One bright evening I dressed up like a girl from the 1950s, sat near a window with glaring sun and started taking photos. My mum witnessed the whole shooting process and thought I was crazy. Haha. I wasn't crazy, neither did I have too much free time. I was actually longing to do this.
Have you ever wished that you could look like some cool characters that you love?
I have! I've always loved oriental and vintage looks. Those Chinese girls on the posters had graceful cheongsam on, red lips (a key symbol of feminine glamour), and flowers in their black curly hair. They looked chic, cool, independent, modern but very oriental.
This cheongsam was given to me seven years ago by my English language tuition teacher, Mrs Moey as a souvenir from her trip to China. She was definitely one of the best teachers I ever had. The fact that I could write and speak in English now is all thanks to her. I went to Chinese primary school, you know what that could mean. Not only I thought English was a difficult subject, I wasn't confident enough to speak.
As you are reading this, imagine a little girl sitting by the table. Opposite her was an elder lady in her 60s, with thick spectacles and curly hair. The little girl was too shy to speak in an unfamiliar language, she was reading a short essay, slowly and unclearly. The lady was not a bit impatient, but she read along with the little girl, word by word, carefully correcting every single pronunciation until she got it right. It took them almost two years for the girl to be able to speak and express her opinion in English Language, fluently and confidently.
Mrs Moey encouraged me to read, learn and speak up. She was a role model of how to boost confidence in a shy child by trusting her, and letting her try and try until she is able to do it on her own. As a teacher, not only she helped me with my studies, she taught me lessons of life. She told me many interesting, bizarre stories she heard when she was travelling abroad, and frequently shared how she grew up in a traditional Hokkien family in Penang. She inspired me to master a new language, but at the same time, know my root and retain my own culture. She told me that after so many places she'd been, after so many years, there's no place like home, like Malaysia.
As I grow up I've learned more about Chinese culture and my own country, seen more of the world, I finally understand what she meant. No matter where we go, how many languages we learn, your heart will still cling to your own root and country, because this is where we belong.
I am a Chinese. I am proud of my root. And I am a Malaysian.