Lolx, that was ages ago. Come to think about it, I have graduated from SMK Seafield about 4 years ago. Gosh, those good old memories. Being Captain of the Cheerleading Squad and all, high school was one of the best times besides all those overrated childish dramas.
Kay, back to Star Publications.
Nasa Entaban asked if I would give them permission to used pictures of the Cheerleading team with Puan Chen, our teacher advisor. And I said yes.
Couple of days later, she emailed me and asked if I wanted to write for a column on People, Out and About. Obviously, I said yes again.
And its finally published in today's Star Two :)
I HAVE always wanted to study abroad after secondary school and now, thanks to my parents, I am here in Kalamazoo, Michigan, studying Music Theatre Performance at the Western Michigan University (WMU) in the United States.
It has been two years since I left my parents and my sister. Being a typical city girl, the first thing I realised when I arrived was how much “nature” was part of Kalamazoo, and I was awed by the greenery.
However, Kalamazoo is not a glamourous university town like the one we are used to watching on television. Unlike the fashionable students we see on One Tree Hill, Gossip Girls (and the real students at our local colleges in Malaysia!), students here go to classes dressed down, some even in pyjamas.
Then, there is the quiet life. There are no places to go “yumcha” as most shops close at 6pm or 7pm. The only place we can hang out at is the 24-hour Wal-Mart!
Language was also a bit of a problem. While I grew up speaking English, I still encountered culture shock especially when waiters could not understand me when I asked for a glass of water.
You see, the Americans tend to silent their ‘T’s; so instead of saying water (wa-Ter), they would say water (wa-Dher).
Because my allowance was minimal, I had to look for a job in order to have a once-a-fortnight feast, and to travel to different places. I’m not complaining, though, as the experience is one of the most valuable lessons that I could ever have.
I grew to become independent and appreciate the value of money because I worked for every single material item I own. I even feel embarrassed when some of my American friends tell me that they have to pay for their own tuition fees and living expenses. Many of them have two jobs, and are studying, which made me realise that some of us are extremely spoiled, being used to allowances from our parents and complaining that it is still not enough.
Asians are obviously the minority here in Kalamazoo, most of us being international students (and a small percentage of Asian Americans). Being the only Asian in the Theatre Department, I was not very comfortable when I first got here.
I didn’t get the chance to play certain roles because of the way I looked and the way I speak.
For a moment, I felt lost; I struggled with my own identity of being an Asian living in a foreign world.
However, things changed as I grew to be more comfortable with who I am. I started appreciating my ethnicity and became proud of where I came from. I participated and helped organise international student events with the Malaysian Student Association of WMU, and even won first place in the International Festival 2009.
I also became more active in the Theatre Department as more diverse opportunities came along.
I am pursuing the career of my choice and am so glad to have my parents who supported, guided and encouraged me to reach for my dreams.
Heck. I look so large in that first picture in Washington DC, I don't even know why did I gave that picture to them.
Anyway, thank you for the opportunity Nasa! :)