I for one, don't, as I can relate to these Malaysian Chinese. But what got me going "Wow" is when I personally know someone who is actually not just fluent in her Malay language but going into the Malay media scene herself.
I first met, Gina Yap (also known as Cmate), as she is one of our partners for Project O&O. As we worked on the project, I got to know her background then her passion.. which is book writing. And it's not in English, she says.. but Bahasa Malaysia! Now, to me, that's cool. So of course, when this series came up, Gina, and her unique passion, just has got to be featured!
And, here, is her story..
Inspiring. Never thought that I would one day be labeled as INSPIRING. As far as I am concerned, I am a writer trapped within my truth. I’m content simply being who I am and it doesn’t bother me how the world perceive me. I am just a crazy writer refusing to let go of my dreams – to be a storyteller. My dream is to be a storyteller that touches lives and I’m doing just that.
Many people said that to be a published novelist is tough in Malaysia. From as young as I could remember, many have discouraged me to walk down the journey as a novelist simply because local writers do not really earn for a living.
Family members didn’t want to see me begging for food as a writer, friends didn’t want me to walk down a path that promises nothing but personal satisfactory – but isn’t living all about just that?
The personal satisfaction of achieving that which our heart desires for?
I was stubborn, still am very stubborn.
I want to be a renowned novelist in my home country and I will.
So I started writing my first manuscript in the quiet comfort of my room. It took me less than 10 days to complete 80,000 words. I could still recall that moment I wrote ‘The End’ at the bottom of the last page; it was a victorious moment for my writer’s soul.
Determination and perseverance, all a dreamer ever needs to keep running after his/her dreams. It all begins with you believing in yourself before others can believe in you. When the world distracts you from running after your dreams, you run harder. When people discourage you from what you believe in, you shut your ears and listen to your heart. When your loved ones try to put you down, you be stubborn and prove that they are wrong. Why? Because you are the dreamer. You are responsible for your dreams. No one else can help you to achieve it but yourself. It all begins from within.
Sent my first manuscript to the publisher of my choice expecting a rejection slip as everyone has said, “A writer is normally rejected multiple times before a successful hit.”. Well, that didn’t happen to me. My manuscript got approved within a month and hit the bookshelves in less than 3 months’ time. And from then on, my novelist career sprints ahead while I try my best to keep pace.
Some may find it surprising that a Chinese writer has chosen to write in Malay. Well, I needed a stepping-stone, don’t I? Seeing that the local publishers are publishing more Malay books than English, I leverage on my passion for the Malay language and wrote a Malay novel to penetrate into the writing world. It was the best decision I have ever made. With one published novel out in the market, doors of opportunities start to open one by one.
I was at the recent International Book Fair Kuala Lumpur, the biggest book fair of the year, to meet my reader fans (and a fan gave me a basket of flower). Giggling high school girls and shy teenage boys surrounded me for photo sessions and autographs. I spent hours meeting my readers, talking with them and being their friend.
At that moment, I knew it was all worth it.
Yes, I do not earn enough to feed myself through my books, but hey, I am touching lives.
Families and friends have nothing to say about my pursuit of dreams. Some of them are proud of me; others are skeptical especially when I told them my 2nd novel would be hitting the bookshelves this June. (Yes, I am woo-ed by publishers to write two books this year.) Why write more books if it doesn’t feed you? They forget; it feeds my soul.
I am glad that my pursuit of dreams has inspired others to run after theirs.
Everywhere I go, I tell people that dreams are worth chasing after.
We all have dreams. Big or small, our dreams matter because it’s the core of who we are deep within. The moment we stop believing that we are capable of achieving our dreams, we lose a piece of ourselves. I don’t want to lose a piece of me, do you?
*Gina's debut novel, Eksperimen Cinta by Geena Edora, is available for sales at most major bookstores. Her 2nd novel, Ngeri, will be hitting the bookshelves soon.
*Gina does writing & designing as her bread & butter. Her works can be found at Cybermate Dungeon. The banner for this feature is specially done by her! :)
*The What's Your (INspiring) Story? is a 12 weeks series where people from all walks of life are to come together and share anything that inspires them. I've invited friends from all walks of life & inspired by a wide variety of things, but am also open to anyone else who wants to share their story.
If u have an (INspiring) story you'd like to share, simply contact me! :)