Dear Malaysian women’s magazine,

First of all, thank you for nominating me to be in the running for the Great Women of Our Time Awards 2014. I’m honoured that you’ve noticed my work and consider it of value. Many Malaysian women read and enjoy your magazine, which makes me sincerely appreciate this recognition. Again, thank you.

But I must respectfully decline. For one thing, since I hit my 30s, I find I’ve lost that sensation of having all the time in the world, stretching out before me. This isn’t a fear of getting old, it’s a very welcome effect of no longer being 20. As they say, art is long, and life is very short. As an artist in Malaysia, I doubt I will ever amass much money or prestige of my own. Luckily, my privileged circumstances allow my family to support me financially, so that I can continue doing my work.  My time, that is, the time to do this work, is all I have to give the world.

Therefore I will not be able to attend the photoshoot and interview and gala dinner.

I wish you, your team, the judging panel, the 3 nominees in 6 categories and the eventual grand winners all the best. Personally, I wish women could be celebrated without competition, but those are not the times we live in. Your magazine must do as it can, and so must I.

Once again, thank you.

Yours sincerely,

1782330_10151955955298753_447855174_oWith my mother. I get it all from her. Photo by Cindy Koh