Tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Mas: Hi, I’m Mas. I help run The C Project with my sister, Nisah and I’m passionate about baking. During the day, I’m an HR/Accounts manager for Subway.
Nisah: Hello, I am Nisah. I am the illustrator and designer for The C Project. On weekdays, I am a User Interface Designer for a music tech company. I enjoy taking care of my plants on slower days.
The beautiful artwork that you designed for us in celebration of Breast Cancer Month is beautiful! What‘s the meaning and inspirations behind it?
Mas: The daffodil has a reputation for being a hardy annual flower. It pushes its way to grow after a long winter. It’s a sign of new beginnings, growth and hope which fit a cancer journey perfectly.
Nisah: We also use pink as the primary colour for the illustration. Besides being a sign of hope in colour psychology, pink in the breast cancer awareness ribbon is also thought to be health-giving.
You both lead completely different careers! Can you let us in on what a typical working day would look like for you?
Mas: It’s a routine. My day starts with checking emails and then making a list of the most important things to do to the least. Once I start working, I’m pretty focused jumping from task to task, while making sure I keep everything going smooth.
Nisah: I have to make sure that I have a glass of iced latte on my table before I start doing anything work-related! :) I spend the first-hour checking email, writing down my to-do list and go on design Inspo sites like Behance, Httpster, etc to keep me up-to-date with design trends and quick read on articles on Muzli and Inside Design.
Can you share the reasons why you started The C Project back in 2015?
Mas: In 2014, I was diagnosed with Immature Teratoma or otherwise known as a rare type of germ tumour cell. After getting the tumours removed with surgery, I got the news that it was malignant (cancerous) and had to undergo chemotherapy. We thought things were going okay after the chemo. Unfortunately, six months later, I had a recurrence and was advised to go for a bone marrow transplant treatment. This resulted in me being in an isolation room for months. During the times that I felt a little bit better, I went on Pinterest and Etsy a lot and found a lot of illustrations being made into something you can wear. I love Nisah’s illustration and I want people to wear her beautiful work. And also, I just want to do something that I believe in. Nisah and I had endless talks about what we can do, sharing ideas back and forth while I was in the hospital. Despite the gruesome side effects from the intensive chemo I was experiencing, I look forward to better days so that I can do The C Project stuff - researching on manufacturing and materials, setting up social media etc. I would say The C Project started as a channel to distract me from all the pain and blossomed into something that reminds me of how far I’ve come.
How did Mas’s life journey shape your relationship with each other as sisters?
Mas: You know that feeling when you think you can’t love someone any more that you already have, but then you realise you can? That’s how I felt about Nisah. She might say that she learned something from my journey but the truth is, I learnt so much more. I learn to accept help, be more patient and Nisah always reminds me that I am not what my darkest thoughts say I am.
Nisah: I learnt how strong Mas is. It is not easy to be a care-giver but Mas made everything as easy as possible for me to take care of her. Things were difficult but she never has been difficult to care for. With everything that happened, I have learnt so much more about Mas and she brings out the best in me to be the best person to care for her. I don’t think I can live without her!
What does The C Project mean to both of you?
Mas: A healing journey. To share what you love to do with others is remarkably rewarding. Since we both have full-time jobs, we don’t get to do as much as we want to, for The C Project. But everything we made is made well - with love and attention. We also use this opportunity to give back. We try to contribute a portion of our profits to charity organisations.
Nisah: The C Project has become a self-discovery platform for me as an artist. Like any other creative person, I am my own worst critic. Mas has always been so supportive and encouraging. I believe that being an interface designer for so long has kind of made me more like a pixel-perfect and rigid kind of person, which is the total opposite of what I want to be as an artist. I am still working on being able to express myself more freely when it comes to art, and I am lucky to have The C Project as my platform to do that. What’s rewarding for me is to be able to relate with people from all over the world on their experiences or aspirations through the things we made.
What’s the 1 big lesson that you learned from this experience, and how has it changed your life?
Mas: I am fiercely independent. While it sounds like a good thing, it is sometimes not. Always let others help you even if you don’t think you need it. Or ask for help and it does not mean you’re soft. Softness is not weakness. You’re not alone.
Nisah: I’d say I learn to see every situation with a glass half full than half empty. It is so easy to see the negative aspects of things, imagining the worst that could happen. It is okay to prepare yourself for the worst, but being hopeful and focusing on what good could happen, will keep you sane.