Yes, I know. I do write depressive poems. I believe it is simply because that is how I mostly feel all day. Some thoughts can be really intrusive. I rather pen the thoughts down than have to wrestle with them inside my head. It can be tiring and numbing as well.
What is a writer or a poet if they are not true to their feelings?
I recently went to a poetry exhibition called A Wasteland Of Malaysian Poetry. It is an audio exhibition of Malaysian poets across years and generations. They also have poetry reading sessions as well. Do you want to know how I feel when I listened to them? I feel disconnected. When they spoke about falling in love, having bad dates, and being heartbroken. I feel totally disconnected. Don’t get me wrong. Everyone has the right to express how they feel. Nothing wrong with them. More like, there is something wrong with me.
I am a heart that no longer beats, Cold and pale like death, Daydreaming to be the red, Living and beating heart.
I did write about other things and some of them are not depressing. Sometimes. And if anyone gives me a prompt like love or happiness, I can write them down. I might drown myself the whole day listening to old-school love songs. Just to invoke the once-happy memories or the leftover of it I still have. Even so, the thoughts and walking down the feeling might sound superficial to me.
Don’t worry about me. I’m used to this kind of thoughts and feeling. I’m probably used to this somberness. There are times I have so many thoughts yet little words to say. Maybe, it’s better to say nothing at all.
Recently, I worked with an NGO, and a question was asked that keeps on bothering me for months. What made me a Malaysian? The manager raised a couple of good points like the fragility of tying our nationality with food, and sports. I can’t help to agree. This is just my personal opinion and that is what “”Ally’s Thoughts” segment is all about.
I agree with his statement. Does being a Malaysian about having good food and good badminton players? Is it about having the tallest twin tower in the world? In a more recent quick discussion, I had with an academician, he said, if being a Malaysian is all about having all the good food, it feels superficial. I nodded in agreement.
Let me share my opinion on what made me a Malaysian. First of all, I know well Malaysia is a multiracial country, once a British colony for hundreds of years. The colonizer brought in laborers, mainly from India and China to maximize the production of local resources. They created a system that somehow managed to seep into the present, elitist. If you are Malaysian and somehow want to understand more about it, I highly recommend you to read The Colour of Inequality: Ethnicity, Class, Income and Wealth in Malaysia by Muhammed Abdul Khalid. It doesn’t matter which race are you from because it definitely helped me to understand why Malaysia feels so torn apart sometimes.
Unity and beyond
I personally believe being a Malaysian is all about unity. The unique thing about it is we look past it beyond colors and belief. For me it is a blessing compared to other countries, Malaysians enjoy each other’s company, celebrate together, and deeply respect each other in our daily life. In the recent crisis, Covid, and the flood that happened, I saw how united Malaysian can be. The solidarity shown for fellow Malaysians that was affected by the crisis is heart-moving. It really shows the Malaysian spirit.
I believe this should be the starting point for a better future. I also believe similar things have been done in the past. However, if it works, I wouldn’t be writing this kind of post. I would probably be writing about something else, not about the obvious thing that should make me a Malaysian.
Somehow from my observation, I don’t think we Malaysians share the concept of history the same as each other deeply. We all understand how we gain our independence and the leaders behind it. However, we came from different backgrounds. Some might feel that independence is a distant past that the younger ones have difficulties embracing.
Again, unity as the core principle value is not new. I’ve seen the words countless times as I grew up. The terms perpaduan, bersatu padu, semangat perpaduan, and the list goes on. We have been injected and shaped with those words constantly, I, for example, have been to Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK), playing with those words in my essays. Even so, I believe in experience and practical things rather than just theory. I attended two different SK. One is in the city, where I experience the multiracial environment. The other one is in the kampung, where 99% of the students are Malay. The atmosphere and experience are totally different. When I get to SMK, the students from the kampung have a hard time mingling with other races and prefer their own. It’s just from my observation.
Of course, unity is the key but the keysmiths are the politicians. They are the leaders that shaped the country. I understand that Malaysians inherited a system from the colonizers and passed it down to the younger generations. I strongly believe we need to break free from it. It is in the news about how racism is on the rise but Malaysians don’t really talk about it. To be honest, I have faith in my generation and the coming ones. Slowly, I believe the real Malaysians, not the elitists, will be able to shape a better Malaysia. The one that has been brought up by the spirit of living in Malaysia will lead the country. Certainly not by the silver spoon-fed families that have no idea what happen on the ground. Real leaders that will bring unity which all Malaysians deserve.
You can leave if you want, but…
Of course there are Malaysians who believe that this country is doomed. No point in staying and better migrating to another country. That is their opinion and nothing is wrong with that. But, the one who stays believes otherwise. They still want to fight, they believe in change. Slowly, they did. Slowly, they progressed. They are fighting for a better Malaysia.
You or any other Malaysians who no longer believe Malaysia can be better, you can leave if you want but don’t ever disrespect or belittle the effort of the ones who decided to stay. The same goes for Malaysians who don’t vote because they don’t believe in change or the system. To vote is the bare minimum to challenge the system. That is the basic thing to do for a Malaysian.
As a closure, being a Malaysian is all about unity. For me, that is the answer to the question, of what makes us Malaysian. This unity stems from respect, admiration, and understanding of Malaysia’s identity. I believe this unity has already sprouted and grown but is still a long way to fully mature. Perhaps, one day.
Have you watched a video from not so long ago about a judge recognising a classmate? If you haven’t, I’ll leave the link to the video here. Plus, with the update.
I believe this is a great example of how we all have choices. There are times when I am at my wit’s end. A dead end after a long confusing walk in a labyrinth. It usually happens when I don’t have the ideas, the knowledge, the different perspectives… I tried to do it alone. Don’t get me wrong, I realised that there are things that we can do alone, and there are things that we need help with. And for some people like me, asking for help can be challenging. However, that is a different problem. Let’s go back to our main topic of the day, choices.
So in the video, the defendant managed to change. To note, this is not his first run in court. He has been in the same situation previously. However, this time, a different judge decided to take a different approach. Imagine if she continues without having that conversation with the defendant. She had a choice. Either ignore or talk about it. She chose to talk about it. The impact? Is something that some of us wanted, to change and to be someone better.
I made bad choices in life. Some of them are painful, and some left me with emotional scars. However, I learnt that is the next step after that. There is nothing wrong with reflecting on our mistakes. What matter next is the choice, either to drown yourself in it or take the first step to own it and made better choices.
I’m writing this down not to preach. I want this to be a reminder to myself. I would probably read this post again in the future. When I hit the same dead end. When I made bad choices. When I need the strength to move on. I know this because I read my previous posts. It helped me even though it was something I wrote years ago.
Have you been in a situation where you don’t think things will work out because of the differences in values?
I’ve been wanting to share about this for the past few weeks but I couldn’t decide on how to share it. The word value also means principles or the thing we think is important in life. If we think love is important, love is a value in our life. If we think money is far more important, we hold money as valuable and a priority in our life. Those are just examples.
What if a couple doesn’t share the same values? What if a family has different ideas on the values that matter? What if the company’s value is totally different from that of its employees? It is a mismatch and will hinder their situation, trust, and growth.
Of course, a solution or a compromise is the next step forward. However, before taking that next step, the current step is to understand what kind of values that we believe in.
I personally, can be really particular about the things I get myself involved on something. Be it personal, networking, or career-wise.
I was in such a situation recently and I feel tormented for the inability to share about it. Imagine working on a project that you are so uncomfortable with. It was not the tasks, colleagues, or the bosses but the whole idea of the project. A project that focuses on great values but personally to me, it is against mine. Don’t get me wrong, I do support the project but to be personally involved in it, stirs the guilts and pressure inside me.