On Turning 21 and Adulting

So, I turned 21 last week!

My birthday wishes were almost always accompanied with either congratulations on finally having my ‘keys’ to freedom, or asking me when I’m throwing my big 21st birthday bash.

It’s like as if after all these years, my family still doesn’t see me for the boring introvert I am. That’s alright, I’m all about surprises – and by that I mean the kind of surprise that makes a person go “Ah..” , not “Oh!”.

I don’t drink and I hate being at the center of attention in any form – what more a party thrown just for me. It’s not that I hate people (I don’t), or that I don’t like having company.. I’m just a big fan of staying home in my room, listening to action packed music and pretending I’m in Game of Thrones.

I’m more of a “lazy-Tuesday-in-my-room-with-my-jammies-and-daydreaming-for-hours” kinda girl (don’t underestimate my art of phasing out). That, or I spend the day scrolling through Facebook, ‘saving’ articles I know I won’t remember to read.

The only thing I did want for my birthday was to get myself registered as a voter! And I made it very clear to my parents, family and some friends that it was the only thing that mattered, nothing else.

It has been three years since the last General Election and back then I wanted to vote for very different reasons than the ones I have right now – being someone who has a more educated opinion on the political sphere in Malaysia than my 18 year old self did.

I woke up this morning with the goal of making sure I get it done and not end up procrastinating it like I do with every other important thing in my life – like driving. Imagine having your licence and not sitting behind the wheel for THREE YEARS. I’m pretty sure a recording of me attempting to park a car right now would end up being one of those videos that go viral.

After class, I walked to the printing shop to make a copy of my identity card, in case I needed it. As I was about to leave, I notice some drizzle. Literally three steps later and it’s pouring cats and dogs. At this point, I still had like, another 50 steps to get to somewhere with a roof. I was not going to ruin my hair and clothes since I already screwed up my make up before I even left the house in the morning.

But I was a girl on a mission (or am I a woman now?). So I decided to ruin my bag instead, and use it for cover.

On the way to the office, I realize that my dad was two minutes away. Normally when my dad says two minutes, what he really means is 45 minutes. He decided to turn over a new leaf today.

Long/boring story short, I convinced him to park outside while I go in and do the most adult thing I ever did in all my 21 glorious years of life.

As of now, I have registered to vote. I need to wait a few days, maybe even weeks, while they process my application and then it’ll be official!

Is it weird of me to register so early on? The next election is most likely only taking place in 2018. I felt so shy even asking the lady where do I register.

But whatever. I feel pretty damn good. I can actually go make a difference now. I get a say in what happens next and that’s the most powerful weapon in my book.

In other news, I have submitted my final assignment for the semester and come Monday, I’ll be done with my finals too. I can’t wait to get this first semester over and done with. Learning how to animate has been the most exhaustive thing to happen to me – and this coming from a person who created an 84-page coffee table book in four weeks, while writing a movie script and managing a club simultaneously before.

So it’s not so much the workload, but the fact that I’m doing something I don’t like. I realize how bratty that sounds and that we’re all going to have to go through that at some point in our lives.

But I now know what it would feel like to spend the rest of your career doing something you hate. You know that saying about how if you were to love what you’re doing, you won’t have to work a day in your life? That resonated with me so hard this semester.

I realize that not all of us will be so lucky as to be able to land a job doing something we are truly passionate about, but now I just want to strive harder for it even more.

I will probably spend the rest of my day wondering why Mass Communication students were required to take such a heavy technical subject that has little to do with our line whatsoever in the first place. But I can’t deny the trickle of good that came out of it.

The optimistic person in me wants to believe that everything happens for a reason.. Including the things that make you lose sleep for more than a week while ruining your biological clock and potentially shortening your life span in the process.

But yea, things fall into place when we’re not looking, right?

However, for at least a couple of my assignments, I did pretty well. And that was for the only two subjects I liked. So for that, I’m really happy!

Till the next post.

xx,

Kelly

 

Ramadan, Bazaars and Racial Unity

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The past month in Malaysia has been full of opinions and discussion from Muslims about what is proper and what is not.

This coming Wednesday marks the end of Ramadan – the Muslim holy month. In case you’re not familiar with this, Muslims spend the month fasting from food and water (among other things) from sunrise to sunset. In a nutshell, this is to put ourselves in the shoes of those who are less fortunate – to know what it’s like to want what you can’t have, basically.

On one end you have extremos telling your non-Muslim friends to not eat in front of them and on the other you have normal Muslims like me who try to tell you why that defeats the sole purpose of Ramadan. The again, this worrying mentality is slowly becoming another norm in Malaysia lately.  When we’re not arguing about racial politics, some religious folks will try to justify why their way is better than yours. It makes me sad that a country I was always proud to be a part of for its beauty and diversity is slowly birthing self entitled assholes from every corner. Our new generation is disgusting.

Then again, it’s not always like this.

With Malaysia being a Muslim majority country, Ramadan is kind of a big deal here, whether that person is Muslim or not. There are non-Muslims who fast with their Muslim friends too as a sign of solidarity or just for fun.

But the best part about all of this would have to be the Ramadan bazaars found in almost every housing area. The delicious food spread and colorful drinks are worth drooling over.

These bazaars consists of families and businesses serving their food on tables, with royal blue tents, shielding them from the sun. It’s usually very noisy due to everyone talking about their day at work /school and the sound of  ladles hitting against the frying pans – the sign of food being freshly prepared for customers.

Oh yes, the food! Don’t get me started on the food.

They have everything from kuih lapis, ondeh-ondeh, seri muka to nasi lemak, deep fried squid, ayam golek percik, asam laksa,  ikan bakar and a spread of traditional malay curries and sambals. The drinks range from coconut water to blue lemon drinks – they tend to go a little overboard with the coloring on this one. But well, after 14 hours of hunger and thirst, you’d be surprised at what you walk out of the bazaar with.

Seeing multiracial shoppers (yep, you could call them that because everyone comes back from it with morbid amounts of food that make them look like they just walked out from a sale) walking together, laughing and interacting. Everything seems so simple and calm. Nobody seems to be divided by the politics or bothered with the outside world.

I’m sorry if I made you think Malaysians are racist during the remaining 11 months. We truly are not. But like I said, a lot of things have been happening lately. Ideologies are being spread, religious teachings are being corrupted and people of faith are being stereotyped. Even when someone doesn’t openly state what they truly feel towards a certain group of people, it’s not something you can hide. Sometimes, even I get tired of the constant bullshit.

It’s so easy to hate, isn’t it?

Which is why I look forward to the evenings just to see this calmness amidst the crowd. Yesterday I saw a lady donate money to a man in the bazaar and then I watched as a couple of women walked down the street in their old fashioned kebayas. One stall started blasting old Hari Raya music. Everything about that day felt so good.

This morning in the wet market, an elderly woman randomly made conversation with my mum and I while we were busy picking out chilies. She asked us what we were cooking and I told her it was for the beef rendang. And to think I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning due to having only two hours of sleep last night. I just felt better instantly. She lady’s friendliness really did brighten up both my mum’s and my day.

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Picking fresh fish from the market this morning.

Too bad this month is coming to an end in a matter of days. I see racial and religious unity around me in the way my friends and I respect each other all the time, so I’m no stranger to the beauty of it. But there is truly nothing better than seeing different people bonding together over food.

xx

Kelly

P.S: Hari Raya literally translates to ‘day of celebration’ , which is the Malaysian way of saying ‘Eid-il-fitri’, which marks the end of Ramadan.