I haven’t heard about my status for KP NL yet – it’s still the weekend over there, after all. We’ll all know by around this week.

In the workshop I talked about how, if I don’t get in this time, I probably won’t try again for a while. This isn’t necessarily because I’m giving up on the idea of being a KaosPilot. Rather, it’s because I feel that if this attempt doesn’t work, it’s time to let go and have a break.

The process is extremely draining. The application form is highly personal – though often questions are recycled so it can get a bit tedious to be explaining yourself over and over and over. The creative project can also be a challenge – while I’ve found it fun, it can also bve really difficult if the project is something resource-intensive (for instance, the video set by KP Aarhus).

If you get admitted into the workshop, you need to rush to get your transport sorted. This is extremely tricky for someone like me who lives far away and has a troublesome passport that requires visas for everywhere. (While in Dordrecht I heard from a friend in Burundi who had been shortlisted but could not afford to come.) Admission workshops are expensive for a non-European! Even those in North America don’t have it quite as hard, because it’s relatively closer.

Once you sort out the logistics and actually get there, you face two days of emotional turmoil. The workshop process is extremely challenging and testing, and I reckon that trying to go through it more than twice in a year (there are quite a number of people who apply multiple times) would be way too much on your soul. Even with the foreknowledge of what’s coming (the content doesn’t change a lot), you still face challenges to your mind and psyche. There’s a lot of reflection on yourself and the team, including exercises that bring to the fore all sorts of hidden thoughts and concerns. Even now I still start crying remembering parts of it – it’s very very tough.

A lot of the KaosPilot process is luck of the draw – who else is there with you? In the workshop they said that they’re choosing for the best team; just because you didn’t get in this time doesn’t mean you’ll never function as a KaosPilot. It just means you weren’t as effective with this particular mob. While we were all pretty chummy by the first night (before the workshop), after we had been separated into our groups we pretty much spent all our time with our groups. There wasn’t much of a chance to interact with the other applicants who were in other groups. In my last entry, I wrote about how I initially felt out of place in my group; I may have been more accepted in another group, but there’s no real way of knowing for sure.

If I don’t get in to the KaosPilots this time round (third time lucky?), I’ll likely give it a rest for a while. I may revisit it in a few years – the newer schools would have more footing, and there may be more schools in other places (a KaosPilots in Brisbane would be AWESOME). I would also have more financial capacity, and hopefully even a better citizenship/passport. I would also possibly be a lot more grounded and be able to recover from the emotional ruckus better – at this stage, I only have had a few months in between to process everything.

As odd as it may seem, it’s actually logisitically easier for me to be a KaosPilot than my other options. Being a student is relatively straightforward – the school manages the paperwork and there is a set visa. If I wanted to stay in Brisbane after my degree, I would have to try to fit myself under highly restrictive visa rules. As it is, I don’t qualify for General Skilled Migration (I don’t fit any of the needed skillsets) nor the 18-month bridging visa (the minimum salary is about $41,000/year, which is management level and way more than I’ll ever get at this stage unless I work as a porn star). Getting a job-sponsored visa would be tricky as the companies/organizations I’d work best in may not be able to afford sponsoring me. There is the option of continuing study; however, I am already burnt out with academia and it’s hard enough finding more project-based schools like the KaosPilots.

My dream job is to work with Up with People; I may pursue that option if nothing else works out. There isn’t an opening in Road Staff that suits me yet, though other office-based jobs sound interesting. Again, given that this is a US-based organization, visa issues would be tricky. But at this point I’m already used to tricky visa issues.

The Scholar Ship has shut down, so that option’s gone. I might apply for Sauve Scholars but it’s just as competitive and possibly more academic than I’d like.

I could always go back to Malaysia and work there, I suppose. I’d like to be Spidey’s assistant (the woman keeps thinking it would be an insult to ask me to be her PA. Despite me telling her a gazillion times that I’d be more than honoured to work with her. She probably finds it awkward to ask me to work for her.) Jobs in Malaysia for my capacity are limited though – there aren’t that many organized options for youth work and creative community development. I also have my projects that I want to start, but I do need to live off something, and I’d rather not have to depend on my parents.

So what shall I do, if KP NL doesn’t work out? Should I just try again anyway?


1) The Danish Ministry of Culture turned me down too, though they didn’t seem quite as annoyed as CIRIUS.

2) I’ve contacted as many relevant Rotary people as possible. It seems that I could qualify for the Ambassadorial Scholarships, but that depends on whether the club in question has funds available. Anyone with more expertise?

3) Mark is AWESOME, enough said.

4) I’m finally getting some headway on my application!! I reused my “extended CV/life story” from the Stockholm application, with some edits – I tried writing a different one but it seemed really messy, and why reinvent the wheel? I’ll probably have to edit it down AGAIN so it doesn’t sound too much like “woe, my life is full of PAIN” or like I’m rambling (which I tend to do).

4.5) Am stumped on two questions:

  • What is your unused superpower? I know of some underused superpowers, but I figure that if I had any superpowers I’d already be using them some way or another – otherwise how would I know if I had them?
  • What is the worst company or private business that you know of? I know of some companies whose practices I am unhappy with. I don’t know if that qualifies them as “worst” though. It seems to come down to what you define as “worst” – worst in making money? Worst in human rights? Worst in customer service?

5) I heard back from someone else who’s applying for Team 15 – hey Thomas! If you’re also vying for Team 15, let me know – I’ll like to hear from you.

VisitAarhus, the local tourist information center, turned me down too. However, they did recommend I contact their Citizen Service office, which I will do as soon as possible.

This is slightly worrying (see last post). However, Savage Garden did get rejected about 150 times before someone bit, and they’re on the Brisbane Walk of Fame now, so I suppose this is rather normal…

edit: Oh yeah, I should probably mention that the Scandinavian Business Club in Australia actually got back to me saying they’ll do some research, so that’s fruitful too 🙂

Maersk, one of Denmark’s largest companies (shipping), was recommended to me by a few people as a possible source of funding. Two days ago I sent them an email asking for sponsorship. At least their response was quick:

Dear Ms Shafiq,

Thank you for your e-mail. Unfortunately, we cannot meet your request for sponsoring your studies at the Kaos Pilots. However, we thank you for the interest you have shown our company and wish you good luck with your studies.

Yours sincerely,
Susanne Nielsen
Group Communication

A.P. Moller – Maersk A/S
Copenhagen – Denmark

Oh well, I had to start somewhere! Just means there’s more to go…