samedi, avril 23, 2011

I Just Wanna Be

Well I currently live in a city where it is incredibly diverse. Racism, sexism and other forms of oppressions are rampant. Also, being accepted into what? I just wanna be.

Verlia Andrea Stephens


Verlia and I met at the Unicentre, Carleton University in Canada. We were both student leaders, I was the President of the very active Carleton Malaysian Student Association (CAMSA) and Verlia was the President of the umbrella body, the International Students Association. After a particularly successful International Student Week, in which Malaysia took part in a big way, Verlia asked me to be her Vice President at ISA. There was an election and I came ahead of the Hong Kong student body President, Tommy, who was a good friend too. And so, Verlia and I worked together in our final year on the ISA.

Our days at the International Student's Office at the Unicentre were idyllic and full of camaraderie. The Carleton Student President was a strong supporter of the International students. We often met at the office during breaks and I had brought a carrom board all the way from Malaysia which we all shared. Students from the Africa, Carribean, Hong Kong, Aruba, Malaysia, Vietnam all shared time and idealisms.

Apart from that, Verlia and I were especially close friends. I often stayed at her place and got to know her friends and family. When I had problems I could not share with anyone else, it was Verlia I went to for advice. After many years of losing touch, I found her on Facebook.

Today, Verlia is still fighting for the ideals she believed in way back then. But I guess the world has changed. For in the eighties, I believed we were more connected, and there was no single event to bring hatred to the fore. We were fighting for equality, not acceptance which was a given I thought. We were fighting for opportunities, not survival.

Life is much more intense today, no longer idyllic and this is the sad scenario we face after two decades.


Recently, Verlia posted this article by POC on Facebook :
10 conversations on racism I am sick of having with white people.
Good read and a real eye opener to our own backyard scenario.

7 commentaires:

Cat-from-Sydney a dit…

Aunty Ninot,
Verlia could very well describe everywhere in the world now. purrr....meow!

remgold a dit…

I just wanna be.

Sherry Blue Sky a dit…

So glad you have resumed your connection. Those years sound wonderful, students full of hope and idealism. Sadly, we have not made progress in human relations as quickly as we have in technology. I love "I just wanna be."

ninotaziz a dit…

Dear CFS,
Yes. At different degrees.

Dear Sir Remgold,

Sherry my dear,
If only there were more like you around!

Wan Sharif a dit…

Ah .. a good post especially from Verlia..
Shall e mail you on Carleton University

Wan Sharif a dit…

Ah .. a good post especially from Verlia..
Shall e mail you on Carleton University

Al-Manar a dit…

How wonderful it is to get connected to old friend. To my regret today I did not take the trouble to keep in touch. I was the secretary of an Internation Students group too but I have lost them all, the Norwegian, the Peruvian, the South African, the Armenian and Arabs, the lot. Such is life.

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