When Helena recounted about how Ang Weng Sia, our graduate student, stayed in the Pahang forest with a community of one of the indigenous tribes there, it showed Weng Sia’s approach to her life and her attitude as a designer and her work. I also recalled how Megat Ariff interviewed people at Pink Triangle and experienced being a volunteer at the soup kitchen for drug addicts in the Chow Kit area. He has a similar approach to Weng Sia. Although I was not as “lasak” as those two, as being right in the thick of action, I was so much into Sufism, Islamic Architecture and Arts, when I did my design thesis on the Quranic Studies Institute.
It is very essential to get into your topic and experience it.
You cannot divorce yourself emotionally and spiritually from the work at hand. There should be a strong connection between you and your topic of interest. Even if it was not apparent from the outset before you started on your thesis, but once you got started, you must really be interested and be ready to “falling in love” with what you do. Day and night, night and day.
In the past four years, the studio master was the one who designed the programme and proposed the project’s topic. Now it’s you turn to choose and inevitably your choice is important firstly, to “get you into a rush” (like falling in love) and wanting to know more and more about the topic. Your topic must interest you to no end.
Everyone has an intellectual and philosophical side to them, especially so as a designer or a potential architect, you will form an approach to life based on what you believe in and there are interests that you nurture. It’s no one’s life but yours, so you can approach it heartily, devoid of pretensions and justifications and nobody is twisting your hand at the back.
Best way to approach the Design Thesis is to jump-in.