belonging

the word evokes in me a warm, enveloping sense of happiness. but if i pause to reach deep down, i can’t feel the bottom of the ocean beneath my feet. it’s almost like swimming in a lot of bliss and enjoying the sun on my face, but knowing that i’ll need a line thrown to me eventually. thoughts running through my mind on this malaysia day – what does it even mean to belong in this country? do i still belong? am i belonging less than i used to, or is this a product of cynicism and fatigue? my 18 year old self would never have let this happen, but yet here i am, wondering what tethers me to this identity of being malaysian. 

as i was moving homes and unpacking boxes, i took a peek at my old college admissions essays which on an impulse i decided to save from the recycling bin and take with me amidst old clothes, photos, letters and other flotsam from the past. the paper was old and yellowed, and the words on them brimming and feathery with double-spaced hope. almost every one of them was about what it means to be malaysian. i couldn’t help but marvel at how much has changed since i wrote those essays (how is it possible that tun m is now the darling of the bangsar bubble) and yet so little (can we believe that muhyiddin and hishammudin are still in charge?). 

so much of what coursed through my heart back then was political and civic. now, i think twice about whether to even write these very sentences. i say this a lot but my teenage self would have been truly heartbroken to know what i’ve grown into. it’s the same guilt i feel when i stand overlooking the glittering marina bay at night and wonder for a moment what it would be like to live here. 

belonging, i realise, should not just be about me belonging to something. it should be about the same thing belonging to me. and circumscribing this bond ought to be a profound, searing, forged-from-fire sense of safety and pride. i long for this feeling but worry i won’t feel it ever again. 



16 Comments

Ashley Liew

This post hits me. I woke up at 7am on Malaysia Day to return to our home which we’ve lived in for seven years. Why? To pack and clear our belongings before we’re due to handover to its new owners soon. We only called it a day at 2am this morning. Transition is a strange phase to be in.

Zen

“belonging, i realise, should not just be about me belonging to something.”

This hits home. Pun intended.

Part of me is afraid of being hopeful again, part of me is angry for losing hope.

Welcome back ❤️ please keep writing.

Sherlyn

Pls keep writing – YASSSSSSSS 🎉❤️💞💓

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Vanessa

So excited about this 7 day writing challenge. I’ve absolutely missed your writing over the years!

Nisha

So glad to see you writing again. I remember you mentioning quite sometime back that you used to have a blog and I am glad I found it today! Please keep writing 😀

Nicely written. Keep it coming!

i’ll be your float i have lots of fats now!

Kiasuandrew

+1 theyauguy

whyee

Welcome back! Keep writing please …

Yuvha

Just wanted to point out that theyauguy is hilarious.

Great topic to start with and I can’t wait to see the following instalments!

wow, what a feeling, coming back in here to see comments! let’s see if i remember how to do this. slightly embarrassed to discover with wiser eyes now that my blog is neither SSL encrypted nor mobile friendly!

ashley – seven years is a good amount of time for imprints of a home! hope the new owners will take good care of your house.

zen – thank you ! long time no see :))

sherlyn – :3 :3 :3

kim – <3 <3 <3 we're so grown up now that we don't even comment with our old blog names. haha

vanessa - thank you! 7 days seemed very daunting at first. and i actually missed the first day's deadline by a few hours cos i was so stuck. but here i am! :)

nisha - hahaha hello!!! maybe i should make this my OKR too since escape rooms aren't quite very practical these days.

nicholas - thank you!!

theyauguy - <3 let's check with ben franklin

kiasuandrew - this is a way better nickname than andrewlosthisshirt

whyee - thank you :D

yuvha - hello you!! actually i was tearing a bit while writing the day 2 topic, and (ironically) he hasn't seen me cry in so long that when he saw me with red eyes he freaked out and asked if i was on drugs. so yes he's hilarious.

artificially verbose

Like certain smells, tastes, pictures, movies and music can time travel someone exactly back to a point in the past, so does reading your writing bring me back to Bangsar in the 2000s :)

Teenage selves do not realize the depths of heaven and earth when they dream of idealistic philosophies.

From someone who’s floated away, I can say the new bonds and feelings of belonging take a longgg time to establish. The friends/family you make are what help the roots dig deeper. But of course if the land is poison, the roots grow deep but will the plant flourish?

wow. a familiar name appears on my RSS feed, after years of silence.

artificially verbose – i just had a coffee at marmalade yesterday, and snuck a peek into village grocer. things don’t look the same but they feel the same, horatio!

suanie – RSS feed!! cant believe that still exists!

I’m a sucker for relics

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