Same, Same But Different 0 327

It feels the same, it looks the same but it’ll never be the same

It’s been about two months of returning back to a somewhat normalised life. Although it may feel trite to constantly talk about it, readjusting, again and again, is so damn hard. After living life a certain way for the past two years, it has become almost inconceivable to seek the old lives we used to have. 

We became used to ample downtime with ourselves – it often even felt like too much time alone with our thoughts. We became used to a lower level of social interaction, only speaking to one another through our screen. Even work was done from the comfort of our homes.

“The thing about change is that everything feels the same until it doesn’t. You wake up one day and realise that life is completely different than it was just a few months ago”

When things burst open the way they did, many of us were caught in the wave. Going through the motions of the New Normal, just trying to keep up. The thing about change is that everything feels the same until it doesn’t. You wake up one day and realise that life is completely different than it was just a few months ago. 

To me, it feels like in an attempt of keeping up with all these changes, we haven’t taken the time to process what we all went through. I watch people around me live their lives with ease and without the fear that exists like a dull headache – not particularly bothersome but everpresent. Or maybe that’s just how it looks from the outside, maybe everybody feels that nagging anxiety that all of this is fragile and temporary. 

I too have been enjoying the relaxed regulations and am finally feeling like my life is progressing, but it also feels as if I am constantly just getting away with it. I am getting away without getting the virus, I am getting away with spending time with my friends, I am getting away with trying to enjoy life once more. It still feels like I’m doing something wrong and am just lucky enough to skate by without repercussion.

However, a part of me is still waiting for the shoe to drop. For the moment when the dreadful news of a new variant or another lockdown that’ll send us back to the sedentary life that we so painfully only just survived. 

I don’t know how to let go of this and return to the carefree existence I once had. In the history of our lives, the pandemic will only be one small portion but yet the effect that the two years has had on us, at least for now, has irrevocably changed who we are. Pretending that things are normal because we are caught up with our busy lives, in my opinion, fails to acknowledge and even honour the experience that we had. 

“Pretending that things are normal because we are caught up with our busy lives, in my opinion, fails to acknowledge and even honour the experience that we had”

It was awful and scary and terrible and heartbreaking. It was one of the hardest times of our lives. We have come out of this worst for wear and we will always look back on this period with grief for all that we lost. I’m not here to paint a silver lining, rather own the experience for what it was and carry the weight of it into the next phase of our lives. 

I don’t believe we will ever be the same. Maybe it’ll look somewhat the same and feel somewhat the same but for the time being, at least I will continue to feel like I am just getting away with it. And that’s okay.

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So It’s Sabri, Now What? 0 323

Our bed’s been made, I guess we gotta find a way to lay in it 

Looks like our democracy has been disregarded for the time being and no amount of unrest from the citizens is going to make a difference. For most of us, this is our only home so it’s time to make the best of a bad situation and be clear about what we want from the people in power:

Parliament back in full session

If SOPs are in place and MPs are vaccinated, there is no reason for parliament not to reconvene. The voices of the people need to be heard and this is the only way we’ll be able to see that. 

Proper financial aid to the B40 community

Not just one-off handouts, but monthly financial aid to help those who have been struggling to put food on the table for the past year and a half. 

Restructuring of the Pandemic Recovery Plan 

Insanity is defined by doing the same thing and expecting different results – it’s time to rethink, relook and restructure our plan to get us out of this pandemic. It’s not about relying on the vaccines alone but holistically approaching the situation. 

#Undi18

Automatic registration of voters for those ages 18 and above for upcoming elections. 

Vaccinations for those in remote areas

Even though the vaccination rates have been tremendously high, it is clear that those living in the outskirts and the Orang Asli community have yet to receive their doses. 

Better support for our healthcare workers

Without our incredible healthcare workers, we would have seen many more fatalities in the country. They should be given full-time positions with the benefits that they deserve. 

Fair treatment of foreign workers

Foreign workers deserve to have safe working and living conditions that should be mandated under the law. 

Stopping the intimidation of activists 

Under a true democracy, activism, protests and the voices of the people must be heard. Activists should be allowed to speak on their views without fear of being investigated.

These are just some of the ways we want to see a positive change with the “new government”. Let’s hope that there will be some brighter days for us as Malaysians.

What are some changed you’d like to see?

What’s Happening In Afghanistan? 0 386

After 20 years of presence in Afghanistan, President Joe Biden withdrew all troops from the nation, closing Americas longest war.

The American army came to Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attack to dismantle al-Qaeda and locate Osama bin Laden. This was led by George Bush to “win the war against terrorism”, even though none of the assailants in the attack were actually from Afghanistan. 

Over the past twenty years, the relationship between Afghanistan and the US continued to be turbulent with initial airstrikes, a call for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, an alliance between the leaders of both nations, a crackdown on the Taliban which was recommitted by President Barack Obama, the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the Taliban causing tensions between the nations, the US dropping its most powerful non-nuclear bomb, a resurgence in attacks by the Taliban as a response to the Trump administrations Afghanistan plan, peace-talks resulting in a deal on a path to peace and finally in 2021, Biden withdrawing all troops.

This is a very condensed summation of the intricacies of the relationship that the US has had with Afghanistan. However, it’s important to understand that the complex relationship plays a direct role in the reality that many Afghani nationals are facing at this time.

Before the extremists groups took control over the nation, in the 1960s, Afghanistan was a place filled with art, poetry, education and equality. Looking back on pictures, Afghanistan was comparable to a modern-day nation with forward-thinking ideologies with freedom and safety amongst the people.

This all changed when the Soviets came into Afghanistan in 1979. The entrance of the Russians set the trajectory of the rest of the history of the nation, with the American involvement, the civil war creating fractures in society allowing the Taliban to take over, to the reality that it is today. 

Just two days ago, on Sunday, August 16th, as the American troops left the country, the Taliban entered the capital of Kabul after a steady seize of the other cities and took over. The President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, fled the country leaving his people vulnerable to the inevitable takeover. He claimed that his abrupt exit was to “stop further bloodshed”, however, many perceive this as a cowardice move abandoning the people who had fought so hard for democracy in the nation.

All over the country, people are racing to airports to seek safety elsewhere. Under the rule of the Taliban, the country as they knew it for the past 20 years would be completely radicalised. Women and young girls top the list of greatest at risk to the regime, with most being told to stop attending schools or universities so that they are able to marry off – even girls as young as 12 years old. The reinstatement of the repressive and fundamentalist rule will set Afghanistan back almost 200 years and the twenty years of wars, trillions of dollars spent and the hundreds of thousands of lives lost have all be undone in the matter of just one day.

The new Taliban rulers have stated that they have changed their ways and hope to have peaceful international relations and maintain the rights of women. Onground, in Kabul, there hasn’t been violence in the city, rather at the airports where people are desperate to flee. However, despite the fact that things have been somewhat quiet in the city of Kabul, many of the older generations remember the harsh regime under which they lived and struggle to believe that this leadership has changed. Under the strict Shariah Law, education for women and girls were forbidden, they were not allowed to work, let alone leave the house without a male guardian. Most forms of entertainment were banned and women were forced to cover themselves from head to toe. 

The population of Afghanistan is a young population with 3 out of 4 individuals under the age of 25. This means that many don’t remember the trauma that was faced prior to US involvement and even attempting to adapt to the fundamentalist rule will be near impossible. It cannot be determined what the Taliban’s rule over the country will look like, however, if it is anything like it was historically, the world will be waiting to see what happens to the people who are not aligned with the Taliban’s governance.

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