To label my college experience as a bad one and store it away in my mental attic would do the thousands of tuition ringgit paid no justice; it was a less-than-satisfactory one, undoubtedly, but I walked away knowing more than when I first walked through its gates. And I suppose, any situation that you walk away from as a better version of yourself can’t be that bad after all.
Sonder comes in a fuzzy feeling, like being swaddled in the warmth of your blanket as the morning sunlight splits through layers of curtains, cut by the breeze. Often laced with gratitude, it reminds us we are all cogs in a bigger machine, pieces in a larger game.
Allow me to walk you through what doing a standard practice set was like in my early youth. We’d do one round of thirty MCQs, my dad would grade it, have me explain my thought process for questions that I got wrong, figure out the correct answers, erase the set, and have me do it all over again. We’d do this for each set for however long it took me to get a perfect score—however long it took me to understand and learn from my mistakes.
You don’t have to be Palestinian or Muslim to help the cause, you just have to be human enough. Summon that anger and unjust that had burned within you when members of the Black and Asian communities were being mistreated, oppressed, and murdered. Change isn’t a one-man show; it’s a fire that is lit by one and passed on to the rest. You just have to be willing to hold the torch.
I looked at Her and saw myself. A projection of Her youth. A hallucination of who She had wished to become. Her hopes and dreams rest on my shoulders. Her nose and lips rest on my face.
I know society is capable of dousing fires—we’ve been doing that for the whole of human history—but we can’t keep putting out fires only to unearth dead bodies, we have to locate the root cause of those fires, remove the cause, and save lives.
We are all pawns in a larger, international cosmic game, every one of us simply clinging onto the hope of reaching the other end of the chessboard, climbing the squares one god forsaken step at a time. But sociopaths? They aren’t playing the same game(s) we are. They are the center of their own universe. A sociopath moves whatever piece they like, in whatever fashion serves them best—no matter what that means for those around them.
The red packets start pouring in by the moment. It is de rigueur that I drop by every table to say hello to our fellow relatives. I do. I allow four-character wishes to escape my mouth one after the other, smile graciously as I shake their hands, and receive the heavenly red envelope. I give subtle hints that I am about to move on so I can make my rounds. However, more darling aunties and uncles approach the table that I’m at. I tense up.
2020 was a year that no eight-ball saw coming. I want to be able to remember the highlights of our collective societies through a fun-to-recite poem that sings like a nursery rhyme. This is it. The apocalyptic year summed in 658 words.
I place my head on the pillow and feel you sink in, knowing I’ll see you in wonderland […]