We here at Neue (@whatsneue) firmly believe that everyone has a story.

No matter where you have been, or what you have been through, even if you are going through something right now, Neue wants to hear YOUR story.

Iddie Mo (@iddie_mo) was one of the talents who wowed the crowd during a private “Comedy Café” event at Nerdee Café last month.

He’s travelled a lot when he was much younger. In fact, as soon as he was born, his family moved to Saudi Arabia, then to Abu Dhabi, Iran and Egypt. He studied broadcast media at Hull College, in the U.K.

“I’ve always been kind of like a foreigner in my own country. People are often quick to point out how well I speak English and contrary to what most would assume, I’ve always attributed that to the movies I’d watch as a kid more so than schooling, on the flipside my Malay is terrible, Ha-ha!”

“I’ve got this Kedayan accent but my Malay is broken, I’m so bad at figuring out the right inflection and tone when speaking in it that most people often mistakenly think that I’m mad or really rude. But the truth is, I just don’t know how else to speak the language”.

Let’s see how he responds to this week’s #Neue9to5 questions.First 9 General Questions:

1. Great job making the crowd laugh out loud during the recent “Comedy Cafe” show at NerDee Cafe. Can you tell us what it was like to be part of the recent BADS (Brunei Amateur Dramatic Society) private event?

It was great, as had all previous projects BADS have handled, from their theatre productions, to their improv shows and workshops. I had some serious, yet laid back fun; it’s always great to be surrounded by a group of, not only creative, but supportive and driven people who know how to delegate each other’s strengths well. I’ve learned so much from these guys and I’ll cherish the time we spent forever – not to go all sappy on you or anything! Haha!

2. What’s something about Brunei that you absolutely love about? If you only had 24 hours to show a first-time visitor to Brunei – what would the itinerary be? (You can be as creative as you like!)

Hmm… depends on the person visiting. If it were any of my American friends I’d bring them to the clinics and tell them to take advantage of the much cheaper healthcare.

I remember a friend of mine from Wichita who had to pay about $70 for a check up. She had been waiting for hours only to be prescribed paracetamol or something like that. I would also wow them with our gas prices… hmm, maybe I’m not such a good friend? Haha! I’m just rubbing our fortunes in their faces.

If it were any of my Malaysian friends, I’d get them nasi katok! Really I would!

Click on the photo to read Neue’s past article – “Brunei’s Ultimate Nasi Katok?”

I’ve recently found out that nasi katok is exclusively a Bruneian thing and that fact just blew my mind! And if that surprised me, then I’m sure it’d do the same to my Malaysian friends, and if it doesn’t then I’ll just have to hype it up! Knock-knock, who’s there? Nasi. BaDum-Tisss! (Yeeeeahh… how was I funny again?)

3. What’s your drive in life?

“I just wanna…”

Why delve too deep into the “why’s” of things, when you could use that time to “just actually do it”?

I’ve always been quite a pragmatic person (a fancier way of saying ‘impatient’) but that is not to say that I don’t get lazy or de-motivated, I mean, I’m human after all.

At times when I could barely pick myself up, I just keep reminding myself of the person I was, back when I wasn’t feeling down. For example, I’d tell myself, “This more stable version of me wanted to go to the gym this week”, or “4-year-old Iddie wanted to be a voice-actor”, “14-year-old Iddie wanted to write songs”, so on and so forth.

I constantly remind myself of the person who wanted to live life.

So whenever I’m down, I just have to force myself to get up, shower, eat, take care of myself physically until that brighter person comes back.

I guess my drive is to “just do things”.

It’s simple, maybe a little silly, and maybe a little hedonistic, but it has kept me going thus far.

4. Describe a moment in your life when you finally “woke up”.

Ooof! There were several moments … and when reality hits, it hits HARD!

However, I don’t think you can really condense it to one single moment. Rather, it’s several little moments that build up towards your “awakening”. If you get put down over and over again, eventually you’re going to look back and decide to stay as you were or take the leap.

At some point, I got to thinking about where life had taken me and then came to the conclusion that it was okay to fall. Remember … as long as I pick myself up again, I haven’t truly failed!

5. What are your future plans?

Get healthier, but not obsessed with the Adonis figure.

Write more songs, get more paid voice-acting jobs and fulfill little 4-year-old Iddie’s dreams, seek out and get involved in more theatre productions, learn how to dance at one point, get decent fluency in Swedish, complete and release that horror game I’d been working on-again-and-off-again, learn to pretty much knit anything, finally learn how to make pesto, finish writing a book, find other stuff to procrastinate on while convincing myself that multi-tasking is a good way to motivate oneself to complete things – just keep doing me 🙂

6. Let’s put an end to the “hate” culture. Thoughts?

Ahh, the “hate” culture was something that definitely discouraged me when I was much younger. I’d definitely like to change that and encourage more people to at least go out there and try pursuing their dreams.

Perhaps it’s intimidation towards potential or ambitious natures, perhaps what you want to do is legitimately silly, but at the end of the day, it is your life and not theirs. Don’t let people’s negativity dictate the rest of your life, at most try to find a lesson within them, but don’t let it stop you from doing what you love (unless you have murderous tendencies, then please go seek professional help).

In the past, I’ve been discouraged from pursuing a lot of creative endeavors by family members and even laughed at by my peers and even teachers.

However, the sad truth is that we will probably never be able to dissipate the ‘hate’ culture in Brunei … or anywhere else for that matter. But what we are able to do is grow stronger from it. Let the hate feed the flames of your ambition and on the other side, just keep being supportive to those around you – sometimes a simple “keep it up” now and again could go a long way.

I’ve been told that my singing sucked, that I should quit or that I sounded like an old woman. (Trust me, no 7-year-old wants to hear that!) That negativity actually made me stop singing in public for about 7 years, until I joined the choir in high school, looking for an extra-curricular to do and I loved it.

People still criticised my singing but I loved the feeling of losing yourself in a song so much that I kept at it and improved, eventually I even self-taught myself how to do a whistle register. Bam! In their faces! Haha! I don’t even care how petty I sound, it took me approximately 8 years to be able to control this register comfortably; I’ve earned bragging rights!

(I actually have a short video that I uploaded on my IG showing my progress, a timeline of me developing my whistle register. Click here if you’d like to check it out.)

7. What’s a social issue that should be discussed?

I think there aren’t many pressing social issues that aren’t being talked about already. For example, I personally feel that people’s efforts towards bringing awareness to mental illness within Brunei has not come unnoticed and I’m glad to learn that as of this year, Brunei finally has a national suicide prevention hotline (Dial 145). While I’m a little disappointed that the service isn’t 24 hours from the get-go, it is progress.

Click on the photo to read Neue’s past article – “Neue Talks: A Deep Dive Into Mental Health”

If anything, I personally feel (and it may be a little crass of me to say this) most of Brunei’s social issues could be solved, if not be of a lighter burden, if more people had a more willing mindset, willing to actually take action, to not only discuss solutions but apply them – I’m not saying that people aren’t trying, I’m glad to see a rise in proactive folks, but the “no fuss = no fuss” mentality is still laden within our society.

I don’t know what I could do for the country as a whole, but as the average person, I could lend an ear, my shoulder or even speak the bitter truth from time to time.

8. What would you be interested in reading about?

In terms of news articles, general information or fictional works?

News: I’m quite interested in viable solutions for our economy that does not involve gas and oil exports. It’s something our government have been discussing for years, I don’t know how we as a country could realistically support ourselves once our goldmine runs out and any update on that issue would be greatly appreciated.

General information: I’m usually looking at anything and everything while I procrastinate, from pop culture to historical curiosities, to really weird stuff like how cannibals claim the palms and toes are some of the most delicious parts of a human being or the many uses of coca-cola- did you know you could clean your toilet with that stuff?

Fiction: I am an unapologetic reader of young adult novels. I’m not sure I will ever truly grow out of them. It’s a curious thing, as a kid (10 years old or so) I would read a bunch of my sisters’ romance novels (not at all appropriate for a child but in their defence, it’s not like they knew!)

I loved books like “I thee wed” by Amanda Quick, but as an adult I find them far more juvenile than stuff written for teenagers, or perhaps I’ve been lucky and striking gold with the authors I’ve picked up?

Jenny Han is definitely the catalyst that brought back my love for reading in my late teens up till now. She just has this wonderful way of writing that could easily put you into the shoes of her characters whilst maintaining their own identities.

Meredith Russo could paint sceneries and emotions so vividly with her words; ‘Here lies Daniel Tate’ by Cristin Terrill was such a page-turner. I apologise for going off on a bit of a tangent, I could talk about books for hours, I guess for fiction I’ve always leaned more towards romance, even as a child.

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

Allow me to quote two people.

“You can’t do anything with talent, if you don’t do anything with talent” – Author Alexa Donne

“You gotta make your own kind of music, sing your own special song, even if nobody else sings along” – Singer Cass Elliot 

Don’t get intimidated by the fact that there are others way better at doing the things you want to do, of course there are, there will always be someone better, likewise, there will always be someone who looks at you and thinks that of you.

Don’t be afraid of failing a few times, embarrassment or criticism, the only reason to be afraid of such things is if you never learn from them.

The inability to do something (or belief thereof), should not be an obstacle, rather it should be your drive towards figuring out your own way of doing things.

I write songs, but don’t know how to read notes. The Beatles didn’t either.

You go do what you want to do, if you don’t know how or where to start. Learning/ figuring out how to do that thing is already part of doing it. You’re already doing it!

Last 5 Silly Questions:

1. If there were no consequences for a day, what would you do? And why? (Please keep it PG-13 haha!)

PG-13? Awww that’s… hard. If say, the “rules” of this no consequence day is like the movie “Groundhog day” then I’d pretty much follow in Bill Murray’s lead.Or maybe I’d be even more honest, more confrontational and open – the world shall be my confessional; because there are definitely some truths that need to be said. Or I’d chop off a limb… just to know what that’s like, I mean no consequences so… it’d just stick right back on after 24 hours right? Or grow back, is this still considered PG- 13?

2. What can you talk about for hours? And why?

Books, games, series and movies (please refer back to question 8 above). Especially if we’re talking about adapted works of which I’ve experienced both versions, then it’d be trivia this and that, polemic arguments on the pros and cons of each medium, which one did it better and why? I remember burning people’s ears off with exclamations of what a missed opportunity it were that this or that scene was excluded from a film version or how the game company Squaresoft had computer farms to model and render each individual hair on the character Dr Aki Ross from their film ‘Spirit Within’. I mean, I spent 6 years of my life (2 in high school, 4 in college) studying media – suffice to say, my knowledge guns are loaded.

3. What is something I wouldn’t believe about you?

*sigh* I… am NOT… a natural blonde. I KNOW, right? Shocking!

4. Who would you get to play as you in the movie of your life?

Cate Blanchett. She is such a chameleon and always puts her all into her roles.

(Source: GIPHY)

Alternatively Tatiana Maslany, whose acting abilities blew me away in ‘Orphan Black’, the subtleties in her movements and even breathing when switching to different characters is just amazing. I’m going colourblind with this casting, colourblind, genderblind, heck let the movie of my life be an abstract art house film Ha-ha. Have Gus Van Sant direct it.

5. Would you rather time travel to the past or the future? And why? What would you do?

(GIF images: GIPHY)

Hmm… to the past or the future? Don’t know about that, I may need a Doctor… but “Who?” ^_6

Well, technically we are all time travellers, for every second, we move one second into the future. What would I do? Live my life 🙂

… or go back 15 years into the past to experience Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s original chocolate chip cookie recipe. It used to be SO MUCH more crumblier, just MELTS in your mouth and breaks down in your fingers, it was WONDERFUL, nowadays it’s more like a tea biscuit, which is fine BUT it was not the WONDER that was the CBTL chocolate chip cookie 15 years or so ago. They REALLY need to bring it back! *drool*

See You In The Next #Neue9To5

Know someone who’d be perfect for the next interview? You can nominate them by getting in touch with the Neue team by dropping a message to @whatsneue.