Pete Teo Profile picture
Jun 9, 2018 11 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1. Lots of people suffer from depression. I used to suffer from it. Although it last descended on me decades ago, I still feel it in the back of my head, seeping out in the shadows of my work. It’s not an easy thing to understand, but I can try to tell you a little more...
2. The overriding mental condition of someone in a severe depressed state is one of utter futility. Nothing is worth it. Nothing has meaning. There is no point in anything. You may escape for a moment, but the dark mist is all around. Until it decides to lift, nothing matters.
3. It isn’t the same as sadness. It isn’t being fearful. It’s the darkest, loneliest nothing. When it’s especially bad, there is no hope. That’s when you think of ending it. Everyone who’s been in that place has thought of suicide. Everyone. Some take action. Most pull back.
4. I got it when I was a child. It came regularly till my late 20’s. It affected my studies, social life, and worldview. I studied nothing but religion for a few years thinking it might help. Not for me. Writing did help. So did reading, or watching films. But not always.
5. I soon learned how to use it in my art. I tried to make beauty from it. Later, I took it on stage as a performing singer songwriter. A seasoned pro saw me live and said “You go to that empty place when onstage. Let me save your life. Pls don’t. Learn to act when you play.”
6. He did save my life. Touring is a series of stage, audience, and hotel rooms - repeat. If you did what I did, which was to play personal songs and left nothing behind, it’s dangerous. The audience might find communion, but you returned to the hotel room alone. It’s dangerous.
6. You see, as an artist you feel duty-bound to give all. But having emptied out you are left with that same hole in your heart. Who will fill it? The audience? It’s not easy to admit this, but even the most adoring fans are just strangers in the crowd. That’s the truth.
7. So now you know why many artists kill themselves. It’s not about material success. When amplified by celebrity, that futility and loneliness at the core of all depressives becomes magnified. The mist descends. Even the best in you is futile. That’s when you kick it.
8. It’s human to feel the loss of an icon. #AnthonyBourdain stood for so much good in this world. Yet don’t forget that depression afflicts more people than you think. It’s literally all around you. Do listen to them too. Just listen. Ordinary stories are worth just as much.
9. I have a notion that people who suffer from depression recognise each other instinctively. I find them in a line of another’s tweet, a song being played, or a look in the eyes. The night people. They are some of the most interesting people I know. Certainly some of the best.
10. And should you be one of the night people, know that there are many like you. Just as I found solace in creativity, you can too, even if in just talking to a friend. There is help all around. The world is filled with good people too. It is not all meaningless. Keep walking.

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More from @PeteTeo

May 25, 2018
1. Dear financial journalists. If you’ve been here a while and know the difference between crispy chicken rendang and its proper form, my apologies - please skip this thread. For those who sit in offices in Spore, HK, Beijing or London panic googling M’sia, please read on...
2. The events that led up to and since #GE14 have few parallels in history. A kleptocracy was peacefully voted out of power against all odds. Msians overcame electoral fraud, restricted media, abuse of power, murders, etc to get here. It isn’t possible without fortitude.
3. So this is the first thing to understand, i.e., Msians are angry and motivated. An 82% voter turnout on a weekday shows this. We’ve been outraged and are now motivated by the opportunity to rebuild. We understand the historic importance of this moment for our children.
Read 14 tweets
May 15, 2018
1. Much has been made about trusting Tun M, given his record in civil liberties and institutional degradation during his first 22 years as PM. This need for vigilance is understandable and logical. However, I am optimistic. Let me tell you why...
2. In 2015, I went with @jsadiq to see Tun talk at the FCC. He was as usual a compelling and composed speaker. But I noted a chink in his armour when he admitted that he has failed despite his long reign in power. At that moment, his voice broke. I had an idea.
3. The next day I made some calls and proposed to his office that I wanted to shoot an interview with him. Negotiations and meetings took place, the end of which I had permission for a 3 hour interview in Tokyo. I put together a team in Tokyo and we did the shoot.
Read 15 tweets
May 12, 2018
In my years of approaching celebs for pro bono work, the most frustrating were from the Mandarin Pop scene. Many pulled out on shoot days due to cold feet. Those were days when non-MCA sanctioned projects were considered subversive, ie up till days ago.
This sort of gutlessness used to frustrate me and I lost friendships because of it. So I look on at the current “celeb positional reset” with no small amount of bemusement. Yet it is easy to forget that ppl were genuinely scared, not just spineless.
For instance, an NTV7 news editor was put on “cold storage” because he devised and approved a screening of “Undilah” that bypassed censorship. He eventually left and now works for @jsadiq at the Insight. He is one of the unsung heroes in our story.
Read 11 tweets
May 11, 2018
1. Dear UMNO. U have come to look upon my colleagues and I as thorns. Yet, in the spirit of new Malaysia, allow me to discuss how amateurish you have been. Let’s use this video as an example:
2. In an age of media saturation, ppl are suspicious of advertising. So u should not come across like a shampoo ad. Yet note that @Khairykj and @NajibRazak wore liveried colour and logo. They look like salesmen. It undercuts trust. It’s a terrible start.
3. Filming politicians is difficult because few have genuine camera presence. Here, @NajibRazak looked fake and @Khairykj insincere. They aren’t pro actors so one should not blame them. The director should have anticipated and taken the following steps...
Read 13 tweets

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