I still recall vividly the first time a composition I had written in Malay was published in a daily Singaporean Malay newspaper 'Berita Harian' when I was in Primary 6 (Grade/Year 6). The piece was inspired by the events of an unexpected flood that occurred in the area I was living in then. It earned me SGD $20, and back then that amount was enough to make me feel like a millionaire author.
When I was in Primary 3 I discovered that I had a penchant for reading and writing. During oral reading tests I would score full marks for good pronunciation and intonation. My writing compositions attained A or B scores. These traits probably lead to continuation of good writing composition admired by teachers in secondary school, as well as future participation in performing arts, public speaking and leadership roles. By Grade 9 I dreamed of becoming a journalist. My mother supported this dream wholeheartedly by purchasing learning materials for aspiring writers. After sitting for 'O' level exams I went back to Singapore with a solid plan to matriculate at one of the local Polytechnic schools, intending to undertake a Diploma of Mass Communication.
Alas, this would be how I learnt my first important young adult lesson that plans fall through. Despite my good results my prerequisites were insufficient as I was told I did not do my Mother Tongue 'O' Level exam. At that time it is compulsory for Singaporean students to be bilingual and learn a Mother Tongue in school. When my mother decided to take me to Oman to reside with her permanently I guess neither of us had considered that this could have been an issue if I attained an international 'O' level qualification. With a heavy, disappointed heart I left Singapore to Oman again to continue post-secondary education, which I felt was not to my advantage as my request to undertake the 'A' level English subject as a private candidate at the British Council was rejected by the school principal who said I was not allowed to do so. It was even more disheartening to discover that a year later the Mother Tongue prerequisite was removed for certain Polytechnic courses where Mother Tongue languages have no relevance.
I changed my career aspirations, focusing on something scientific to undertake at university level. I don't really regret it since I do love Science too. I also continued to participate in performances that I am suited for, and occasionally write opinions online for friends to read. I believe that the choices and back up plans I made in the past has led me to where and who I am today.
A few years ago I met a Kenyan gentleman, who later became my husband. Dreams can become a reality when you are determined and believe in yourself. He is my dream come true. This year we made a big life decision to move to Singapore to create more dreams together to come true. He inspired me to write a blog, reminding me of my strengths and attributes which shouldn't be idle. I love that he sees the best in me and is very supportive of my dreams, as I do his.
I dedicate this first blog to my darling husband, my Caramello Hubby Boo, Nahil Faraj.