Friends of Buro share their life-changing moments their transformative experiences.
Discovering dance during secondary school changed my life. It taught me so much: discipline, respect, responsibility, and determination. Dance also allows me to express my true self. Even though it was only a hobby back then, I knew I wanted to make a career out of dancing or choreography. I wouldn't be the person I am today without dance.
2018 was a year of travelling solo, which is something I've never really done before — not for more than three days. I launched myself into these long-term solo trips for one to two months each time last year. I started out really scared, packing my days with tours and schedules to feel like I'm in control. But I found myself loosening up as the months went by, to the point where I was just booking flight, hotels and leaving everything else to the wind.

Changing the way I travel changed the way I live my life. I don't need a lot now; what I really need, I can fit into one backpack. I started my year-long, globe-trotting adventure with my clunky Rimowa luggage, but now I'm just fitting everything into a backpack. A lot of simplifying was done; it was a case of 'out of sight out of mind'. I've also edited my wardrobe when I realised I don't actually need very much. As a control freak (to minimise disappointments), the ability to simplify my life and be flexible about my plans is a big transformation for me. To be free at the age of 40 is a huge step-up.
You've caught me at a good time because I'm at a stage in my life where I'm finding my footing again — with my career, with love, with family, and with the person I am. Without going into too much detail, I've discovered newer, more challenging job opportunities; I'm rediscovering what it means to be in love, and I'm putting my family as my highest priority. It's scary when life throws a curveball at you, but the unknown changes you and I'm only scratching the surface of transformation. It's been pretty crazy so far, but I can't say I hate it.
My major life transformation spanned over a couple years, after the 'Sticker Lady saga' when I made a career switch to pursue art professionally. The journey to self-discovery started there. The term 'artist' is not one I take lightly, and it took me years to embrace the term. I'm not institutionally trained, so I took a sabbatical to learn technical fundamentals, and to prove to myself that I can go beyond design and stickers. I expanded my skillsets over the years, but it came to a point where I wasn't feeling empowered with the new experiences because I lost sight of what I was creating for. There was a wall of expectations I had set for myself, and I just couldn't create like how I used to. Nothing motivated me and I hit a dark place. That's when I realised the case had affected me more than I thought it did. Then I learned to be kind to myself. I started to learn about myself by doing things I enjoy. With every project, the confidence came back. And now when I look back I know all of these were important lessons, and I've truly grown into my own.
I quit drinking, smoking and became vegetarian in April 2018. Around the same time, I worked out issues with anger and anxiety that were affecting my mind and my relationships. I realised that taking care of my body was connected to loving myself. More importantly, I made room for positivity by understanding the root causes of my negative emotions and dealing with them instead of suppressing. It has helped me stay free, calm and more content than I have ever been. Daily meditation has also helped!
Photo: Martin Yeoh
Doing photography full-time changed my life. Ever since I started six years ago, when I first shot images with my phone, I became more conscious in my environment. I noticed that the ordinary life can be extraordinary if you look at it in a different way. I'm lucky to be doing this for a living; that people are hiring me because they appreciate how I see the world. I feel grateful for doing what I love and working hard everyday. Otherwise, I would be just an engineer if I hadn't pursued photography.
Don't think too much, just do: that's the philosophy I live by. Last month, I made a career switch. After working as a product consultant (I help companies make apps) for a year, I decided to become a full-time actor. One question I often get with this change is, "how did you decide to make that move?" I believe you can never fully predict the outcome of the decisions you make. The answers we seek will be attained from experiencing and doing, not by planning and thinking. Think of it this way: you're curious how a new bubble tea brand tastes, so you buy a cup, and get your answer. It's the same with life. You get your answers by simply doing. For me, being an actor comes with a lot of self-doubt and insecurities. Can I make ends meet this month? Is anyone even going to watch the show I spent two months filming? Did the director like my performance? I don't have answers, not right now. I'm about to start my first overseas filming project and also my first youtube channel. Who knows how either of them will turn out? I guess the only way to find out is to just move forward and get it done.
I was all about the hustle. On the last day of my GCE 'A' level exams, while my friends talked about their plans for the holidays, I was preparing for the start of my first fashion internship. I was always on the go and had no rest days - nothing was ever enough for me - but this meant I was constantly burning out. I looked happy but wasn't genuinely so, and I knew something had to give. A trip to Bali last year changed my life (yes, an 'Eat, pray, love' cliché!). I discovered a whole new world of conscious living and I now try to live in the moment as much as I can. I express gratitude every day and for once in my life, I feel enough. Instead of hustling, I learned to align myself. I give myself off days, and take holidays whenever I need a change in pace. There's no point constantly chasing materialistic things because at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself: are you happy?
After being shot down, guilt-tripped, and taken for granted, I knew I needed to change my stance: to avoid negativity, to speak my mind because life is short and time is running out. If not now, then when? I want to be happy and I want to keep doing the things I love — as long as I don't hurt anyone.
I broke out of my 'identity'. Ever since I was 14, I was the singer, and at times, an industry puppet. I remember trying to do something else, and being told that I couldn't because Ming Bridges was a singer. Starting RENTADELLA without having a clue how to do it was so scary. From always being told what to do, I turned into a boss who had to be strong and stand up for myself. From obsessively wanting to be liked and affirmed by others, I had to learn to seek respect instead. I took control of my life and shifted my attention away from how I looked and sounded, to focusing on other people and how I could make them feel. In an Instagram-obsessed world, especially when you're in the entertainment industry, it can feel like your entire self-worth is dependent on your followers and their opinions of you (because, to a degree, it does matter to your career what others think). It's wonderful being the driving force behind a product instead of being the product, and to remind myself that my worth is so much more than a like on a photo.
Photo: Martin Yeoh