KOTA KINABALU: After almost four decades, a 51-year-old woman realised her dream to become a "mermaid".
Shureena Ng, who used to live at a water village here, had been hoping that she would see mermaids surface from when she was seven years of age.
"Even in the 1970s, there were black-and-white movies- P. Ramlee, Chinese and English - featuring mermaids.
"I became very excited whenever I watched or read anything related to mermaids," she said.
Three years ago, Ng discovered on the internet about the trend of being a " mermaid" in western countries.
She said swimming like a mermaid was the combination of applying dolphin and butterfly swimming strokes.
Growing up in a water village, Ng said all the children there naturally learnt know how to swim without having to go to classes.
"I learned about becoming a mermaid via videos available on the internet and it significantly improved my swimming skills.
"When I first started the hobby about three years ago, I practiced it at Babagon river in Penampang as I was not sure whether public swimming pools allowed such an activity.
"Those times, only my dogs accompanied me but I also put buoys around it for my own safety,"she said.
It was only when she started doing her mermaid swims at the Penampang sports complex and private pools did people start approaching her for lessons.
Ng, who also teaches music, arts and baking, has about 30 students from 5 to 58 years of age. They improve their swimming skills and breathing technique for free diving.
She said mermaiding was a fun approach to swimming for people especially children.
As for those who are passionate to become a mermaid, there is more to learn about how to swim gracefully in the water.
However, in the beginning, they have to do it under supervision and the right guidance as safety is always a priority.
Besides offering swimming lessons, through several years of research, Ng is also capable of making swimmable and durable mermaid costumes.
There are different mermaid costumes depending on individual preferences whether the clients want the realistic or fairtyle design, fabric or silicone material, among others.
Her passion in this new water fitness sports also brought her to another level when she was offered commercial shoots at the sea.
Ng swam in mermaid costume underwater at Tunku Abdul Rahman Parks here at the depth of eight metres without a mask and oxygen for three projects.
She was also offered to do mermaid shows on several occasions and she hopes in future there will be more mermaids as such shows can be used as charity drives.
More of Ng's mermaiding activities can be viewed at Sabah Mermaid Shureena in Facebook and Youtube channel.