As I sit on my director Ching Ching’s floor on a Saturday afternoon sorting out baskets for a shipment, as she labors away in her office at the back of the house, I realize the labor of love required to start and successfully run your own business. She is ultimately responsible for the big and small details involved in successfully running eHomemakers. She is responsible for the progress of both her employees and the groups she supports through the organization. So it’s no surprise that my first week with her has been a whirlwind. She is a perfectionist with a vision of eHomemakers and its future. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute anything that would lead to a more sustainable organization. She seems t o have endless amounts of energy dedicated to the success of e-Homemakers. I hope during my stay, I am able to harness that energy in combination with my own to complete the tasks I have taken on.
My time outside of my Director’s house has been a bit different. The easy going nature of Malaysians is immediately noticeable. There is no rushing, no shouting. It seems to be a culture where there are few dissenting voices. Although, I have heard many stories of potential prejudice, unfair practices and wavering standards of conduct based on race. I hear of the many injustices that would incite protests and outrage at home simply pass as mid-afternoon conversational facts about the Malaysian way of life. I get a sense of dissatisfaction from these conversations but, I notice that no one else’s’ blood pressures seems to rise. As I rage on about the injustice I sense, my coworkers merely smile and nod. They certainly agree that they are not always treated fairly, but they are also aware that my words, no matter how loud, do not have the power to change their circumstances. I get the sense that either these are a people more at peace with life’s ups and downs, or they have been cultured to understand their limits. As an outsider, I have no authority on the matter, but I find myself wanting call them to action. Incite them to change the circumstances of their situations. In general they seem to be a people very much at peace. A type of peace I could definitely benefit from. The level of serenity seems to be a prerequisite to exist here. In terms of living standards, it isn’t on par with the United States, although it’s not far yet, they seem to have less to complain about than we do at home. In most places, I have been welcomed with warm smiles and at times awkward stares, but always a sign of respect. I can’t help but feel that we have as much to gain from their calm way of life as they do from our defiant spirit.
Posted By Ola Duru
Posted Jul 30th, 2008