Staying Alive

15 August 2016

Takahara Suiko aka The Venopian Solitude does not want to commit suicide. So she creates as much as possible - music, poetry, acting and even vlogging. She does it all just to stay alive.

It’s very easy to kill yourself in Japan. The Keio train line that runs in western Tokyo is one of the most infamous spots for those who have lost hope in life.

And with the Japanese being well known for their efficiency, the accurate timing of the trains also means it makes it easy for people to plan out their suicides.

“So if a train is ever delayed in Japan, then you know what just happened,” explains Takahara Suiko.

You wouldn’t think that Takahara, or also known as The Venopian Solitude, as someone who would raise the issue of suicide in a conversation about her life.

She is a musician, writer, actor and vlogger. She has written hundreds of songs, published a book, written poems, is a YouTube sensation and writes scripts. And she’s happily married too - to popular YouTube vlogger Anwar Hadi.

With so much going on in her life, you would think that she was happy and content. Well, in a way she is sort of happy with the fact that she gets to do what she does. Sort of.

“I don’t ever want to feel like I’m really happy doing what I do because I only write music and do it all because I just have to. It’s like how people just have to breathe and eat,” she says.

At least Takahara isn’t contemplating suicide anymore. Her Japan days are over, but she doesn’t mind reminiscing about it if not just for people to understand.

She had always been obsessed with Japanese culture and right after her SPM examinations, she went to study engineering in the Land of the Rising Sun.

But she quickly became disillusioned by it all and started feeling very depressed living in Japan and even with her studies.

“There is a reason, which I can’t explain, why Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. I wasn’t clinically depressed. I was just unhappy and dissatisfied,” she explains.

So as soon as she got back to Malaysia she just went all out with her music and her creativity. This proved much of a challenge too since her parents were not very encouraging.

“My parents wanted me to concentrate on my academic studies and anything else was just considered a distraction. I wasn’t even encouraged to be involved in extra school curriculum activities,” she says.

She wanted to buy a piano but her mother wouldn’t allow it. There was a small keyboard at home and she was only allowed to tinker with that.

When she bought her first guitar, she was forced to hide it in the cupboard so that her mother won’t find it. But, just like all mothers who have a sixth sense, it was discovered anyway!

Her parents are pretty conventional but eventually, they began to accept her career choice when they saw that she could support herself with it.

Her own faith in her talents has definitely paid off. This year, she is the first Malaysian to have ever been selected for the Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA).

Takahara has applied for the programme twice and she finally succeeded. It’s a big deal. Only 70 musicians are selected worldwide to participate in this 10-day masterclass programme.

There will be lectures, workshops, recordings, collaborations, performances and whatever more. And it will all happen this September in Montreal, Canada.

“I’ve been running around trying to get my visa sorted. I’m excited! I’m the only participant wearing a tudung! They probably think I could blow them up!” she laughs.

Yes, if you’re thinking that she is very in your face, then you are right. Her music and lyrics are in your face (she has song titles like “Tenangkan Bontot Anda”), her poetry is in your face and she rants (loudly!) on YouTube.

The opportunity to participate in RBMA could just be the big break in her career. Speaking of careers, Takahara never really had a master plan to everything that she is doing.

As she rightfully said, she just has to do what she has to do. And when you are that passionate in what you do, things will naturally fall into place.

Like how her book Diari Nona Gila was published.

“I was just following my then-boyfriend (now husband) for a meeting with his publisher. And somehow, they wanted me to publish some of my writings too. So hopefully those who have bought my book didn’t regret it!” she laughs.

Now, Takahara is even busier. She just finished an acting gig for a film called Hey Orang Kita where she plays an abused wife who runs away to save herself.

And she isn’t stopping there. She has decided to dip her hands in television writing too. She has been involved in two different television series to date as a scriptwriter.

For someone who tries to be mysterious (Takahara Suiko isn’t her real name… and even then she performs under the moniker The Venopian Solitude!), it is surprising that she is so open about her life experiences.

But that is what really makes her such a prolific and creative artist. Takahara is always expressing herself as if her life depended on it. In fact, it probably does.

 

By Zan Azlee

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