My Hobby or Me?

Hey everyone!

Have you ever stopped to think about how your hobbies can actually impact your life and shape who you are? I find it utterly fascinating! Our hobbies aren’t just pastimes; they play such an important role in our lives. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Passion and Purpose: Our hobbies give us a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Whether it’s painting, coding, gardening, or playing an instrument, our hobbies tap into our passions, which can drive personal growth and self-discovery.
  2. Skills and Knowledge: When we engage in our hobbies, they often involve learning and acquiring new skills. These skills can extend beyond the hobby itself, teaching us discipline, patience, problem-solving, and creativity, which can be applied to various aspects of our lives.
  3. Social Connections: Many hobbies involve a community of like-minded individuals, allowing us to make new friends and build valuable connections. The people we meet through our hobbies can have a lasting impact on our lives too!

Now, let’s dive into some discussion:

  1. How have your hobbies influenced who you are? Whether it’s a newfound love for reading or a passion for photography, share the ways in which your hobbies have shaped your character and life.

  2. Have you ever started a hobby with one goal in mind but found it led you down unexpected paths? Sometimes, a hobby can take unexpected turns and lead us to discoveries about ourselves we never anticipated. What’s your story in this regard?

Hobbies are a profound part of our lives, and they have the power to mold us in unique and exciting ways. I can’t wait to hear your stories and insights on this topic!

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Hi Cottonsoul,

Im Muhammad Nur , stage name Mano Esperanza ( Means Hand of Hope in Spanish ).
Hope you can bear with my long post lol.

About 15years ago i met a Brazilian girl online. I couldn’t get her address or phone number so i resorted to think outside of the box. I would write emails and letter that i would scan. I was in love. I drew a live portrait of her and scan it and email it to her. I also wrote her a song and send the MP3 clip via email.
Anyways, it turned out that i got catfished.

Met 2 other girls a year later and one of them claimed that she didnt have much time so i wrote her a song.

At 27 i broke down and after 44 days in IMH i was diagnosed with Schizo Affective. My case manager was there to give support and i wrote a song for the encouraging words she spoke - Its tittle Conversation With.

I have been an Avid advocator for Mental health for about a decade now - Thru my music and some of the highlights is that i manage to play for a world mental health day in Botanic Gardens Symphony Stage and had the Honor to perform for the Former President Madam Halimah Yacob on two occasion under the banner of Club Heal.

To answer the question. 1)Music has been my tool to story tell about my life experiences. It made me a more vocal person instead of the " I keep everything bottled up cause no one cares " type of person. I have learned and self reflect that there will be people who will not like you but there will be tons of other people that do.

And for the longest time,i have been critiqued on my singing techniques. I used to get very upset about it cause i wanted to please people. I even went to see a shrink ( Dr. Daryl Chow ) cause it caused me so much destress. The people i met in the music industry, well, have a certain standard. But i did agree with a friend that my pronunciation had to be clear so listeners can make out what i sing. I have learned when to take in advice and when not to. For example, Van Gogh, his art is not of the conventional at his time but its accepted now. He had a vision and stuck with it no matter what people say. I learned that i need to filter and see if an idea aligns with my ideal as a person and not to loose the essence of who i am and what i stand for.

During this journey, it has taught me Grit. And with about 45 tracks, Some Instrumental, Some in Malay, Mostly in English and one in Spanish and another in Brazilian Portuguese… Its my life’s work. I hope to finally record them next year cause it has helped me cope and become stable enough to function - Next to Normal. I hoped that it could help some other souls out there that need to hear them.

I had paused my drawing of portrait for a decade until i decided to do another hobby which is writing. I illustrated a Novela i wrote called " The Flute Underneath the Moonlight ". It talks about the folklore about the flute - Once there was a Musician from Peru who fell in love but the girl died. So he took her tibia bone ( Shin bone of the leg) and made a flute out of it "…It has elements of mental health and some twists at the end. And another book i wrote was about my mental health journey called " Hand of Hope ". Both are available on

  1. My main goal was just to journal my experiences thru music , art and writing but i got sucked into doing it more seriously i guess. I did have big dreams and i know people reading this would laugh - Like accolades such as Grammy etc.
    Now i am just at a path where i just want the stories in form of music art or writing to be out there. Doesnt matter if only 1 or 2 people enjoy it.

Sorry again for the long reply.
Would love to hear your reply soon.

Warm regards,
Mano Esperanza ( Muhammad Nur )


What’s good everyone,

I remembered being bullied throughout my primary school life, hence I decided to make a change and pursue martial arts in secondary school. I took up taekwondo as it is one of the CCAs offered in secondary which toughened me. I go on winning medals throughout the years for sparring which led me to where I am now. Currently on my fourth month of muay thai and learning bits and pieces of other martial arts. It made me resilient and stronger when I come to terms with my 8 year old self being bullied and beaten all the time. When life gets tough don’t beat yourself too much, beat others up instead.