Updated: Nov 26, 2021
‘Selamat Hari Raya! ’. The packet in my palm, as I smile shyly. The unfamiliar yet nostalgic feeling returns. Malay but not Melayu, my mind repeats again and again. Uncomfortable. That’s how I felt. Not once, did I feel connected to my roots. I never celebrated the typical ‘Malay’ celebrations, neither did I speak fluently in my mother tongue language. Out of place, I move to the back as I observe their laughter and smiles while they converse in my native language as I stare at them in confusion. My journey of loving my identity was met with hardships and I never felt like I fit in. Now, I frown at the thought of myself back then. Ashamed and afraid, never making an effort to try. Perhaps if I had been more open-minded, I would never have felt like a puzzle piece in a wood block set. Perhaps if I had tried, I would never have felt like a spoon in a set of knives.
I learnt about how our culture brings people close together. I knew this but I did not appreciate and or, know it brought people to the extent where extended family never felt extended and were always considered extremely close relatives. I learnt how to be more appreciative and how to love my culture. In the short story, I tried to convey the feeling of monachopsis, which means the persistent feeling of being out of place, that is a common occurrence in children raised in an environment where culture and tradition was a concept that was hard to grasp and appreciate. It tells of my personal experience of trying to break away from the unfamiliarity of my own culture and the private battles that happened during that journey. For the last few sentences, I wrote with the use of images to give the reader an understanding of how completely out of place I felt. The objects used sound random but that was the point, to show how I felt like I was randomly placed.