My friends are buying houses, moving in with their partners, and one or two are even having accountants do their taxes. Meanwhile, I’m here, jobless, boyfriend-less, and still struggling to understand what SOCSO is.
While some see marriage as the next step in life as an adult, others, my friend and I included, are deciding not to say “I do”. At least, not in the near future.
This is the story of Aisha, a Malaysian Muslim woman, and Vinesh, an Indian Sikh man, navigating the obstacles of strict religions, visa complications and a global pandemic.
Wandering the streets at night after buying supermarket instant noodles, I would look in envy at the clusters of friends laughing and walking by.
With each black plastic bag that left my room, I felt like I was slowly purging negativity from my life.
If I could choose whether to have experienced my first heartbreak, with all its numbing pain and endless crying, I’d say yes.
Short girls are immediately labelled as cute. I’ve always tried to defy this by arguing, “No, I’m cool!” or “Why can’t I be badass?”, to which, people would just laugh.
While my friends’ dads walked on carpeted floors in leather shoes, my dad walked around in his big yellow Phua Chu Kang boots on cockle shells that make the grounds.
From big ballroom dinners at fancy hotels to garden luncheons with performances by Chinese acrobats, I cannot afford to compete for ‘Wedding of the Year’, nor am I interested in doing so.
Even though I was expecting it, I couldn’t hold back the tears when the truth was finally staring me in the face. I cried at the restaurant where he broke the news to me, and all the moments in between.