So This Is My Why | Issue 1

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Hey STIMYers,

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the STIMY newsletter!

Where you get updates on the latest STIMY podcast episode released & some of my favourite finds of the week.

If you enjoy this newsletter & want an alert for the next one, subscribe below! 😉

Alena Ose Murang - Sarawakian sape player singer, teacher, speaker, social entrepreneur, visual artist & heritage advocate

Hard to believe we are already at Episode 22, but here we are!

Alena Murang was born & bred in my hometown of Kuching, Sarawak & we even went to the same high school! Curiously enough, we never met each other until this podcast but Kuching being the same town it is, we had plenty of mutual friends.

That said, Alena had a pretty unique upbringing. Attributable in no small part to her anthropologist mother & her unique heritage as a Kelabit-Dayak-English-Italian Sarawakian girl.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • 8:46: The difference between a “human” & “spirit” sape (the latter was used for ritual healings & forbidden to women);
  • 17:45: How her unique identity left her feeling like she never quite belonged;
  • 30:35: What led to her decision to pursue music full-time;
  • 31:53: How Alena produced her first EP, Flight;
  • 35:15: Imposter syndrome (particular as a professional musician who has never had formal musical training!);
  • 36:44: How she ended up performing at some of the biggest world music festivals in the world and Paris Fashion Week!;
  • 44:53: Why beads are so important to her Kelabit roots; and
  • 49:14: 3 free ways listeners can help Alena & other world musicians.

You can listen to Alena’s episode in full on: STIMY Website, Spotify, Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Listen Notes.

Looking for past STIMY musical guests? Check out:

STIMY Ep 13: Hilary Yip

YouTube version of the STIMY interview with Hillary Yip, one of the youngest CEOs in the world is now available! She was 15-years-old at the time of this recording, having been CEO of MinorMynas for the past 5 years!

Favourite Finds of the Week

Back in 2013, two New York designers, Timothy Goodman & Jessica Walsh, decided to do a dating experiment. They were good friends but just couldn’t seem to make their relationships work.

So when they found themselves single at the same time, they began dating each other exclusively for 40 days & recorded everything down. In public.

What was unique about this to me was how open & vulnerable they were (perhaps a little too much?!), from musings about their weekly relationship counseling sessions to their inner insecurities, sexual exploits (She whispered, “should we have break-up sex?”), past relationships & quirks.

This experiment went viral & there is now a book and potential film on the horizon!

P/S: For each day, Timothy & Jessia got their designers friends to design a special logo for their journal! 

Ah, small talk. Don’t we hate it so? But perhaps we shouldn’t, according to Nicholas Epley – a professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Nicholas says that talking with strangers is scientifically proven to make us happier! One of the studies they did was to send test subjects into a busy Starbucks and either

  • get in & out as quickly as possible, or
  • spend a few moments conversing with the cashier.

The latter group ended up being in a better mood & had a better sense of belonging to their community!

They also had test subjects talk to strangers on their daily commute (train, buses, etc. back in those long-ago pre-COVID days!), and those who remained silent had a less pleasurable experience.

Alex Blumberg, who hosts The Startup is one of my favourite podcast hosts & it all began with The Startup. Where he charted his entire journey in building his startup, Gimlet Media – which was sold to Spotify 5 years later for USD$200 million!

Alex is really open from Episode 1, where he recorded his disastrous pitch to Silicon Valley billionaire, Chris Sacca, all the way to how he handled internal flare-ups & that tricky conversation between 2 founders: how do we split our equity?

They also recorded how the discussion with their wives went later that evening & how to continue the equity discussion!

If you ever a sneak peek into what it’s like to build a startup, The Startup is the perfect way to begin.

Ng Seksan, a prominent Malaysian architect, runs a community garden/farm in the heart of Bangsar called Kebun-Kebun Bangsar. A one-hectare plot that is full of cows, goats, chickens, geese, turkeys, a beehive & stone oven where someone recently baked sourdough bread! Haha.

Previous residents include Spiky the hedgehog & rabbits (suspected to be stolen lol) and – Kebun-Kebun Bangsar is open to anyone to visit. No appointment necessary. 🤣 Apparently a neighbour reported them to DBKU (aka local council) back in February 2020 & they were meant to be shut down but… it’s still up and running lol.

If you’re looking for some animals to pet & garden to sow, maybe it’s time for a visit? Social distanicng measures in place & all that, of course!

Upcoming STIMY Guests

  • Ken Perenyi: Master art forger whose arts were once sold at Christie’s & Sotheby’s for up to $700,000! (New York Times did a piece on him once)

Enjoyed this newsletter or have a comment? Email sothisismywhy(at)

And if someone forwarded this newsletter to you, you can sign up here.

Until next week!

Ling Yah

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