Malaysians of Leeds
Are you prepared for life without the title ‘student’?
Personally, I tend not to think that far yet as I’m enjoying this colourful university life - though there are ups and downs, these made all the moments here even more precious. And I’m not going to waste every single bit of them until the day we are all throwing our graduation hats (Oh we don’t have graduation hats in Leeds! Never ask me why).
Recent job interview sessions during UKEC Career Fair in London gave me a wake-up call on how important it is to prepare yourself for the future, how competent are the other future graduates around you. I’ve met a lot of characters there and all of them amazed me. Listening successful stories from the greats (the CEOs and the ‘Datuks’) and watching those lads’ determination to keep themselves running in this race made me feel I’m too far to catch them up. But of course, positive seeds were there and why not I take and plant them inside me? This is my first experience after all. I believe I can reach their pace someday, telling stories of my own (if God wills).
Maybe I’m not the right guy to talk about this but it was just a tiny piece of my life that I’d like to share. No tips here for me myself am trying to find one.
Leave my chitty-chat aside, I’m happy to hear that some of our colleagues already secure themselves a post with top-tier companies when they are going back for good soon. Congrats! And to those who never got a chance for an interview, trust me everyone has their own timeline. Yours will come. So chill. Oh yes, I forgot to mention how marvellous are the foods there. God bless London.
When I decided to apply for a volunteering programme last summer, I only thought about having an escapism to somewhere unfamiliar where nobody knows me. Knowing that Perantau Cakna was only in their third year of establishment, I have expected that UK students, especially from Leeds, were most likely to not know about the programme as there are many other well-established volunteering organizations. So I made up my mind to join the five days programme at Johor, hoping that none of my friends will be in the programme. When the team had formed, I was so relieved that the number of students from the UK was not even close to ten.
The programme was conducted at SK Teriang which was located in a very isolated rural area and only have one class for each year. The aim of the programme was to inspire the students and make them believe that even they can become a successful person in the future. Each volunteer was also assigned to a foster family for the whole week to experience living in the countryside and get to know with the community.
What makes this programme meaningful to me was there were so many things that I learnt from a bunch of kids ranging from 10-12 years old. It hits me hard when knowing one of the boys need to skip school sometimes to help his family earn some money. There was also another boy who sometimes has only one meal only per day. Even more heartbreaking, that meal was the free food provided by the school. Imagine how difficult it was for him to survive during the long school holidays.
Both stories were only a tiny part of what I get throughout the programme. These experiences always come across my mind whenever I feel like giving up. Having the thought that how ungrateful I am to waste this opportunity when there was still a lot of people out there struggling to live really made me reflect upon myself.
Perantau Cakna will be doing the same programme again this summer. This time around, it will be in Kedah alongside other small-scale activities (feed the homeless, etc.). Realising that there will always something that I can gain from Perantau Cakna’s activities, I signed up to be a volunteer again.
If you are interested to be part of this movement you can help us by donating through the link below:
Family of Perantau Cakna
I gazed out the train window, clumps of wet flakes starting to fall. Part of me wished to stay but another part of me knew that I had to escape from this gloomy country. Whatever it was, I am certain that I will be safe and sound within the next 16 hours – at my home in Malaysia. Interestingly, I will be transiting in Switzerland. But little did I know that I was about to experience a very long journey until I arrived at the airport.
The first snowfall of the year was magical for many, but not for me. I couldn’t believe myself when my phone screen displayed ‘CANCELLED’.
I went to the terminal to check it myself, hoping that the app was wrong. And no, my flight clearly has been cancelled due to the bad weather. I rushed to the inquiry counter to see a sea of people trying to get a refund. Those irritated and annoyed faces; vividly lived in my head. It was chaotic, many destinations were cancelled or delayed displayed on the screen. Desperate for inquiring about my flight status, I had to queue for legit 4 hrs. Those were the longest hours of my life.
My fate? I ended up staying at a hotel nearby for 2 nights. Instead of transiting in Switzerland, they gave me London. I was pissed because I had to repurchase my flight ticket from Singapore to KL. Even worse, I only had 3 weeks to spend in Malaysia and I had wasted 2 days doing nothing.
The long-awaited day had finally arrived. It’s time to go home.
Hardly surprising, the flight was delayed. The delay made every second precious, I had 30 min left to transit from the local to international terminal. To get there, there was a boarding pass check (10 min of queuing), I had to take a shuttle, a lift, and escalators, passed through the duty-free shops. I ran like it was a matter of life and death. Crying and praying, I thought through every scenario that could possibly happen. I cannot bear another night trapped in a hotel. Out of breath, I made it.
At the Changi Airport, I was escorted to the Lost and Found office. My luggage couldn’t make it to Singapore on time. Then again, the flight to KL was delayed! Oh please, Singapore doesn’t snow.
I was finally in Malaysia, for real. At the KL airport, a friend of mine has agreed to pick me up at the airport. We were looking for each other for quite a while before we realized that he actually went to the wrong KLIA. Well, there was no point railing at fate.
I learnt a lot through this horrendous journey. PATIENCE IS THE KEY – it allows you to go through and overcome your problem. If I were to give up midway, I won’t be able to see my family during the winter break. So, when you go through hard times, remember, better days will come. ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ is cliché, but crucial.
Oftentimes people see me as the loudest person in a group (I have no voice control) when the real fact is I am an introvert. For those of you who may not know, here is a simple definition from my cuz, Google:
a shy, reticent person.
I honestly enjoyed having time to myself. I realized this when I stayed in the UK during the summer of 2017. I planned to do nothing, and that was exactly what I did. I was alone in a 6-bedroom house, spent most of my time in front of the TV – because I had it all to myself, played a lot of video games, trained hard for The International 2017, binge-watched ‘Orange is the New Black’ and ‘Game of Thrones’, cook whenever I feel like eating and hell, I didn’t even have to close the door whilst taking the shower, or doing a number two. Despite it all, on certain days I did actually go out. In mid-July, I did a one-off day job working for a Colour Run event in Sheffield with a group of Malaysians. The pay was generous, considering I spent more time taking breaks and pissing at people than actually working (jokes, I only took one break for the whole day). Then, in late August I volunteered for the Leeds Music Festival, in return for a free three-day weekend pass to the music event. The highlight of that weekend was obviously seeing THE Rap God, Eminem, performing live.
Although I am enjoying my time here, I honestly can’t wait to go back home. It has been 2 years since I last saw my family, good thing they are coming to the UK in June. At least I don’t have to worry about getting good rendang for Eid this year. Well, I guess that’s enough storytelling for today. For those of you who are not graduating this year, my advice is to enjoy as much as you can from your study years in the UK. For those of you who are graduating, I wish you all the best for the upcoming future.
(Pride of Shah Alam)
Things get hard, but you know you will make it through.
“What will you be doing after graduating?” “Have you done your CV?” “Do you have any specific job in mind?". Whew, it was tough man. You snapped back to reality when you realise that soon you are graduating and get into this adult-phase-of-life, leaving behind the student-life that you always have this love-hate relationship with. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. You have to think about getting a decent job, find ways in paying back your tuition fees, and of course, you’re leaving Leeds! And that means you have to start packing up your things, and wow it wasn’t little to pack at all! This is definitely not like a winter or Easter trip that we used to plan every single break isn’t it?
Seeing the juniors reminds me of all the good and the hard times I experienced these past four years in Leeds. (Yes, freaking four years. How can I leave Leeds now after all these years!). I still remember how carefree I was during my first year, and things just get tougher as I proceed to another year. Not to forget, the fourth and final year was horrible just like what you heard from the seniors. But after all, it was a memorable journey that I know I will miss once I leave this degree life.
So, am I ready to leave? I don’t even know, I’m not yet too sure. What I know now, is to live in the moment and not to take things for granted.
Anyway, wish us, final-year students the best of luck!
4th Year Chemical Engineering
Scotland remains a part of the UK.
The Malaysian Airlines incidents.
To be frank, it wasn’t my intention to start off on such a sombre note, but then again you can’t just get away looking back at 2014 without mentioning these major incidents to name just a few. 2014 was indeed an eventful year, but why bring it up?
Because 2014 was the year that I first stepped on British soil for the first time. Sure, I wasn’t alone, the number of foreign students, even Malaysians coming into Leeds at that time was impressive. But the thought of being thousands of miles away from home and settling in a new place will always be daunting to many, myself included. New environment, new people, new culture, there is only so much you can learn off the internet or television which will always make you feel ill-prepared coming here.
But hey, that’s why I came here. To get a taste of these new experiences first hand and develop myself. Take up the challenge. Safe to say that’s what most of the MaLeedsians here wanted as well. Looking back the past four years, I can say that although things may not have gone exactly as planned, most of those goals have been achieved, if not all.
Life’s not always a bed of roses, you win some you lose some, but what’s important is always being able to pick yourself up and move forward.
2018 is going to be another eventful year for me as well, a year where a new chapter can finally wrap itself up. A year where a new chapter shall (hopefully) begin too. Hence the reflection of these past four years. So much has happened. So much will happen.
As such, I hope everyone here will enjoy and relish each moment they have now.
The sun radiated down on the people that stumbled around the streets of Leeds. The deep sapphire sky untied, different shades of blue swirling together as the clouds fluttered by, making it look like a clear sheet of glass. The heavy wind gusted around, churning the golden leaves that festooned the pavements and the soaring trees that stood tall at the edge of the pathways, whistled as their branches rocked in the blustery weather.
The night propelled with desire, the dark armada colors that transcended into the twilight sky soaked into each other’s presence and the glistening distant stars crumbled together in a cluster to confine the enchanting canvas. But then the cold air turned silent, only the splutters of the car engines roaring past and the whispers of the wind floating through the atmosphere.
These are the two extremities in which Leeds—and possibly any other place on earth—exists in. It still amazes me how quiet and lonely the same street that was so loud and lively just hours ago can be. I think that no matter how much time passes, Leeds will always have a special place in my heart. Maybe it’s because of the people I have met here who have imprinted their marks in my life; maybe it’s the lessons I have learned here; maybe it’s because the time I spent here have been and will be the most important years of my life.
For me, it was really hard. At this point, I’m not sure if it was worth it because I have not completed my degree yet. There were a lot of ups and downs. I came to realise that friends are very important- and that you don’t necessarily need a friend who’s constantly by your side. It took me a long time to realize that. Appreciate whoever you meet, and grasp every opportunity because in the end, you might find out that you’re the one who is just pushing everyone away.
It is difficult to live far away from family, leaving behind our old friends. Just hang in there! Sometimes you do feel dead inside, and that’s normal, but you just have to keep going. I had to keep reminding myself that if I can’t help myself, even God can’t help me. So, take the initiative.
It is tough. I can’t say that I really liked the experience, but, for me, Leeds is a nice city. The University and the academic staff are nice, and there’s lots of student support. There are a lot of activities to get involved as well, so long as you keep an open mind.
-Kam Jia Wen-
Final year, LLB Law.
Many people were wondering why I chose a degree in nutrition. Well, here’s the thing. I started at the gym from a very young age and so I had already started dieting then to put on more muscle and bulk up while keeping lean. From this experience, I realized how little everyone else new about even simple healthy eating or how to bulk up or cut fat properly. I wanted to change this by becoming a nutritionist in the future to raise awareness on this topic.
My interest was always in sports and it was basically my childhood. Back in secondary school, I used to be very involved in track and field. I’ve run many events from 100m up to 1500m but specialize in 400m and 800m. I came third in my state for both events. I used to train 6 days a week and even during the holidays. Initially, after finishing high school I always felt that I had wasted a lot of time in athletics because I have never managed to represent my state or country.
My mom and I are close to each other. She is the most beautiful, generous, kind, wise, and strong woman in my life. She also has a great sense of humour and likes to pull off practical jokes on her children every now and then. Being thousands of miles apart from each other does not change that.
Without my knowledge, she texted one of my housemates on my birthday and specifically asked them to trick me into going to the toilet and pour a pail of cold, foamy water on me. It used to be a tradition back when she was in college three decades ago and she really wanted me to have a ‘taste’ of that. So, yes, my housemates did that. They even recorded a video for her to see. She called me afterwards and laughed so hard! I was a bit annoyed but it was nice to hear her laugh, considering that she’s going through a lot at the moment. I really miss my mom...
If your parents are still around, try to appreciate them every single day. Call them all the time, annoy them. Thank them on your birthday because they are the ones who should be celebrated for bringing you into this world.
We are like water, be it stagnant or be it flow.
But, imagine you were lost in the middle of nowhere. As you walk while finding your way out, you found a lake and a river. Which one would you choose to quench your thirst? I bet you prefer the river because it’s flowing and clearer! That’s how people will benefit from you if you be the one who flows.
What do I mean by this?
What I meant by ‘flow’ here is in terms of passing on the goodness and spreading the love around. I stumble into realizing about being someone beneficial to others when I go through my life in my preparation college. I realized that my time is only for me to think about assignments, take a break and back on my assignments again. I questioned myself, is this the only thing that I can do in my life? Care about myself, my feelings and my works ONLY.
I started to re-learn the basic meaning of life and started to accept new people into my life bubble. I usually don’t care much about people but once I read the quote, “The person that comes into your life for a Reason, a Season or a Lifetime”, I decided to make the best memories out of every single person that came into my life. I started to share everything that I know with them. Little did I know, I even managed to discover new things that I didn’t even know about myself!
If I chose to be still, the good vibes will never be spread. The good deeds will never be a chain. It might only become the sediments in the stagnant lake. Plus, I may not have the chance to know and appreciate myself even more. Hence, let’s be the solution to someone’s problem or the smile to someone’s day. It will not only benefit them but also you. Perhaps one day, the useful advice or teachings that you flow to other people might ease your way. Who knows?
A friend is like a flower,
a rose to be exact.
Or maybe like a brand new gate,
that never comes unlatched.
A friend is like an owl,
beautiful and wise.
Perhaps a friend is like a ghost,
whose spirit never dies.
A friend is like a heart that goes
strong until the very end.
Where would we be in this whole wide world,
if we didn’t have a friend.
When I was little, my mum would always sing me to sleep. “Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and the other is gold” was what she sang, though I never really thought about what it actually meant. Are new friends just as good as the old? Should I keep them both around? Or are old friends more valuable than new ones?
Some friendships might be "silver"; rusty over time, but the remnants will still remain in our hearts and memories while others might be "gold"; lasting a lifetime. However, time shouldn't be a measurement of friendship. The value of friendship does not depend on the length of acquaintance but instead by the depth of it. The person we meet tomorrow may be a better friend than the person we met a decade ago. Friendship is never established as an understood relation. It is a miracle which requires constant proofs. It is not about who you’ve known the longest. It is about who walked into your life, said “I’m here for you” and proved it.
The friends I made back in Malaysia and here in Leeds are the friends that I hope to grow old with through thick or thin, the friends that I hope to cherish and to love, forever and always. They are indeed my home away from home.