have to be there. You have to come back to the plate again. You have to keep always coming to the plate.”
I will come back to the ward again next week.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

I am Doing it!

Blowing bubbles for Suet Yee, a 9 year old cancer patient

It has been 4 weeks since I started clowning 'fulltime' at cancer children ward in Pusat Perubatan UKM.

The journey started 14 years ago. There were times when I want to quit.

There were times when I was lost and tried to regain back my direction.

At last, after 14 years, I am doing it. Really really doing it.

This Thursday I am going there again.

In fact, on every Thursday you can find me there, walking from bed to bed, listening, and keep reminding myself to breathe all the time.