#IntiFMIdol: Aidan Voon and Mikan

Evanna Phoon

#IntiFMIdol is a project initiated by FounderMethod to promote 15 physically challenged entrepreneurs in Malaysia & is 100% a Malaysian Made Production by 70 Gen Ys from Inti Diploma of Mass Communication

As a proud Malaysian, I hope you can make full use of #IntiFMIdol Stories as your motivational communication to your sales force, staffs, colleagues, friends & loved ones. Thank You in Advance ....

Evanna Phoon, www.FounderMethod.com

Click on Above to share #IntiFMIdol Story of  Aidan Voon and Mikan 

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What is ADHD ? Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorder (ADHD), a neurobehavioral disorder that often presents during childhood or adolescence, but in some cases can develop well into adulthood. ADHD symptoms in adults are very similar to children, except with a much more severe aggression including impulsivity, disorganisation, low frustration tolerance, violent hot temper and frequent mood swings.

The door creaks opens, revealing the five musicians in the room with a warm yellow light. The lead guitarist waves his arms around giving instructions over the loud music to the other band members. They respond with similar gestures and nodding. 2 minutes later, the music from the mp3 is turned off and everyone falls back to their position; Vocal, Keyboard in front, Guitars on the left and right, bass and drums at the back, and vocal at their core. Music starts playing in the room, introduced by the lead guitar and swiftly followed by the other instruments and lastly, the vocals. The atmosphere was calm, but lively and very heartfelt. We cannot help but to sway along to the rhythm. It doesn't take us long to recognise the tune; they are playing the acoustic version of 'The Beginning' by One OK Rock, a well-celebrated hardcore band from Japan.

"They are one of the many bands we look up to," says Aidan Voon, the lead guitarist, also the leader of the band. Mikan, the vocalist shyly nods in agreement.

With Thy Faith band members having a music jamming session along with Aidan (2nd from right) and Mikan (3rd from left)

Their band, With Thy Faith, is a mix of sub-genres of metal, which include clear, hardcore-styled vocals with a cross of metalcore-deathcore instruments. Thus, the end-product is still listener-friendly despite the heavy elements mixed in, claims Aidan. The band just had a change of vocalist a few months ago, with Mikan as a new face. Ziddy, the vocalist of Daarchlea - a name well-known in the local metal music scene - is the manager and also the mentor of With Thy Faith. Under his supervision, they are now in the process of readjusting to Mikan's vocal abilities, which is wide and vastly-ranged. Ziddy introduces our crew formally to Aidan, who greets us in a friendly, hyper notion. He spews a sentence that we could not understand in his excitement. Later on we found out that he is fluent in German while Mikan, who is half-Japanese, speaks three languages. Upon learning about yet another one of their unique traits; infusing languages - mainly English, Japanese, and German - into their lyrics, we requested Mikan to do a solo for our recording sake.

"Mikan is really only recently exposed to the music scene," says Ziddy. "In fact, the day she joined the band was the day she actually sang in front of anyone at all. You might have to coax it outta her."

He then proceeds to call Mikan over, and asks her to demonstrate her vocal scales for us. Mikan approaches slowly, trying to avoid eye contact with us and standing at the furthest end, but Ziddy and Aidan pull her forward. After an awkward handshake and a short warm-up chat session, we gathered at the microphone in the center of the studio room. With Aidan playing the A minor tune constantly, Mikan takes off the facial mask she is wearing and starts vocalising tunes that are unbelievably low for a girl, and proceeds to raise her voice higher and higher. At the last highest note she surprised us by adding in a falsetto-like effect, so high and yet unexpectedly so smooth. We are so much awed and have a hard time believing such beautiful voice comes out from someone so quiet and shy. We clap excitedly, sending her scurrying shyly to the furthest end again, embarrassed facial expression unseen beneath the face mask she is donning.

As for Aidan, he is known for his quick-witted instincts and is very swift to notice any changes in the music and would immediately follow suit with his guitar. The way he plays while accompanying Mikan's voice during the jamming session tells us that much; whenever she dives to a low note or strives for a higher one, he would follow within less than a second. We asked him for a solo, and he did it with such ease and fluidity. One glance and we know he is very confident in whatever he is doing.

"Aidan is an easy guy to get along with," says James, the music producer of their latest song, The End. "He can get a little too overwhelming sometimes, but that's okay 'cause I'm a 'fun-fun' guy too!"

Not so fortunate as they seem to be

In other peoples' eyes, these two teenagers seem so much celebrated and beloved. They might claim the truth in the statement, but what people do not know is that they are both suffering from adult Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorder (ADHD), a neurobehavioral disorder that often presents during childhood or adolescence, but in some cases can develop well into adulthood. ADHD symptoms in adults are very similar to children, except with a much more severe aggression including impulsivity, disorganisation, low frustration tolerance, violent hot temper and frequent mood swings. ADHD patients are also 20% more susceptible to having bipolar disorder compared to normal people. According to Malaysian Welfare Department of Society (JKM), ADHD is listed as one of the mental disabilities which can disrupt the patients' learning and living process. Despite this fact, most people still wave off ADHD as a petty condition - probably because it is not something that can be seen with naked eyes - and cannot seem to accept if anyone has difficulties to cope with the disorder. In most chronic cases of ADHD, it is almost impossible for the patients to row in line with the norms of the society, thus they are in need of help.

Before being diagnosed with ADHD, Aidan had a hard time understanding himself and the things he did. Peers label him as rude because he barges into conversation and is almost constantly skipping from a topic to another. He almost always had no friends as they tend to avoid him. Teachers did not understand him as well; they scolded him for not paying attention in class and always punished him for not doing his homework and assignments. After several times the matter was brought up to his parents during teachers-parents meeting, they brought Aidan to see a specialist, only to be told that he has ADHD. Since then, Aidan's parents have been very supportive, yet strict to ensure he does well in his studies and his future is secured.

Mikan defines her life with ADHD as a 'nightmare'. She developed chronic ADHD and depression when she was young due to problematic family conditions. She is always so scared and worried of what people might think about her in all kinds of senses - from the way she behaves, how she dresses, how she converses animatedly and awkwardly, down to her excessive movements when explaining something. The dreadful anxiety makes her so worried she might annoy people around her that she ends up not communicating at all, reducing her to being 'socially crippled'. She could not keep her job for more than a month nor did she attend school regularly, due to being scared and too worried to go out and handle the crowd. She also mentions how she got to know Aidan -Ziddy, a long time friend of Mikan, introduced Aidan to her as his new friend who shares the same music interest.

"I have known Ziddy for 6- no. 7 years," says Mikan. "But Aidan, the first time we met, I waited for 2 hours to just say 'Hi' to him! By then my whole body was shivering. Pathetic!"

The peak of her embarrassment was when Aidan stated that there was an incident when Mikan actually stayed inside her room for four days straight because she felt insecure having no one to accompany her outside. Mikan said it was all in the past, though sometimes those insecurities might come back.

ADHD is not an excuse to not strive for success

Aidan began learning guitar five years ago in search of ways to control his chaotic mind and his sometimes harmful behaviour. He constantly fell in love with music and has never stopped playing since then, only getting better and better. He is also an active sportsman. Back in 2010 to 2012, he entered a lot of Wushu championships, both national and international and won a lot of medals, including three gold one for the Junior Wushu competitions. However, due to a serious knee injury inflicted during practice, he was forced to stop practicing wushu.  Not ready to give up on sword-playing though, Aidan took up Kendo, a sword sports originally rooted from Korea. It is a 'test of focus and patience', yet does not put any strain in one's body, according to Aidan. Aidan's parents fully supported his decision to continue practicing his swordsmanship in the field, believing it might help with his condition. The knee injury does not stop him from loving the arts of swordplay still - he collects swords and poles used in the arts of wushu, as well as kendo swords and Japanese katanas, and practices with them from time to time.

Aidan performing Wushu moves using his sword

"Some people don't appreciate what they have until they've lost it," says Aidan. "I don't have the right of mind like most, and I found that in sword arts. I'm not gonna let it go that easily."

Mikan, on the other hand, started a small business on her own four years ago, due to her family difficulties. Forced to support herself at a young age yet knowing she could not work for people, she began designing and producing small items that interest teens; button badges, tags, key chains and later on chic clothing under the label .Milk!. When Mikan joined With Thy Faith, Aidan and the other band members began wearing the T-shirts from the label during their shows, eventually spreading the brand among their peers and fans, which are rapidly increasing. Aidan introduced .Milk! to Facebook recently, and since then they have gained a steady amount of likes for the brand. They are thinking of having more male clothes in the label to attract the majority in the metal market, says Mikan.

As for the band, Aidan says they are working on an EP which is scheduled to release in December this year. They are also in discussing stage of featuring a well-known independent artist (name disclosed) in one of their future songs. When asked how are they able to focus on so many things at once despite their condition, both Aidan and Mikan agree that they can never focus on a single task for a long time. However, having ADHD also means they could be doing so many things at the same time.

"It's either they try to do everything at once, or they can't do anything at all. I figure it should be the former," says Ziddy, who also helps them maintain their schedules and planning organised.

It might take a longer time to finish doing something due to their severe lack of attention. However, despite how slow the progress is, the end products are always notable - they do it with great passion since these are the things they really love doing. Aidan lists down all the geniuses who people thought were crazy once - Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin and many more - they actually have ADHD! He believes that if we put the inquisitiveness and the impetuousness ADHD patients have at the right places, it can definitely be the key to our success.

Mikan (left) and Aidan (right) preparing for interview session

"We're well aware that chronic ADHD cases like ours fall under OKU category, but succumbing to that fact is just sad," says Mikan.

Indeed, Aidan says despite her shy and awkward personality, Mikan has a strong sense of  independence and creativity that he respects. In fact, with her wide vocal range that is deemed 'unique', her joining With Thy Faith was like a dare for them to step forward more. At the same time she knitted the band members together even closer. She also taught Aidan that they should never view themselves as 'Orang Kurang Upaya', in terms of lacking something. Instead, they always tell themselves that they are 'Orang Lebih Upaya' (literal translation: Extra-abled People); capable of handling themselves in their own way, and achieving great things when they put their minds into it, despite all the mental disturbance they face compared to normal people.

Aidan's quote

Mikan's quote

.Milk! Online Clothing Store is now available to be viewed at www.facebook.com/milkclothingstore, while With Thy Faith can be contacted and enquired for performance bookings at www.facebook.com/withthyfaithwtf or you can contact Aidan through email; aidan.voon.av@gmail.com and phone number; +60105201155.


Business Information of #IntiFMIdol - Mikan 
Email: milkclothingstore@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/milkclothingstore
Nature of business: Online Clothing Store

Business Information of #IntiFMIdol - Aidan
Phone No. : +6010 520 1155
Email: aidan.voon.av@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/withthyfaithwtf
Nature of business: Band Performance

Video Production & Article Write Up is by Group #12 Gen Y  

Students of Group #12 with Evanna Phoon (far left) during Mid-Checkpoint discussion & review session


1. Afnan bt. Shahrudin

2. Chew Zi Xin

3. Laura Lai Keng Mei

4. Lee Thin En

5. Wong Jian Wah


Thoughts of Group #12 on #IntiFMIdol Project 

Evanna: Most easy part for you in this project?

Students of Group #12: Searching for an OKU interviewee, as Aidan Voon is already an INTI International College Subang student and one of our group member's friend.

Evanna:  Most difficult part for you in this project?

Students of Group #12: We had to re-do all over again (including video shooting, interview session, and video editing) because our very first interviewee (refer to Group picture) could not provide more insights about his personal life and communication issues as well.

Evanna: . Your attitude before this project?

Students of Group #12: We aim to set target to achieve and complete this project ASAP without delaying.

Evanna: . Your attitude after this project?

Students of Group #12: We feel relaxed and satisfied because the project is completed and the outcome of the video and article is good (although we had to re-do everything again). Also, we learned not to give up easily just because we had to re-do everything for a second time.

Evanna: . What has this project taught you & what you've learnt from the disabled entrepreneurs that you can apply in your life?

Students of Group #12: We feel inspired to work harder, because of them (Aidan & Mikan). It is because we are more fortunate, we should try to achieve better in future. Most of all, both Aidan and Mikan are teenagers - similar to our ages, yet they are very successful in terms of career despite having ADHD. Thus, it really gave us a great impact and realization that we should work harder, strive for the best in order to achieve tomorrow's success!


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