Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Sincerely, your big sister

This blog post is dedicated to my two baby sisters, Syuhada and Dada.

(sorry curi gambar thanks)

Hello girls!

This blog post has been in draft mode for so long. I've been meaning to publish a sister-to-sister post for you girls for a long time, but back when I was a teenager when I passed my "soul-searching" phase, and I wanted to share my "teenage life survival tips" with you, you were still innocent babies and you wouldn't get it. When I passed university and both of you became teenagers, and I thought it may be a good time to have the intended sister-to-sister talk, but you just started your soul-searching phase trying to figure yourself out, knowing too little outside of your cocoon. I figured, nah, you were still too immature and clueless to be digesting anything about the world. Yes I might have nagged and scolded you throughout your growing up, but that's only because I care. And God knows how I wish I could just harass your precious personal space bubble with the harsh reality of the world that you're so ignorant about; but of course that wouldn't be smart now would it. So now that you're almost and merely leaving teenage life and almost and merely embarking into young adulthood, I think this is the best time for a good, constructive, sister-to-sister talk on life, on how to survive it, on how to be a good person inside and out, and why it matters so much. At least once you've finished reading this blog post (and make sure you read between the lines, over and over again), I'll breath out easy as I'd know that a small part of my life's purpose demanded by Allah is done. The purpose of a big sister.

My precious sisters,

Know that knowledge is power. At your age now, always put education as a top priority. Because at the end of the day, nothing can help you if you don't have proper education. Now that you have the privilege of pursuing tertiary education, NEVER take it for granted. Because as far as you're concerned, there are billions of girls in the world who are deprived of education just because it is inaccessible to them - and they had to beg to learn about the world. Utilise as much offered to you in this term as possible because however sucky our country's education system is, it's all that we have.

But girls, also know that being street-smart is equally as important as being book-smart, if not more. Don't just study because you have assignments to finish. Learn about what's happening in the country and the world - what's Brexit? Do you even know the geographical locations of the states in Malaysia? What's happening to our Muslim brothers and sisters in Syria and Myanmar? More importantly, why is it happening? The key word is AMBIL TAHU. You girls are not babies anymore. You're becoming adults and as scary as it may sound, there's no stopping it. Unless if you drop into a coma and just skip life (nauzubillah).

Being an adult means there's responsibilities upon responsibilities awaiting you. Responsibility upon yourself, your parents, your money, your career goals, etc. And there's no time for not knowing a lot of things. If you want to open a bank account, what should you do? If someone bumped your car on the road, what should you do? If you need to rent a place to stay, who should you contact? Sure, at first you can always call Papa or your brothers and sisters for help and they can do it all for you. That's how I started learning how to survive too. But as you go along, you'll need to start learning the basic things and do it all on your own. Being a bimbo does not help at all. Stop being lazy and naive. Change. When problems arise, be quick on your feet and think fast. Solutions can only be found when you drop the excuses. The most dangerous thing that could happen to a person is ignorance. In a world of social media addicts, be a smart, independent girl.

Never stop being curious. If you're not naturally curious, you better start now or forever be in the ignorance jail. I totally understand that you girls love the social media. I can relate to that because I'm in the technology-dependent generation too. But please learn your limits. Falling asleep scrolling down your timeline and waking up the next morning only to continue scrolling down your timeline before getting off your bed an hour later, is not okay. Spending the rest of your day also scrolling down your timeline, switching from one app to another -- Twitter - Instagram - Snapchat - Whatsapp - Facebook - Instagram again - Youtube - Snapchat again - God knows whatever else -- is not okay. So much time spent on the internet yet you still know so little about what's happening? What a waste. Do you know that you have the most profound man-made technology in the palm of your hands which contains all the knowledge of the world humans could possibly find? You could go on Youtube and watch a video on some kid's rant on how her date went with her boyfriend, but you don't have enough data to watch a TED talk video? Please, do yourself a favour and don't just be a waste of space on Earth. Ilmu Allah terlalu luas. Kalau seluruh lautan kat dunia ni ditukar menjadi dakwat sekalipun, masih belum cukup untuk tulis ilmu Allah yang maha luas tu.

Be hungry for general knowledge. Upgrade your self value by being a person of substance -- meaning, when people converse with you, you always have points to add. Be a person of variety -- meaning, people can talk about anything with you. Don't be surprised how interesting of a person you can become. When you're making a decision or about to say something important, always think through until there's nothing left to think about anymoreOrang Melayu kata, bila fikir tu, fikir masak-masak. Sebab orang yang tak fikir panjang itu namanya akal pendek. 

And girls,

Civilised people have manners. I cannot stress how important good manners are especially for us ladies. In this era of social media bashing and blind-shooting sarcasm, I don't know what rude means to kids your age, and if kesopanan dan kesantunan mean anything to you kids. But as my sisters, please never forget your "please" and "thank you". I don't know about you, but old school courtesy is always pleasant. Ladies talk with their voices soft but audible, gentle but firm, sweet but steady. In anything you do, always remember to NEVER ever susahkan orang lain. So be aware of your actions. Remember the golden rules by heart:

And remember, from now on, drop the "don't know/don't care" attitude. That's the rudest, most childish thing that you need to leave behind once you're growing into an adult. Always be helpful and always be polite. 

Now let's talk about relationships.

I remember how easy it was to want to be in love at your age. Yes, a dedicated attention on you from a boy could make you feel special. It could make you feel fluttery good and a heartache could make you feel desperate to hell's extent. What's dangerous is the constant game of attention tug-of-war that could drive you crazy. Gaduh sikit, habis 2 jam on the phone nangis-nangis trying to 'fix' or 'explain' things. My darling, I've been exactly where you were. That's not love, that's called infatuation. When you develop an infatuation for someone, you always find a reason to believe that this is exactly the person for you. Thus, the on-and-off relationship for the past 10 times with the same person. You may not understand this now but when you move to a more mature relationship you'll truly understand that rahsia jodoh Allah tu sangat hebat. Percayalah, Allah sentiasa bagi yang baik untuk hamba-hambanya yang baik. True love will unveil when you realize that you become a better version of yourself because of that person. If you're clueless of your future now, a mature relationship will drive you to clearer, stronger life goals. If you're a naive, dependent girl now, a mature relationship will encourage you to make firm life decisions because you have a target to achieve. That's what the power of love can do. If your boyfriend makes you put on a hijab and nags when you don't that you end up with a fight but at the same time he doesn't mind when you don't cover up in front of him and you still hold hands when you go on a date, hmm -- that's not really making you a better version of yourself, is it now? Honestly, not more than making a fool out of yourselves in front of the angels writing down your good and bad deeds too.

Take pride of yourselves. You're worth more than a gazillion gems so live up to the price. If your Prince Charming hasn't marched in yet, so be it. Don't settle on common soldiers. You're so young and precious, you have all the time in the world to wait for the right one! Not just the right one, but one specially crafted by Allah to fit your flaws and specialty. In the mean time, occupy yourself with improvements. Go out and explore! You're young, you're not committed to work or marriage, you have abundance of energy and you're in good shape. Save up some money and go explore new things. Learn how to cook, or learn a new language, go to Bukit Cerakah and go cycling, go to Broga Hill and go hiking with friends, book a cheap flight and camp by the beaches of Langkawi, or go see your first theatre show at Istana Budaya. When you're old enough and earning an income, go explore the world! Meet new people, collect different currencies, learn about the different cultures of people, if we prostrate when we pray, find out how people of different religions perform their prayer. Do whatever your passion drives you, as long as you remember where you stand in front of the Creator.

Be a good friend.

University years were the best years of my life, and I hope it will be for you too. In these years, friends will be your second family. You will depend on them, trust them, go through thick and thin with them. But remember, not everything that your peers do is right. Remember, two wrongs don't make a right. You will meet different kinds of people and the way they do things may be very different to you. Learn those differences and understand why they do them; but be smart enough to differentiate between good and bad. My good friend from school once told me a very deep reminder:
"it's good to be thinking positively in everything you do, but always keep 10% of cautious-thinking just to be safe".

Always, always be the better friend. Friends don't judge, they guide and empower one another. But when you see something is not right and clearly there's nothing you can do about it, leave the scene. Don't jump in and get involved if something is fishy because as much as you want to be a good friend, getting yourself in trouble is never smart.

So my dear sisters,

Be a good person by having these 3 things:

  • Good wisdom
  • Good manners
  • Good faith

InshaAllah this will not be the first and last blog post dedicated to you. As you grow older, there will be more things that I wish to share with you, but in the mean time, keep re-reading my advices in this post until you truly understand them. 

Love you lots,