I’ve lived in Malaysia for quite some years and during these years the thing I remember most are 1) my first friends, 2) my itchiness (caused by the deteriorating of my liver) and dizziness, 3) the hospital (UH or UMMC), 4) all the different schools that I attended (private, public, christian, special school and homeschool), 5) my appearance and of course 6) the amount of times I spent with my mum’s side of the family (this is the best).
My first friends are (from top left to bottom right) Tze-Lin, Charisse and Michelle, we knew each other from our parents cell/life group. The reason this is a core memory for me is simply because they were my friends. They treated me just like how they would to others. I wasn’t brushed aside or ignored or bullied or overlooked or shunned, instead they included me in everything (sleepovers, birthday parties, games etc). And I can honestly say that not even once, not for a moment, did I feel unwanted when I was with them. Not for a second did I ever feel lesser than them. In reality I was truly different, for example I had yellow skin and yellow eyes, literally (jaundice). In reality it was real hard for me to make friends, to have friends and to be a friend (ESPECIALLY in Australia). In reality I longed to be normal and to look pretty like other girls. But whenever I’m with these girls, reality is forgotten, why? because they made me so happy that when I’m with them I feel normal. I feel loved and worth. I feel like I’m just like them. And I will always be grateful to God for giving me such amazing friends! Their friendship was a great example of Christ’s love for us.
That one time when we finally met each other on Christmas day! But yeah, still missing Tze-Lin. It’s hard when we are all over the place, for example I’m here in Australia…..
Itchiness and Dizziness
This was definitely a core memory! Every day and every night I would scratch and scratch and scratch and if that wasn’t enough I would get others involved by asking them to scratch for me. My dizziness was pretty serious too. I remember running and crying to my mum or Meng (our maid in Malaysia) every time I was feeling dizzy. I tell them the house is spinning! (in Mandarin). And most of the time they couldn’t understand the extreme fear I was feeling. And who knows, maybe this might be the reason why I cried a lot when I was a baby and couldn’t talk.
My dad says hospital is my second home and I agree with him. My earliest memory of the hospital is the one I used to go to when I was living in Malaysia. I remember seeing my ear doctor. I remember getting my ear cleaned out by the special ear vacuum cleaner thingy (which strangely I really like). I remember staying in the hospital. I remember being visited by my cousin/extended family. I remember hearing my neighbour vomitting (poor thing). I remember playing on the playground while waiting for my name/number to be called. I remember my liver/gastro doctor (Dr Christopher Boey). I remember getting my blood taken and one time the nurse accidentally spilled my blood and needed to take my blood again, but of course I didn’t allow it (shook my head, cried and said no). I remember needing to patch one of my eye (like a pirate) to try to fix my lazy eye problem. I remember needing to put cotton balls and oil in my ears too (can’t remember why though). I also remember that I was a test for the student doctors. And if I were to keep typing about the times (when I moved to Australia) at the Children’s hospital, the Royal Melbourne hospital, the Austin hospital, Monash hospital… this post will have no end. But yeah, for now, the earliest memories were made in UH (or as they call it, University of Malaysia Medical Centre).
My earliest experience of being bullied was here and here was where it all began. Here, was where I got a tini tiny taste of what it’s like to be bullied. It was the practice round for the real deal. Little things like name calling, being accused of cheating and being threatened was hurtful, but because I had some friends (that would play with me) I didn’t dwell on my hurt too much. At that time I didn’t know that it was only just the beginning. At that time I didn’t know that my whole world was about to change when we move to Australia. So, I was super excited about the move to Australia. Ohmigosh!
I genuinely thought my life was going to be like that forever. I thought my situation was never going to change. I started to create this false identity of myself by picking up every word that was thrown at me and every negative idea that I would think of myself. It was crazy. It was depressing. And it was not what I wanted. It’s not what anyone would want. And it is not what anyone should go through. I hated it. But as I look back now, I can say that I am thankful for every hurt, every pain, every tear, every false thought/word… everything! I am thankful for everything that I’ve been through. I am thankful that God has allowed me to go through it and why? because now I have a story to tell. Now, I have an experience to share. If I didn’t go through what I went through then I wouldn’t have any testimony. I wouldn’t be able to give glory to God. I also wouldn’t be a compassionate and caring person. Hmm, I probably will become a proud person saying Hah! I have no problems in my life. and we all know that no one likes a proud person.
I used to hate it when people stare at me. Do I look like some kind of alien or something to them? I used to burn with anger when I ask that question myself (I’m not proud of it). I learned from my counselling course that an angry person is a hurting person and I agree, because deep down I was hurt. Deep down there was a legitimate reason for my anger. I was hurt from my own self (self hatred), from others (bullies in Australia), from my circumstances, inabilities, disabilities, illness… I had more issues than Vogue! But as the song says I’m never too much for You to take (When I’m With You by Citizen Way), which means there is no problem to big for God to handle. And by the grace of God I have been set free from this hateful anger. I have been set free from getting pished off at people who stare at me. Also, many many many hurts have been lifted off already. All the credit goes to Him!
I think in a way this is a very important core memory. In a way, spending all that time with my mum’s family was a purposeful blessing. All that fun time, holiday time, celebration time, game time, party time, eating time… wasn’t in vain. Because who knew that years later these people were going to be the ones that will link me to living. Who knew that my mum’s family were going to be the reason why I didn’t actually take my own life. Only God knew it. That is why He made it a core memory for me. He was very aware of what was going to happen when I was 21.