I am now a published author (yay!).
Who knew it would happen, that night I serendipitously met celebrity/photographer/producer/environmentalist Sean Lee-Davies during an emergency landing in Clark from a Hong Kong-Manila flight? But that’s another story for another time.
Love is Wild is about wildlife and wild spaces, and how humans can still be a part of these increasingly rare landscapes. Love is Wild evokes a time when man had a spiritual connection with the earth, and the creatures within.
Last March 2015, I quit my job in a Hong Kong tourism magazine to travel with my sister. That’s when we did three months in the Iberian Peninsula. I kept contact with Sean via e-mail and social media after meeting him at the Clark airport. He said from the beginning that he needed a writer but never really approached me with a serious offer.
Gentle Giants: TWO FULLY GROWN FEMALE ELEPHANTS SAUNTER RIGHT PAST IN THE AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK, KENYA // Photography by SLD
Fast forward to July 2015. I flew back to Asia from Spain, but kept travelling within the Philippines. I randomly get a message from Sean asking me if I ever planned to work again? I said it depends, does he have something for me?
Let me know when you’re back in Hong Kong, he says.
And so I booked a flight to Hong Kong for the first two weeks of August. Why not?
On my second day in Hong Kong, I met with Sean in Holly Brown Coffee, Stanley Street. He looked stressed. I need a writer, he says. Can you come onboard tomorrow?
Well that escalated quickly.
Sean got a book publishing deal from Asia One Product & Publishing to time with his Love is Wild travelling exhibition. The project is a culmination of his best fine art photography from five years of travel through Africa and Asia.
His visions of wildlife, long forgotten tribes, and primordial rainforests tell us stories reminiscent of the spiritual and existential bond between man, animals, and their home, the earth.
But between producing two shows for TVB Pearl (Tycoon Talk, Adventures to the Edge) as well as putting together the exhibition, he had no time to take charge of writing the entire book from start to finish. So that’s where I came in. I put together the flat plan, collated and sifted through the interview transcripts, did my due research, mapped out the guidelines for the Foreword + Preface/Artist Statement, and camped out at the office/library sometimes for 11 hours a day tapping out on my keyboard, nonstop. For six weeks.
It was a lot more complicated than I’m making it sound, but that’s the jist of it.
Sans the pressure of the supertight deadline, I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to be a part of this project. I enjoyed the subject matter so much, and appreciated learning about issues (illegal wildlife trade, extinction, climate change), and even little things like the habits and idiosyncracies of endangered animals like tigers, pangolins, sharks…
Great White Sharks have 300 teeth. Despite this, they swallow their food whole.
It all proved to be so timely as well because just as the project was underway the fires in Sumatra broke out and cast Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia in a dark, toxic haze.
Huge areas of rainforest are being cleared and converted into agricultural land, mostly for commercial palm oil and rubber production.
In September 2015, the practise received international media attention, after uncontrollable forest fires across Sumatra created a vast, choking haze, darkening the skies of neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia for weeks. Schools and airports were closed, and a public outcry ensued.
It may have been just a few several weeks of my life, but the project has made a huge impact on me. I hope it does help to raise awareness, and funds for this much-overlooked cause. I’m not asking anyone to buy the book, but to at least do this: help to make the purchase of endangered wildlife products like ivory, shark fin, pangolin scales, rhino horn, etc. UNCOOL. When you see someone consuming it, don’t pretend it’s alright. SAY SOMETHING. We have to make these practices unacceptable in modern society. We don’t have to donate loads of money to be able to make a difference. It’s also a deeply rooted cultural mentality that we can change little by little 🙂
Can you imagine an Africa without lions? A world without elephants? Or a planet without rainforests? I don’t think any of us want future generations to say we destroyed all that life on our watch.