The Stole: Leaving A Legacy At Columbia University

This is a story of a stole. More specifically, the stole (in the colors of Malaysia) which I wore for my graduation ceremony at Columbia University in 2017. Out of the 12k+ graduating in 2017, I know of only 4 Malaysians. That's around only 0.003%! We are very few & far between! I am very proud of my national heritage, as my educational attainment at this ivy league institution has a lot to do with the preparation provided to me by the public school & higher education systems in Malaysia. Also, my multicultural & multilingual country has had a lot to do with my ability to assimilate & thrive in this foreign culture.

Therefore, at my graduation, I wanted my country to be represented, seen, & recognized at one of the top universities of the world. I wore my love for Malaysia on my shoulders that day & walked with my head held high, a person from a developing nation standing shoulder to shoulder with those from developed nations, as equals.

After graduation, I was going to bring my graduation robe home, so I could use it as a prop to motivate my future students. However, the Malaysian stole deserved so much more. It was made with quality materials & crafted with skill. The colors were deep, beautiful, & worthy of representing Malaysia at the highest international level! Also, I paid a good sum for it after expending so much effort in an extensive search. It should not be kept in a dark closet for the rest of its life. It should be allowed to shine again & again & again.

After much deliberation, I decided to give it away. Yes, this priceless possession of mine is now in the hands of a worthy Malaysian who is graduating in 2019. I marked my name on the stole, placed it in a beautiful pouch, wrote a heartfelt letter, & passed it on to a fellow Malaysian at Columbia University whom I knew would appreciate it & find as much meaning in wearing it as I did.

In the years to come, more & more Malaysians will mark their names on the stole & write hand-written letters of encouragement to future Malaysian graduates of Columbia University. This stole will be a heirloom for Malaysians at Columbia University & will ensure that our Negaraku's colors are on full display during graduation ceremonies at Columbia University year after year.

I'm so excited to look it up again after 10 years! How many great Malaysians will it have graced? How about after 20 years? 30 years? 40? Time... will tell. This is the story of a Malaysian stole which will leave a legacy at Columbia University in the City of New York.

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