by Imran bin Idham Sabki, Sophomore 1 Terra, Class of 2019
Despite my age, I’ve experienced more than most other people, and my most valuable experiences have been in the eyes of an outsider. I feel it as a necessity to share my life with everyone to open up the dormant viewpoints of society. By the end of my story, you will understand outsiders, ergo, you will feel what they feel.
It started on the day I was born. I was an outsider to the world as I had not trodden on the ground before. The first few years of my life were days of adjustment to the new world, where I used trial and error to deduce what is edible and what is not, among other things. At the age of five years old, I was cast away by my parents to a graven institution called school. For the second time in my life, I was a foreigner to the concept.
Then, my life made a drastic turn when my father was offered a job in the Middle-East. We packed our things, left, and never looked back until we arrived. Everything I had grown to admire and adjust to was stripped. My family received a shock as my parents had never had the money to experience the world outside Malaysia. The way people walked, dressed and spoke was alien. I went to school there and tolerated the culture before I decided to adopt it. It came to me that the world won’t change for just another redundant child. The planet doesn’t rotate around you, nor can you change the rotation of the planet, but you can choose to adapt to and accept the situation. So, I learnt a little bit of Arabic and started to love the culture, and just when things were going perfectly for me, disaster struck.
On one Valentine’s day, a man walked outside. Another man did this too, and another, until a congregation was standing on the streets of the capital city, chanting about freedom in the country. The government responded immediately, but not in a good way. Shots were fired, innocent men, women and children killed. This is what civil unrest looks like. Obviously, it was a memorable experience. The nights terrified me. We weren’t allowed to leave the house as it was unsafe, and school was cancelled. Every night there were gunshots, chants from rooftops, and helicopters. On the safer days, I followed my mother to the grocery store and bought trolleys of pasta as it lasts long and does not require many ingredients to make.
Another problem arose when we found out that my mother was pregnant. The hospitals were closed, so we had to fly home. So we did that, and there was an episode on the plane where the flight attendant thought my mother was too many weeks pregnant, and said we couldn’t fly. The issue was resolved, so we said our goodbyes to the Middle-East and went back home to Malaysia.
The story doesn’t end here. My brother was born when my father was offered another job. This time, in Africa. We left for another place to call home. When we landed, what I saw astounded me. We found a house and I realised that the country we were in was quite developed, although it only had four “McDonalds” branches and one of which didn’t offer beef. I saw then that humans are gullible and fall for the trickery of stereotypes, and we are ignorant too. Anyway, I went to another school, learnt another language, and adapted to another local culture. Nothing exciting happened, but it was peaceful. In the end, my father’s working contract finished and we were to return to Malaysia. We left with heavy hearts and came back to our family.
In a nutshell, having being an outsider once in my life, I decided that you don’t have to be the alien, but you can be the new guy, and that makes life more happier. People can accept you, and you have several places to call home. However, there are in fact some people who may not know that, so when they are new to a place, they try to make it adjust to their will, fail, and feel homesick and unaccepted. I’m writing this so you can understand these people, or if you are one of them, adapt to, adopt and love the local society.