You may skip to the TLDR section down there in RED (just after the line) 🙂
Even after I graduated from uni, I still able to spend time with my friends after work. The usual case would be those fresh grads usually busy finding a full-time work and after landing themselves on their very first (proper/full-time) job, they would have less time to socialise with their old friends. It’s because they would be occupied from 9-5, and some of them on the weekends would like to get some more rest, or the rest they are going to have fun on Friday and Saturday night and sleep the whole day on Sunday.
For immigrants like me and my friends, we were not born here. We did not grow up here, and most of us came to Australia to pursue our bachelor degree. Lucky I found this community. We started to gather together twice every week to have choir practice and to serve in every Sunday mass. Other than that, we sometimes meet up just to have lunch together at uni, or to have dinner after the mass. We used to meet every Monday to play sports.
The time when we are preparing for special occasions such as Easter week; Christmas Carols; singing at the aged care; and some other special events, we tend to spend more time together.
I grew close to one of the choir member, who came to finish up his study in Australia after being transferred from Malaysia. We have lots of similarities and he is someone who I already consider as my own little brother whom I can talk to without really have to filter everything. We know each other’s weaknesses and weirdness as well as the good points as well. He lives in Koonawarra street with another um maybe 16-19 people – that’s a normal size house FYI.
I visited the house maybe 5 times already and most of them are from Malaysia. From the internet over the years and when I looked back in the history between these 2 countries, we do not really have a smooth diplomatic relationship.
In the past, some individuals in Indonesia burnt the forest and that created a massive smoke and affecting the air in Singapore and Malaysia as well. If we are talking about soccer, then Indonesia and Malaysia are rivals, they are like nemesis of each other. Malaysia claimed batik. To be very honest if together we look back at the past from thousands of years ago, all of the lands were connected to one big land where the humans can live in.
It is also the same case for Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. We have at least one similarity where we have one ethnicity (if I’m not mistaken) known as Melayu people. They have 1 language which is called Bahasa Melayu, and sometimes it’s hard to tell where one person came from as the physical features are very similar. Then because of the separation of the land (I guess this is because Earth is moving, something must have happened, here and there – unfortunately I forgot everything about year 11 and 12 Geography), these separated lands created their own country and their own languages, but still the ancestor came from the same place.
Okay, should be enough with the history/geography stuff which I am not good at. I mean, well it’s only natural for these people to gather together and have fun. To combine and mix the culture. True in modern days we were from different countries, but hey we still have lots in common! Why do we have to separate things?
Some things are different, yes that’s true. Chinese Malaysian tend to speak Chinese or Cantonese (and again, unfortunately, I cannot understand) but also some of them could understand Bahasa Melayu even though they don’t speak that frequently. Chinese Indonesian on the other hand don’t speak mandarin anymore and we use a lot of slang and Bahasa Indonesia.
We can still communicate with each other using English. The most interesting part is that Malaysian seems like they are more willing to blend in with Indonesian, which Singaporean is a bit different. These Malaysian people who live in Koonawarra house also are very friendly. They talk in Chinese and put some slangs as well and now I understand a few their terms and they also understand some Indonesian words as well.
When talking about a gathering we shall not forget talking about food! Our food is also similar. Mostly maybe because we are basically Chinese – yeap our great great great grandparents came from China but along the time passing I don’t know how many centuries already we have different facial appearance from those who came or are still living in the mainland China but unfortunately we are not recognised as Melayu people because our features are different. We lost our identity, but we still have a good standard of nationalism.
Yup, now this story has widened to the topics which I should not discuss. I was just thinking maybe it is necessary for you to understand this as the background story (?) hahahaha.
TLDR – So yeah long story short even though we came from different background, different island, different environment, we were united to become one community. The community of South East Asian people who love to eat and to hang out. What interests me the most is these Koonawarra people usually cook together (not the whole 20 people), but they spend a lot together, like A LOT. They play board games too!
As I am slowly closing my chapter, I can say for sure that I am very grateful to have met these people. Even though I don’t live under the same roof as them, whenever I visit them to have a meal and play games afterwards, I always feel content.
In this post, I am not only going to talk about these Koonawarra peeps. I met lots of people who came from different countries too! Just because Malaysians and Indonesians are dominating the community, people who came from another country now starting to adopt our culture, they eat what we eat. They understand our behaviour, and I am still amazed by the fact that we are united as one community. We are willing to learn other’s culture, language, and behaviour. That’s very interesting!
And like I mentioned in the previous paragraphs, I always feel content to be surrounded by these people who came from different culture, background, and society. We are willing to learn, willing to share, willing to understand each other.
I consider myself as an extroverted introvert. There are times where I just want to be by myself reading books entering the fantasy world or just to watch Korean drama or movies. Also, there are times where I really want to be surrounded by these people. Simply not to run away from problems (if I have one), but to share our happiness and knowledge. Sharing a good time together. For that, I am very grateful!
Also to conclude this more than 1000 words post, I will say the happiness in unity does exist!