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

We here at Neue believe that every person out there has a story to tell.

Do you know someone who’d be great for the next interview? Get in touch with Neue by sending an e-mail here or getting in touch with us via Facebook or Instagram.

This week, we find out What’s Neue with Nadhirah Ninalga (@scavengrarts.bn), a Bruneian who describes herself as a pretty average person who’s passionate about exploring and experiencing the wonders of creativity. (Photo at top of page courtesy of Faez Farhan)

Nadhirah, who has dreams of one day pursuing modelling and acting as a profession, is currently focussed on developing her skills in prop crafting.

According to her, she’s known as THAT girl who would sing classic Karaoke songs that would make you question which era she truly belongs to. (Yes! Some of those songs are really old!)

When asked to give some examples of these “old” songs, she told Neue that it’s songs like “One Of These Nights by The Eagles and “Here I Am” by Bryan Adams.

She’s also someone who gets motivated whenever “epic” music scores are being played.

“I’m that girl who is often a side-character but does her best to boost morale support … I’m that girl who draws to spill out the thoughts in her mind when words fail her … I’m that girl who likes to dance – because why not?”

However, she confessed that most of the time, she’s just known as a ginger-headed ‘Hufflepuff’ student.

*Side note: For those who are unfamiliar with the term, ‘Hufflepuff’ is one of the four Houses of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Its founder was the medieval witch Helga Hufflepuff. Hufflepuff is the most inclusive among the four houses; valuing hard work, dedication, patience, loyalty, and fair play rather than a particular aptitude in its members. (Source: Harry Potter Wiki)

Meanwhile, she told Neue that the name “Ninalga” isn’t common here in Brunei.

“I have been asked so many times where did that name come from,” she said.

“My father is local (with a little bit of Chinese descent) and my mother is a Filipina (although her mix is much more complicated – American, Italian, Bombay & Spanish). The name originated from my late grandfather’s Spanish surname. I’m happy to have this as a part of my first name, as it makes me feel very close to my mother’s side of the family,” she said.

(Photo courtesy of @nats_catch) ⁣

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

The First 9 Questions

1. What’s your best childhood memory?

It would have to be the time when the ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ showed up at my birthday celebration when I was probably 3 years old. I remember it vaguely, but fondly.

I remember how cool the Power Rangers were.

They made sure that my birthday celebration was “protected” from the evil clutches of Rita Repulsa.

“Ahh! After 10,000 years, I’m free! It’s time to conquer Earth!” … Rita Repulsa’s famous catchphrase during the opening credits of the ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ TV show. (You can check out the YouTube video above!) 

I never learnt the identities of the people who were donning the ‘Power Rangers’ costumes during my birthday party.

But they must have left amighty’ (pun intended) good impression on me, as I too wanted to dress up as a hero. In fact, I actually wanted to be one too!

2. What does a perfect day look like to you in Brunei?

Dressed in a comfy thick sweater and cotton sweatpants in a slightly cold bedroom. A cup of hot chocolate in hand. A sleeping feline by the foot of the bed. Binge reading some fictions with soothing ambient music mixed with the pouring rain outside. This would be my definition of a perfect day for me being the ambivert that I am 🙂

3. Who influenced you most in life?

This is going to sound cliché but I look up to my mother the most.

Like most mothers, she’s my “Wonder Woman” because of her strength and perseverance in overcoming obstacles in life.Even though she’s adorably funny and bubbly, in my eyes, she’s the TOUGHEST woman I’ve ever known who is able to confront any adversities that may be coming.

I’m absolutely proud of her and I love her so very much.

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

I would perform the Hajj pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.

Going on such a spiritual journey, to me, is frightening.

Why, you ask? Because I don’t think I’d know if I will come back home as a better person.

It’s frightening because I may not be aware of any changes that may be good or bad.

It is for this reason that if I should wake up with no fear, I should then go on a journey to “find myself”.

5. What is something that you think is under appreciated in Brunei?

It would have to be the wide variety of creativity that are abound in our beautiful country!

When people come across the term “creative industry”, things that would first pop in their mind would be things like film, theatre, graphics, 3-D modelling, etc. In actuality, though, there is so much more to it. Take for instance, 3-D printing, craft and prop making, and so on.

There are a lot of talented and skillful youths right here in Brunei! They should be given the chance to go big and get the recognition that they deserve.

In August, our nation in August observed National Youth Day to celebrate young people’s contributions to the nation and community. That was indeed a step in the right direction to help develop the nation’s pool of creative talent.

6. What would you say to someone who’s thinking about getting into cosplay?

A cosplayer portraying Rita the (beloved) evil witch from the ‘Power Rangers’ TV show (Source: GIPHY)

Some may say that cosplaying is all about socialising with new friends in a fun environment, where you also get to boost your self-esteem and confidence.

But I personally believe that you need to have these 4 qualities – dedication, determination, patience and an imaginative mind. 

A lot of effort is put into cosplaying.

Imagine having to don a heavy costume for the rest of the day … you’d definitely need to have some strength and stamina to stay on your feet.

Personally, I turn to cosplay as a way to motivate myself to get fit.

Most of the characters that I would love to portray are strong women who I greatly look up to.

Cosplaying may be tough but it’s so rewarding in the end!

Why, you ask?

Because not only do I make myself happy, I also get to inspire others to become stronger like the characters they are portraying.

Cosplay is more than just dressing up – it is about people fully immersing themselves as their favourite characters. It’s basically about how people are able to relate to these characters.

This hits home very much!

If my character can promote self-positivity, then I’m sure I can do so too in real life!

7. Follow-up question, what would you say to other who look down on cosplay?

“Thank you!”

It is because of such criticism that encourages us cosplayers to get better in our craft to prove the naysayers wrong.

Cosplayers become more resourceful, more connected, more fit, craftier and continuously improving to better our character portrayals.

A good example would be female characters with revealing outfits … a lot of thinking outside the box is required, as we have to make it compliant to local standards (here in Brunei). Thus, a more reserved outfit is made without compromising too much of the original design. Now that indeed takes A LOT OF CREATIVITY!

8. What do you enjoy reading on Neue’s website?

I honestly enjoy reading the “9 to 5” interviews, especially the ones about Bruneian Eats and Pei.

Reading the stories of other people who are able to overcome obstacles and doing what they are truly passionate about in life. This is indeed very motivating and uplifting.

Why? Well, because their stories inspire others to chase their dreams.

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

There’s a saying by Margaret Fuller that goes: “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” 

Sometimes it’s the littlest things that make the biggest impact. The stories that are featured on Neue are great eye-openers. Did you know that there’s a Michael Jackson gallery right here in Brunei?

I read about it here thanks to Neue.

Click on the photo to read Neue’s past article – “Michael Jackson In Brunei – But For How Much Longer?”

I’m saddened to hear that ‘The World Of Michael Jackson’ Gallery at the upper floor of Citis Square, is at risk of closing down though 🙁

Let’s show our support and visit the gallery over the weekends.

Fun fact: Did you know that the “King of Pop” and I share the same birth date? Both Michael Jackson and I were born on the 29th of August. Sharing a birthday date with him is such an honour. It’s because of him that I enjoy dancing so much!

So my dear Neue readers, keep on reading because there’s still so much to discover about our humble abode and the world.

The Last 5 Questions

1. If your 10-year-old self suddenly found herself inhabiting your current body, what would she do first?

The first thing she’d do is rush to the nearest sports facility because she was crazy active back then. (Later on in life, I did less sport activities because of my asthma.)

2. What is something that is really popular now, but in 5 years everyone will look back on and be embarrassed by?

Tik Tok videos! I mean creating videos via the app is fun and all, but not when we record actions that we’d probably regret doing 5 years from now.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

3. If life were a video game, what would your cheat code be?

(Source: GIPHY)

Ctrl + Shift + C and type in ‘motherlode’.

If only this hack is applicable in real life, I’d be very wealthy!

But don’t get me wrong though, I’d use the money to help my family first, invest in their life needs, then proceed to charities and build mosques in the Philippines for the Muslims there.

A wealthy life does not guarantee me happiness if I can’t put that luxury into good use in many ways that will grant me the satisfaction that I have at least done as much good as I can in this world.

4. What mythical creature would improve the world most if it existed? And a follow-up question, what mythical creature would destroy the world most if it existed?

Considering that I have an interest in the Norse Mythology quite recently, I’d say for both questions the answer would have to be the elves from the realm of Alfheim under the Goddess Freyr’s ruling. It is said that these elves are distinguished into two: Dökkálfar (Dark Elves) and Ljósálfar (Light Elves).

Dark Elves are likely to destroy the world because they are capable of causing illnesses. While the Light Elves would improve the world because they are capable of curing illnesses.

5. If you could choose one anime to become your reality? What would it be? 

(Source: Shieldhero-anime.jp)

“The Rising of The Shield Hero”, also known as Tate no Yūsha no Nariagari.

Spoiler alert! Despite the pain of being shunned down by society where the hero was at his most vulnerable from the injustice being placed upon him just because he is the Shield Hero hits home deep and hard.

Thus, he ventured out to strengthen himself and become a better version of himself even if he was accused and framed of crimes he had never done.

It is his strength that truly inspired me and to really look out for myself – mentally, emotionally and physically – in a world where narcissist manipulation is often being played against real victims.

However, his source of strength also comes from the party he recruited along the way who strongly believe in him from the very moment he set them free.