Another interesting interview with the performer cum activist Mislina Mustaffa who has just released her next book Are You Talking About Trust, Mislina Mustaffa?
Headline : Journey To Find Herself
By Bissme S
Three years ago, Mislina Mustaffa received a plane ticket to watch the World Cup in Brazil as a birthday gift from a close friend. Her journey, however, did not end in Brazil.
For two years, the outspoken actress and activist continued on her way, visiting other parts of world such as Colombia, Cuba, Jamaica, Scotland, Maritius, and many more.
Mislina then jotted down her travel experiences in a book, Are You Talking About Trust, Mislina Mustaffa?.
The book breaks from literary convention by bearing no page numbers, and not carrying the title on its cover. In a recent interview, the 46-year-old talks about the revelations she gained on her soul searching journey around the world, as well as her views on how she’s come to terms with her own vulnerabilities.
Can you tell us more about your book?
My book is more about the inner journey of a traveller. Many travellers do not speak about this inner journey because it can be ugly and painful.
I always thought I was the most radical woman … I always thought I was so strong, and that I could survive anywhere in the world. This journey has forced me to acknowledge my vulnerable side. I learned that you can be strong and vulnerable at the same time.
In the past, when I was sad, I ignored this emotion. I [kept] myself busy so [that] I would not think about my sadness. But not any more. Now, whenever I feel sad, I learn to sit down and feel the sadness. I’m honouring my sadness.
Strong is me, and sadness is me, too. To accept myself, I have learned to love the ugly and the beautiful side of me.
Do you think readers can accept the radical way your book is presented?
My book’s title is Are You Talking About Trust, Mislina Mustaffa?. So, I must trust myself and have the courage to present something different and experimental. I must also trust that my readers will take what I am serving.
As an artiste, I love experimenting. In an experiment, nothing is guaranteed, and everything can go wrong. It is always very delicious to experiment with something that people are afraid [of] … Experimenting gives you freedom.
*Your mother died while you were in Brazil. People criticised you for not returning home for her funeral.
First of all, my value does not increase or decrease based on people’s respect. I have gone beyond the belief that you have to be with someone because you love that person.
Before my mother died, we talked a lot about life. My mother wanted a career. She wanted to be a teacher. She wanted to travel. But my mother came from a period where her father believed a woman [only needed a basic education]. She did not get to pursue her dreams. She became a housewife. But she always encouraged me and my siblings to pursue our dreams. If I had not gone on that trip, she would have been upset and disappointed. I listened to what my mother wanted, and that can be called love.
I brought my mother’s spirit along [in my travels]. And it is not rare to find me speaking to my mother whenever I see something beautiful.
Tell us one emotion that has changed drastically because of your travel?
My relationship with God has changed from fear to love. In Brazil, I visited [the statue of] Christ the Redeemer. There were a handful of tourists taking pictures of Jesus and praying.
It was the World Cup season in Brazil at that time and out of the blue, a group of famous footballers visited the place. Suddenly, the tourists’ focus was on the footballers. Everyone was crowding around the footballers ... the tourists were cheering and screaming. The atmosphere was almost like a party. Once the footballers left, their attention returned to Jesus.
If a similar situation were to happen in Malaysia, you can bet it will become a controversy, and their behaviour will be seen as disrespecting God.
Personally, I like to believe in a loving God. I really believe that God understands these people have no malicious intent to disrespect Him. They were just too happy to see their football idols, and a good God will want his followers to be happy.
You are also a performer. Are you doing any interesting performances?
I am venturing into something that is call body movement. I am using bodies ‘that are not suitable for dancing’. I am encouraging these bodies to move. I want everyone to appreciate their bodies in whatever shape [they] are in ... to appreciate their own soul. I want them to know a soul is always beautiful … a soul never gets ugly.