ARIEF HAMIZAN, 24, STAGE ACTOR/ DIRECTOR/ PRESENTER COACH
With all around confidence, Arief Hamizan talks about putting off a legal career to chase after his dream – making theatre. Arief’s quirky personality will leave you in stitches as you double over in laughter every minute you’re together. Side note: he finds joy in vacuuming – #househusbandmaterial right there.
Tell us a little bit about what you do.
I graduated with a law degree last year, but I’ve put off a legal career for the moment to focus on making theatre. I’ve been directing and acting for some time now and I’m also a presenter coach, which means I work with people to draft speeches and how they will be presenting it. I also teach theatre and public speaking at primary schools all the way up to university levels.
What’s the one thing about you that surprises people?
That if you look really, really hard into my left eye, you can just about make out the Star of David.
Button-up shirt, jeans, watch and wayfarer, all Arief’s own.
In what, would you want to be an expert?
Something obscure, like being able to identify the authenticity of old stamps, or chinaware, or twelfth century art. I’m imagining myself with those magnifying lenses that jewelers use, peering at some old, barely surviving artifact and nodding sagely.
A cause you’re passionate about?
Cultivating environments where ideas can be challenged. That’s probably why I’m drawn to the arts, to theatre, to academia. There’s a dangerous current of conviction emerging in our society. I think it’s perfectly fine to be confident in an idea, but to allow doubt is to develop it.
Favourite thing to learn about in your free time?
I like reading up on etymologies. I find that there’s so much more to a word then just the definition we find in the dictionary. A word travels; across continents, across tongues, through time, back and forth, over and over, and every time it’s used new meaning is found. In the end, all languages are just badly-spelt versions of another. It kind of brings you back to the idea that we are all interconnected, fluid, and changing. I like that. I’m quite against this whole notion of rigid borders, of this is for this culture and that is for that. We find that a lot in Malaysia, unfortunately. Humans are far more liquid than they perceive themselves to be. Perhaps if we looked at words more, we’d realise how we’re all just made up of little parts of each other.
I find a strange joy in vacuuming. It’s the way the vacuum drowns out all other sounds, and leaves you in a state of total individuality. The white noise protects you from the rest of the universe. You have no worries. You have no fear. The world around you dissolves. Some people might call this a chore. Some might call it basic cleanliness. But there are also some, some who might even call this, freedom.
– On Arief’s happy place.
What qualities do you value in the people with whom you spend time?
People who are uncertain about thoughts that they have. I find it really dull talking to people who are certain about the ideas that they have. When a person doesn’t know something, it means we can explore things. Suddenly there are all sorts of things to talk about. I like interrogating ideas. New ways of thinking. Though it makes it a bit difficult when we’re deciding where to have lunch.
If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Probably take a nap.
What energizes you and brings you excitement?
The idea that somewhere out there, there is someone who is reading this sentence and hearing the words spoken to them by an unidentified voice in their mind.