Sep 3, 2015

Opportunities

I've managed to get a bronze award! Note: Bronze award is not third place. It is just a bronze award out of many other bronze awards. 

Nevertheless, it still feels good even though I have gotten bronze last 2013. I think it is quite okay because I did not write a fictional essay this time, but rather a true + slightly fictional essay with slightly too much of optimism (it was for the competition okay, or I would have written a nasty, pessimistic one hahaha). I'll let you read the essay (forgive me if it sucks and it's just too... optimistic bleh), which will be posted under all these rants. 

I am also nominated for 1000 Girls 1000 Futures program conducted by the New York Academy of Science! I think it is very interesting because I get to get a STEM mentor and well, hopefully she can help me find what field I love the best and together we can do research or anything related to STEM. I really wanted to be engaged in this kind of stuffs and I am glad I have the opportunity now. This is going to be so fun..! (Sense the excitement?) Hopefully everything goes well. 

P/S: RIP Ally. 



METAMORPHOSIS

Wee Soo May

“Hey, what’s that you’re wearing?” Peers pointing their fingers to a pendant, hanging on my chest. “I want to see!” They repeated while I cringed nervously. This is not going to be good.

“Uh…” I hesitated and tried to escape when one of them snatched my arm, jerking myself to her direction. They examined my pendant with curious eyes, “Who is this..?” The carving of Guan Yin Goddess seemed to intrigue them until one of them said, “Behold, friends! That is black magic! Don’t touch that silly pendant, you fools!”

As if there was a magnet between us, they backed with horror looks on their faces. Repeated whisperings of ‘black magic’ hit me hard, like a bullet straight through the heart.

That was primary school.

      Being the only should-I-say Taoist in the school, the rest feared me for wearing a Guan Yin Goddess pendant. Not to mention that some actually denounced me for that.

      Basically it is just a talisman, as Mom says. It is just a pendant and it wouldn’t hurt anybody else but that was opposite with what others think. Bigotry in school changed me a lot as I deepen myself in contemplating life philosophies and social studies instead. As a budding child, it sparked my curiosity whether God or gods actually exist and why we depend on them for safety, health, prosperity et cetera. My father’s family is more to Buddhism while my mother’s side is more to Taoism. Buddhism is mostly about the way of life to reach enlightenment without depending on celestial beings or God – basically Buddha is an atheist. Meanwhile, Taoism involves Chinese philosophies and rituals that are deeply rooted in customs.

      When I was eleven, practising both of these religions doesn’t seem right to me. The value of believing in God is inculcated in my life since I was small. Even the first principle in Malaysia’s Rukun Negara is belief in God. It is perplexing when the Buddhism texts that I have been reading are all about not being dependant on any spiritual bodies. I felt contradictions against myself.

      So, I read more and more until I stumbled upon this quote from Dalai Lama:

“Whether you believe in God or not does not matter so much, whether you believe in Buddha or not does not matter so much; as a Buddhist, whether you believe in reincarnation or not does not matter so much. You must lead a good life. And a good life does not mean just good food, good clothes, good shelter. These are not sufficient. A good motivation is what is needed: compassion, without dogmatism, without complicated philosophy; just understanding that others are human brothers and sisters and respecting their rights and human dignity.”

Let me get this straight:

1.      I believe in God.
2.   I believe in Buddha.
3.  I wish I do not have to believe in reincarnation – because I cannot imagine taking SPM all over again every rebirth.
4.   But in all, I agree with almost 100% of his statement.

The nice thing about Buddhism is that, you can actually debate and Buddha exclaimed that it is fine whether you choose to not follow what he had preached around 2500 years ago – but with a very reasonable rebuttal. This promotes critical thinking in his followers.

Anyways, the last part of Dalai Lama’s quote is, “…just understanding that others are human brothers and sisters and respecting their rights and human dignity.”

This, this is the most underlying law everyone should abide.

It is really hurtful to see massacres everywhere for the sake of um… Religion? Politics? Money? Such reprehensible acts that we can see in all parts of the world; the endless war between Palestines and Israelis, arguments between Buddhists and Muslims in Burma, disrespect for Muslim women who cover their aurah, animadversion against atheists, oppression towards LGBT and countless more.

Ironically, religions are supposed to bring peace, not animosity. 

I stand in my stance that there are always at least two kinds of people. People who love ketchups and people who love chilli sauce. People who enjoy Coke and people who enjoy Pepsi. People who prefer laksa and people who prefer curry noodles. I choose blue over pink, but my friend chooses pink over blue. Does that make either of us wrong or right? No. So why must we contend if we are different? There is no point debating about who is correct or who is faulty – we all have the right to choose. There is no point fighting for a reason, even a reasonable one.

Example of issue: Does God exist?

If there is a God up there or no, it doesn’t matter. No one knows for sure so why must we waste our time to ascertain something abstract? Even if I believe in God, I never will say that atheists are wrong. Who are we, the wrongdoers, to judge? The fact that as universal brothers and sisters, we all fail to find that concord between us.

I have read a cleric’s view on this destructive world that we are living in, is a karmic reaction. Karma, they said, is a principle abiding the law of cause and effect. It is said that the older generation’s actions have affected the world now. The mayhem we are facing now is all caused by the sinful, wrong actions by the older people.

Now, now. I am not being biased. Whether that statement is true or not, there is an underlying message that we need to grasp. The world must be purified, by hook or by crook. If we do not start now, the world will never refresh. We need a new generation for this and fortunately, there is a huge team we can all count on.

Youth.

The combative period of battles between emotions, as my teacher said. At one point, we might be emotional. At another point, we might be just fine. We might be small, and young. We play every evening and we crack in laughter every second. We do not frown so often like adults, nor reserve our laughs if, in any ways, is considered childish. Even so, it does not mean we are silly-minded nor that we do not belong in the mission to bring world peace.

I believe the youth of Commonwealth, the very young leaders which I am also a part of them, are capable to achieve this mission. Commonwealth countries are already made up of many kind of countries which comprises a plethora of races, cultures, languages, religions and whatnot. The acts to accept others and to tolerate others are already in our blood – they are intrinsic in Commonwealth youth!

Thus, this has made us advantageous over all the other youths out there. We are hold one in a big community; big family called the Commonwealth. History has set us up together and let’s make the best out of it.

Making a change is easy. All we have to do is one, to think of others; put us in their shoes. Two, think wisely before we act. Three, develop open-mindedness, if you find this hard, follow tip Number One. Four, compensate hate with love and love with love. 

To all brothers and sisters I have out there! The walls of racial segregation, we shall pass. The Fort Knox-language barrier, we shall invade. The sceptical line of religions, we shall cross. We shall be together, as one. And that is the key we need to hold.
.

.

.
            “Hey, it’s the girl with black magic.”

            “Stay away from her, or else she’ll set a curse on you.”

            “Yikes! Black magic – no wonder she always gets the top in the class for years!”

Glossary
Rukun Negara – Malaysian national declaration which consists five major principles in conjunction of a severe race riot back in 13 May 1969.
SPM – Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia which is the Malaysian Education Certificate; a major exam all Form 5 students need to sit before finishing their high school education.
Laksa – a Malaysian dish originated from Baba and Nyonya culture. It is made up of noodles with hot sour and spicy soup of fish meat and laksa leaves, garnished with fresh cut of vegetables.

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