An old flame found in an old wooden face…


I have spent a lot of time on this blog talking about my parenting journey. But, there was life before Bo, even though some days it is really hard to believe it, there was a diverse and wonderful life that I like to think hasn’t been totally lost. My life for many years was based on performance. Working as an actor/artist for many years across Australia, I devoted much of my life to the art of entertainment. I made massive sacrifices for it. In fact, in some ways my performing career was, for a while, my baby. I fed it, I sacrificed for it, I loved it, I cherished it and I tried to nurture it as best as I knew how.

When I moved to Indonesia three years ago it was not a decision I made lightly. I had just been offered a place in a very competitive Performing Arts post graduate program. There were less than 20 places made available. One of them was mine, if I wanted it. I was torn. I chose, for many reasons, to leave Melbourne and planned (little did I know what the future had in store for me) to return twelve months later and re-audition. So I called the school and let them know to offer my place to one of the standby artists. I needed to get out of the game for twelve months. I needed to find myself again. So I left. I never returned.

Yesterday my little family and I returned to my roots in the most bizarre way possible. In a foreign country, in completely different culture, a different art form reminded me of my own. In that moment I returned to my first love, a love that was before husband and baby, a love that neither of these two people who now make up my world know anything about… and it was only for a moment but it was enough to remind me, to remind me who I was, and perhaps what part of me still is.

I have been asking my husband to take me to see the Wayang Golek (wooden puppets) for years. Literally, I’m not even kidding, it has taken years. Good old Indonesian rubber time… it has taken him this long to actually do it. Better late than never, right? This art form is traditional to the Sundanese culture, traditional to my husbands ancestors, and therefore it is a part of Bo’s heritage, she might not know it yet, but it is a part of who she is.

It was a beautiful moment to see the humble beginnings of these beautifully hand carved puppets, to see the old cast of the show hanging on the walls. The old, broken, faded, worn puppets that must have delighted many an audience for years gone by. One of the artists sat in the little shelter out the front of the hut and carved a new puppet, with nothing more than a small curved knife and his well worn, experienced hands.

For Bo this was an introduction to the arts. She comes from a very creative family, there is no doubt that her childhood will be filled with paint and colours and creations… just like mine was, and it was nice to be able to introduce the arts to her in such a unique way.


PIN ITSome of the puppets were creepy, others gorgeous, some plain weird. All of them were wonderful. It’s nice to be reminded of who you have been, reminded that those memories that hide in that little part of your brain that gets packed away are yours. To feel an old flame rekindled, even by the smallest of sparks.


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  • August 19, 2012 - 7:31 pm

    Cassie Nguyen - Yes! Awesome! How many drama programs I wrote wishing I could find the resources to teach Wayang Golek in a means deserving. I’ll swap you a Hamburg night for a little bit of that!ReplyCancel

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