As A Consumer of Information

I was born in the 1984 in a little city called Kuching to a family of readers and writers. My Dad enjoys reading and writing. His favourites were epic poetries like The Iliad, The Odyssey and Desiderata. My Dad was also a writer for poetries and stories. I was influenced by that love for literature. I write poetries and stories and I enjoy it.

As a consumer of information, back in the days when there was no Internet to rely on, we relied very much on what is on the television, radio and even printed media. I watched a lot of television when I was young. I watched P. Ramlee movies and learnt a few things, which I still remember today and I still laugh remembering the values in his movies. However, I do not watch the television as much as I used to as a child because I think that, especially our local moviemakers, do not put in values the way P. Ramlee did in the past. Somehow, only one person in this current day does it: Afdlin Shauki. Personally, I think that Afdlin Shauki is the modern day P. Ramlee. (plus, he is a fun guy to meet)

Another influence as a consumer of information would be music. I mentioned earlier that I love poetry and to me, songs are like poetry. My type of music is old skool. I listen to rock music, especially bands like Queen, KISS, Van Halen and more. I also listen to oldies, very often songs by Cliff Richard, Engelbert Humperdink, Bobby Goldsboro, Elvis Presley, The Osmonds and more. When I say old skool music, I mean before the recent ‘trash’ we hear on the radio nowadays. In terms of pop music, I love the 80s and the 90s. I was a huge fan of Boyzone and Take That. I prefer songs like these mainly because of the lyrics. They are deep and meaningful. To compare with songs now, I do not think I have any respect for songs which objectify women or songs by little boys who are not even old enough to know what the birds and the bees are about to sing songs about the birds and the bees.

Experience also plays a role in my life as a consumer of information and it all comes back to reading but instead of buying books from the bookstore, we all have something most of us cannot live without: The Internet. I can relate experience with the Internet because my family has this reputation to travel overseas to historical places. We do not travel to go shopping only but we travel to learn new cultures. Last year, my family and I had the opportunity to visit Greece and Macedonia. Before experiencing these two wonderful history packed places, we did some research on the Internet to know what the people are like and how the country is like. However, I mentioned earlier that my Dad loves epic poems like The Iliad and The Odyssey. Since young, my sisters and I learnt mostly from movies and even from our Dad about heroes in the Ancient Greek Mythology. We love mythology so much, my elder sister named her daughter after a Greek goddess of wisdom and war strategies: Athena. When we got to Athens, named after the patron goddess Athena, we knew exactly where we wanted to go and what we wanted to eat. I owe it all to my friend, the Internet.

Speaking of experience, I did mention that I come from across the South China Sea; the largest state in Malaysia, Sarawak. I am a hardcore Sarawakian it offends me like hell when people ask me if we Sarawakians still live in caves or on trees. I have been staying 90% of my time in Selangor since 2010 and I learnt a lot from experience, which neither book nor the ever-knowing Internet could show me on how different and similar some of the things here are to what I have seen all my life in Kuching.

Yet, the biggest influence of all, as a consumer of information is my Dad. Whenever I have questions about anything at all, I would always run to my Dad for answers. It is typical to being a father’s daughter, you tend to think that your own father is the smartest person in the world and it is very true because my sisters and I think that no one is more ‘superior’ than our Dad and I am pretty sure that everyone thinks the same way about their fathers.

 

An Introduction: My name is Sharifah, and I am a Malaysian

“My name is Sharifah and I am a Malaysian.”

I dare say, after reading that statement, you might wonder if I was under the “My Name Is Khan, and I am not a terrorist” influence. I was influenced by that quote but noticed how I ended up saying, “… and I am a Malaysian.”

Still wondering why? I hail from Sarawak, the largest state in Malaysia. I was born in Kuching and was brought up there all my life. My parents are also both Sarawakians but my father goes to Kuala Lumpur often as it is required by his job. Some 25 years and 9 months later, I decide to study in a college in Selangor. Studying in Selangor made a big impact in my life. I was even more exposed to the culture here as it is slightly different compared to back home. Language barrier, however, is not a major problem but I am still struggling hard not to use my local dialect and still find it a bit difficult to converse in standardize Malay because not only I am still so used to my local dialect; I speak English at home.

However, I got angry with a former housemate when she asked me this question, “How is the weather like in your country?” It is a pet peeve for me. It is like asking me if I am a Malaysian. Then, a question pop into my head, “Did you ever learn geography or history in class?” and this very nasty thought also pop into me; That girl is either ignorant or just stupid. I also find is very offensive when I listen to politicians, who are supposedly more knowledgeable in this matter, making speeches about Malaysia and they say things like, “Malaysia and not to forget Sabah and Sarawak.” Often, I tell my parents, if I were in his or her presence, I would have thrown something at the person giving the speech.

I love my state so much because it is home, it is where I grew up and the sad part is, I know so much about other people’s states but these are the people who ask me questions like, “Do you still live on trees?”

It has been a year since I have being staying here in Selangor and I realized that the Sarawak Tourism Board is to be blamed for that misconception because whenever we advertise about Sarawak, we often show an Iban man in the jungle with his blowpipe.

I know that the government intends to show that Sarawak is very natural state but please expose to people outside Sarawak that we are not as uncivilized as some people take us for. We, too, are proud to be Malaysians.

Now, often I tell my West Malaysian friends, whenever they want a breakaway from the hustle and bustle in West Malaysia, do visit my hometown and you will see that we are Malaysians, too.