Tag Archives: depression

Out to Space Year Seven: the Hollow

April 2010March 2011

Self-portrait in the pixelated darkness, May 2010
Self-portrait in the pixelated darkness, May 2010

By April 2010, I had been actively blogging on this space for six years. It mostly reflected on the passion about the work I did so far in photography and videos. But after I finishing the school at College of Fine Arts, the big question was what next! My life became vague and the blog became hollow.

Well, I was supposed to make a living as a media artist/producer, wasn’t I? But the harsh reality was that it wasn’t easy. Even though I got a regular casual job as a video editor to live by, my career needed to be more sustainable.

Street photography or multiculturalism didn’t flare up to me anymore. There was a revisit to the urban bird and back yard theme but that wasn’t it. In fact, I hardly picked up the DSLR at all. No concrete new idea for photography.

There was one trivial series on morning toilet paper I drew on it while taking a crap and took a picture of them everyday. (What I did with them after that would be a bit gross to elaborate.) Strangely, it was somehow a part of my dealing with depression.

One moment I was in the zone was chasing shadows of people on the streets and capturing on video. That became my first entry to Kino Sydney. It was well received by the audience and I was pleased. That was it, to make another short film.

That would be about anxiety, yes, and another mental issue. I put my project up for crowd funding. Unfortunately, my heart problem emerged and it was terminated before the campaign due. I had enough. My focus shifted from it to getting back to Bangkok.

So, life in Australia came to an end in December 2010 after nine and half year. While I was flying back to Thailand, I watch the Wizard of Oz on the plane. It was like Dorothy waking up from her dream. I tapped ruby slippers and chanted, “There’s no place like home”. Back then, it seemed bitter when I left but I would not trade the experience there with anything. And this blog was a big part of it.

Luckily, the day before I left, I got phone call to offer me a job in Bangkok. It was an online producer for World Bank in Bangkok Office I applied for six months earlier. The long process of recruitment made me give up this prospect. But it turned out to be such a perfect timing. The question I had for the whole year was answered. I finally had a sustainable job, a decent one.

In the other hand, that affected my time for the blog as well. It would have been filled with posts about the resettlement in Bangkok and my reflection on the native country. However, I could only do it in January 2011. Once the job started, the blog was almost completely ignored and empty.

So, I would this year seven of Out to Space was the beginning of the hollow of the blog, sadly.

Thoughtful Long Weekend

Right now, it is officially a rainy season in Thailand as the Buddhist Lent started yesterday. It is a long weekend in Thailand and I really need it even though it is not quite enough as I have just finally have my thoughts sinked in. Just…

I have been very frustrated with myself that I cannot produce any serious personal works since I moved back in Bangkok in December last year, and even let automated tweet archive dominate this blog. It is a doubtful time but a couple of pints ago I thought I had come to a good excuse.

On Peter Black’s blog I found Soften the Fck Up. The video realised me that I had just survived one of the most severe illnesses in Australia–depression.

You just need the time to allows you to heal to from the blue and then you can pick yourself up again and again and again. Well, this post could be the prove I can be back on track soon, hopefully with a self-reinvention.

Tony Black Dog Ride

Tony Black Dog Ride from ApostrophePong on Vimeo.

I officially met Tony Hollingsworth at the previous Sydney Social Innovation BarCamp after ran onto each other at Cupcake Camp Sydney in 2009. I shared my own experience of depression in a session on mental illness and later sent him a link to my film, Memory of You | Reflection of Me. When he announced that he was going to have a fundraising and awareness-raising event, Black Dog Ride, I certainly was interested to get involved but was not able to join the convoy. So I put my hands up to edit his footage in the trip from Sydney to in the centre of the continent in Alice Spring them around up to Queensland and back to Sydney in 16 days.

I put my hands up to edit Tony’s videos he had taken in the journey, to show it in his session at the latest Social Innovation Sydney. I got a bunch of his footage and photos and some of them were publish on his blog but had no idea what I was going to with them yet. My aim was to summarise his 16-day riding into a comprehensive video.

The rough approach I made to this work:

  • Sort the media there were taken from both a DSLR camera and a mobile phone Line them up chronologically. With the time frame, unfortunately, I had to exclude the photos in this video.
  • Select good shots on each clip to review it later. At this stage, an idea what I could with it started to form. It was decided to go with a music clip in a rough 16-mm, easy-rider-esque style.
  • Pick a music licensed in Creative Commons. That gave me a framework for the visual. Luckily, I found The Thunder That You Are by Comma the perfect fit for the work.
  • Cut down the 22 minutes of the first selection into 4.30 minutes of film roughly synced with the music and choose a snippet of Angry Anderson’s speech in Alice Spring as the hi-light. An extra rule was to keep all the footage in chronological order.
  • Roughly top and tail the video. Then the arduous tasks of exporting and compressing.

In Australia, suicide rate is higher than the death from road accident, ever more in the remote outback areas. Having the first hand of experience of depression and anxiety, I find that support is an essential part for a person with the illness to get through it and discover their own strength again. In men, it is even harder to admit it, let alone talk about it. Having bikers, who have their own stories about depression, riding across Australia to let the people know that they are not alone and it is ok to seek supports, which are available in many organisations in Australia, is not just blokes are having a fun time on the road. And I am glad to edit this video and enjoy the ride even I was not there.

Thanks to Tony Hollingsworth for letting me access to his videos, Stilgherrian for helping us transfer the chunk of data, Comma for releasing their wonderful music in Creative Commons and, most of all, all the people that made Black Dog Ride happened.

Like a Nice Sunday Afternoon


This weekend I was supposed to do a heavy work on promoting EXiST. Campaign but a big self-doubt just happened to pop in my head. It was a classic question, “Why am I doing this?”

The doubt could kick in so easily especially for the people who are climbing out of depression. And I have been putting myself very exposed to this very self-doubt by asking people to help and support the project.

It was an exhausting battle in my mind and I ended up playing online games and doing some housework, and almost lost it and let myself into the loop of depression—low-self-esteem>anxiety>worthlessness and so on.

However, with the help of a couple of beer by the window in a dark and gritty Sly Fox, I could let my thoughts flow into a decent afternoon light outside on Enmore Road. I told myself that this could be a nice to share this to someone you care and that could make my life more meaningful.

That was it, the answer.

Although making film, in every process from funding to distribution, is not as easy as sitting in a pub on Sunday afternoon but in the end, to me, they somehow lead to a catharsis process. I am doing this to realise this project not just to overcome my own anxiety but also to use my best ability to tell a story that would help others.

I am writing this as a reminder of this discovery. Hopefully, whenever I have this doubt of where I am standing in the world—which I doubt I won’t—the thought and the feeling of sharing a nice Sunday afternoon in spring will come up in my head as it is as meaningful as making this film for people to see it.

Photo credit: Stilgherrian’s Weekly Wrap 13 and 14

Memory for the Public

Memory of You | Reflection of Me from ApostrophePong on Vimeo.

When Tony Hollingsworth asked me if he could post this film on his blog, Black Dog Ride, raising awareness of depression, initially, I turned him down. But after I wrote the blog post last evening with tears in my eyes, Stilgherrian reminded me that I told him I would consider open it up to promote the EXiST fundraising campaign.

The only reason I did not put the short film to the public was some film festival rule about the works on the Internet. However, I only shopped around the festivals with no entry fee which they did not restrict to that rule. Most of all, it will be fair to let the supporters see how I intend to make a trilogy mental health on DASS (Depression Anxiety Stess Scale). And to see the first one is the best way for it.

Creative Commons License
Memory of You | Reflection of Me by ‘Pong is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.