My new blog StoryGuru.co.uk is now live!

It’s all gone quiet here on Fusion View in the last few months. That’s because I’ve been working on the launch of my new blog StoryGuru.co.uk – which is now live!

As you may guess from the name, StoryGuru.co.uk is all about stories – how the stories we tell ourselves can fire us up or diminish us. I believe that the power of personal narrative can inspire us and transform our lives. My new blog documents my ongoing creative inquiry into “What makes a rich and fulfilling life?”, bringing together stories, interviews, and essays.

We create ourselves through the stories we tell – about who we are, where we belong, who we want to become, who we love or hate, what kind of world we live in..

Through this online project, I hope to delve into stories of all shapes and sizes – from literature and myth to fables and films and also to discover your stories, and share my own. I hope that through this myriad diversity of voices and narratives, we can offer each other Stories to Live By that will inspire and empower.

I hope very much that you will wander over to StoryGuru.co.uk and take a look at the different stories there – and perhaps also submit some of your own stories for publication there.

 

Posted by Yang-May Ooi on Saturday, August 24th, 2013 at 5:26pm

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Scary London Stories

It was really a dark and stormy night when we went to listen to writer Anna Sayburn and others tell scary London stories at the Brockwell Lido Cafe. The rain came down in sheets and later, a mist lay over the night.

The evening was hosted by One Eye Grey, a magazine of penny dreadful stories set in London.

Here are some images I captured from the evening. In the low light conditions, the resolution is rather grainy, I’m afraid.

An evening of scary London stories (animated slideshow)

Posted by Yang-May Ooi on Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 at 8:34pm

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My Summer of Joy

My life has become too full and I’ve been doing too much. Working part time in my City job, coaching creative professionals the rest of the time, writing a new novel, blogging, tweeting, trying to see my friends in person, keeping up to date with more distant pals via Facebook, trying to keep fit, doing the gardening and making sure I spend time with my partner - it has all got overwhelming.

All these things which I should enjoy, I’ve been finding exhausting and draining. My energy has been flat and I’ve been feeling depleted. And that has affected how I engage in these activities. I’ve felt as if I’ve not really been present and there’s been a sense of boredom and frustration seeping into everything.

Which is why I have declared this summer My Summer of Joy.

What this means is that I am pressing Pause on everything that’s been on my agenda/ plan/ schedule so far and filling my life with only those people that bring me joy and only those activities that make my heart sing.

So the Pause button is on for:

  • coaching
  • novel writing
  • blogging and tweeting and facebooking (semi-paused)
  • anything that taps into my drive and ambition

And my heart and time are open to:

  • re-establishing warm connections with good friends
  • developing some weaker ties into better friendships
  • picnics
  • giving my garden more love and attention
  • getting back into shape
  • walks
  • tea parties
  • curiosity
  • lying in bed on Sunday mornings with my partner watching the clouds float across the window

My Summer of Joy has been in full swing now for a few weeks and I am finding that I have loads more energy, smiles and laughter are always hovering on my lips, I have connected with an old friend in a warmer and more authentic way, I’ve lost half a stone, my senses seem more alive to the sounds and sensations of being in nature… and more!

I was telling a friend about My Summer of Joy and she was so taken by the idea, she is also making this summer a Summer of Joy in her life. We are going to make sure that our Joys overlap by going on a long walk together sometime soon!

Will you join me in having a Summer of Joy, too?

I will be blogging less frequently over the summer but hope to bring you updates from time to time of the joyful activities and people I’ll be spending time with.

___

Photo: thanks to DanLopez from flickr.com (CCL)

Posted by Yang-May Ooi on Thursday, May 31st, 2012 at 5:02pm

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Life Changing Drama –The Big C

When I first heard about the TV comedy drama The Big C, I thought (probably like many people), “Who wants to watch a series about a woman dying of cancer? How depressing! And how can it work as a comedy?”

But then I tentatively tried it out – and I was hooked.

It tackles the biq question: What does it mean to live a meaningful and fulfilled life? And it does it with warmth, humour and poignancy.

When she is diagnosed with incurable cancer and given only a short time to live, Cathy cannot tell her family directly. But in all her inter-actions with them, she is telling them whether she realises it or not. Her desperation and sense of the fragility and preciousness of life contrasts with their bumbling along as if they – and she – have all the time in the world. They sense something is wrong but they don’t know what it is. And no-one knows how to connect with anyone else in a real and authentic way.

I won’t give the plot away but the turning point does come towards the end of Season One and it is incredibly powerful.

For me, the power of this drama has been to make me reflect on my own life and relationships. What is precious to me? Who brings laughter and joy into my world? Who can I be “real” with? What gives my life meaning?

What if I were given only a few months to live – what would I do? How would I “be”?

The answers that came back were all about friendships and human connections with the people I care about and who care about me. They were about enjoying the beautiful days and also being fully present to the hard ones, listening to the birdsong in my garden, appreciating the physicality of my body and health, sharing human moments with others.

None of the answers involved achieving great things, making more money, making a name for myself, buying more/ bigger/ better stuff.

I’ve resolved to let these answers influence my life for the rest of this year – and beyond.

~~~

Photo: from The Big C Facebook page

Posted by Yang-May Ooi on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012 at 7:00am

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Timeless Yosemite

This is a glorious time-lapse video of Yosemite showing its still infinite beauty as time scurries by.

It reminded me of a wonderful hiking holiday there – we walked in the craggy hills, lazed in the meadows, sketched by bright sparkling streams.

Does it remember us…?

Posted by Yang-May Ooi on Monday, May 21st, 2012 at 7:00am

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Architecture – A Canvas for Life

by Guestblogger Roman Skok

When I heard architect Roman Skok give a talk on the influence of the buildings around us on our lives, I was really taken by his passion for his calling. What he said made me think about and look at the cityscape around me in a new way. I asked him to write up his talk for Fusion View and I was very excited when he agreed! This is his article:

Architecture directly influences our lifestyles, the way we interact and are physically connected or disconnected. It also defines our experience of the workplace where we spend a quarter of our lives, public spaces where we all meet and private rooms where we hopefully can find refuge after a long day. Yet, this influence is quite often not perceived as tangible. It is rather seen as a background to our main interests and activities, something given, created by a usually anonymous team of specialists (I wonder how many Londoners remember the name of the architect of the Houses of Parliament?). Because of this I like to think of architecture as a canvas for life – a canvas that with little or no hesitation will record, store and reflect on our history, culture, activity and individual and social aspirations.

Winston Churchill once noted, “We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us”. Indeed, reflecting on these words I go to the extremes and find architecture that on one hand inspires, enables and gives shelter - manifested in the form of lovely houses, welcoming hospitals and grand courts, or on the other hand facilitates humiliation and destruction. The infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp is a terrifying example where architecture coupled together with the Nazi regime gave birth to a site that became a symbol of the tragedy of World War II. Being Polish myself I learned how the site is fervently used by states, especially Germany, Israel and Poland to form their distinctive identities and sometimes conflicting agendas.

Another less dramatic yet fascinating example is our British capital, London. In its cityscape and streets, parks and plazas one can see an ongoing and multifaceted play between pre and post war, historic and contemporary. Cruising through historical Kensington and Chelsea one admires the heritage, class and culture of the Royal Borough and naively wishes that its qualities can be reproduced everywhere. One wonders how technology and business is pushing the boundaries of planning and construction by looking at the current stampede for skyscrapers. Notably the Gherkin, the rising Shard and upcoming Pinnacle are boldly defining the new high rise age in the capital. It is clear that the debate on whether skyscrapers are welcomed in London is a matter of the past. Now, the topic is how to capitalise on distinct and eye-catching landmarks. Finally, there is a clash with hundreds of housing estate sites developed according to the idea that “the house is a machine for living in” devised by the French architect Le Corbusier. In my view, in this area politicians, planners and architects failed in a BIG way by going for the lowest common denominator, and by pursuing the rule of quantity over quality. The original intention to revive redundant sites to provide housing at the lowest possible cost over the past 40 years created swathes of troubled communities. Now these become subject to never-ending and expensive regeneration programmes that keep the above trio busy in their jobs, followed by a severe headache.

These impressions come merely from scratching the surface of a daily urban experience. You yourself may find an interesting composition stretching from blatant and ordinary to exciting and worth discovery at the risk of being late. You can also find out the motives and wider relationships behind the buildings and urban spaces. The understanding of what has happened and how it is likely to develop always brings freshness and the warmth of satisfaction. I hope that next time, when zipping from London’s “A” to London’s “Z”, you will allow yourself a luxury of a curious look, wonder at the surrounding picture, and notice the architectural canvas holding it.

Roman Skok is a principal at Pure View Architects, London based architectural practice specialising in residential, interior and mixed use projects. He is particularly interested in the context and interface between historic and contemporary architecture.

t:+44 7727 150 671           e: roman@pureviewarchitects.com           www.pureviewarchitects.com

~~~

Photos: thanks to Roman Skok

Posted by Yang-May Ooi on Friday, May 18th, 2012 at 7:00am

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A Robot’s Eye View

What I love about being a novelist is having the freedom to explore another person’s life inside their skin and through their eyes. For all my characters, I create a life story and try to understand their motivation - especially for the villain of the piece and those characters who may be very different from who I am personally.

It’s particularly important for me to see the world through the lives of the “baddies” in my books because everyone believes themselves to be doing the right thing as the heroes of their own lives - no-one sets out to be an arch-villain and to do evil things. I also need to take care to understand those characters who are different from me so that I can portray them as real people and not caricatures. And it’s great fun too - because it gives me the chance to “be” other types of people for the duration of the book!

Which is why this video footage collated from CCTV and other automated data gathering visual devices is fascinating to me. It offers us a chance to see the world through the eyes of robots.

Robot readable world from Timo on Vimeo.

The video is by Timo Arnall and created from found footage. As Wired explains: this “short video Robot Readable World shows systems and algorithms at work, as robots count cars, track motion, analyse traffic and recognise human faces”


I find this video fascinating also as I’m a
Battlestar Galactica (Re-imagined)  fan - and a fan generally of speculative fiction about androids and artificial intelligence. The overriding sensation I get from watching this film is one of the objectification of humans and human activity - there’s a coldness about it that’s unnerving. If the motivation of the robots is to assess efficiencies of traffic flow and motion, then surely the next step is likely to be scrubbing us humans out for being less than satisfactory…

Posted by Yang-May Ooi on Wednesday, May 16th, 2012 at 7:00am

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Great Sci-Fi & Fantasy Movies on Pinterest

I recently joined the latest social networking sensation Pinterest. You can follow me at http://pinterest.com/AlexYangUK/

For those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s an online scrapbook/ pinboard where you can collect (pin) images from the web that you like or that inspire you.

Many users use it to pin home decoration or fashion item that inspire them or that reflect their style.

I’m trying out different pin boards that reflect my interests.

For film fans and sci-fi/ fantasy fans, you may like to check out my pin board of Great Sci-Fi & Fantasy Movies:

pinterest

If you’re on Pinterest, let me know – it’ll be fun to follow each other.

 

Posted by Yang-May Ooi on Monday, May 14th, 2012 at 7:00am

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Mission Impossible Theme and An Amazing Kid

I’ve been a great fan of Mission Impossible since my childhood – avidly watching the TV series with the silver-haired and craggy faced Jim leading his versatile team in many adventures, through to intense and earnest little Tommy Cruise running fast all over the world to achieve the impossible.

The theme is fab, too, of course – full of tension and explosive power just waiting to unfurl.

This version of the theme music by an amazingly talented little kid has had over 15m hits on YouTube – it looks like I’m not the only fan who loves his virtuoso performance!

Posted by Yang-May Ooi on Friday, May 11th, 2012 at 7:00am

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A Bold Creative Move in Comics

I loved Archie comics when I was a kid growing up in Malaysia. It was the ‘60s and they introduced me to flower power, feminism, black power, war protest – all in a wholesome and non-judgemental way, while also being fun and funny to read.

I saw via Slate, that the Archie franchise now has a gay character Kevin, who has his own series. It’s great to see them continuing to educate a new generation about diversity and inclusivity in a their inimitable squeaky clean style!

There’s still a residual sense, I think, in some circles that comics are somehow a lesser form of storytelling, or that they are trashier than “proper” books. As with all things, there’ll be the good ones and the less than dazzling ones. Overall, I’m a fan of comics, especially as a way in to literacy for kids. My parents were always happy to let me and my siblings have comics (once they’d vetted them for appropriate content) and we learnt a lot about the decent values and current issues (as per the Archie comics) as well as literary classics (through comic book adaptations of books like Lorna Doone) and history (the Look and Learn magazines).

I’ve also enjoyed some graphic novels since growing up, many with bold themes that you would not necessarily expect to be addressed in a “comic” - notably Maus and Robert Crum’s autobiographical work, as well as some manga for light relief and the hilarious Bitchy Butch.

As a writer, I’ve thought about trying the graphic novel/ comic form. I got some books out of the library awhile back about how to draw manga and other characters as well as how to tell a story in the graphic novel form. It was great fun sketching away and trying out shapes and forms – but I don’t have sufficient talent for the drawing and visual side to take it beyond doodling and personal recreation time! I find it much easier to describe something visually in words than to create it on paper as form so I’ll stick to word based story telling for now. But I still have a go at sketching from time to time just to take a creative break and try a different way at looking at the world.

What do you think of comics/ graphic novels? Do you have any favourites?

~~~

Pic: from the Archie Comics Store

Posted by Yang-May Ooi on Wednesday, May 9th, 2012 at 7:00am

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Hi! I'm Yang-May Ooi. I'm a writer, creative intelligence coach and storyteller. Fusion View is my personal blog with a cross-cultural flavour.

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