Kopi Soh, Malaysian artist and author, goes out of her way to ease the sufferings of those around her. A healer of hearts, crisis counselor, teacher of an adult school, Kopi draws cartoons for sick children and writes self-help books to help children and teens. We are honoured that Kopi visits with us today.
Hello Kopi, so glad and honored that you’re here. You always draw funny cartoon and you fairly ooze with positive vibes. Come teach our readers how to maintain happiness. Tips?
The way to maintain happiness is to know that nothing is permanent, sadness or happiness, nothing last forever. Live for the now, look for happiness in the little things in life (blue skies, fresh air, a good book, a delicious fruit, chocolates!!!)
You’re a psychologist and a counselor whose specialty is in working with children, adolescents, couples and families.What story would you like to share about the joy, challenge, or hardship of your day job?
My work with rape survivors is often unpredictable, when we get the call we never know what to expect. Nothing much I am able to share here because everything is confidential. That is actually my night job. In my day job I teach seniors social media such as Facebook, twitter, iPad.
With night and day jobs, when do you find the time to write?
Haha, I suppose when there is a will there is a way. The desire to help others through my writing always gives me that unexpected second oomph to push through.
Best wishes for your writings. What are your other hobbies?
I draw for terminally ill, sick children and various charities such as orphanage for free. I also design t-shirts and do various illustration gigs.
Tell us a bit about what matters to you.
What matters to me is making a difference in this world, not just merely taking up space.
What one thing is important for your audience to know about you?
That I care, may it be through my art or writing, everything I do is done with heart in hopes of putting smiles on people’s faces.
Would you like to tell readers about the joy of Malaysia and its fabulous food?
Malaysia is my homeland. I always will have a special place in my heart for her regardless of where I live. As far as food is concerned, my taste buds are not of the highest caliber, I like almost everything so I can’t comment much on the fabulousness of the food.
On work and writing, what drives you the most?
The desire to help people.
Tell us about your charitable work for the hospital patients. Care to elaborate? Why is it important to you? Share with us some experiences with them.
I would not consider it “charitable work” I consider it a privilege. Those children are the real heroes. I am blessed to have crossed paths with them in the virtual world and they have taught me what is the true meaning of courage. They are the real heroes in life.
What a great view! And your books are written for them. What’s the age range?
Ages 9 and up, although if a parent or caregiver wants to, they can also use it as a guide for much younger children. That is the reason why I loaded it with illustrations. If the child is much younger, you can use that to help them identify and express their feelings.
What compelled you to write Oh I Thought I Was The Only One?
To make people feel less alone. Asians are brought up to not “wash their dirty laundry in public”, therefore many people experiencing depression or other life stressors often suffer in silence. They do not talk to anyone else about their problems and even if they do, they are often told to just grin and bear and count their blessings. Many of us feel alone and lost, unable to confide in anyone. This book was written so at least if nothing else happens, when you read it you know you are not the only one who feels this way. That feeling that you are not alone in and of itself I am hoping can somehow give us the courage to heal.
Would you share a short synopsis for each of your books?
Oh I Thought I Was The Only One was written with the hopes of easing your pain by letting you feel less alone in dealing with the troubles in life. Through little insights, the book shows us how to live fully in every moment and how to be successful without compromise– the deep soul searching for harmony and happiness we all can achieve.
Oh I Thought I Was The Only One 2 is filled with 30 plus pieces of delightful artwork and was written for the kids ages 9 and up. This book was written specifically to help today’s kids deal with stressors in their daily lives, like bullying, shyness, friendships, exams, studying, divorce, etc.
Share with us the story behind your second book
After I wrote my first book, I told myself, I do not ever want to write again. Reason being there was so much involved in writing it is like writing using your blood and soul. You pour your heart in it, you immerse yourself emotionally, trying to empathize and put yourself in the other person’s shoes. So that was it I thought, I was happy it was on the best seller shelves in all the bookstores in Malaysia and in Singapore.
Then …Arizona Tan, happened, he was my friend’s teenage son. Arizona Tan, age 17, took his own life because he was depressed over not doing well in his studies.
For those who do not know about this case you can read/watch it here:-http://www.ntv7.com.my/7edition/local-en/DEPRESSED_OVER_STUDIES_STUDENT_FOUND_HANGED_IN_BEDROOM.html
Initially I thought of writing about how parents push their kids but then again I thought we cannot just jump to the conclusion that it was the parents’ fault, this is NOT the time to play the blame game, there are many many factors involve when it comes to suicide. More importantly is how does a person get through this feeling of hopelessness and helplessness? Let me share something very personal, at one point in my life I had also thought the balcony of a high rise building looked really inviting after my father’s death. So I too am not immune to this feeling which I feel is a strength, that perhaps I can share and understand. Only a person who has sunk to this depth and come out is able to truly understand how it feels like at that MOMENT when checking out seems like a good idea.I kept thinking what can I do, what can I do, I can’t just sit here and just accept things. Thus I was compelled to write again, and “Oh, I thought I was the Only One 2” was conceived. It is my deepest hope that together we can reach the children that needs this. No one truly knows, this can be the lifeline to a child.
What are you working on right now? What’s next?
Currently just focusing on my T-shirt business at The Kopi Shop and continue drawing healing art for terminally ill children through this Facebook Page. I also work as a crisis counselor and advocate for survivors of assault, and teach seniors at an adult school.
Anything else you’d like to share?
There really is nothing much to know about me 😀
Thank you so much for your time, Kopi, and best wishes on all that you do!
And readers, I hope you enjoyed meeting the fabulous yet humble Kopi. Come follow Kopi on Twitter. Visit her sites above and support her work.