A young Malaysian was in a dilemma, he felt an odd yet inflamed feeling to find his calling, but he was unable to do so within the confinement of society and family. Naturally so, it should not be surprising for every generation to experience the congestion and requirement. This young man approached me a couple of weeks ago, after midnight, and we candidly shared views of the world, life and my adventures.
Isa Ibrahim @Sobrielo, who’s turning 20 in mid-April, is my cousin from a long generation of Minangkabau. He listened, nodded, shrugged his shoulders and parted some opinions, kept his calm but yet I saw the energy and eagerness to travel.
At many points of my youth, I was in turmoil, at times drowning, to find my calling. It is as if Fate had stopped determining my life and I was compelled by unknown forces and impatience to carve into my unexplored realm of activism. Isa feels the same; he is struggling with the high-handedness of society that seems to disallow him from finding his individuality, his identity. Apathy is the reward for conformity in Malaysian society, something that he rightfully wants to avoid. With little hesitation, he spoke to his overly-concerned mother and sent me a message:
“Hahaha,it’s very funny.. She was thinking of a thousand ways to distract me and then she knew it was good for me.. She gave her blessings :)”
With barely enough to make ends meet for a short flight, he instead booked a ticket and is on the road now. The sights and sounds of a land-based trip will serve him well, though I am sure he will feel the punishment of the physically-demanding trip, by train and bus from Malaysia to Bangkok.
People travel for all sorts of reason, but Isa’s journey will tax him of his emotions ~ something he needs to experience for himself. I told him:
“Travel does not teach us tolerance, instead it robs you of your senses and hopefully along the way it will show the path of humility.”
I believe that young people should take the plunge, to swim in the stagnant pool of society’s expectations, and then leap forth to take charge of their lives. Despite the human rights of young people that we constantly speak about, we have yet to prove that we take young people and their decisions seriously. Society expects obedience to justify its own ego-laced, over-bearing pride, and seeks to isolate those who think differently. Isa was trying to “think out of the box” but I encouraged him to sour out of the box and disabled the four walls –> Now there is no box, nothing to confine him to the rigid, orthodox mentality of the majority. He is in control. He has already made a difference to himself. He risk everything to just have an opportunity to mold his Destiny.