Leanne, 26

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We don’t always have to be late, not clear up after ourselves at fast food places, and double park, just because everyone else does it. Just because we’ve been like this for as long as anyone can remember, doesn’t mean we can’t change.
— Leanne, 26

I like cartoons, stories, and art.

One thing that surprises other Malaysians about me is that I can't speak Chinese. I'm a banana. I guess for a lot of people, it's hard to comprehend because they speak their mother tongue at home. But mine is English, since my mother is more comfortable speaking in English. I didn't go to Chinese school, so I have no knowledge of speaking Chinese at all. I know being a banana is not all that unusual but most people are always still so surprised or shocked when I tell them I can't, regardless of their race or nationality. I also know it's a disadvantage, but the way some Chinese people look at me in disappointment makes me feel tired.

I'm good at writing and drawing, but I still have a lot to learn. I'm also pretty patient.

One thing I'm proud of is that I worked at an ice cream parlour. The first time I worked there, I just resigned from my first job. My confidence was at an all-time low, and I thought working in service could help boost that a bit. I ended up loving it so much that I worked part-time even after getting another job! Some people thought I was crazy for working two jobs, but I was never stressed when serving people ice cream. Okay there are stressful moments, but I always manage to solve them on the spot. And now I can pick up phone calls without being an anxious mess! That's character development.

I decided to be a voter when I interned at a news portal after university. I had no political knowledge when entering that internship, so I had to pick up everything on the job. It was so fun writing news on politicians saying weird things! But mostly I liked informing people on what's going on in the country, and feeling like I was also getting more informed at the same time. When I finished my internship, I turned 21 on the same year as GE13. It was the most frustrating thing because I couldn't vote. I really wanted to do my part in being part of change. I want change. I'm done with politicians getting away with saying anything they want without accountability, and I want a better Malaysia.

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

These issues matter to me because everyone deserves to be treated equally and be afforded the same rights to a better life. I think that can only happen if our resources are managed more than misused, and if the race card stops being played.

I wish I knew more about law and policy-making. Sometimes I think they're too dry. I'd like to figure out a way to make it more reader-friendly. This goes for science as well.

I want other young people to know that we deserve a better Malaysia. we don't always have to be late, not clear up after ourselves at fast food places, and double park, just because everyone else does it. Just because we've been like this for as long as anyone can remember, doesn't mean we can't change. I mean, changing the government is one thing, but if our attitudes don't change, nothing goes forward. Also, please be more hopeful! Don't give up without trying. We don't have to keep living like this, but it only works if we're working together to do our part.