Taking the First Step
One question that I am constantly asked is, “How do you make friends with people?” People tend to think that I have tonnes of friends primarily because I have previously had a high-ranking position or that I have involved myself with many events and leadership courses. Some even said that there were girls swooning over me (exaggerated I know). Before I continue, I need to state something very clearly; “There is a huge difference between a FRIEND and a FAN”
To be honest, the perspective of me having friends is a very wrong. To have true friends is something which is rather difficult for a person like me.
In class, I am mostly alone at the front. A table which can accommodate 7-8 people comfortably and I am the only one sitting there. Even if the class is packed to the brim, latecomers would be much obliged to squeeze 10 people into a row rather than sitting with me. Don’t believe me? Here’s a sample of how it looks like (forgive me if the photo is not clear).
Didn’t really manage to get a good shot of my point but if you look carefully, I am the one sitting in front with the camera. The entire row is empty but the row behind is packed to the brim (enlarge photo for a clearer view)
So the question now is why do people avoid me. Well, there are many reasons for that which I have been informed by those who are nice enough to admit why they choose to stay away from me:
- I DON’T SPEAK MANDARIN – Well, the first thing you’d notice in my university is that the most used language around is Mandarin. As a Malaysian Chinese, it seems that it’s dishonourable that I do not speak much Mandarin. Fair enough, I accept my flaws that I do not speak the language. Some went as far as making fun of me in Mandarin but I never really adopted the language.
In many cases, I am known as an arrogant Chinese. Definition? A Chinese person who is not proud of their own language and thinks highly of the Western language or culture. In short, an outsider/outcast of the Chinese community.
It is definitely hilarious to see that these people saying this to me are condemning the government for being discriminant. Seems like a pot calling the kettle black. Totally and ignorantly foolish.
- I AM A KNOW-IT-ALL – If I know everything, then I would be Wikipedia. So I’ll consider this an assumption. Someone came up to me and asked me why I like to talk about weird things like politics, business studies and general knowledge things. Why can’t I be normal and just go gaga over Running Man, Korean Drama’s and (long list of other things). Well, my passion is in self improvement in terms of gaining as much knowledge as I know about the world.
The funny part is the very people who avoided me and shunned me aside are now asking me to impart my knowledge in them. Well, in that case, I have only one thing to say, “Have fun reading it up yourself.”
- ATTITUDE PROBLEM? – This one is rather unique because the definition of attitude problem is rather vague. In many cases, everyone is entitled to their opinion of my attitude but my intentions are strictly honourable. I wish to benefit as many as possible but to some, they think I am trying to be smarter than them (honestly, typical outdated mentality) so they choose to stay away.
And when there is a job interview to attend, they start asking me how do I apply for jobs. I have explained time and time again and by now, the help window has closed. The best response they gave me? “Hey, don’t be selfish la!!” What a joke.
So, am I angry at the fact that no one wants to be my friend? Honestly speaking, I do not feel affected at all by whether people want to be my friend or not. By setting a goal to succeed on my mind, I find it somewhat satisfying when I have achieved those successes.
It doesn’t matter that people see you differently. It doesn’t matter if people avoid you for who you are. It is only when you have forsaken yourself and you have stopped believing in your dreams that you truly fail.
In all hardships, I stood tall be it alone or not. Well, a few years down the line, I’d say it went pretty well. Though I will not bore you with the entire life story and my working life, I’d just share some images which highlighted some of the recent achievements:
I campaigned against giants and became the 16th President of the INTIMA Student Government
The 9th INTIMA Conference. The time when the government of 5 campuses set aside their differences and just talked to one another
I managed to travel, study and work in Europe. It was a thrill ride of a lifetime but I;d have to say that despite the initial hardship, it was all worth it.
I made friends with some of the most awesome people from around the world
When I returned from Germany, I had the honour of getting to know a group of friends who are friends you would keep forever. People who would not judge or discriminate you based on the language you speak but appreciate you for who you are. Thanks, guys. Friendship forever.
Some are missing from the shot but you guys rock. Congrats for graduating Diploma, Eunice. Hope that it was a fun-ride
I started working in Nova Founders. Known as the United Nations due to the numerous nationalities working there. Alex (Manager) and Kim (Business Development)
Well, one of the best highlights is I met a girl who might not be a banana but accepts me for who I am. Even though I am flawed and I may not be the perfect guy, I have come to realize that you don’t need to be fluent in your mother tongue to find the right person for you. Despite imperfections, despite uncertainty, despite disagreements, as long as you know what you want and need, things will go on fine.
Thank you for the long walk through thick and thin, boo boo
All in all, despite being shunned to the side for being the different one, I would have to say that life is turning out really well for me. With hard work, dedication and the motivation from your family, friends and loved ones, it is without a shadow of a doubt that I will keep moving forward. Do not ever forsake the people who are strange. You may never know what they are capable of in the future. Cheers.