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Firdaus, who is better known as Ping, is a primary school English teacher and part-time drawing instructor. He has a friendly personality and absolutely adores cats. Ping loves drawing and is currently working on a series of children’s books (@melorandtompokj) featuring his original characters – ‘Melor’ and ‘Tompok’. Read on to find out What’s Neue with Ping (@pingako) this week.

(Photo provided by Firdaus)

The Tough 9’ers:

1. What was the best vacation you ever took and why?

Last year, some friends and I went to Singapore and Malaysia. It was the best vacation I ever took because I was with very close friends and it made everything more enjoyable. It was the first time in a long time that I’d visited Singapore. My last visit to the city-state was back in 1990. We also travelled to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore by bus, which took 5 hours. It was an awesome experience!

2. What are your hobbies and how did you get into them?

My hobbies are drawing and playing the cajon (see photo above). I have always been drawing since I can remember. I was told I knew how to draw before I could speak. I used to play drums, but after years of not playing, I lost all sense of limb separation needed for drum playing. The cajon (or any hand percussions) felt the most natural to me.

3. How would your 10-year-old self react to what you currently do for a living?

My 10-year-old self would probably be disappointed as I am not a pilot but a teacher. On the other hand, he would also be amazed at how I am making money on the side with what I do best: drawing!

4. What traits are most important to you in a friend who you can always count on?

In all honesty, I would want a friend to tell it like it is without having any ulterior motives. I would rather hear honest bad news than being lied to.

5. What is your definition of success?

To me, success is when you look at what you have and you are content. Not to be mistaken for “settling” with what you have, but being absolutely happy and not pining for more.

6. What are you most proud of in the last year?

I am most proud to have been teaching drawing to kids. Being a teacher myself, it is what I am natural at, and combining it with what I love most (drawing) has been the best thing that has happened to me so far.

7. If you could do anything, besides what you’re doing now, what would you do?

I would be a full-time writer and illustrator for children’s books.

8. Do you believe in second chances?

(Photos: Shutterstock)

Yes I do. I believe everybody has the opportunity to better themselves.

9. If you could change one thing about the world what would it be?

I would take away labelling and segregation. I wish more people would get along!

The Easy 5’ers:

1. What would you say is the weirdest thing about you?

How I always have cat food in the car!

2. If you could have an unlimited supply of food, what would it be and why? 

Cat food. So I can feed all the stray cats and of course, my own cats.

3. If animals could talk, which would be the rudest? And why? 

As much as I love them, I would say cats. They have this air of not caring what people think. They are still so cute and lovable though.

4. What was your first mobile phone? And what mobile would you not mind upgrading to next? 

(Photo courtesy of WikiMedia)

My first mobile phone was an Alcatel One Touch Easy (see photo above) that only made calls way back in 2000. I would want to upgrade to the latest Samsung Galaxy Note 9 as I would still be able to draw using it.

5. What song do you find annoying but secretly love? And why?

That Syantik song. It’s annoying because it’s everywhere. I secretly (well not a secret anymore) love it because it has a really catchy tune. It’s also very fun to dance to. (Not that I dance to it!)