It was around the year 2007 or 2008 when I climbed Mount Kinabalu with my father. It was love at first sight, and decided I wanted to climb the mountain as many times as I can. The beautiful mountain would be my second home.
I climbed again solo in 2010, on the way descending down the mountain I injured my left knee. Incapable of doing anything outdoor, I spent a few weeks at home just browsing through Youtube. Youtube was still new, not so many contents to be compared to nowadays. But one video caught my attention.
It was a video of an old man making huuuge bubbles at the beach. He is Sterling Johnson, bubble god.
While watching the video, I thought to myself, what if I took the time and experiment brewing my own bubble mix and when I recover from the knee injury, I could go back to Mount Kinabalu and make bubbles at the peak? At least I could keep myself busy and forget about the knee pain.
Well, that’s how I got started with bubbles.
I looked around the net for bubble recipes, scoured grocery stores buying different kinds of detergents, hardware stores for wand materials and pharmacies for ‘lubricants’ (yes, that was one of the ingredients in one of the recipes).
I mixed many different recipes, experimented with different dilutions, ingredients, and wand materials. Tried them in various places and times of the day, to see how each ingredient, humidity, air quality, wind and temperature affect the bubbles.
I remember the first time I made a bubble the size of an exercise ball, I was stoked! It was so beautiful, shiny, ephemeral, so special that I forgot any problems that I had. It became not just a mission, a hobby, but also therapy.
In 2013, I climbed the mountain for the 3rd time, with 6 of my friends and brought bubbles at the peak. Of course I couldn’t make them as big as Sterling’s at Stinson Beach since the wind up there was strong. But seeing bubbles floating 4,000 meters up in the sky, with rolling fluffy clouds beneath your feet, and the golden sunrise in the eastern horizon, the sight was breath taking. You would’ve forgotten your exhaustion. At that moment, bubbles became my obsession.
Fast forward, seeing how bubbles had helped myself, I thought it would help other people too, at least to make them smile. From therapy, bubbles turned to my hobby, obsession and profession.
- I met Sterling in Daze 5, 2018 in Wales, UK and many other bubble artists and enthusiast from around the world. That’s another story to be told. A whole exciting experience, another post. Watch the space.
- To date, I’ve climbed Mount Kinabalu 8 times. And I still miss the mountain.