Thursday, December 31, 2009


It is the last day of the year 2009. Week and half ago my EVS project in Malaysia ended and I flew back to my home country Finland. I had an incredible experience in Malaysia. For that I have many people to thank.
  • PT Foundation and most importantly Raymond and Hisham for opening their home and life for me to take part. I definitely felt like a family member and will feel partly Malaysian rest of my life thanks to them.
  • Helsinki Youth Department and Sam taking good care of the project and worrying about me ;)
  • European Voluntary Service, Youth in Action and whole European Union for making this experience possible in the first place.
  • DAW. The whole group but most importantly our director Christopher Jacobs who taught me a lot. He trusted me to be able to do Shakespeare in English and co-direct 13-year-olds and so I did. Soon Heng and Kien Lee also deserve superb appreciation for lending a helping hand in the transportation, and for their guidance and friendship.
  • All amazing international friends: Nicholas, Veera, Celeste, Bettina, Lukasz, Clayton, Karolina, Julian, Guat Hong, Sandee, Sian Czhe, Rajibul, Jaja, Pallavi, Lotta, Riina, Farid, Qahar, Tapai, Hana and everyone I met and made me feel so welcomed.
Thank you! Terima Kasih! Kiitos!

In the verge of 2010 I am back home in Helsinki Finland and I feel complete happiness about my life. 2009 was amazing year... and 2010 will be even better with all the friends, courage and knowledge I've been lucky to gather this previous year. And Bye! Thank you for following my journey in Malaysia. See you soon again!

Happy New Year !!!

Friday, December 18, 2009


Fabulous night was as Fabulous as it should be. For my last post I'll share some pictures with you.

Our host of the evening: Edwin Sumun aka Shelah.

The night was a success! Congratulations to us all!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

World Aids Day

I Am
I Am...
...proud to be a Red Ribbon Supporter and part of the PT Foundation family. Together with the staff and 250 volunteers we made the Red Carnival - World Aids Day celebration - happen last weekend in one of the biggest mall's of KL: Sungei Wang Plaza.
Many many volunteers were working hard. Celeste, American PT Volunteer, kept track of the ever changing lists of volunteers and participants and handed me my Official Photographer tag.
I enjoyed taking photographs of the colorful event but I also appreciated the fact that I wasn't the only one in that role. For example Ali, from Iran and a professional photographer, took amazing shots. Thats how there was time for me to watch the performances, socialize and dance like mad woman, when needed ;)
The objective of Red Carnival is to raise funds for the HIV work we do at PT but even more importantly raise awareness of HIV/AIDS. The theme this year was "I Am". We used four slogans: I Am Against Stigma and Discrimination, I Am Learning About HIV, I Am Practising Safer Sex and I Am Getting Tested.
Besides red ribbons we handed out mirror cards where it says in the front "You could be looking at someone who is HIV positive". The HIV does not discriminate. It is everybody's worry: Spread the awareness. Not the virus. As my wise colleague put it.
Balloons. And the cute trio of Fared, Andrew and Jeremy posing for the camera.
Also I Am balloons were given to the public, mostly children, in the carnival theme.
Quiz question: What does red ribbond stand for?
Answer: It stands for life. And it should be placed near your heart.
From the information table people could collect more specific brochures of HIV/AIDS.
There was also brochures about Finland cause Finnish Embassy was one of our biggest sponsors this year. Yey! Go Finland! (This funding had nothing to do with me. They found PT on their own. But they did know about my blog! The power of blogging :) )
The main event at the stage included performances from the community and local bands/ dance groups/ stars. The Rainbow of PT -show by the transexual and sexworker community, included beautiful singing by beautiful Nisha.
Young hip hoppers.
Between performances there was games and quizzes about HIV. One of the most touching moments were when the HIV positive people came forward to give their views on the issue the stigma and discrimination. HIV does not spread by hugging, kissing or being friends with a HIV positive person.
This perfect picture is taken by Polish Lukasz who borrowed my camera for just a few moments.
Harmonica Quarter made few of us really show of our dancing moves. We can definitely Can Can, can't we Steven! So much fun.
Gorgeous Jaclyn Victor - who is a Malaysian Idol winner - made crowds gather around the stage. Even the cars passing by the Fiesta Street slowed down. Her singing was a breathtakingly touching. The highlights of the concert was when all PT Volunteers - including me - joined her on the stage to dance in the background and her "Satu lagi - One more" performance after audience's request: I Will Survive a cappella.
She also has such a nice, down-to-earth, personality. I consider myself lucky to met her in person. You can see me sweating like a sponge after the jumping and dancing in the Malaysian heat while she looks glowing and fabulous.
Here I am standing in the red shadow of one of our celebrity MCs: Will Quah did excellent job on getting the sometimes shy audience to come to the stage to take part in the quizzes and games. Well done Will!
One of the best parts of the weekend for me was to see my design all over the place. All the posters, buntings, backdrops, patches, t-shirts, mirror cards etc. you see in the photos, are from my pencil and macbook. Here you can see my I am -graphic in men's underwear! It will be available on sale in late December in the Undershop ;)
The weekend was overwhelming, fun and exhausting but in a rewarding way! Today is the 1st of December - the official World Aids Day - and so I'd like to remind everybody to work together to Stop Aids. Keep the promise. Spread the word. Happy World Aids Day everybody!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Letters From Malaysia

I've been a "visual reporter" for Finnish cultural web publication Satyyri since its beginning: creating "artistic" travel reports from the places I've visited. Since the start of the magazine in 2007 I've been reporting from Russia, Mexico, States... and now Malaysia. Please take a look at the freshly published 10th Satyyri here >>>

My visual letters are to be found from the page 30. Enjoy!

Monday, November 23, 2009


There is less than one month left of my project here in Malaysia. At the PT we are busy getting everything ready for The Red Carnival - World Aids Day which is just around the corner and soon after there is The Fabulous Gala Dinner and Show.

But especially during the rainy days like these my mind is not completely here anymore. I'm counting days to the take off. I miss home. But there is many things in Malaysia too which I love and will miss for sure after I'm gone. To clear my head I thought about doing a fair list comparing these two.

Miss Elli's Missing List:
(Writer's note: I'm not gonna list people cause they are the cause I miss the most. The close friends and family back home and the new marvelous personalities from here whom I might not see in very long while after my departure)

  • ANONYMITY - I miss being less visible. I would love to blend in but here I don't. I would look like a tourist even though I would have lived here over 10 years. Many pairs of eyes follow my every step. Men keep on greeting and yelling and doing funny kiss sounds. Motorcyclist toot their horns. Total strangers might take a picture of me before I have anything to say about it. When I meet a new person he/she might say that he has seen me before in the train/mall/in the audience of a theatre performance. In Finland I'm pretty unnoticeable unless I'm smiling way too widely for the Helsinki street scene.
  • SAFETY - I miss walking on my own without being so cautious and even scared. Here if I need to use the public transportation during the day I wear trousers with pockets where I can carry all my valuable items. I try not to carry any kind of bag with me. I also have a scarf along so that sometimes I can hide my head underneath it (like 65% Malaysian women).
  • FREEDOM - For previous reasons and cause the KL public transportation has its flaws I'm often dependent on others. I'm not use to being this helpless. I'm lucky to have so many good friends who can give me a ride when needed but I would love to come and go on my own schedule. Here I might recline from dinner/movie/concert invitation just cause it is too much trouble to get there and back(safely). In Helsinki - my home city - I trust the public transportation to take me anywhere in the city. If the night continues after midnight I can always walk back home. It's never too far and completely save.
  • HOBBIES: I miss the common day chores of my Helsinki life: jogging by the sea, salsa lessons with the Cuban dance instructors, my two unique theatre groups and the inspiring co-working with my fellow designers.
  • HEALTHY DIET: It is so much easier following healthy diet back home than it is here. Malaysian food is fantastic but it contains about three times the fat and sugar I would eat back home. My body and mind functions best when it is treated well.
  • WEATHER: After this ever continuing heat I must admit I miss the variations of temperatures. Not because I would like to feel cold but because I would love to wear different layers of clothes. I miss wearing the woolen socks my mom has knitted for me.
  • MY CAT: Pikke is my prince charming.
  • SILENCE/FRESH AIR/THE SEA/FOREST: The nature. The peace.
  • HAVING CONVERSATION OF SOMETHING ELSE THAN FOLLOWING: Where you from? What do you do in Malaysia? Why Malaysia? How long have you been here? What do you think about Malaysia? Do you like the food? Oh, you're vegetarian. Why? How long have you been? Would you like to eat/drink something? Is your parents vegetarians? Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? - I've thought about making a brochure of myself having ready-made-answers to all these questions: Finland/ Voluntary work/ It happen to be/ Four and half months/ Interesting & exotic/ Yes/ Out of ecological, ethic and health reasons/ Sure, if it doesn't have meat/ No/ No&No. If you know some cute, fun, artistic (and straight) boy, let me know!
  • FRUITS: Oh. They keep on being divine!
  • FOOD: If not always so healthy it is delicious. All the vegetarian Indian, Chinese and Malay dishes. I'm gonna miss this ethnic variety of food. (And it is ridiculously cheap too!)
  • SHAKESPEARE: Even though I would have not guessed to meet "Shakespeare" here in Malaysia, the two-times-a-week Diligent Actor's Workshop - DAW has become important and anticipated part of my weekly routine. I love the group, the director, the challenge, and I genuinely feel like I've improved as an actress and in my english as well.
  • LIGHT: Bye bye daily sunshine after returning middle of the darkest time of the year in Finland.
  • JOB: I genuinely like my work a lot. I don't always like the long hours or that the work follows me everywhere I go but I do love the community, my tasks and title as the in-house-artist. It is magnificent that I can use my (and my macbook's) skills for such a good cause.
  • EXOTICISM: Every day when I step out from my room there is the whole new world in front of my eyes. New things to see, experience and learn: Bread-men in their motorcycles covered with bread, tropic storms, chanting from the mosques, beautiful Indian ladies in their saris, temples, monkeys, monorail (metro that goes over the streets), banana trees, lizards, the spectacular "space" -like sky line of KL and the green mountains surrounding the city, storytellers... people living in the trees and the haunting spirits etc.
  • BEING EXOTIC: After all that complaining of being so visible I must admit it is an advantage too. Looking like "an interesting person" (=meaning different/alien/foreigner) I've had a chance to meet lot of interesting people myself. How many times after and theatre show you meet the stars of the stage and they say they noticed you in the audience!? Or you get invitations to the after party after rock concerts. And then there is the free drinks&food (I don't mean in bars (cause I don't really go to bars here) but in restaurants waiters sometimes just give out drinks and desserts). Even though it is the blond hair and blue eyes I've born with (like 98% of my country men) some days I'm still flattered to be called beautiful.
  • EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE: Here I feel like everything you want to do is possible to do. Boleh lah! (= Can be done)
  • LIVING: In Helsinki I don't have a pool on my yard. But I do have the sea on my backyard.
So. As you see. There is two sides in the coin. Always is. I feel gratitude of being here and gratitude of having a home to return to and the liberty to do so. I am lucky. Thank you world!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Closer To Heaven

Dear Soon Heng invited me to come along with them on a family trip to the mountains to visit his cousin's home, family and garden.
His lovely cousin - lady in the red shirt - use to be a piano teacher and moved there to the hills about 10 years ago from KL. She lives there with her architect-vegetarian-fruterian husband and two teenage children of which the other one is autistic.
Her parents (charming couple in the left of the picture below) do live in KL but travel often up hill to spend time with the offspring. Her dad is a devoted buddhist and does layouts for buddhist publications. He also gave me two books to read. Left of Soon Heng is his dad who is a funny fellow. Their loving-arguing father-son relationship is cute to watch.
The views from their house garden were breathtaking. I felt it was a small paradise. So peaceful, fresh and beautiful.

Little sketch from the back yard.
The plants and flowers of garden were blooming.
The house was also home for two cats and some turtles. All their "pets" had wondered there looking for shelter.
No wonder that also I felt so like home cause in the front door it clearly stated my name: Elli. (= the apartment number E1.L1)
Monkeys by the road side.
At the time we got to the magnificent fruit stalls the battery of my camera run out. Luckily markers come in everlasting energy so I sketch down how the mini honey bananas looked like: cute bite-size bananas. Sweet and delicious!