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Thank you for listening to Seven Million Bikes; A Vietnam Podcast. We share the stories of people with a love for Vietnam. My name’s Niall Mackay and I’m your host.
I’ve lived in Vietnam since 2016 and first started this podcast to know more about the interesting people that live in Saigon - a crazy, bustling, energetic city. As the show has grown we now talk to people from all over the world who have a Vietnam story to share.
While we are getting ready to share Season 8 with you this is an extra special PodSwap with our friends at Creators In Vietnam. We share a long history with their show since before each of our podcasts started. I was lucky enough to be a guest recently and finally meet their hosts in person, Tue-Si and Moni.
They’ve graciously allowed me to share this episode with you.
I’ve been asked several times whether I’d ever be a guest on my own show, and the answer is no, mostly because I like to share other people’s stories. You’ll learn a little bit about me if you’ve listened to enough episodes. In my interview with Creators in Saigon you get to hear more about behind the scenes of Seven Million Bikes and the thought process behind what I do and how I do it and how I went from the shy kid into a stand-up comedian & podcast host.
Hope you enjoy this episode, let me know what you think, and thanks again to Creators In Vietnam for sharing my story and letting me share it with you.
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Theme music composed by Lewis Wright.
Main Cover Art designed by Niall Mackay and Le Nguyen.
Episode art designed by Niall Mackay
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Creators In Vietnam Bonus Episode
[00:00:00] Niall Mackay: Thank you for listening to a Vietnam podcast by Seven Million bakes. We share the stories of people with a love for VNM. My name is Niall Mackay, and I'm your host. I've lived in Vietnam since 2016. And first started this podcast and know more about the interesting people that live in Saigon. A crazy bustling energetic city. As the show is grown. We now talk to people from all over the world who have a Vietnam story. Why we are getting ready to share season eight with you. This is an extra special pod swap with our friends at creators in Vietnam. We actually share a long history with their shore. Since before each of our podcasts started, I was lucky enough to be a guest recently and famously meet their hosts in person to assay and Mooney.
[00:01:06] They've graciously allowed me to share this episode. I've been asked several times whether I'd ever be a guest on my own shoe. And the answer is no, mostly because I like to share other people's stories. You'll learn a little bit about me if you've listened to enough episodes or a lot about me, but in my interview with creators in Vietnam, you get to hear more about behind the scenes of Seven Million Bikes and the thought process behind what I do and how I do it and how I went from the bullied shy kid into a standup comedian and podcast.
[00:01:39] I hope you enjoy this episode. Let me know what you think. And thanks again to creators in Vietnam for sharing my story and letting me
[00:01:45] Track 2: share
[00:01:46] Niall Mackay: it with you. Enjoy.
[00:01:52] Tue-Si Nguyen: This is creators in Vietnam with Tracy and Moni. We aim to inspire you on your journey by interviewing creative entrepreneurs across Vietnam, who make a positive impact on their community and their own lives. So sit back, relax and enjoy the show.
[00:02:08] Moni Le: Today. We finally have a chance to meet Neal the person behind the scenes of Seven Million Bikes.
[00:02:14] He shares with us how he found the courage to get on stage and start, stand up comedy in Vietnam and how he has the superpower to make the most out of any situation and think positive at all times. I'm sure his story will inspire you to just get started on your passion no matter how big is the fear for real growth.
[00:02:36] When I come back to creators in Saigon today, Morning, hosting with my co-host here, Tracy and Neil from Seven Million Bikes. Hello, Neil batt. Come to the show. Thank
[00:02:49] Niall Mackay: you very much for
[00:02:49] Moni Le: having me. Yeah. Very happy to have you here. So Neil is from Seven Million Bikes that provides English entertainment through podcasts, comedy shows and events in Vietnam.
[00:03:02] So very excited to hear about your story, how you do all of those things in Saigon. I'm amazed, at least,
[00:03:10] Niall Mackay: at least me.
[00:03:11] Tue-Si Nguyen: Yeah. It's been a long time coming. I've heard about you for about a year and was all like, you know, you have your podcast and like, you know, we have creators in Vietnam now and Dana always talked about you.
[00:03:22] And I was like, oh, who's this Neil. And so
[00:03:26] Niall Mackay: it's great to have no I'm excited to be on. So I can, I mentioned before we have a history with creators in Vietnam, you know, mean Dana ma we were just talking like we. Early 2009 team. We randomly connected on one of the ex-pat groups with a shared interest in podcasts, and neither of us had started and we met and we had a beer and we will just kind of talking podcasting.
[00:03:50] I could see how dedicated she was, as you probably know, you know, she had like folders and all this results and stuff. And I was like, I have a microphone I'm just to, I'm just going to start talking. You know, everyone's different into some people are very, very well organized and maybe not the most dumb I'm organized, but I'm more just like, let's get it done.
[00:04:09] So we connected where we back then. So it was exciting as we just said it, we started me 2019. You guys started September, 2019. And at that point there was 2019. There was, I don't know if, you know, there was like a flourish of podcasts all at once. So at the time, the only one that I could see there was an English language, was the saggy near podcast, which had been gone for a while and is still going.
[00:04:31] And then I started and then Dina started and then there was falling jackfruit, which I don't think is still continuing. And there was a couple others who just suddenly like around 2019, it was that parallel thinking where suddenly everyone was like, let's do a,
[00:04:45] Moni Le: yeah, I think it's amazing because it's such a nice channel to show actually what you are interested in.
[00:04:50] So before we go into actually how you started this podcast, I really would like to learn more about you about Neil, who grew up in Glasgow. What made you become who you are today? Really like this doer, who is wanting to do so many things at once. So the last Neil, uh, how it all
[00:05:11] Niall Mackay: started. To be honest. I like the question summer camp.
[00:05:17] I went to an American summer camp and it changed my life. Absolutely. I was bullied in high school, bullied in primary school, really shy, really introverted to the point where I remember the day I started university, we had a big kind of, uh, uh, icebreakers and all of this stuff. And they were like, oh, well, you're going to do like a, a performance piece.
[00:05:38] This is your group and you have to perform. And I was just like, ah, I wanting to throw up at the thought of performing, like artists go and speak to the lecture like quietly. And I was like, I can't do this. Like, I don't want to do. And she's like, it's okay. Just you help your group. You don't need to perform.
[00:05:52] So I was like the only one in the group who didn't get up and do whatever. It was just like a silly performance thing, you know? And other people are like, yeah, let's come on. We're going to do this. And they're all excited. And I was like, just talk to me. Like I cannot forget if I go all the way back. The, the thought of being up in front of people made me want to tell.
[00:06:10] And I couldn't physically do it. And then near the end of university, I went to a summer camp in America, which is quite a common thing in Europe. It's like a company called camp America and you get pleased and equal for a summer in America
[00:06:22] Moni Le: for others to know it's like a where you help out and get.
[00:06:27] Niall Mackay: Yeah.
[00:06:27] Yeah. So it's a full job. Yeah. You get paid. You, you know, you can do anything. I was a football coach in inverted commas because I, it wasn't really like coaching. It was just like, here's a ball, go fly with it. I was the football coach, but going to America, like literally changed my life because as you well know, Americans, they're just so outgoing.
[00:06:46] So friendly, the soul, lovely, the soul, encouraging. They are the most positive people on the planet. But also coupled with that, this camp was just a beautiful place. It's a special place in my heart. It's kind of this place where the kid who would be bullied at school would be best friends with the coolest.
[00:07:03] At this summer camp, everyone was equal. And I would see that I would watch like this kid who would be like, you know, the cool kid. And he's like really good looking and all of this. And he's got, everyone loves him and he'd take the like kid that was a bit wheeled and a bit streams, like, and they'd be best friends.
[00:07:16] So it was like that. It was just a summer camp was just a beautiful, beautiful place. So I ended up doing that for five summers, but I mean, almost instantly, like it changed my life because suddenly I gained confidence suddenly you're encouraged to perform and things like that. So I ended up starting doing, like getting on stage and playing guitar and you have to do like little skits and performances and things like this in front of like 300 kids and stuff.
[00:07:37] And cause it's kids as well, you just drop your neuroses or whatever, it's kind of do it, you know? Cause you want to entertain and you want to have fun with it for the campus. So that literally is probably what put me on the trajectory to know where I'm doing a podcast and doing comedy shows and things later.
[00:07:54] Moni Le: I can imagine that when you go to. Well, it's very, it's not your usual surroundings. Basically. You can start new kind of. So in school, I imagine that your classmates know you and I've been there as well. And we somehow we get shy. But then when you're in that environment of being in a camp, you're not the shy Neo who who's not on stage.
[00:08:16] What was that? A different notch? That that's a
[00:08:19] Niall Mackay: good point, I think. Cause you, did you lose all that baggage, right? Because like you say, you, all your friends know you and I've still got my best friends that I grew up with are still my best friends to this day. And I still talk to them all the time. So those guys are amazing.
[00:08:32] I love those guys who was never my core group of friends, but yeah, you lose all that baggage. Everyone who knows you have being bullied or the stupid thing you've done or whatever, or whatnot. So, yeah, I think it's just that kind of, you can just start fresh and without that back can shed
[00:08:45] Tue-Si Nguyen: those insecurities a little bit authentically a little bit.
[00:08:51] Moni Le: And when was the moment when you start to implement that, what you feel and learn in a camp into your everyday life to actually grow as a person to grow beyond that shy kids?
[00:09:03] Niall Mackay: Yeah. I mean, it was almost immediate. I remember I came back from that first summer and I was like a different person and you guys are probably experienced this as well, being from different countries, you know, when you first leave your home country and then you go back and you want to tell your friends everything that you've done and all these crazy experiences.
[00:09:21] And I remember coming back and he just didn't give a fuck. We can swear. I don't swear too often. Um, So I came back and he's just doing the not interested. You know, you want to tell them everything and they're like, they want to talk about what happened at the football on the weekend. They want to talk about how drunk you go.
[00:09:38] And that's fine. Like I said, I'm still best friends with these guys, but it was a massive kind of slap in the face when you get so excited to come back. But so immediately I was kind of more confident, more outgoing, a totally different outlook on life.
[00:09:51] Tue-Si Nguyen: Yeah. Travel does that, like, it changes your perspective.
[00:09:53] And I feel that I left very young when I was 19 and every time I would go back to France, I would literally see people stuck in the past or like not moving. Cause it's always the same, like, you know, habits, it's the same routines. And then you come back with all those new experience, but they don't have that perspective.
[00:10:08] So they go, yeah. Yeah. That's not that interesting. Absolutely. Did you saw what happened on TV yesterday?
[00:10:14] Niall Mackay: They're like, yeah. And like, I was shocked when I got back and they're talking about like the reality TV last night and I'm like, I just went to summer camp and they're all from across the world when we just did this and we did that and I went wind surfing.
[00:10:26] I thought I was going to find a dead body in the water, another story. So you've got all these things that have happened to you in a short amount of time. They're like, did you see big brother last night? Shantelle got kicked off. I don't know who the hell Shantelle is, but okay. So the time will be brother big brother.
[00:10:46] I mean, I love big brother when I was younger. Don't get me wrong with you. Get to a point where you're like
[00:10:50] Tue-Si Nguyen: it was, yeah, actually like it was really TTV when I, when I left to Canada and I came back, everybody was just talking about love story and it was love story for it. Anyway.
[00:11:04] Moni Le: Did you find a people you actually can relate to more? Cause I think that you traveled a lot as well, where the journey took you after the camps
[00:11:15] Niall Mackay: to kind of follow on from what your point is, the more you're talking about meeting these people, right. It's just amazing. And so I don't want to like put down someone who hasn't left their home country and who, as I said, many of my friends as well, but like right now I'm sitting with a French Vietnamese, Hungarian, Vietnamese in Saigon, and the amount of people that I meet from different cultures countries receive that just I'm amazed at the amount of people that I've met from all over the world.
[00:11:44] And that I talked to through the podcast as well, which is nice. And then I think about these people who've never really left the home country and you've met the same people. So I talk about this a lot. I'm very aware that I'm a very white person and I come from a very white background. Most of the people I knew are all Anglo-Saxon white people.
[00:12:01] We had a few Indians and a few Pakistanis, but apart from that, I'm from a very white culture. So I'm very aware of that. But then I think about my people I grew up with, like, I don't know if they, I don't know, maybe they are, maybe they're not, but are they aware of that? That they are very white, very white environment.
[00:12:19] Whereas I feel very lucky that I've traveled the world and I've met people from, from all over, you know, which does give you that travel with that perspective, broadens their horizons and makes you more aware of the world and things like that. I don't want to use the wall to walk, but
[00:12:38] Tue-Si Nguyen: I think it allows you to, well, depending on how, cause I've seen a lot of people traveling in Australia, for example, but it's just the beginnings of backpacking and it doesn't bring that level of lack emotional maturity that comes with traveling. But I think it comes later on with a few travels, with a few actual, because traveling is not always beautiful.
[00:12:57] It's actually the problems that happen. Drink travels that really forge that character personality, uniform Fisher. It's those deep problems that later on becomes really good memories. Fuck, I went late, you know, you don't talk about like the nice time you talk about shit. I got lost in Cambodia and I ended up in that forest.
[00:13:17] Then I survived. And those are the moments that really forges you, I
[00:13:19] Niall Mackay: think had like 110% because I know. It's kind of like you realize that later on how much you romanticize these things. So my best example is, so I actually lived in New York city for like five months, one time random story. That's a whole nother episode.
[00:13:36] Now, when I think about my time in New York city, and when I tell people about it, I have nothing but a meeting things to see. And I'm like, oh my God, it was so amazing. And then I remember it was the worst table. Like literally like the worst time of my life. Like day-to-day, I w I was so broke. At one point I was eating onion and lettuce sandwiches.
[00:13:57] I moved there for a girl. She broke up with me. I was meant to have a job, but didn't work out. So I'd like, I was loving the, get all pretty much one night, one day, I didn't sleep on this. In this apartment that I didn't even know who owned it. Some friend was like, oh, they've got a spare bed. There was cat hair everywhere.
[00:14:13] It was WEO in lake. It was the train that took you. There was the GSE lane, which cause that's where the Jeezy was from. Was it the end of this lane? And I got there and it's like something out of a movie it's like dark at night again. I'm the only white person, skinny white guy from Scotland walking down the street.
[00:14:31] So, you know, but I never even really think about that. I was like, oh, I live in New York. It was so much fun. And it wasn't, it was the worst time of your life. But you just, it makes you grow as a person and things like there's so many experiences from traveling like that. Those are the best time. This is why I was so lucky in Saigon.
[00:14:49] It because there is a difference between we're all in my peer group and probably use as well. Right. Or all kinds of ex-pats we've all left our home country. Like we're all the same. I've got a couple of Vietnamese friends, but the majority of my friends are. Yeah, travel as ex-pats come from somewhere else.
[00:15:08] So you've all got that perspective, which is pretty different.
[00:15:11] Tue-Si Nguyen: Yeah. Yeah. It's a nice, it's nice perspective. I've I worked with international schools when I was in Canada for 10 years, and now I was in that environment the whole, the whole time. It's true that there is something about traveling that definitely reconnects you with the present moment.
[00:15:26] Naturally you have to live in the present moment. And so I think that's why we shared those insecurities. And that's why I think even when you came to Vietnam, you were attracted to not certainly a country, but mostly to same personalities to people that are reviving the same. And yeah, that's what we all end up close to touting
[00:15:44] Moni Le: the defenseman we traveled, like, you know, the second week weekend travel and stuff like that.
[00:15:48] Now what we talk about, it's really Easter, the deep experience of living somewhere else for a period of time. That's when our insecurity, somehow they just emerge and challenges come where you, like, I don't know if I can handle this. And that's the growth that we are all been through. And I think that's what reaches our perspective, you know, life.
[00:16:12] So, and the next question will be what brought you to Vietnam?
[00:16:17] Niall Mackay: A plane
[00:16:18] Moni Le: plane.
[00:16:23] Niall Mackay: There was a car before that. Um, uh, my wife and I came here in 2015 for a holiday. And to visit her sister and her husband. And so we traveled the length of Vietnam. We went everywhere from Sappa down to the Mekong Delta everywhere in between, over about two and a half weeks. And we just, you know, fell in love with the police.
[00:16:45] Has everyone does most people, not everyone, but most people do. And we went back home to New Zealand, which is our home actually. And that we can, we just saw our Vietnamese food and we'd lived there for like two and a half years. And we didn't realize there was like a Vietnamese restaurant on nearly every corner because we'd never been looking for it.
[00:17:02] And suddenly I was like, oh, there's one there. Oh, there's another one. Oh, wait, what we spent that weekend? Just like going to all these Vietnamese restaurants, drinking Vietnamese coffee, even one place had Baba dollars, New Zealand dollars for a Bubba beer, which is like, it's 50, it's just ridiculous amount of $120,000 for a Bubba beer.
[00:17:24] We knew they were like 15,000 dogs. And we were like, yeah, we're not going to do that. Yeah. But so pretty much from that moment, we were like, well, I'd never really been to Southeast Asia. I think Vietnam was my first time. I'd been to Bali before that one's from a honeymoon. I should remember that. And then we went to Kim to Vietnam, but hadn't really traveled around Southeast Asia.
[00:17:43] My wife had a little bit, she'd been to chain and things like that. It's really great. Let's plan a year's trip away. Um, so we saved for a year and then we'll look around and see how long the money can last. We'll do a teaching certification. So we have that in our back pocket, we'll travel and we'll teach.
[00:17:59] And then when we come back to New Zealand, we can volunteer to teach English, you know, because we'll go back to our normal jobs and things like this. So we did a month in Thailand month in Malaysia, got to Vietnam to do a, uh, Salesforce certification. So our plan was to be here for six weeks. So four weeks for the course, one week before, one week after, and then continue.
[00:18:21] But we met this amazing bunch of people doing the course that some of them were still friends with to this day. Um, and then through the course, you, you can automatically get offered the job that was kind of like why they offer the cool fray. But also we were really naive. We kind of had this notion that we would just kind of like get us certification and then go teach on the beach somewhere or something just kind of travel around Thailand and we'll just teach for a couple of weeks.
[00:18:47] And now I feel like that's just such a naive, selfish point of view as well, because for the, for the student's point of view, that's just not helpful at all to like, there's just this great white savior complex that you're just going to show up and be like, I'm going to teach for a couple of weeks and move on.
[00:19:02] So when we start the looking for jobs, everything was like a six month contract minimum, but most of it was a year's contract. EG. This is like a real job.
[00:19:11] Moni Le: Oh my God. English teaching is a real job. Yeah. And
[00:19:14] Niall Mackay: you believe this? No, it's so naive. Like that's going to Sue the head about it. Most of the decisions in my life have happened just kind of naturally.
[00:19:21] And I've never really had to decide anything and you just go with the flow and it's always worked out, but this was one moment where we had to make a decision. So we had to sit down and we even talked with our friends and stuff. Like, do we accept a job here in Vietnam, which was like a year's contract?
[00:19:36] Or do we continue on traveling? And then that's going to lead back to a life in New Zealand or what are we going to do? And that was a big decision that we normally just go with the flow, but this was one where we had to be like, what do we do? And it was really difficult. It took like quite a while and eventually like, okay, well, let's, let's not say in a full-time contract, we'll start on a part-time contract if we like it.
[00:19:59] Cause we'd never taught before I had just done the training Cree lake. It will, you know, continue on. Cause we wanted to teach adults as well, but it was teaching kids in low light on teach kids, but then we did it. We absolutely loved it. Even though, again, this was terrifying. My first ever class I took. I want you to run away at the brake team.
[00:20:18] I went into the toilet and I sat on the toilet and that was like, not, not like my pants, my pants on sat on the toilet. And I was like, what am I doing? I cannot do this. I had a kid at class in 19 kids and I was like, should I just leave? Should I just like text them and be like, I can't do this. Like, it was that traumatic, but I went back.
[00:20:39] I did it and it was fine. We ended up loving it. So we ended up saying the full team contract, which became a year. Then we ended up sending another contract, which became two. Then I got a job as the community network manager, which is more my career as in charities and fundraising, things like this. So that became another two years, then Seven Million Bates became a thing.
[00:21:00] And so the NOAA for a country, we came here for six weeks and we'll never know 60 or here, but that seems like a pretty common thing for many people. If you speak to them, knowing yeah. Keen for the holiday in like 20 years. So that's probably going to be us as well.
[00:21:16] Tue-Si Nguyen: Yeah. So you're, you're here for the long run.
[00:21:18] Now. You still don't know. You're like, oh no. Another
[00:21:21] Niall Mackay: six months. No, we are here for the long run. Now the difficult thing with Vietnam, as you know, is they don't offer a path to residency. I know people who have been here for 10 years, they will have renew the visas every year. Like we were in New York. We are permanent residents of New Zealand.
[00:21:35] And we lived there for three years. So we were able to immediately, as soon as we got there, there was a path to residency and we had to do all the, the legal framework and all of that to become permanent residents. But there's a pathway, whereas here in Vietnam, and this is, I figured out why, if you ever speak to anyone, like, are you here for, are you going to live here forever?
[00:21:54] Nobody can say yes. If you feel not, unless you're married to a Vietnamese person, because there's no pathway to living here. Unfortunately, hopefully I hopefully that will change eventually
[00:22:05] Tue-Si Nguyen: changing, I think, or in some way, or like, hopefully, cause they they're opening to the world, but it's true that Southeast Asia doesn't have a history of immigration in, in any sense.
[00:22:15] So. Immigrants. What is dad, people coming in and they wanting to stay and they don't even have, um, I think the, uh, retirement.
[00:22:23] Niall Mackay: Yeah, I learned this recently. Like they don't have a retirement visa, which is a common kind of thing, which you need Thailand, Thailand. You've got loads of money and you want to come spend it yet, come retire here.
[00:22:33] Like come spend your time then. But then
[00:22:36] Tue-Si Nguyen: countries like Australia, Canada, and New Zealand are made a lot on lake immigrant labor. So they have all those systems in place where you can get in like, you know, express entry and all those things. Which city where, you know, in New Zealand, Wellington,
[00:22:50] Niall Mackay: Wellington, beautiful city.
[00:22:53] Tue-Si Nguyen: If I wasn't in Vietnam, I think it would be in New Zealand. At this point, I've lived
[00:22:56] Niall Mackay: it. So I hated Vietnam. At first, when we lived here the first year we were here, I hated it. I couldn't wait to go back to New Zealand. I was literally counting down the days. I was like saying to my wife, can we just leave?
[00:23:07] Can we she's like, no, no, stick it out. Come a little bit longer. I was like, no, let's just go home. I want to go back to New Zealand. I missed it so much. Like literally on a daily basis, I've never had a love for a place. Like I have New Zealand and Wellington. It was like, this is where I want to go back to.
[00:23:23] But over time, Vietnam gets you. Right. And so after like a year or so, so what was the
[00:23:29] Moni Le: turning points?
[00:23:32] Niall Mackay: I can't even remember a specific telling point, to be honest. I
[00:23:36] Moni Le: just trying to imagine this, like Neil waking up, looking out the windows, like all these bikes. Oh my God. Like so loud is 30 in everything.
[00:23:43] And it just like, don't like to be here.
[00:23:47] Niall Mackay: Yeah. Easy everything about it because you know, we lived in district four, which that was one of the turning points was getting at district four. So we loved it. The experience that it was. Living anywhere, but Defour really pretty much. It's like, so, you know, ex-pats get so much shit for living in toady and, and stuff like that.
[00:24:06] And I've got like my own thoughts on that, which goes to, like you think about even our own, the world where you have little Italy, or you have like big green tone or you have China tone immigrants. And we are all immigrants live together. They form their own communities and you don't like talk shit about all the Chinese people going to live together and Chinatown or the Italians gathering together.
[00:24:28] That's what you do. But for some reason, people here like to be like, oh, Townians where all the ex-pats live. It's like, yeah. That's like what each other, because they need to have a sense of community with people that they speak the same language. Like I lived in Australia and I met. People that had immigrated from Greece, like 50 years ago that still couldn't speak English in Canada is the same problems.
[00:24:52] It's just like, yeah. I mean, this is, this, it's the second generation, right. That, that speak the language and the integrate Molina. There's a whole nother, it's a whole bigger story. Yeah. I wasn't even gonna bring it up.
[00:25:03] Tue-Si Nguyen: I think there's a level of discomfort that again, like you won't traveling or going to settle in another country is already very discomforted.
[00:25:09] Yeah. So like, it, it makes sense that you want to bond with your community. I think back in the days with, when we talk about those people, it's more so they didn't have a choice. Some of them were refugees. So they went to where they knew. And maybe the criticism that we have with expats here is like, you have a choice because you come with a comfortable living and, but you still make the choice to still in wa I guess it's a privilege to live in a comfortable area like this.
[00:25:33] I think that might be the small criticism, but that's a whole different,
[00:25:36] Moni Le: I think we shouldn't criticize anyone for one, I feel at home. And if this is where you feel at home, And it's a place where you feel at home or also like the other Vietnamese or Chinese communities outside of China and Vietnam.
[00:25:50] They also feel more at home. If they are forming a community,
[00:25:54] Niall Mackay: Houston, Texas SREs is a massive Vietnamese. I mean, I've interviewed people from like 10 land. She's like, yeah, my dentist was Vietnamese. Like I hung out with me.
[00:26:06] Tue-Si Nguyen: The Texas community is huge. I I'm part of them, but it's, uh, it's I mean, in part I, I was doing a leadership camps, but like the reason why they went to Texas is because the weather is exactly when you get there, it's getting really
[00:26:20] Niall Mackay: interesting.
[00:26:21] Moni Le: So it's completely fine. I think. Uh, and then you try to have that real Vietnam is experienced by moving to the four.
[00:26:30] Niall Mackay: Yeah. And again, I don't want to be like, so I remember when we first came here and we met someone who shall remain nameless and he's like, lived in and he's like, you live in T4. Y never lived anywhere, but
[00:26:43] And we were like, oh, we live in D four. It's authentic. And that wasn't the reason. But partly that was the reason. And I do not regret living there. It was amazing. I could never go back there though. It's default is dark. It's loud. It's noisy. We had a school across the road from us that would wake up at 6:00 AM every morning.
[00:27:05] And we were teachers. So we had a different schedule. So we went waking up at 6:00 AM, but we were walking up at 6:00 AM. Then we moved to another building where we didn't realize they hadn't finished the building a few weeks after we moved in, they started finishing the roof. So we had construction for like months above us next to us, like drills, hammering, like it was.
[00:27:25] So all of that stuff, Wayne Granger down. That's why I didn't like it. Basically. It was like noisy, dirty.
[00:27:31] Tue-Si Nguyen: Yeah. To put it in perspective. Like you've been here for six years and I think getting home has changed a lot. I think in 2015, 16, there was a construction everywhere. There's still construction.
[00:27:45] construction. You realize this every time we like today is a, is a good day, but usually every time we start a podcast or anything like this outside of my place, there is construction.
[00:27:55] Niall Mackay: But the other thing, sorry, just to go back to the whole toady and ex-pat things is. This Vietnamese people that live here as well.
[00:28:00] And there's also Japanese Indian, Korean. So
[00:28:04] Tue-Si Nguyen: I, I wanted to ask you a question because like the energy in Wellington is very different from the one here in Saigon. Have you been to New Zealand before New Zealand, like picture the quiet part of the Lords of the rings and that's literally the energy that is, there is just good vibes.
[00:28:22] And so how was the transition? I mean, you said that you didn't like it. So how do you see now the craziness of Vietnam and how do you equate it to Wellington?
[00:28:33] Niall Mackay: So you can't agree to it. I mean, so, but like anything, right? There's pros and cons. So we loved Wellington, but at the same time, it's at the ass end of the water will dry it's as far away from anywhere as possible.
[00:28:48] My waste from America and from Scotland sort of get home is like a two day. Event, just to get there and then a two day event back. So if you want to go home that's four days. Um, also as well, like everything closes at five o'clock and Willington oh shit. Like the city shuts down and never been in a city like that, but yeah.
[00:29:11] So it's like, what do we do now? It's just kind of like in the restaurants and bars would obviously be open, but you're not doing that every night. Super expensive, as well as this sounds like such an old man thing that like at one point, because to me it was a seasonal, the price that to me, it was we'd go up to like $10 a kilo.
[00:29:27] Oh shit. You know what I mean? And avocados would be like $5 for one Africana. Again, romanticize that all night beautiful place in the world. It's, it's got its challenges. Right. And it's kind of like, you can't really get anywhere it's in this horrible. The south of Wellington is the cook street. So the south of Wellington, there's the south island.
[00:29:48] So if you want to go south, you've got to get on a plane or a ferry to go there. If you want to go north, you've got to go over the rim and Tucker, so you've got to have a car or you got to fly. It's got its own challenges as well. And what we loved about Saigon is the energy things are open. It's life was on the street and here there's always a buzz.
[00:30:04] There's always things happening. There's always things going on. So we do that kind of, I guess, where the transition came. It's like, we just love the energy. And we were very social people. We like to go out. We like to hang out. We like to be doing things. And so, yeah, that's kind of where that transition of.
[00:30:19] I love Saigon, I guess within the podcast came in, was kind of like starting to accept, I guess, that we lived here and accepted, like, this is our home now. And then start to just love everything about it and love the people. And then that's where then the podcast came from.
[00:30:36] Moni Le: Yeah, I think we all have to go through that transition period to get used to a new place.
[00:30:41] And what actually encourage you to actually start a podcast and talk about what you're talking about, because your topics are very broad as well. What I, what I see, but I want to hear from you really what
[00:30:57] Niall Mackay: started from boredom, right? So what it was me, my wife and I had almost the exact same schedule and we're a very strange couple that we really like hanging out with each other.
[00:31:10] Some couples can be really independent. We are like really just hanging out with each other all the time and we really enjoy each other's company. And so schedules changed. I had Sunday off and she worked on a Sunday and most of my friends worked on a Sunday as well. So I had nothing to do and then we got biscuit, but as you can see, she just sleeps all day.
[00:31:30] So I was just really bored on a Sunday. The thing was, well, I didn't, you know what it's like in Saigon right there, really the only thing to do a lot of the time is grow and drink. And I didn't want to do that, you know? Cause it could have easily gone out and be like, yeah, we'll go, I'll meet you in a bar and stuff.
[00:31:46] I've consciously, didn't suggest that people like, Hey, let's go meet in a bar or hang out because one, my wife would finish work at like six or seven and then I'd be wasted by that probably, which is no fundraiser. So I was bored. I want you to hobby basically. And I love podcasting. I always loved podcasting since I was in university.
[00:32:07] Really the start of podcasting was like, Ricky Jovi's I don't know if you knew that Ricky Jovi is called Pilkington Steven Michonne. They are like the pod fathers as I call them. Um, and as you know, podcasting has got a little barrier to entry. You just need a microphone at its most basically depending how much you want to get involved.
[00:32:25] And so I was like, I'm going to start a podcast. Learning more about the interesting people that lived here. And one of the things I realized was when you are a teacher yourself, you only kind of meet other teachers, but you start to realize that there are a lot of them have, like everyone has layers right.
[00:32:41] And have much. So I was meeting people like that were making stuff from whether they were comedians, musicians. They weren't just a teacher, you know? And so I wanted to get to know people on that deeper level. So I'd met Jakey Hobson. Who's well-known comedian here. Uh, And I'm very aware. I was like, I want to know more about him.
[00:33:02] Cause he'd been in a thrash metal band back in the day and stuff like a pretty well-known fat thrash metal band. He had big dreadlocks and um, and then no, he was a comedian, but he was an English teacher. So a massive chunk of them are English teachers, but we never talk about that. Cause it's just like, that's not like what I want to talk about.
[00:33:19] Like tell me more about Jackie Hobson. And then from there, it just kind of, I remember that I was reading my phone was reading the guardian and there was an article about digital nomads in Saigon written by this guy called Greg. So I looked him up, phoned him and he was in Saigon. He was a digital nomad, contacted them.
[00:33:40] And I was like, Hey, I'm doing this new podcast. Do you want to be on? So he came on and then it just kind of like spiraled and I,
[00:33:46] Moni Le: so you just like randomly pick people that you are interested in and have a talk. Yeah. And how did you evolve from there? So first was the podcast. And then later on you start to do comedy shows.
[00:34:01] How did that
[00:34:03] Niall Mackay: came? Yeah, well, so comedy is just something I'd always loved, like my whole life and doing standup comedy was something I'd wanted to do for years. I always say I wanted to do it for seven years. So for about seven years before I did comedy, my wife and I, we would always go to comedy shows.
[00:34:22] We both of us have always loved stand-up comedy since we met. And, you know, I'd go to shows and I'd be like, I want to do that. Like, I want to be up there. I want to like, you know, when I'd be doing bits in my head and I even got to the point when we were in New Zealand, We would go to open mate, Nate, I had stuff written down in my pocket and I could not get on stage.
[00:34:40] Like I just couldn't do it. So even though by this point, I was more confident in myself. I did public speaking. I would go out to events for my job, do public speaking in front of hundreds of people. No problem. But doing standup comedy, it was like a step too far. I just could not do it. So the shy boy came back.
[00:34:58] Yeah, absolutely. My stomach just was, I can't do my wave and she's so encouraging. She's like, I'm not doing it. So we go to these shores and I just would walk. We'd just watch and I wouldn't do it. And then Saigon, same thing happened in the beginning. And part of the reason with Seven Million. We provide entertainment.
[00:35:17] Cause we remember when we first got here, we could never find anything to do. It's really difficult. Again, you're in a new country and you new environment, a new language as well. We ended up just drinking beer half the time to do right. Like we'll come home, we'll go drink beer. But then someone starts putting on shores, uh, emergency room.
[00:35:34] We were just talking to Matt, Ryan just a couple of days ago, Matt Ryan, your Endeca and union jacks, a barcode emergency room back in the day, just don't pass through the street a really, really fun bar. So they started doing open mic nights. So again, as soon as we saw that we started going to them, watching them.
[00:35:51] Then the comedy scene started kind of flourishing here in Saigon. So then there was like a Saigon and funny people came along PG here. Hobson was part of, they were putting on shoes and then it was Ben bell. It'd be and comedy Saigon. Comedy was starting to become a bigger thing here in Saigon. And so obviously my interest was peaked again and was going to be shores and saying, I'm going to do this.
[00:36:15] I want to do this. So again, got to the stage where it starts detailing my friend and telling Adrian. So I started writing stuff down and thought the thinking a bit. And we went to Endeca for Monday night open mate, which is just restarted, had the bit in my pocket. And, uh, there was about four people there that night.
[00:36:35] And so Angie, who was a host got up, she did some comedy, I think one other person came up and then Angie got back up and she's like, well, this, this is a sure, like there's, there's no one else's heels. Anyone else wanted to come up and saw. That was like me. That was. I do. Yeah, I'll do it. I had the bits in my pocket, so I got up to with my first joke, then completely forgot what it was going to see.
[00:36:59] So I did get my notes out immediately, but I didn't need an open your key to do that. So I did my five minutes and it went pretty well. People laughed and, and then that would just, once I'd broken that barrier, that was me just like who, you know, so the first, first few times I did that, I remember wanting to throw up.
[00:37:14] I was so terrified. It was the most nerve wracking thing in my life. And I'm was the second or third shoe I did. I was sitting there like just tapping my foot and like, just feeling horrible. And I do always like to kind of push myself. I do like to try new things like going to summer camp and things like that.
[00:37:29] Like, I'm not scared to throw myself out there. So even if I feel like shit and it feels horrible and quite, um, crazy doing it anyway. So then it's just like anything, the more you do it, you, you becomes easier. But after this lockdown, we hadn't done any comedy in person for like five months. So when it did my first in-person comedy show, Uh, IndyCar again, open make Nate.
[00:37:53] I was Stillman you as like kinda shaken and I was still a bit really nervous to them, but then you just got to keep doing it.
[00:37:59] Moni Le: I really admire stand up comedians because I had a friend in Amsterdam who was, um, starting in stand up comedy. And I see on him. And I know from him to how nerve wracking is the whole experience.
[00:38:13] And at the beginning, it's hard to be natural even. So how's your growth process in terms of standup comedy? What did you do to actually keep improving yourself?
[00:38:25] Niall Mackay: Uh, you just have to keep performing. It's the number one thing. So we will do comedy shows online during lockdown. I had a friend from Canada perform code laws.
[00:38:34] Callio who he was on the podcast we've actually was in Vietnam at the time doing stand-up comedy. He came on to this online comedy show that we did, and he was just so funny, but without even doing anything, he was just so funny. And I was just in awe watching him. And so afterwards, I was like, how did you do that?
[00:38:50] And you teach like, I've performed like twenty-five thousand times in my career. Cause he's been doing it for 20 years, but I was like thousands and thousands of teams. And he's like, you just have to perform. That's the biggest thing when I'm regularly performing, when shows are on. And when I have the time as well, can you just get up on stage and you just on the stage and it's, but then no, I, like I said, I hadn't performed on stage for five months.
[00:39:14] So when I got back up, I didn't really get many laughs. It was pretty bad. My timing was all off. My knee was shaking, so it's just practice and it's like a really spotty
[00:39:24] Moni Le: account right now. What's one you'll count.
[00:39:27] Niall Mackay: Like how many am I up to 135. I keep current
[00:39:34] Tue-Si Nguyen: 135 stand up.
[00:39:37] Niall Mackay: No, that includes online. Yeah, that's amazing. I do it every time I do a show, I write it down. I terms of what I've said as well. So I can remember what said 138 or up to
[00:39:49] Tue-Si Nguyen: 38 in the span of how
[00:39:50] Niall Mackay: long? Since 2019. So it's not that many, two years. So that's, I, I don't perform as much as I shoot
[00:39:59] Tue-Si Nguyen: 138 in two years.
[00:40:00] That's pretty good already. You
[00:40:01] Niall Mackay: know, some people will be alone. Yeah.
[00:40:04] Moni Le: From other podcast. I'm so inspired by crazy
[00:40:07] Niall Mackay: amount. I find it difficult to balance podcast and comedy.
[00:40:13] Tue-Si Nguyen: So actually, do you bring in some of the comedy in the podcast and do you bring
[00:40:17] Niall Mackay: some not really to keep it very segregated? Yeah. I don't try and keep it segregated, but it's just two different things.
[00:40:24] And, um, I remember talking to someone about this a long time ago and they were like, you can be multifaceted, don't pigeonhole yourself. And that really stuck with me. Yeah, it will, you can be a comedian and you can be a podcast. They don't need to be the same. So that really helped me through the podcast.
[00:40:42] You know, some of them are so emotional and so deep, so I should be myself. So if I come across as funny, then that's good, but I don't try and do jokes and things like this, but I am starting a new podcast in this going to be comedy related. Wow. That's exciting. Do we have a name already? Yeah, we do. It's called, did that really happen?
[00:41:01] Oh, sorry. I've already lined up the first few guests. I'm going to play a comedians Juul. Well, they're going to give me one of the jokes and then I'm going to ask them, did that really happen? I see. And if the answer is yes, then the. What was the real story behind the Juul. And if the answer is normal, then they just explain how they came up with that jewel.
[00:41:22] I would hear comedians and you've probably heard comedians tell these things on stage that just ridiculous. And you're wondering, and you're wondering, right. Really happened. And so often I would then ask comedians if I met them. I remember even in New Zealand, as comedian, after his show, I was not doing comedy, just watching.
[00:41:38] And I was literally like, did that really happen? And he's like, yeah. And then he tells you the story about whatever it was. I can't remember. And cheeky Hobson had the same thing as well, even to this day, when I see my friends do comedy and I'll be like, after the show, like, did that really happen? How could I make that up?
[00:41:55] Like literally, how could I make that up? And I'm like, wow. So that's what comedians do we take? Happens in real life to all of us. And then we just able to tell it a so
[00:42:06] Moni Le: in one part for it to be a good comedian, we know that practice that's number one. But as any artist, we always have to find our own style, voice, our way of doing it.
[00:42:19] And how you personally find your own style for up comedy,
[00:42:25] Niall Mackay: still working on it. What would be your style? There's an interesting question. And I think that's what held me back in the beginning. Right? Because through your practice things in your. Before it ever got on stage. And you're like, how's this going to start?
[00:42:38] How am I going to sound on stage? Cause I didn't want to sound like corny or cheesy or, you know, like forced.
[00:42:45] Moni Le: Yeah. Like, so they'll be afraid of other people's judgment in that.
[00:42:49] Niall Mackay: Are you a psychologist or something?
[00:42:54] he asked me, you want to do a podcast and I'm getting a free psychology. Do you want to lay down? Yeah, we're going to coach. So I had some issues with my mum and then I started doing comedy to get rid of no, but yeah, I guess you. could see what, what did you see a fear of being judged? Yeah, of course. Yeah.
[00:43:12] So yeah, I guess right. Every artist at the beginning,
[00:43:16] Moni Le: that's the biggest thing. That's how other people would perceive. Uh, performance,
[00:43:21] Niall Mackay: not even an artist, just every human being we're being judged. Right? Every interaction we have, we're always kind of thinking about the people. Think of
[00:43:30] Tue-Si Nguyen: us when I'm hearing your story.
[00:43:32] And I'm feeling so inspired because I started with public speaking too. I thought like public speaking was going to was a good entry point to stand up comedy. But I feel like standup comedy is that point of vulnerability. That is the highest cause you're supposed to go deep into someone's laughter you know, and if you can get that laugh, it's
[00:43:50] Niall Mackay: super sensitive.
[00:43:51] The thing that makes stand up comedy so different to any other kind of art is you need an immediate reaction and an immediate reaction. If I see something and you don't laugh or the audience doesn't laugh, it's the most awkward thing in the world. That's, what's terrifying if you're performing music on what someone perform music, you don't people clap at the end.
[00:44:10] Right. But you don't need. No, not after every chorus. You know what I mean? So with comedy, you just need the immediate reactions retain super sense. Talking about voice. That was what the biggest barrier was. I just realized my voice was just me because bill Hicks said it as well. You just have to be yourself because no one else can be you.
[00:44:32] So don't worry about who you are on stage, just be yourself. And so, as you can tell, I'm a pretty like affable chatty. She can't stop talking. So I think what the biggest thing is, and I see this in every new comic, right? The oldest thing that you need to get up on stage and tell a story. And that's what I did in the beginning.
[00:44:52] You just get up and you have this funny thing happened to me, but it's not funny to other people to have constant laughter throughout, to be a standup comedian. Think of any comedian you need, like joke, joke, joke, joke. Laughter. So in the beginning I would probably tell more stories. And I remember seeing one person tell a 10 minute story with no jokes for one punchline and the punchline.
[00:45:16] Wasn't funny, you're listening for 10 minutes of every detail of this person's story. And in their head, the obviously think is like the best thing ever. And you're just sitting there like this, this is terrible. That's where all of your voices, you start to realize and getting advice from other comedians, as well as that you need to take in everything.
[00:45:40] You need to be economical with your words, and I'm still practiced that. And know what you do is I'll go to open mic night with an idea and you just kind of spew the idea out and then maybe you'll take one line from this idea that you've spotted. Yeah. It's that one lane is the one that was funny that got the laugh and then you're like, okay, that's the jewel.
[00:46:01] And sometimes the jewel is not what you think it is. Sometimes I've done open late nights where I've said something off the top of my head and it gets the biggest laugh. So I'm like, oh, that's the Juul. And then what you do is you take all these little jokes and put them all together. So then when you're going to do like a headline, I'll say online, which was meant to be in person, but I did like a number of comedy and it was just an hour of these bits that are all kind of put together.
[00:46:27] So that's how you trained your voice, but I'm still trying to find it because my hero is bill Hicks and George Carlin, and the talk about deep and meaningful topics, like governmental kind of level, like deep topics, but they make it funny, but they make you think, right? Like, you know, these comedians that really make you sink and that's who I wanted to be.
[00:46:50] I don't think that's the comedian of being, but now. Because of like the anti-vaxxers and stuff like this, I'm starting to fame my voice more about being pro-science and seeing so many idiots in the world these days I'm know, starting to get a bit more, you know, angry, angry, but a bit more like, you know, starting to find like willing to like try and use my comedic voice to like, make point Alex, have you.
[00:47:19] Yeah. Yeah.
[00:47:20] Moni Le: So learning what you are really passionate about in terms of topics. I think that's when, as a comedian, you becoming more authentic because you start to speak up about things that you care about and then your audience also start to relate it to you as a human being. I think that's, um, that's really deep connection that you're going to have.
[00:47:41] Niall Mackay: Well, because you know, when you go to a comedy show and a comedian says something that you're like, I was thinking that I didn't know how to see it. Exactly. That's the goal. I don't know if I've ever gotten there yet. I think sort of with some little bits, but that's the goal. That's what you want. That's the most fun when you go to a comedy show and a comedian says something and you're like, I was thinking that I didn't know how to see it, or he said it in a different way.
[00:48:03] And then you're, and that's when you really, with the comedian, that's, that's the ultimate goal, I think is what you want. Yeah.
[00:48:10] Moni Le: It's such a hard job being authentic, but at the same time, being economical with your words, also thinking about people love
[00:48:17] Niall Mackay: or not love, it's all practice timing as a as well.
[00:48:24] Tue-Si Nguyen: Has it happened that it went really, really bad.
[00:48:27] Niall Mackay: Oh yeah. Monday, last week. Yeah. How did you handle that? I've been able to just push through that. So some things, when you go to a comedy show and you see a comedian make a joke and it doesn't get a laugh. They can make it kind of awkward, you know, when a community says like, oh, you didn't find that funny.
[00:48:45] Or, or maybe they look hard, you know, you feel for them, right. You're like, oh, that person know fuse really bad. Like, cause we didn't laugh at the joke that can make the whole experience for everyone kind of awkward because of my background in public speaking, I used to do face-to-face fundraising on the street in Australia, getting people to sign up for charity.
[00:49:08] So I'm very used to rejection. Like 90% of that job is people walking by you and ignoring you. I learned to deal with that and you don't really care about it. So when my jobs don't get a laugh, I've kind of got this ability to just carry on and move to the next one and not let it linger too much. So that's always kind of helped me.
[00:49:27] I'm never just like a deer in the headlights, like, oh, I didn't want. Oh, they didn't laugh or like, oh, why did you not understand that? You know what I mean? Like, just move on to the next one. And so that kind of helps you sweat inspiring.
[00:49:38] Moni Le: Yeah. We also have to learn from our failures to actually be a better version as a comedian or anyone else.
[00:49:47] And then from days I've wondered, like, what's your vision for your own development? Not only as a comedian, but also for the podcast and also for the whole Seven Million Bikes empire. Exactly.
[00:50:03] Niall Mackay: I don't know. Yeah. I should know. I need to get some proper goals. Everything's been quite organic so far. It happened quite naturally.
[00:50:10] So I've not really sat down and thought like, this is where I want to be. I'm just kind of letting it play out naturally. Right. I guess if you really think about it, we talked about it in the beginning. We're providing English language until. So not just for ex-pats. We obviously have a massive Vietnamese population who are speaking English.
[00:50:28] They want Western style entertainment. They want comedy shoes. So I guess to be the number one English language entertainment provider in Vietnam, I don't know where that's going to go though. I don't have any like, kind of specific goals or what that means, or any numbers of like this amount of shoes or this, so that all that just like keep doing what we're doing, keep doing it.
[00:50:47] Well, yeah.
[00:50:49] Moni Le: Uh, let me ask it this way. What's kind of the purpose behind what you are doing. Like all of them
[00:50:58] Niall Mackay: provide entertainment. I just enjoy making people laugh. Enjoy. Meet new people. It's kind of one of these things that you realize you haven't a skill. And then you're like, oh, well I may as well use this skill, you know?
[00:51:11] So you kind of realize, oh, I can organize events. Like a lot of the things I do, I don't overthink it or even really think about it until after. And then I'm like, oh, oh yeah, put on that event. That was pretty cool. Yeah. That took skill to do that. You know, like that management organization, promotion, marketing, all of these things.
[00:51:30] I don't really think about it at the time. And then afterwards, and then I'm like, oh yeah,
[00:51:36] Moni Le: it's really inspiring though. Like you are not the first person. I mean, that was like really these two, our personality, you just get the idea and then go for it. And I'm kind of the opposite. I don't know about you to Tracy, but I always had to sit on it a little bit before I make that decision to
[00:51:52] Niall Mackay: go for it.
[00:51:54] So my wife and I were the polar opposite and she's like you, and that's provides a nice balance, but I am a doer. And I think. Can be good in the head. Cause some things I'll just like, I just do it without thinking. Whereas if my wife, if I have an idea, she'll be like, well, what about this? And have you thought about that?
[00:52:10] And then this, and she freely admits that she will be held back from doing things because she thinks that ensure many people are like that. And it's called paralysis by analysis. Yeah. You analyze things so much. You paralyze yourself. Cause you're just like you think too much and then don't do anything.
[00:52:29] Whereas I'm like the complete opposite. I don't think at all that I can just do it thankfully so far it's worked out, but maybe one time I'll get tripped up fuck up.
[00:52:40] Tue-Si Nguyen: Who is around you to help? Like except your wife, obviously like who is part of Seven Million Bikes that is providing you a support system?
[00:52:48] Niall Mackay: It's pretty much just me and my way. Yeah. I mean, I've had so much support though from people, you know, Devin, Korea, I have to give so much time. Devin gray is a comedian who's just recently moved to Germany and got engaged. So congratulations, Devon, he's just given sure. Much support over the last year, Tommy protein's gear as well.
[00:53:06] These guys are just a ween one year west. There's some people within the scene have just given me so much support. I couldn't actually probably be where I am or doing what I'm doing. I would have probably given up a long time ago without the support of people like Devin and Tommy. So
[00:53:22] Tue-Si Nguyen: in the near future, do you want to bring in people into Seven Million Bikes or you still want
[00:53:26] Niall Mackay: to be interesting?
[00:53:27] No, I'm dying to do that. I think staff. The plan next year is to start hiring some staff with a lot. Then this year has thrown everything up in the air. So next year, yeah. I want to bring in someone to do more of the, as you will know the editing and things like this. And at the start of the year, I was starting to outsource stuff.
[00:53:48] And then the lot panel happened to, or went back to one of the biggest things with Seven Million Bikes. Now I'm actually making podcasts for other people. Now I see. So I know, uh, onto my third podcast client. Congratulations. Yeah, that's mostly. The biggest kind of thing in terms of like, as a business is making podcasts all the time.
[00:54:13] Moni Le: I'm really curious, like how do you gain the energy to do all of this that's one. And then how do you manage the stress with all of this? I'm looking at what you are doing, hearing all of this. And like, I have a probably break down and then get the burnout, like after a month or something. How do you tackle the stress and then how, how you gain your balance back better.
[00:54:39] You have a better answer. That's another question.
[00:54:41] Niall Mackay: No idea. I have no idea the answer to that crazy one. I don't find it stressful, I guess is the biggest thing. I just love it. I've kind of always had a lot of energy. So I'm just naturally quite an I do. I mean, I couldn't do any of this without my wife though.
[00:54:55] Like literally I couldn't do any of it without she provides the balance. She provides the support. She picks me up when I am stressed out when I am down and she always provides a balance to what I'm doing when I, when I'm too high, she'll bring me down. And when I'm too loose, you pick me up, you know? So she's the pole.
[00:55:11] Yeah. Yeah. Pretty, yeah, definitely. Yeah.
[00:55:14] Moni Le: That's amazing to hear, to have such as nice support.
[00:55:18] Tue-Si Nguyen: Yeah. A support system is very important. I mean, shout out to your wife.
[00:55:21] Niall Mackay: Yeah. But yeah, you get to try and find balance in everything. One of the things that helped me was I had a sales job where I did a Tony Robbins course where you focus on Intel, no locus of control.
[00:55:33] I can tell I have a very strong Intel, no locus of control. So I don't nothing external affects really too much what I do because I know that it's all about what I do and how I react to situations. So once you have a strong internal locus of control, it makes everything much, much easier. And I learned that really from doing the sales job, 100% commission.
[00:55:56] So you're entirely reliant on yourself for your income. And so that manifests is when things like one of my comedy shoes, I had a photographer book, which was like a big deal. And before I got there, the photographer message me and he's like there, the guy that's here says that there's no shortage. And I'm like, oh, there's absolutely a short-end Hey, we have it every month at the same venue in the same spot.
[00:56:19] And I get there, the manager hadn't shown up. It was the delivery guy was there. Who didn't speak English. There was no air con on no electricity. The cash register was locked. There was people were already there. The venue, the bar wasn't set up at all for the shore. So again, you could show up and be like, fuck Tara and get angry and all of that.
[00:56:41] But I just have a very positive mindset that I'm like, okay, what did we do? All right. When can you help us? Can you do it? So I ended up like pouring paints with the cash register was locked or the. Within yabby. So he was like an hour and I'm calling him and I'm like, the manager's not showing up. So I'm having to use my own money.
[00:57:00] I had to go send someone to go and buy soda water. Cause they didn't Sue the water, but you're just kind of like, okay, so how do we solve this problem? Right. Not like dwell on like what's gone wrong or how do we solve it? So we're at quick get air con on change, the seats, you go buy soda, water. I'm going to, I used to be a barman I'll pour paints, like, and we ended up just having an unbelievable.
[00:57:20] And there's just no problem. So if you just have that solution-focused positive mindset, nothing's really a problem. Right? I love it.
[00:57:28] Moni Le: It's an important message. I think, for the listeners, for us to remind ourselves that we always have control over our circumstances. I mean, we cannot do
[00:57:38] Niall Mackay: you have control of your emotions?
[00:57:40] You control how you feel about a situation and it's not easy, but yeah,
[00:57:45] Tue-Si Nguyen: I, I w I, I managed the tour company in Toronto for a long time with all the international schools. And that's how we train people. Like, you know, it's just your circle of influence and then just be solution-focused. Cause something is going to happen on the tour.
[00:57:58] Like, you know, a bus is going to break down some, you know, vendors are not going to show up. You show up at the hotels and not have the rooms already and you have to deal with it. You have to entertain. You have to be like, okay, it's part of the, it's part of the show. The show must go on. And, and it's everything you just said.
[00:58:18] Niall Mackay: just get things going. Yeah. I
[00:58:20] Moni Le: also want to understand how do you deal with the fear when you start something new? We all have some fear of, and it is something new that we haven't done before. And then you have done so many of that already. I'm asking you these. So the listeners can also get some inspiration of, you know, uh, they can get over that fear and then start their on things as much as you did
[00:58:47] Niall Mackay: just have to do it.
[00:58:48] Like literally you just have to do it. I'm not making that like, that's easy. Like I talked about like me getting on stage for the first time, took me seven years to do comedy. It's terrifying and it's difficult, but then there, you just have to do it, you know? Yeah. Tell me where you can get by really?
[00:59:05] Tue-Si Nguyen: You should have to dare to jump.
[00:59:07] And then like, after that, I think it's consistency. Like once you break the seal, like everything you said, I've been like really inspiring.
[00:59:14] Niall Mackay: I went to, once I broke the seal of comedy, it's like, okay, you just go ahead. Yeah.
[00:59:19] Tue-Si Nguyen: Do you feel balanced today? Yes. What brings you that joy and that balance?
[00:59:24] Niall Mackay: So I'm there in, I now I'm nearly 40 and I've lived a very life.
[00:59:30] I've done loads of different jobs, had ups and downs. And I just feel like balanced in my life. And man, this sounds too like kind of cheesy, but being married, like you kind of feel complete. Like I love my wife and I we've been together for nearly 10 years now and we have a really happy life together.
[00:59:50] And she also is at the source of most of my comedy in terms of she writes my jokes. She's also really, really funny. So she'll tell you herself, she wouldn't get onstage, but I often come up with a kernel of an idea or the idea of a joke, and then she'll be like, oh, you should do it like this, or you do it like that.
[01:00:06] And so she's my partner in comedy, my partner and everything. Like she's amazing person
[01:00:12] Tue-Si Nguyen: for me. It makes sense. All the things that you've said, you do feel balanced because you have this good way of thinking. Solution-driven type of thinking. So when there is a problem, you're more focused on how do I solve that problem now, not into the dwelling, into the negativity.
[01:00:26] So. It makes sense for me, you don't have to be like doing five hours of yoga everyday.
[01:00:32] Niall Mackay: You don't get me wrong. It does help. If that's what find your balance. I still have time for yoga. I would love to do it. But
[01:00:38] Tue-Si Nguyen: do you have those systems in place that makes you, um, that makes you balance and that's, that's what we want to know.
[01:00:44] That's perfect.
[01:00:45] Niall Mackay: And you know, relationships as well with everyone, like I mentioned, we're here, Leo. I still talk to my best friends from back home. I'm always on bloody messenger. I'm always reaching out to people. I love being around people, talking to them, making relationships, being on your podcast, talking to you guys.
[01:01:00] I love it. You thrive on that and you get energy from it. If you're an introvert, then you're listening to this. Nearly get, I don't want to be your own, obviously not an introvert. So it's different for everyone. But that, that part that's part of it as well. Yeah.
[01:01:14] Moni Le: Also knowing your energy and managing it that way.
[01:01:16] And for you, if that's what brings you energy, then that's what you're going to do. Preaching out to people.
[01:01:22] Niall Mackay: Thank you for this opportunity to be able to explain to people, whoever is listening. Maybe a bit more about me. Cause I think a lot of people like you've kind of said, maybe see my name or see me doing comedy or whatever, but they don't really know who he is.
[01:01:36] Tue-Si Nguyen: interesting to see the evolution too. Cause I've, I've been very much outside the expat community for the past two years and a half that I've been here, but I've can, I can see increasingly how you are becoming the centerpiece of the expat community is especially in terms of entertainment.
[01:01:49] Moni Le: So just one of the last questions, how do you want to be remembered at the end of your
[01:01:54] Niall Mackay: life?
[01:01:55] Oh my God. What? Maybe you should lay
[01:01:57] Tue-Si Nguyen: down for that question.
[01:02:01] Niall Mackay: How do you want to be remembered at the end of your life? Well, I want to live forever
[01:02:10] just as a good person. Right? And that's how you want to be remembered as like just a good person. That's how simple, yeah. More complicated than.
[01:02:22] Moni Le: And now it's your chance actually, to talk to the audience, talk to the universe they want you, do you want to take Seven Million Bikes or anything related to what you want?
[01:02:34] Niall Mackay: We've been talking for an hour and 20 minutes and no, you want me to go? I said all, I don't want to have anything more to see
[01:02:41] Tue-Si Nguyen: anything else you want to add or anything else that you want to project to 2022, just like, you know, give us your,
[01:02:48] Niall Mackay: if you want to, anyone listening, come to shores, get out. I know it's difficult right now as well with we're still all coming to towns where the new normal, if you can come to shore support to support anyone, who's doing comedy, go to accommodation or listen to the podcast.
[01:03:04] You know, the biggest thing is just getting people to do stuff, you know, Who I enjoy ashore have fun. That's really nice.
[01:03:15] Tue-Si Nguyen: You also do a creative networking events every
[01:03:17] Niall Mackay: month. We've been doing it online and then there's going to be a first one next week in person comes. So that's. That's great. We'll just go.
[01:03:25] Yeah. The website Seven Million bakes.com. The calendar of events is on there. Go on Facebook, Instagram. It's great to focus on
[01:03:32] Tue-Si Nguyen: the, the physical aspect. Look at all those events. I'm really excited for everything that you're doing.
[01:03:36] Niall Mackay: Thank you. So it makes me feel so good. I may come across as like overconfident or too cocky, which I don't try and be at all.
[01:03:43] And I definitely have my moments where I'm like, fuck this shit. We're not doing another comedy show or not doing any more of this stuff. Like you have your down moments. And then when comments like yours right now, honestly, they make my day, my week. I will not forget what you've just said to me. That stuff keeps me going.
[01:04:02] When I remember when someone tells me you inspired me or you've motivated me or this, and then. Oh, man. Yeah. You got to keep doing what you're doing. That's like that, that's the food that Fugi really? Yeah.
[01:04:17] Moni Le: Yeah. Yeah. Thank you so much. Thank you so happy. So
[01:04:21] Niall Mackay: happy to have you. Yeah. Thank you very much. I'll see you guys at an event and I shall soon.
[01:04:25] Yeah. Next week. Thanks Neil. Cheers. All good.
[01:04:33] Tue-Si Nguyen: Thank you so much for listening to creators and get now, if you liked this episode, become a part of our mission to inspire others by leaving a five star rating and review in apple podcast. Also by sharing this episode with your friends on social media, this one small act can truly make a difference in someone's life.
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