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  • Writer's pictureMichael Chen

My First Nomination As An Actor

Updated: Dec 31, 2023

I started my love affair with acting in school, way back in the late 90's. By the early 2000's, I was bitten by the bug and I guess there was no turning back.

My first nomination as an Actor for Kakiseni's Boh Cameronian Awards, #16BCAA

Practically 19 years later, I get nominated by Kakiseni, the only platform where Malaysian performing arts practitioners are given recognition. If I had to sum up how I feel about this in one word, the word I would choose is 'thankful'. Cliched, but true.

Before anything else, I need to express a deep thank you to Nick Choo for creating such a wonderful piece of work that is 'The Edge'. To Chris Ling and all the people behind TheatreThreeSixty for giving me the opportunity to return to the role of 'Jarod'. Dom Luk, my musical director, my fellow cast members : Tria Aziz, Michelle Tan, Kai Chalmers, Iz Sulaini & Ping Khoo, the musicians : Elaine Jazz'Lynne, Wai Leong & Aizat and not forgetting Chi Hoe for being my vocal coach!

And to Kakiseni for thinking me worthy of nomination. Thank you!


I can't tell you when exactly, but at some point a long time ago, I decided to forget about ever getting recognition as an actor and just be grateful for every chance I managed to get to perform as an actor. I made a conscious decision to find another way for me to make a living by being a creative person.

That decision led me down a deep rabbit hole of a never-ending journey of self doubt, diving into various ways for creative expression. Whilst keeping a clear head at understanding that I have to be able to pay the bills at the same time. I was under no illusion that I had a big uphill battle ahead of me.

I tried a lot of things besides acting. I make it a point to understand different forms of creative expression, from writing, to dance, film, tv and so on. From a commercial standpoint, I've worked in events management, TV production, marketing, publications, web 2.0, advertising before going back to production and finding my calling as a Producer which has led to me being a Creative Director at Malaysiakini today.

A long time ago, when I tried to tell my father that I wanted to explore getting into the creative industry and that acting was something I wanted to try. He told me in the nicest way he could muster that I would have to work harder than most to make my mark. I didn't know it then. But I think, in his way, he was trying to protect me.

I am not a natural.

I had to work hard to get to where I am. Developing the skills and network to enable me to be a practicing creative person. Acting is my conduit into being a creative person and my goal is to keep doing it even if I'll never be as good as the next guy. This is what I tell myself. In a way, this way of thinking gave me a freedom from being afraid of failure.

That freedom gave me the balls to try any form of acting. That's how I got into doing more than just straight theatre. Singing and dancing in musicals was the furthest thing from my mind when I was first bitten by the bug in my late teens. Yet, out of the 14x theatre performances I've been part of, 4x are musicals!

Which makes me getting my first nomination as a best leading performer from a musical even more meaningful for me.

At this point, recognition from Kakiseni, the platform that allowed me to get into performing arts after I left school feels like a great milestone. One that I am incredibly thankful for. Which is why I feel compelled to pen this down.

Congratulations and good luck to every nominee for the #16BCAA and let's have fun on 28 Apr 2019. Win or lose, I look forward to it!

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