It’s difficult being myself in this country. No, it’s difficult being myself in general. I mean, if I were to live in another country, I’d still have the same old mindset. I must please people. Can you imagine living in America? The amount of competition to face. I am already my own competition; how else can I handle myself in a globally recognized country?
Woah wait, why must I please people? Life is too short right? I have absolutely no time to do so because in the end, all you got is yourself!
True. Yet sometimes all you have to do is please people to survive in a world like this.
As a mass communication student who pursues broadcasting journalism, I truly have no idea why else I would pursue this course other than simply having the talent in such field. Sure we may say- “pursue a path where you prefer to suffer in” since life is suffering anyway. Though, sometimes I wonder if life is supposed to be this suffering? Not knowing yourself is difficult, especially when you’re constantly in the eyes of others.
While I was in my school days, I’d spend hours on end in my room pondering of what’s the next big move I could do to attract my friend’s attention and get the spotlight. I would do notorious deeds as a vile bully when that is not my nature, to sketching my friend’s favourite anime character when I barely watch anime that time too. I’d even beat myself up for failing countless of times. Gradually I learned dancing, and that earned the attention I craved.
Though the passion to continuously learn died, as I’m not doing this for myself. I love dancing and art in general- but its roots were solely to gain a spotlight among the crowd. The reality check really stung as despite the negative roots; I still really love dancing.
I grew without self-love, and nobody knew so until I reached to a point of life where I was forced to face my identity crisis- thanks to such crisis, the people around me is affected by my supressed anger and sadness. After living life all based on the eyes of others, how else can I set my own style? To have a preferred identity and character? I had none. I just knew so well on how to please people that I forgot- maybe I was never being real to begin with.
The main reason why I thought of organizing this campaign is to express the issues facing in Malaysia when it comes to art in general.
It doesn’t matter what form of art- from animators to illustrators and traditional artists. Architects and mass communication students to theatrical classes. Dancers and singers, writers, and poets. As long as it touches some part of our soul- I find it as nothing but colours in life.
Unfortunately, in Malaysia, youthful minds like you and I tend to live in fear of being real. There are so many Malaysians who often cyberbully for the pettiest reason. Though I personally think that Malaysians are often blinded by the flaws of someone- blinded by how nobody in this world is perfect, and that art is meant to embrace both our beauty and flaws altogether. Malaysians often belittle one another due to the spiteful culture we practice. Focusing on looks instead of content, the intonation instead of the message- Malaysians cannot see beyond what creators are trying to share.
There are Malaysian content creators out there who do their utmost best to stay themselves while they please people and keep their reputation alive in this industry. Thus, the reason for the statement “Yet sometimes all you have to do is please people to survive in a world like this.” earlier in this essay. Most continue to be themselves as time flies, shunning anyone that spreads hate and bully on them. They stay real despite the typical mindset Malaysian has.
But is that enough? It will never be enough. Artists such as Yuna left the country and pursued her career elsewhere due to the overwhelming negativity the artists have received by her own people. Sure she may bring her countries name into the international limelight, though it is a shame that a gem like her has just a part of her heart left in her homeland.
Truthfully, being real in Malaysia needs team work. We need more and more Malaysian youths to break barriers and stereotypes. Adapt to the westerner style of entertainment and artistry whilst staying at our roots. It may be a challenge, but we’re young and free- we should take up on it. Life may be short, but there’s no need for us to rush as well.
I may grow into someone who sees herself in the eyes of others, but it took enough toll on me to realize I need to start accepting myself- my flaws, my mistakes, my past, especially my regrets. I’ve read a book entitled ‘Love for Imperfect Things’ by Haemin Sunim. This man story tells his journey in finding self-acceptance. Truthfully, it’s all cliché and cheese sauce, but it is all very, so painfully true. It’s always those simple and cliché sayings that seems to hit deepest, don’t you think?
We’re imperfect and shattered in an individualistic way. We’re also perfect in a magnificently individualistic way as well. So, what is there to please people for? The more we be real with ourselves, we can influence others to be real with us. Either way, influence happens when one is able to unleash their true form of potential- escaping the shadows of perfectionism.
So be real in a world full of fakes. Be real in a world full of lies and deceit. Be real in a world that is telling you to be someone else. Most importantly, be real enough to find who you really want to be. One day, you will do what you love to do like breathing crisp oxygen in the middle of a rainforest- only if you stay real.
By: Camelia Nor Azlan