Teach Your Children

“You, who are on the road must have a code that you can live by.
And so become yourself because the past is just a good bye.
Teach your children well, their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams, the one they fix, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

And you, of the tender years can’t know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth, they seek the truth before they can die.
Teach your parents well, their children’s hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams, the one they fix,the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.”

Recently I’ve been involved with Teach For Malaysia as a Global Campus leader. Even though there isn’t much that I’ve done yet but one thing that I have never realised is how unassuming something can be. A school in a big city can be considered high-need, despite supposedly being “urban”.

I come from a family of teachers and educators. Maybe thats why public speaking isn’t a daunting task for me (as long as I like what I’m talking about, of course); however it never crossed my mind to get a teaching degree.

And at the moment, I love what I’m doing, I love what am I learning. But I want to make an impact, specifically among the people my age. I am optimistic about my generation, the generation that takes too many selfies and posts too many vines. But we are the generation that blog our hearts out, we are the generation that refuses to let the world turn their backs on us.

They call us children, but they won’t let us grow. So we pick ourselves up, we teach ourselves the way of the world, and we will teach our children.

This is a call for help, this is the rounding cry; this is what I’m doing, I am calling up arms. Even if you have never envisioned yourself a teacher, educate others. The first step to combat anything is by teaching, is by educating.

If you have it, realise your privilege and help the ones who are not.

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Transitions

Moving schools are tough. Imagine moving countries. Moving your life.

I’ve been living out of 2 suitcases as far as I can remember, dating back to since I was 11; when my dad came home one day and announced that we were moving our lives to Miri, Sarawak. I had no idea what life in Sarawak was gonna be. The only images in my mind were trees, and animals. I was 11, what did I know?

So we packed. We wrapped up furniture, donated clothes, and gave away my storybooks (I cried at the lost of my treasures). And we moved.

Settling in a town 10 times smaller than Kuala Lumpur, I was not used to the quiet (no one honks!) and clean air (the beach was 5 minutes away). I was not used to the idea that there were more than 3 races! I was bewildered when I saw many students in my school who didn’t look chinese or indian but did not attend Agama Islam classes with me. (However I was used to being a minority despite being Malay Muslim because I was in a Chinese medium school, but thats a story for another day)

The thing about migrating and being a foreigner is that you unofficially become an ambassador. In my case, I’m automatically an ambassador for the “Malaya” people (what Sarawakians call people who originates from West Malaysia). This is a great time to educate yourself, and others. What with all the racial tension in the country, and while I was there, there was talk about about Sarawak seceding the country; but I am in no place to comment about that. ๐Ÿ™‚

Fast forward 7 and a half years later, when I was 17; dad came home and dropped another bombshell on the family. “Pack up guys, we’re moving to Saudi Arabia!”

My first thought was “Holy shit Saudi?!?!”

My second thought was “Holy shit tak payah SPM siut!”

Admittedly, I was falling behind in my studies a little, and was more interested in my extra curricular activities, specifically tennis.

Our lives were turned upside down. I had no idea what life in a country where women can’t work, can’t drive, can’t dress the way want, speak the way they want and how my education was going to be.

But we adapt. Whether you make the choice to study abroad in a foreign country, or didn’t have a choice and still had to be starting a life in a new environment, you have to make changes. You need to learn to shake off the notion ofย “I’ll never be one of them”. They key to transitioning to a different country is open mindedness. You’d be surprised at the wonders you’ll find in a culture you thought would be hostile one.

Again, a few months before my 20th birthday, I packed all my belongings, gave away some books, donated more clothes; and took a couple more long flights to where I am now, United States to finish my degree.

I have no idea where I’ll be when I’m done here.

I have no idea exactly when I’m done here.

But I will transition. As I have done before. I will embrace my two constant companions, the two suitcases.