Ally’s Thoughts: What made me a Malaysian?

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Hi friends and readers,

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.

25 August 2022.

Ally’s Thoughts: I have a choice. So do you.

Hi friends and readers,

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.

Until next time, friends.

Ally’s Thoughts: It’s difficult because we don’t share the same values

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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.

A mismatch.

Ally’s Thoughts: A Note 13422

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Dear friends and readers,

Sorry for the long absent. I don’t even know what am I experiencing right now. Am I having relapses, non-stop anxieties, living in survival mode, or trying too hard to escape reality.

To share how and what I feel, I feel like I am struggling. Struggling for or from what, I’m not sure. Not at the moment. I wonder if I am in fight or flight mode. Maybe my depression is creeping on me harder than before. Is it depression or something that I am used to? I don’t know. All I know is like I am living a double life, one trying too hard to survive and the other one, already giving up the fight.

Perhaps, I’ve been overthinking. To the extent when simple things feels huge and difficult. I really don’t know. I don’t feel sad but beyond it. The feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. I don’t know what to express. I feel like an empty vessel, soulless. I remember when I always am associated with the word lifeless. It somehow stays and still relevant, to this day.

I have forgotten the feeling of happiness, excitement, and hope. Mostly reality hits differently and being merciless. Too much thinking, too tiring. The thought of living overshadowed by the crushing struggle. Shrouded by loneliness is like a wound that never heal. I’ve written things down in my book, lashing it out in this space.

Ally’s Thoughts: The Haunting of Hill House (2018)

Hi.

I hope you are doing well and I wish you all the best to go through any difficulties in your life. I recently watched The Haunting of Hill House, a Netflix horror series. I am not a fan of horror. When I saw the trailers years ago, I couldn’t really brace myself to watch it.

However, after I’ve watched You season three, I need to fill that void of watching Victoria Pedretti. It’s just this strong admiration to see her bringing these characters to life. If you missed my thoughts about You season three, you can find the link here.

So, I decided to watch the series and I’m pretty much beaten and drained. As usual, I’m not going to talk about how good or bad the series is, this is not a review. It’s just a way for me to share my thoughts on certain aspects of it. If you haven’t watch it, there might be spoilers. So, read on with cautions. You are warned.

It’s sad. Just sad.

If not for all the jump scares, I might forget about it being a horror series. Throughout the series, I am mostly weeping, thinking, and sadness filling my chest. It’s unthinkable how traumatic experiences would affect people growing up. I can’t help to be able to relate. The show highlighted it really well.

Adding it up the sadness, the characters are misunderstood, denied of their feeling, and struggling with their own problems. Sometimes, it is more than what we can handle alone, we need supports. It reminded me of my own fragility, as a human. Throughout each episodes, the conflicts of the characters slowly creeps into my mind.

Family institution.

I’m having critical thoughts when it comes to family. We are not perfect and have flaws but that shouldn’t be the reason to not try. To have a family is like building a house, foundation, pillars, walls, and roof. The bare minimum and basic properties. Then, the electricity, water, and gas. Followed by the paint, wallpapers, decorations, and furniture. Everything build by time. Slowly, improved. Renovations.

If we really love the house, we would try to work on it. Until a time that we know well, when to leave. The parent tried so hard to build a strong foundation for their kids. However, due to the circumstances, the kids grew up and go on their separate ways. The bond and connection changed and things didn’t get better until it was too late.

This post have been in my draft for weeks now. I’ve watched Bly during that time. However, I’m not really keen on writing about it because, I don’t have anything that I want to highlight.

Have you watched this series?

Ally’s Thoughts: YOU (Season Three Netflix Series)

How are you? I hope you are doing well. I know I’m not really doing well but I am working my way. Few hours ago, I have watched the season three of You. It is a Netflix series that I’ve started to watch last year. I even made a post about it. I’ll leave the link to the first post down below.

Ally’s Thoughts: YOU

Did I skipped writing about season two? Yes. I feel like season one and two have a strong resemblance while trying to tie all the lose ends. So, nothing really strikes me to write something down. However, season three for me is something really refreshing and a theme on its own.

Before I go even further, spoilers alert and as always, my thoughts are not about how the series is good or bad. It is just some personal thoughts that I feel I really want to share when I watched it. Again, if you haven’t watch the series, just skip this post.

I was anxious, yet excited!

Not even ten minutes into the first episode, I was so anxious about the whole situation they were into. Can they really be a normal couple? I can’t help to think who would be the casualty in the series. I couldn’t stop thinking about body counts… I am referring to the dead bodies throughout the series. Every single time the series introduced a new character, the thought on my head is… will this character die? Will this one get killed? It is constantly in my mind.

However, I really love the progress of Joe and Love are making. Both of them are crazy but I really love the dynamic between the two of them. Out of all the ‘You’ Joe had, I really love, Love Quinn character. I believe she is a strong and capable woman. If her character develops beyond the story and things really get together, she will be super successful. Plus, the actress, Victoria Pedretti instantly becomes my celebrity crush. Okay, back to the series.

Marriage scares me.

I know that Joe and Love have their own twisted personalities. Both of them came from different background growing up with traumas that defined their adulthood. I can see where they are coming from, their obsessiveness, overprotectiveness, impulsiveness, and all the values that led them to where they are. I kind of understand the flaws inside of me. I really believe that I am not perfect and I made mistakes and probably will too in the future.

Being alone is about me having to deal with all these by myself. However, some things can be a long stretch battle and I don’t know if I am capable to heal or get over it one day. Imagine having so much issues and trying to get through it is hard. Now, add another person. Some people probably overcome and able to handle things. What if I don’t?

I do believe in the process of healing. I do believe that people can get better. If only they want to go through it together and be a team. It’s not that I don’t believe in it, I just have so many doubts in me right now.

Expectation and happiness.

I recently joined a course in Coursera called The Science of Well-Being and one of the topic in discussion was how we think we will be happier with expectation. When we expect to find a job making certain amount per year would make us happy, but it only make us happy a little bit or not at all.

Joe and Love have their own definition of being a perfect parent. Despite both of them have a dark history and personalities. They carries different value in themselves. Somehow, thing went the opposite. Both only sees their own values and belief while tiptoeing among each other.

They tried to improve their relationship but the moment they saw different things, it went south.

It saddened me.

The finale saddened me. I really love the dynamic between Joe and Love. I was running different scenarios in my head on how the season would end. It’s either one of them died. Or both of them survived. Personally, I would love to see them on the run and somehow managed to kill the whole town if necessary. That would certainly be a plot that I want to see. But, that wouldn’t fit the title and the original storyline.

So, I am open for fan-fic at this moment. Overall, I really love the series. It’s really heartbreaking to see the ending. It’s really hard to see a happy ending in such dark and grim series.

Can I find a partner to be on my team?

I learned that life is a long journey as long as I’m still breathing. There are many encounters, mistakes, lessons and everything that will help me grow. I understand that well. I’ve seen so many people found new beginnings after some things ended.

I don’t believe in perfection but I believe in contentment. Perfect is just a façade to cover my own weaknesses. I’m not looking for perfection but willingness. What do you think?

That’s all for now. I hope you enjoy reading it. It’s been raining here and I just feel like sleeping the whole day. Welcome Monsoon season.

Wishing you all the best. Till next time.

Ally’s Thoughts: The Loneliness Of Not Understanding

Hi friends and readers.

I hope you are doing well and healthy. There is a topic in my mind that have been poking me to write it down. Earlier, there was this conversation between someone that is close with a relative. The topic was about me, and this person couldn’t really explain well what I do.

I felt the heaviness in my chest after my brain decided to process the conversation. It made me remember all the things I thought I have forgotten. The childhood that made me this way. The respond and conversation that I made me feel denied of everything.

A friend shared this post from Instagram and I can’t help to feel overwhelmed.

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The post hits me close. Imagine after all those years, and some of us are really struggling to open up. Is it mendable? Is it possible to even have this trust again? The scenario that running through my head is how heartbreaking it would be to them for not opening up. Worse when we told them that we don’t really trust them and how the connection is not as close as they think. The thoughts of, how ungrateful I could be!

What kind of feeling that have been stirring inside me? The thought of being torn and unable to feel anything around them and the feel that I am faking everything messed me up. It feels a lot more horrible when others could understand you better.

I think this thought of loneliness not only came from being alone but from the people around you that don’t understand you. They denied your thoughts and concerns for a long time. And when the time really comes, you rather keep it silent.

The song Headlights by Eminem feat Nate Ruess was so relatable and I feel like sharing it with everyone. I’m unable to really deliver the words in my head and I only feel like writing this much. Sorry for the bad words, sentences, or grammar. I really just want to write my thoughts down so much. At least to feel a little bit lighter.

Ally’s Thoughts: Selamat Hari Merdeka ke-64 #MalaysiaPrihatin

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I wish to all Malaysian, a Happy 64th Independence Day, or Merdeka Day. In the spirit of fighting the pandemic, the theme is carried from last year, Malaysia Prihatin meaning Malaysia Cares. It does fit us in this challenging time during the pandemic including the political instability.

There have been plenty of things happened and I am sure that all Malaysians experienced it. Ever since we had our first lockdown, selfish actions by some politicians, economic disasters, and of course the loss of souls from Covid-19. In this post, I feel the urge to share my thoughts also known as venting out. I believe that as a citizen, there is nothing wrong for me to express my feeling, to share dissatisfactions.

I do have a lot to write on but it will probably turned out to be lengthy and uninteresting for other to read. I will just write based on a topic that I want to highlight.

Malaysia Prihatin, or Malaysia Cares.

In the place where I live, the lockdown have been imposed for more than 500 hundred days. I live in a state that contributes the highest Covid-19 cases nationally. While there are some softer restrictions earlier, it turned worst after Malaysia struggling with the 3rd waves of the pandemic. I mostly ended up staying home and only go out to buy necessary groceries. I am sure I am not alone to feel extremely exhausted because of it.

During this pandemic, I submitted to my depression, I withdraw from projects, I lost some relatives, and likely to worsen my mental health. While that is from my perspective, there are others that are less fortunate. It is in the news every single day. Some loses their source of income, some struggling to have basic necessities, and some loses a lot more.

Fortunately, Malaysians can be helpful and generous towards each other. While we are made of different culture and races, being supportive is a trait that we shares together. It was shown by the #BenderaPutih movement. It was amazing to see how willing and able for us to help each other.

What disgusts me was when some politicians belittled the movement. It was unnecessary and showed lack of empathy, plus the big disparity between reality from the so called ‘elite’ perspective. My obvious impression is yes, we the struggling citizen can relate and believe in Malaysia Prihatin. It doesn’t seem the case for such elits in Malaysia. They don’t care.

The real Malaysians

As I grew up, and already starting my 3-series journey this year, I met with a lot of people. I dare to say this, the real Malaysians will never judge each other based on races. Why? Simply because it doesn’t make any sense. Why would I be judgmental towards other races? For me, it is all based on individual. No one would like to be band together for something that they are not.

I can see clearly how great unity is during this pandemic. I can see the eagerness from real Malaysians to help each other. I see them as the real Malaysians. I believe that as time move forward, we will become better.

And to the crooks and selfish politicians, Malaysians rallied together to help each other during this pandemic. While you were busy playing chess to gain power, you sidelined us to make us suffer. I believe that the younger generations are ready to change the landscape of the archaic political games.

The next 10 years will be something I am looking forward to. As a responsible citizen, I voted in elections ever since I met the age requirements. Things already changing and it was proven by the last general election. While things became unstable after that, I consider it as the inevitable change that will echo louder later.

I wish nothing else but to see better leaders in the future. Simply because, I might live through that future.

Ally’s Thoughts: Absorbing Energy and Thoughts

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Dear friends and readers,

I hope you are staying safe and healthy. We are still in the pandemic and affecting our lives more or less. It sure hit me hard especially on my mental health.

On this post, I want to share my on how the things going on around me affected me so much. Some of the things happened directly, some I came across my social media feeds. I wish to add some trigger warnings that may affect you.

The Numbing Days

Ever since the year started, I’ve lost few relatives. Some from cancer, COVID, and other reason. It affected my mood and I don’t even have the time to reconcile with my own feeling and emotions. I only choose to suppress the thoughts and keep on going. I started to burn out and depression kicks in quickly. To add the numbness, I had to manage some of the death directly because of unavoidable circumstances.

Some of them, I had been helping to take care while they were bed ridden. Yesterday they were still breathing, they were gone the next day. To be a part of the process is overwhelming too. From the moment they took their last breath, calling the ambulance, making police report, then, to the burial ground. Some were a bit of hassle, especially in hospital. Some with lack of proper documentations, costly procedures, and time consuming.

Even after everything is completed, its probably just the first part. I am still not able to reflect on the things going on and keep on moving while ignoring the pain inside me.

Lack of Happiness

During this long lockdown in Malaysia, my days are mostly spent at home with pending work. Adding and piling up anxieties. I am torn between work and lack of motivation. I need my time and space. While I am able to go out to buy groceries, it doesn’t feel the same.

I am used to find my joy outside. I’m used to take long commute from home to work. I want to be on the train. I want to take long walk among the crowd. I want to sit and have my food in a restaurant. It doesn’t matter if I’m alone because I am enjoying it.

I did find distractions but it was not enough. I’m not sure what count as being happy when I spent most of the time feeling nothing. Then came the creeping feeling of being overwhelmed and the urge to curl then cry. It’s on repeat. What’s worst is when the environment lead to another trigger that ruined my day. Ruined my mood. Only to crush me down and decapitate me emotionally.

Overwhelming

Every time I’m on social media, the world feels like getting worst. People losing their lives, loved ones, jobs, health, and home. Their livelihood destroyed. The war. The wrath of mother nature. The incompetent leaders. I can only help as much. I can only do as much. I wish I can do more.

The thoughts of other suffered more paralyzed me. The thoughts that others are struggling aching me. The thoughts of others losing their loved one shook me. It can happen to me too. The urge to keep on trying and moving forward stunted me. Especially in this state of mine.

The truth is…

I am tired. I am given up. I don’t want to feel this discomfort. I am tired to reevaluate my life again. The dark thoughts haunting me is probably regret of not doing things sooner. Will I be regretting it again for the next few years? I don’t have the answer for it now.

I don’t even know what I want now. I only have the urge to sleep and forget. I don’t want to continue. Yet, what keeps me going? Is it hope? Is it faith? Is it cowardice?

The only thing I’m sure of is, I am tired. I am exhausted.

Ally’s Thoughts: Back to You (2019) #Malaysia

Hello friends and readers,

I just watched a wholesome kind of movie in YouTube and I felt the urgency to share it immediately about the experience here.

Currently in Malaysia, the Covid-19 daily cases rate have been breaking the new high for the past few weeks. According to statistic, our daily cases are higher compared to India per capita. For a country with around 32 million people, it is alarming and scary too. Moreover, the vaccination rate is considered slow as well.

While being in this indefinite lockdown for more than a year now, while the economy sector are not in total halt, it is just too risky to go out. So, I spent most of my indoor time, watching TV and consuming content like I never before. Plus, my anxiety and stress is building up. In short, I am really stressed out over the situation right now.

As usual, the Ally’s Thoughts series are about my thoughts on certain theme or values in the movie that I feel like sharing. Trust me, no spoiler most of it.

Back to You (2019)

While browsing YouTube, I stumbled upon this movie. It is a family theme movie about a daughter being adopted and raised by a different cultural background family. 28 years later, her biological mother tried to connect with the daughter.

I would describe the experience watching the movie, a wholesome one. The bond of family valued so much throughout the movie especially the bond between a mother and her daughter. The movie did a great justice by showing the bond between her biological mother and adopted mother.

The movie brought me to an emotional ride of roller coaster through and through. I can’t help to feel the mixed emotions and getting sweep away by the pace. Similar to life, on how we can be excited today, then feeling down and disappointed on the next day.

The Malaysian Background

Apart from the heart capturing values expressed in the movie, I am impressed and satisfied with the amazing potrayal of cultural background in the movie. Malaysia has been known as a multiracial and multicultural country. It has been like this for centuries long before the colonialism. Thanks to being one of the most rich and flourishing kingdom controlling the Malacca Strait in the 15th century.

History asides, I believe as a Malaysian, it is always important to understand how living together in harmony is the great recipe to build a strong and stable nation. We respect each other, being kind towards each other, and we know our differences are the things made us closer.

I believe I am able to appreciate it because of the experience I had growing up. I am exposed to the differences early compared to some people I know. I had my pre-school in a mix environment. Then I went to mix public primary and secondary school as well. I learned more about the differences from my friends. It still continues after I get into work. I somehow enjoyed being surrounded by this differences and it helps me to think, it is a waste for the younger generations that missed such experience.

Our Individuality

I personally conclude that, some people out there that being judgmental about other races in Malaysia are just people with less exposure and experience. Take our counterpart in East Malaysia, how harmonious Sabah and Sarawak people can be together amid the differences. It doesn’t matter which races they are from, we are all human and our environment and upbringing shapes us individually.

I am deeply moved on how the movie concludes. It doesn’t matter if the child was born Chinese and then raised like a Malay. Ultimately being a human with virtues are much more important. The will to understand each other is a great effort. What ever walls came between should be taken down and to be celebrated together.

Never let stereotypes, bad actors and political agendas divides us. Because I know too well, I am not the only person in Malaysia that believes in the harmony that we have right now. It is just the matter of believe and making things work for a better future.

And I believe that Malaysia can be a great example to the whole world what is multicultural unity is all about.

You can watch the full telemovie here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIkhtGJVT0c