Wednesday, November 28

Home Sweet Home

This lexical chain has been repeated more times than required but it does retain a very profound truth...
I'm a Malaysian born in the city of Kuching in the state of Sarawak.
I have just returned from my studies overseas in Wellington, New Zealand.

Anywhere in the world, when you meet new people... one of the top 10 questions you will be asked is "where are you from?" besides "what is your name?" & "do you have a quarter?"
In New Zealand, I sometimes feel a hint of shame to say, "I'm from Malaysia." Mostly because the enthusiasm shown by the person asking the question will drop sharply after you answer honestly. As if my country was not good enough for him/her.
Well, I do feel that my country is not good enough when comparing it to some of the Japanese & Koreans people I meet.
Even when I was studying in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I experienced this...
"I like the way you look... Where are you from?"
"I'm from Kuching, Sarawak."
"Oh..."
Yeah, I do find that my city is not as glamourous or exciting like Penang or KL.

But why do I compare? Why should I let what other people think dictate my thoughts on myself? Why should I compare my nation or city with other nations or cities when they are all very very different with their own distinct characteristics & attractions? When I caught myself feeling down because of this, I stopped to think. I knew this was not a good thing. Thinking like this isn't right. Like it or not, I cannot change my origin. I can deny it & create some false identity... but deep inside of me I know the truth... I know where I am from.

Why shoud I be ashamed of something I cant change? Is it possible for me to be proud of my humble origins? Yes, Malaysia is not as advanced but we are advancing rapidly & will one day match the likes of Japan. There is hope. Yes, Kuching is not as lively or glamourous but it is clean & the food is great. There is a hope & a future for my nation & my city. I should not be depressed about a place that is filled with hope. I should be proud. I should look forward instead of the present to judge worth. Indeed when doing so, I find pride... Let me be an example. Let me show that a person with a small beginning can also be a person with a significant ending.

For those of you who dont know, I arrived in Kuching at 11:50pm on Monday, 26 Nov. Before you, my friend, start whining & complaining about how long I took to get in contact with you, I suggest you stop that pathetic whinning of yours & take a good look in the mirror. After two years of being away from your family, yes, you will miss your friends, but blood is thicker, I find myself wanting to spend more time with my family. True friends have true respect. Are you my true friend?

Of course I want to see you too! My friends are important but I cant stand it when they whine about a small little molehill. As you can see, I met a whiner recently...
Well, I'm still using my previous Digi cell phone number but I lost all my contacts.
So all my long time no see friends... do send me a text & let's meet up!
P/S: I will not publish my phone number for the whole world to see...

Finally, here are some significant points of difference I have discovered after coming back to Kuching from Wellington:

Wellington:
- cooler & dryer weather. won't feel so sticky & dirty 5 minutes after you shower.
- mosquitos are non-existant. never woke up clapping my hands & scratching like monkey.
- people people put in more effort to dress better.
- people are friendlier. they are very good in small talk.
- people drive safer. they give way more & stop often than they should.
- Multi-national. I meet people from all around the world.
- High minimum wage. At NZ$11.25 per hour, working is worth your time.

Kuching:
- food is cheap & so GOOOOOOOOOD.
- breezy, not windy. the city doesnt tweak your hairstyle every minute you are outside.
- don't have to freaking speak Cantonese all the time. but I will have to adapt to hokkien.
- my family & long-lasting friends are here. they are the backbone of my social life.
- I'm proud of what this place has become & will continue to consider it my home sweet home!

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