As an Asian woman who’ve never been outside of my own country, Malaysia, facing any types of discriminations are worse than facing it outside of your “home”. Why? Because you get to hear all these malicious comments, harsh words from your own people. From your circle of friends. I have never really confronted any bigotry-motivated attacks, but of course, I have been bullied.
I found out last year that my family came from different ancestry. We have India, China and Siamese in our blood. Of course, some of you might think that I’ll look like any mixed/biracial person on Instagram but no. I am a dark skinned, fat and short Asian. The type of person who people will easily laugh at. In my school, I am a very loud and cheerful student. You can tell that I am very popular at my school. However, people will always find a way to bring you down and when it comes to me, it was about my looks. I get it, I’m not as fair as other Malays, nor I am as bright as anyone else. But, why should they care if I don’t meet their expectations? I don’t want to marry your son at any point of my life and if I choose to do something with my body, that’s because I want to. Not because of you or the social demand.
As I grew older, I noticed that racism/bigotry existed from the core; our own people. If we can’t accept the diversity of our own people, then we’re already lost. What makes us stronger as Asians despite all the stereotypes is that we come together as one big family. As most of you know, Malaysia is known for its diverse culture and its togetherness. That being said, it doesn’t mean that racism doesn’t exist. I grew up with a few of my friends who are Indian and Chinese. They mean the world to me. We often had discussions about all this “diversity in Malaysia” when we met and unfortunately on one fine day, the worst thing that I’ve been afraid of happened. My Indian friend went on to search for a part time job in a small town located in northern Malaysia. She went into a restaurant asking for a job application when this one lady who I assume was the owner of the restaurant said “We only hire muslims/malays for work, because of hygiene”. My heart broke into pieces. She shouldn’t go through any of this. She’s the most wonderful human being I’ve ever met. What broke me more is when she asked me,”Am I not a human being?”. I ultimately felt responsible. I kept telling myself that I am not doing my best to preach kindness and love in this country. But, who am I to go around everywhere telling people to love each other? What’s saddening is that those filthy words came from someone who practices Islam; the religion of peace and love. I couldn’t express how heartbroken I am. I personally believes that Islam is a way of life and thus, if someone is behaving unjustly, they have some problems with themselves.
Racism or discrimination or bigotry is something that we need to get rid of quickly. I often read stories about asians/black people who were being discriminated and I often asked myself “What made us like this?” Why do you think that skinny is the symbol of beauty? Why can’t it be everything? Why do we enjoy white-washing ourselves? All these questions but no definite answers. I really wanted to promote self love and acceptance throughout the whole world. I feel like no one knew that self love is the most beautiful and powerful thing you can ever have. I am still learning how to accept myself until now. I wish that my nights were free from bad thoughts about myself, how it is about my dreams and goals that I am yet to achieve. I need to constantly remind myself that is it okay if you’re darker than anyone else you know, and that it’s okay if you are hated by some people. They’re not me and being myself is the best thing that I can ever be!
I came to realize how powerfully hateful comments can affect someone.You can literally make someone felt like trash just by telling them that they’re ugly. You can literally make someone goes to bed crying at night questioning to God why is she built like this. You can even make someone take their own life; by making fun of her looks. Remember that the next time you’re about to say something to someone.
Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.
Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.
We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.
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We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.