Welcome to another edition of “What’s Neue from 9 to 5”.

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This week, we find out What’s Neue with Jonathan Ooi (@jonooi19), a Bruneian who absolutely loves sports and being involved in the creative industry. He’s also a Crossfit L1 trainer (@theoshyproject_).

“I really believe that if you put your head down and work towards what you are passionate about, things will work out,” he told Neue. “I’m trying to make that work for myself as much as I can.”

Without further ado, let’s see how he tackles this week’s #Neue9to5 questions.

(Photo: Azeez Daniel)

The First 9 Questions:

1. Let’s talk about Crossfit.

First of all, I think it’s a pretty cool sport. There are a lot of criticism when it comes to Crossfit – which I get. But there are also a lot of things that get swept under the rug.

I often tell most people 3 things about why Crossfit is different to any other sport.

(i) When you were in school, your parents always wanted you to excel in all subjects and not just one. That’s the same for Crossfit. It’s all about balance i.e. not just about focussing on a single part but rather, tackling the 3 foundations of fitness –‘Endurance’, ‘Strength’ & ‘Gymnastics’.

So why just be good at just one thing … when in fact you can in fact be good at all three things?

(ii) One of the ideas behind Crossfit is to help improve your quality of life. In other words, when you get older, you wouldn’t need to be dependent on others. As a lot of the movements mimic everyday life, it’ll help protect yourself and help you recover faster from injuries.

I once tore my ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament). It wasn’t due to Crossfit but after during one of those Spartan races.

I honestly believe that Crossfit helped speed up my rehab and recovery period. Why, you ask? Because the foundations were there.

(iii) Another aspect of Crossfit that I’d like to talk about is the spirit of community.

Let’s be honest here: if you aren’t a sporty individual, say one who doesn’t follow a particular sport … you’ll be faced with questions such as, “Where would I go? What would I do?”

There are so many individuals who step into the Crossfit gym who would tell me things like – “I don’t play football or netball, so that’s why I don’t have that many sporty friends” and “walking and hiking isn’t something that I find interesting”.

So what do they do? Well, they join Crossfit, where they make friends and have fun working out. That’s just what Crossfit is all about – it accepts people … ALL PEOPLE!

2. What’s a common misconception about people who are passionate about Crossfit?

A common misconception would be that Crossfit people are intimidating where they’d drop barbells, curse, cry, lie dead on the floor after an intense workout. 

But honestly, it’s a sense of release for all sorts of people.

After all, we have dentists, bankers, teachers, designers, students from all walks of life coming into our gym. They use the gym not only to get healthier but also as a way to release stress and to feel a sense of accomplishment.

At the end of the day, the important thing is that people tackle their own workouts at their own pace.

We don’t judge others about the weights that they can lift.

What’s important is the fact that people are “brave enough” to walk in and tackle the workouts at their own pace.

3. If you woke up tomorrow with no fear, what would you do first?

(Photo: Shutterstock)

I’d do a lot of things. I’ve always admired those climbers who free climb up tall buildings. That takes a lot of guts to do. 

4. What do you love most about the Bruneian way of life?

(Photo provided by Jonathan Ooi)

Wow! I really had a hard time answering this question. There are a lot of things that I love about the Bruneian way of life.

I really felt a missing piece when I went overseas to study, like there was a big culture clash.

I think the one thing that I really love and appreciate is that Bruneians always find a way to connect.

I don’t know how but it’s just really cool how you are walking down the street, and you see someone who looks Bruneian but you aren’t sure and as soon as you find out, you immediately click and find something or someone as a topic and connect.

Maybe it’s got something to do with Brunei being “small” where everyone seems to know each other. 

I honestly think there is some positive in that and this is probably one of them.

5. Can you describe the home town you grew up in? 

The old KB market stall (Photo: Shutterstock)

I grew up in Kuala Belait till I was about 9 years old. KB was quiet, and everyone knew everyone. I think that’s so special about it. It’s like a big community. I never appreciated that until growing up and seeing the bigger world. 

6. Some say the creative industry is still in its “infancy” in Brunei. What do you have to say about that?

(Photo provided by Jonathan Ooi)

I completely agree with this. We are still so new and so raw that there is so much potential for the industry to grow and that’s the beauty of it.

We have so much untapped talent that the possibilities are endless.

The only issue we have is how we nurture the industry, the way we speak about it, the way we grow it, that’ll determine the future of the creative industry.

Just like an infant, who is still so pure and innocent and with the world on their feet, we as parents need to make sure we provide the right lessons as well as a nurturing environment.

7. Everyday there is a new challenge. Although some days are more of the same challenges. Challenges are not always bad ,they are what makes life interesting. Just when you think you have it all figured out a new challenge arises. What challenges in life have you overcome?

Choosing to work in the creative industry … that has been challenging throughout and to balance that with coaching is another challenge.

But y’know, it’s what you like and enjoy.

I enjoy doing both and as long as I am able to sustain myself and my family, I’ll keep going and improving as long as I can.

It’s a huge challenge because the yearn to have a stable, good paying job is always there – but I think the biggest learning curve for me was that you need to understand how to justify your decisions and you also need to know when enough is enough.

8. What 2 stories on Neue’s website did you enjoy reading and why would you recommend others to read those particular stories?

I enjoyed these reading about these 2 people in Neue’s past “9 to 5” segments – Mauzira and Nadzri.

Mauzira was a former colleague of mine and it’s so cool to see where she is now. As for Nadzri, he’s a colleague of mine. It’s just so inspiring to see someone working in a field that he truly loves … even if it means having to juggle 3 jobs just to pay the bills. Much respect to that!

I think it’s cool to see how people live and how they are.

Most of the time, people will assume that they know about everything that goes on in people’s lives.

But in reality, they’ve in fact gone through the ups and downs in life.

It’s good to find inspiration in their stories.

9. What would you like to say to all our Neue readers?

Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams. And once you are there, don’t be afraid to work on them.

You’ll see your friends having it good with say a stable job, while you are trying so hard to make close to what they are making.

But remember, you can’t put a value on happiness.

The Last 5 Questions:

1. What’s something you wished more people knew about you?

(Source: GIPHY)

I know how to make a bouquet of flowers. I’ve done it a few times while at work. 

2. If everyone on earth had a personal trainer of their own … would the world be a better or worse place?

It can fall either way … But from my point of view, I’d think it would be worse.

Everyone’s goal is to stay healthy and fit, and that is done through multiple ways, team sports, group classes or personal training.

But if everyone had a personal trainer, then there wouldn’t be much of a demand for team sports or group classes.

This, in turn, would lead to other problems … they’d probably be less human interaction, interest in sports and entertainment would drop, group classes wouldn’t be a thing and so forth.

So as far as I’m concerned … yay for everyone leading a healthy life, but nay for the sake of the world of sport.

3. If animals all around the world could suddenly talk just for 5 mins. Who would you think would be the friendliest and rudest?

(Source: GIPHY)

I reckon dogs would be the friendliest, while cats would be rudest.

4. What’s the most random thing you’ve seen in life? 

I once saw a man in shorts running around a track … while holding an umbrella. 

5. What’s the last movie you watched. Which character do you best relate to?

(Source: Netflix)

I can’t remember the last movie I watched but I am currently watching ‘Mind Hunter’ on Netflix. So I guess the main character from this show would best relate to me … because I’m curious and passionate too!