Okami, 25

okami.jpg
I decided to be a voter when my younger brother got arrested by the police in October. He was arrested for hate speech, but all he did was speak about police accountability. My parents didn’t know, a friend told us about it a day later. The thought that my brother will die alone from being beaten up terrified me. It made me decide to register as a voter.
— Okami, 25

I like the sun, sea, and cats.

One thing that surprises other Malaysians about me is that I'm half Chinese half Malay. I was once not allowed to enter the surau when I was in primary school. The sentence "Awak Cina, so awak tak boleh masuk" hit me so hard that I got scared of entering suraus and mosques. What would happen if I take off my hijab? Fast forward a couple of years, I decided not to get affected by it. Instead, I minded my own business and even brought my non-Muslim girl friends into the surau, because I will not hate on people with other religious beliefs. Until today, I do get some looks, but I just don't mind it.

I'm good at being sensitive. I've always been a sensitive person, ever since I was a kid. My family and friends would make fun of me for being such a crybaby but I didn't care. As long as I get to express myself, it's good for me. I even cry for other people too, because I know that things can be overwhelming at times. They don't know how to face it, so I cry for them. Sometimes I get laughed at, and sometimes I am thanked. It's nice to know what it feels like to be a human.

One thing I'm proud of is how I managed to bounce back from my depressing academic years. I passed a very difficult subject for me (I failed it four times), and I cried so much because now I can finally graduate in a year. Two years being a failure and on the verge of termination, I finally get to move on. It took me so long but I am honestly happy that I am finally moving forward.

I decided to be a voter when my younger brother got arrested by the police in October. He was arrested for hate speech, but all he did was speak about police accountability. My parents didn't know, a friend told us about it a day later. The thought that my brother will die alone from being beaten up terrified me. It made me decide to register as a voter. How many times have we read about death in police custody in our local news? How easily their deaths were dismissed. What about the 14 year-old boy who was shot in the middle of the night by police because he was mistaken as a suspect? A child doesn't deserve such treatment. People need to know that the police have no right to take away one's life. Police brutality is real in Malaysia and everyone must know it is happening. We need change to protect other citizens.

I'm most worried about climate change, government accountability and transparency, as well as discrimination and income inequality.

These issues matter to me because I am part of the future. And the future generation deserves much better. We must strive for a nation where everyone is treated equally and in peace. All of Earth deserves more protection! How many of us actually care about the planet? We need to preserve nature for the sake of future generations and mother earth.

I wish I knew more about science. I wasn't much of a learner when I was a teenager due to ignorance. But now I regret not investing time in science. If I did, I would have learned how to save the Earth even more. Now I only do what I can in my capacity.

I want other young people to know that we are the future, and we can create a better nation for everyone with equal opportunities. We have what it takes to shape and change the nation. We can fight for people who are unable to speak up. We are not afraid of doing the right thing. Together, we are stronger than yesterday. We have what it takes to change the future.

Watan1992, Melaka