The Watch List: Othman Mirzan

Malaysia’s first national alpine skier talks about his many passions.
Thursday 28 November 2019
Othman Mirzan, Malaysia’s first national alpine skier and grandson to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

When he is not zipping down a mountain representing Malaysia at top-notch winter events such as the Alpine World Ski Championships and Asian Winter Games, Othman Mirzan dedicates a lot of his time to nature, which isn’t a surprise.

The 24-year-old is Malaysia’s first national alpine skier and grandson to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He joined forces with KRU Energy Malaysia in striving to promote biogas as a suitable source of renewable energy in hopes of lessening the catastrophic effects of climate change in Malaysia. Here the prominent alpine skiier tells us about his love of skiing, painting and growing up in a high profile family.

What do you love most about skiing? 

The feel of the speed and the danger confronted by ability. The idea that your life is in your own hands and that everything can be dashed in a moment is fascinating to me.

You’ve been painting quite a lot lately, what inspires you? 

I paint to both spend my time thinking and to practise my hand-eye coordination. I find that like most creative things, painting can be an outlet for stress and for provoking inner thought. I’m inspired by great pop art from Jean-Michel Basquiat and Roy Lichtenstein, though I wouldn’t dare compare my work to theirs! Ironically, my favourite artwork is Dustheads by Basquiat, the same piece purchased by Jho Low and his associates with misappropriated funds.

What are you most proud of? 

I’m most proud of my grandfather and for his never-ending drive and determination in providing a better country for generations to come. In terms of personal accomplishments, I’m proud to have represented Malaysia at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.

How does it feel to grow up in the public eye? It’s been educational and humbling, especially to see my grandfather dedicate his twilight years to public service. As family, we understand that our extended family is the country itself. I believe that despite all the negatives, the bad press and publicity, the scrutiny and the political attacks, if we are able to leave Malaysia better off than before, it’s all worth it.

What matters the most to you?

Leaving this planet and its people better than how I found it means the most to me. We can all do our part in small or big ways by inspiring others or helping to save the planet by supporting our fellowmen. Leaving this earth in a better state is what matters most to me.

This article is an excerpt from UNRESERVED’s November 2019 issue.

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