award-winning solo travel blogger

Meet Mermaid Mei Mei, She’s On A Mission

I’m a “real” mermaid. I swim, I dive, I twirl and jive. A lot of you asked me what this whole mermaid-ing thing is about, this is the story of my fishy business.

Mermaid Mei Mei diving in Aquaria KLCC.

When swimming, diving and life-saving instructor Dolphin Lee sought my help to establish a mermaid school in Malaysia, I saw an opportunity that extends beyond commercial gains. This was a chance to pursue a cause I truly believe in.

As a diver myself, I took to water easily. The mermaid tail felt like a second skin against my thighs; the fins fit my feet like a glove. It’s not easy being a mermaid- your legs are bound, your eyes are blinded, you silence your body’s desperate calls for air, all while looking magical at the same time. Under Mr. Lee’s guidance, I earned my tail.

But there was a bigger mission behind the glamour and all that jazz. I wanted it to be more than just looking pretty and half-naked in a fish suit.

Malaysia is the highest consumer of seafood in South East Asia, and with the way our fishermen trawl the seas, we could easily run out of seafood in 40 years.  Shark finning, the consumption of turtle eggs, plastic pollution, these unsustainable practices are emptying our seas of its abundance, fast. Marine life face a slight disadvantage when it comes calls for conservation and human treatment, they are not as fluffy as pandas, not as cute as puppies; they are cold, slimy, weird looking, and sometimes scary. Fishes don’t scream. If dogs are abused, they squeal and yelp. We forget that they feel pain too.

I saw a chance to give marine life a voice by using the mermaid persona as ambassadors of the ocean. Hence, The Mermaid Mission, a social venture to champion marine conservation, was born. Combining Mr. Lee’s connections and my know-how in marketing and communication, we successfully established Malaysia’s first qualified mermaid team with a passion for the ocean.

In December 2013, The Mermaid Mission participated in Aquaria KLCC’s Save Our Fin’s Christmas Programme. Throughout the month, I had so much fun diving in the aquarium alongside sharks, turtles, eels, rays and other fishes to show people that sharks are actually harmless, solitary creatures.

I’ve had many girls running up to me eyes sparkling with excitement at the sight of a ‘real’ mermaid. “Can I be a mermaid too?” Their innocent little voice pipes up. “Of course, you can be a mermaid.  Did you know that sharks have been around for more than 400 million years? But, they might go extinct soon.”

As The Mermaid Mission continues to grow, I hope to continue to use fantasy of mermaids to spread a little more love for our fishy friends.

Mermaid Mei Mei swimming away. __
Mei Mei Chu did not give Ursula her voice to swap her legs for fins. Mermaid Mei Mei is a budding mermaid interested in wildlife & marine conservation projects. Contact her here.


How I Accidentally Became A Cross-dresser In Somaliland

Guest Post: Zaina Brown

Crossing a border into someplace new always gave me a jolt of excitement. That first impression could be warm like a hug, polite like a handshake, or rude like a middle finger. Somaliland, however, felt like a punch in the face. Was this whole trip a big mistake? For the first time in my life, I considered flat-out giving up on a country – and it hadn’t even been 24 hours.

Why Egypt Should Be In Your 2019 Travel Plans

When Malaysia Airline’s inflight magazine Going Places asked me to recommend where their readers should travel to in 2019, I thought long and hard. Among all the countries I have backpacked, what is the one place I would recommend my friends and family to go? Where is the one travel destination that I would gladly return to?

Egypt. My heart is yearning for fascinating African nation of Egypt.