‘They always thought I was a freak – that I wasn’t normal. I just wasn’t the average Joe as they say. It pretty much lowered my self-esteem and I thought I can’t dress this way or be this way and I have to look the same.

‘I used to live in a country town but now that I’ve moved here I have the chance to be myself instead of hiding away. It’s like I’m free now.

‘You can’t let other people’s expectations get you down. Just follow your heart and what you really want in life. If you want to be yourself then why not do it? Nothing is standing in your way. It’s only yourself that’s stopping you.’

‘Salvador Dali said something interesting. He said, “The only difference between me and a mad man is that I’m not mad”. Agreed he used a term that is now offensive to people but his point is well taken that you can be as eccentric as hell; really eccentric to the point that colleagues and friends call you weird, right? But that’s not mental illness.’

Would you consider yourself eccentric?

‘Oh, hell yes! I cultivate it. I do it deliberately.’

Why is that?

‘People remember.’

 

‘I love music. I can’t play so I feel like I need to organise musicians instead! I do all the logistics in booking bands for festivals and gigs. I make sure the bands show up and know what time they’re playing.

‘It’s good to see local festivals and events pop up – the local scene gets encouraged and they look for local bands. It’s really great. The international bands have cornered the market a little bit and people need to see that there are still great bands in Australia and that they need to get out there.’

 

‘In Hong Kong I just didn’t have the time to enjoy things. It’s too rushed and you can’t really observe stuff in detail. We don’t have a second to relax and enjoy life so for me, I want to take back the time. Here, at least I can get back free time and the lifestyle. And the food and the air. The air is so important because Hong Kong is so polluted.’

‘I think I’m going to take the Australian lifestyle back to Hong Kong with me. I’ve been back to Hong Kong twice since living here and now I’m just not used to how people walk so quickly and how rude they can be. I’m so used to now getting off the bus and saying thank you and stuff. I think I’m just going to keep doing that in Hong Kong.’

‘Once you get to a certain age, you’re not so consumed about looking around for how people perceive you. You start perceiving yourself in a different kind of way and start trying to expand who you are.

‘Sometimes I feel like I’m behind. I have friends who are in corporate jobs. Fluorescent lights are nice but I’d much rather have my hands in the dirt. I’ve embrace an artistic lifestyle and I have no fear that money will come. It doesn’t really matter.

‘It feels liberating in a way. You’re more in tune with things. You see things and you draw creativity from it and that fulfils you – it’s the best. It’s frightening too. You have to make something from it because you have no other choice. You have to go forward.’

‘We were together for five years. We moved here from New Zealand and then he left me. I’m very family orientated so for me just to not pack it all up and go back home for a boy, that was really challenging.

‘I had to look within myself and think was it worth giving it all up for a guy because he leaves you or do you want to further yourself? When I looked deeper within myself, I found somebody who’s very outgoing and spontaneous. I learnt that I shouldn’t be defined by what somebody else makes me. I saw myself as a bigger entity than in a relationship.’