Tuesday, 13 November 2018

The real value is in the experience

I've been listening to some of Jordan Peterson's motivational talks to college students and something he said, just reminded me of something I have always thought about but never quite so clearly. He said something like "be the person that you want to be, and I'm not talking about what you should be". I was thinking about this and it sort of tied in with a lot of stuff that I've been thinking about so, bear with me; while I sort out my thinking process.

I think whilst growing up, we sort of have an idea of what we want in life, or at least what we do not want. I've always wanted a simple life, living by a river and listening to the sound of the flowing water and just appreciating simple things. I never imagined myself being a doctor or a lecturer or a professor. Yet, this is my life but despite becoming all these things, I cannot say that I am not living the life that I always wanted because, we choose who we want to be, and we choose how we want to live our lives. Unless things happen to us, that we have no control over, like war or disease; I am talking about in normal circumstances, we choose what we want to be and in that sense, I am living the life I've always wanted because, as I said, I've always wanted a simple life and what I appreciate more than anything is EXPERIENCES. 

In that senses, me and my husband we are very similar because what matters to us is not so much of wealth or positions or any of these things but what matters most are the experiences we share; and I love him for that, because he has further enrich my life with so many new things, and old things like rekindling old interest such as football, planes, and drawings.

Like I said, I never imagined myself being a doctor or a lecturer, but it has actually provided me with that ability to gain experiences and not just my own but also the experiences of others. Today, for example, I was involved in a health screening and I met some of the most amazing people who shared their experiences with me, there was a lady who survived not one, but two types of cancer and honestly, she looked so well you wouldn't have imagined all the treatment she went through. She is a survivor and there are many people out there like her, survivors and I felt privileged that she shared her story with me. When experience is the most valuable thing in life, you cherish every moment, every sound, every word, every feeling, every taste.

When Mr Peterson says "be the person that you want to be, and I'm not talking about what you should be", it just made me realize something that has been playing in my mind. I remember being a teenager and it is a special time when I was just finding myself, and thinking about life, and what kind of person do I want to be; thinking back I had no restrictions. Of course, to a certain extend we are all 'brainwashed' and told what we should aspire to become; from our parents, teachers, society but the difference is simply to WHAT LEVEL? but essentially, I felt free to choose who I wanted to be. My parents, apart from telling me I had to study and do well in my exams, never told me what kind of person I should be. I had the pleasure of exploring that by myself, with my friends, to develop my own hobbies, I went through study phase, wild teenage phase, religious phase, conceptual phase; I was a free spirit who never wanted to confine myself to simply one thing, because I think even at that point experiences was important to me, to explore everything and to understand, different people and different environments.

I think some people never got to be who they want to be (and I'm talking about normal people, not crazy psychopaths here) because they were told what they should be. For example, a lot of people were told that to be successful they have to end up with a certain type of job, have a certain type of house, a certain type of husband or wife, a certain type of car and then, they work so hard to get all that and when they do achieve it at the age of 35 then they start to look back and wonder what they were missing; and then suddenly realized, they have all these things but they do not have themselves; and then perhaps (I don't know, this is just a theory) that is what people call mid-life crisis.

I always tell people that I am not ambitious and I am not particularly bothered about having a career; but here I am, with a career and Alhamdulillah, a very fulfilling one; and what is fulfilling is not the title or position; but the experiences. I enjoy developing new skills, like writing for example. I started writing since I was 10 years old. I just used to write my thoughts and then, I started writing stories, and blogs and then I started writing about history and general knowledge and now, I am writing manuscripts and research proposals. It is different because of the topics and writing style but it is still all about writing. It is like with music, when I was little, I was exposed to classical music because of my dad and then my brother got me interested in new wave and then, when I was a teenager, I was exposed to rock and metal. That wasn't such a big deal to me because, I love music and I was open to all genres. I mean music has only eight notes with 12 semitones but you can produce so many different tunes and in so many different ways, each piece is an experience and why do we restrict ourselves to only a few types of music when we can experience the entire range; and I have collected all of these experiences since the day I was born and so, it is easier for me to say 'been there and done that; and never wanna do it again.' kinda thing inshaAllah.

Hence, each sound, each word, each senses, each feeling, each time, each place, each moment is an experience; and if we value experience, we will always be rich.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Should Malaysians return home?


Well, apart from the obvious reasons of family, great food, lovely weather and beautiful holiday spots, I don’t actually believe Malaysians should return home but I do believe that it would be helpful indeed if they choose to.
When I first returned home, I was totally shocked at the complete make-over of Malaysia. Of course, the landscape and skyline have been changing throughout the years. However, the more subtle things that Malaysians who come back from holiday may not realize and took for granted started to creep up on me. Things such as there were less and less mixing of races in schools, more and more private schools and vernacular schools. Also, it was the atmosphere of fear I suppose, the fear to speak up, and the constant domination of a few individuals who seem to be very loud and yet, often hollow. I don’t know, it was very weird.
I decided to send my children to ordinary National schools and it was evident to me that the method of teaching have not changed, or perhaps got worse over the years. Things that I did in school such as English and BM summary were no longer in the syllabus. Children were expected to copy from textbooks and even to copy essays. I was reading the primary school year 5 history text book and it was full of pictures but very scarce in facts for example, the story of how J.W.W Birch died was not even told. I asked my son if the teacher had told them the story in class but nope! I mean I remembered going to school and found it very interesting. My friends and I, we all had our own characters and school life was fun but, nowadays even I find my kids school life pretty boring.
I honestly do not know what happened but after PRU-14 I felt the ‘wind of change’ and all the people who were ‘hibernating’ before seem to appear from the shadows. People are starting to speak out and to address certain issues which were pushed under the carpet previously. Issues such as ‘sexual harassment’, ‘bullying’ and even in some hospitals where ward rounds were conducted in languages other than Malay or English has been addressed. It is a good start.
Perhaps you wonder why it has taken so long for these things to surface. I can only assume it is because people were afraid or their complaints fell on deaf ears. In the case of the ward round in a language other than Malay or English, which inadvertently excluded some people who can only speak Malay or English, I suppose the fear is if you bring up the issue, it will lead to ‘racial tension’. Something that has been time and time again psychologically drummed into the Malaysian public. Now that the issue is being discussed and people are actually saying it is not a racial issue but an issue of being considerate; Well, you know what…there is nothing to fear but fear itself.
Hence, I think Malaysia is already doing well (relatively). However, I do believe that Malaysians from overseas who decide to return can contribute tremendously in their expertise and specialist fields, as well as mentality and viewpoint. One thing that perhaps Malaysians overseas experience is what it is like to be an ethnic minority and having to fight for your rights and your beliefs. In the UK, I was an ethnic minority and being a Muslim woman in hijab, I guess indirectly I faced a lot of discrimination. I can’t remember being directly discriminated although I have been called ‘crazy’ for wearing a headscarf during the middle of summer and once I got harassed by some kid who wanted me to have his ‘babies’. Well, when you’re in that situation you have this choice to either be afraid or to fight back and I chose to fight. I chose to verbally speak my mind and tell some people off. I think that is a missing ingredient in Malaysia.
Often in Malaysia, I find there are a few loud people who are often ‘bullies’ and the others stood silently. Often these bullies or spoilt brats get what they want at the expense of everyone else. I think it is about time the majority speak their mind. By the way, I am not suggesting for all of us to turn into Siti Kassim but what I mean is for us to speak the truth and especially to stand up for Islam.
People say that all this butt licking started even during the time of Tun Mahathir. I don’t know. I sort of disagree because I think if we were to follow his example and his bravery and how he was not afraid to speak his mind and to call a spade a spade when it came to Zionism or those responsible for the economic crisis, we should have become a nation of brave souls. So, even if it is true that everyone was ‘afraid’ to say anything against him because he was a ‘dictator’ then I think he realizes now that is not good for the country and is encouraging us to be brave, to stand up for what is right.
So, Malaysians do come home because we need more people who can stand up for truth. For too long Malaysians in Malaysia has been plagued with this concept of ‘not rocking the boat’ and non-confrontational. We don’t need to confront everything or to start unnecessary arguments but justice must be for all.
I think since I returned in 2010 and God knows how long it was before that, people have been restrained in so many ways that it felt a heavy mountain was lifted off peoples’ back after PRU-14. I think people went a bit overboard after that and some individuals and groups were perhaps taking advantage of the situation to further their agenda but the majority public just needed a bit of a nudge to achieve equilibrium. It is easy to go a bit further than necessary. However, having people like Dr Nur Ilyani and others who were willing to speak up and to counteract certain agendas is a breath of fresh air. I think it is healthy because we need to give voice on both sides and to speak with clear understanding especially when it comes to religion.
I can understand for some who have been away for almost half of their lives will probably find it difficult to return. I thought about this when I wanted to make that decision and I knew that if I didn’t take the step to return home when I did, I probably never would so I am really ultimately happy that I made the decision when I did. If I had stayed in UK for 20 years, I probably would have to call myself British rather than Malaysian because our life, our definition, our memories, our existence is linked to our surroundings. So, that is understandable. Perhaps for the younger generation, do come home. Our nation is still building. It is not yet developed but we have at least achieved a two party ‘democrazy’ opps…I mean democracy; and we have survived.
Love you, Malaysia and happy 61st birthday.

The real value is in the experience

I've been listening to some of Jordan Peterson's motivational talks to college students and something he said, just reminded me of s...