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Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Getting Out of the Box (not just thinking of it)

[The following piece of writing was written in a more peaceful tone by eliminating most of the aggressive emotions to avoid causing controversy. Sorry if I offended anyone in any way. This essay is to express my personal point of view towards the topic without the intention to harm any individual. It does not necessarily represent the situation everyone had but at least it is what I experienced. Feel free to agree or disagree with it.]

I grew up in a traditional Chinese family where parents were strict (for our own good of course, and I am the eldest) and studied in Chinese schools for primary and secondary studies (super strict teachers and rules) for the past 17 years until I left my hometown to study in Selangor. Before that everyone around me basically consisted of Chinese except some teachers and staffs and some acquaintances I knew during my English tuition class. At that time I had no idea what does the world look like and I don't have the will to know either. (There was a reason why I scored high marks for my Malay language essay. I was taught in 'bahasa baku' a.k.a. standard language in the very first place, causing me to speak funny bahasa when I started to mix around with Malay friends. The spoken language is quite different from the written one. So I can consider this as cultural shock? Haha) My rebellious nature came quite late, about 18 years after I was born, haha, since I lived far away from home.

The environment was a comfort zone where I lived a life the way that I thought it should be, influenced by surrounding people and culture. We were taught to study hard to excel in examinations as that was the ultimate goal as a student so that we could be 'someone who are able to contribute to the community'. We were taught to follow the rules without the right to object anything even if we did not agree because the order was given by the authorities. We were taught not to doubt about decisions made by 'adults' as they were always right because their experience in life was much more than ours. Eventually many of us developed a characteristic of accepting what others say without face-to-face objection, which means we would be giving comments at the back fearlessly despite the fact that we were afraid to confront directly with the 'offenders'. Keeping quiet became the trend as speaking out loud would invite unwanted attention from unwanted people, eventually bringing troubles to ourselves.

Ok here is something personal about myself. When I was young, I was afraid to speak out my own thoughts no matter how small the thing was unless it was something conventional and could be accepted by general people. I did everything carefully so that I did not break any rule or any expectation from others. I wanted to be looked up at, I wanted to be liked, I wanted to be someone successful in terms of others view. A little bit of blaming certainly terrified me (no hyperbole). This personality has rooted inside me and I struggled hard to break free. Part of it still remains that I get panicked easily and I always worry about things that maybe I should not worry that much. Yeah, it leads to high efficiency in completing works given but it seems out of place within this social circle that I live where people love to be 'just on time'. Although I try to display an open personality I am still very sensitive towards anything related to myself. This led to some degree of aggressiveness within myself and I am sure that most of the time I hurt others' feeling easily by being too straight. Hiding my fear when facing obstacles do not make me stronger but I just do not want to show others that I am weak. Leader should be confident so that others are willing to follow your path to work on the same target. This causes me to break down sometimes when I was alone but this emotion weakness is not going to bring me down.

Things did not change much when I entered pre-tertiary and tertiary studies. Speaking up for ourselves seems like a rare action and people will be like 'wow you are so brave, I agree with you too'. When facing something we think as injustice or not true, we do not stand up to defend ourselves or others. Discussion turns into a one way talk or domination as others will rarely have opinion especially opinions that are contradict with the original idea. Come on, we are almost a grown-up (or already is one). I am not here to encourage rebellion but to motivate you guys to speak out, to let others know what's in our mind otherwise no one knows (or no one will care since you yourself do not want to show that you care). We might feel afraid to stand up facing someone more senior or superior than us, just like I do every time I want to stand up to speak. My heart races like mad but I have to be calm so that my words can be delivered clearly. There is no courage without fear. Face it and give yourself a push. Stand up and talk. The longer you wait, the more courage being drained from your body. Thinking twice before speaking is always smart, as long as you speak, you get the chance to make a change.

As a student we have no money for now, but what we have is energy and time, and chances to get back up after falling. We might fail, but failing as a student is always a fresh start. There is less financial or career stress that we still have the time to rebuild our personality to fit in the outside world in the future. Appreciate the one in a lifetime opportunity we are having now. Dream big, speak loud and work hard. Cheers!

P/S: No photo for this post because it is plain inner thought, hehe...

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