One of the many lessons I’ve learnt growing up is to never forget where I came from, including the people that I have met along the way. When I was younger, that meant the streets that I’ve lived on, my school, my friends and my neighbours. Easy, I thought.
As I’ve added years to my age, I’ve discovered that life and in the name of progress, can complicate the simplest of notions. In practice, it was definitely a lot harder to keep to ideals than I’d imagined in my adolescent years. Taking things for granted is after all in human nature, my nature. But hard as it may be I’ll never stop trying.
While I frequently remind myself to remember my journey and the people that surround it, it also meant that I needed to make time to appreciate the people who were present, not just for individuals we choose at our convenience. Making effort and time spent led me to unconsciously be charmed by others no matter their background and differences. It made me realise that when I spend enough time with another person, I will almost always learn something new, because everyone I’ve met knows something I don’t.
With that in mind, I wish celebrating differences was a contagion! Like what a simple smile can do.
I went on and started a business that is precisely that. ‘Tradisi – Heritage In A Box’, a start-up that celebrates diversity, culture and our journey as a society. Give a little time of your day to others, and you will find that there is much beauty in the journey we have taken as Malaysians. Diversity is what brought us together; we traded goods and fought alongside once upon a time. There was much strength and beauty in embracing differences then, and there still is.
Su Ann Lew