Something about Dreams, Patience and Perseverance
My friend Edward tells about how he pursued his controversial dream in a typically conservative community.
By Karen Eva Chin @karenevachin
How I Met Edward
THE FIRST TIME I met Edward was at a singing competition we both joined. The first thing that struck me about him was his eye makeup: smoky and applied flawlessly.
Apparently, it was the same for him, although for a different reason: My stunted eyebrows annoyed him enough for him to whip out his eyebrow pencil from his small makeup bag and fix my eyebrows before it was my turn to sing.
We became fast friends and from makeup and music, our topics now run deeper. Recently, he was having insomnia and was inspired to write about something he had been going through.
Vocation and career in life is always a tricky thing. Many people who finish school wouldn’t know what they want to do in life, and whatever decisions they make will shape their futures significantly.
Many get stuck with a job they tolerate for a salary that helps them survive and then they do this for the rest of their lives. The act of stepping out of their comfort zones and achieving their dreams is something to truly admire and applaud (for example, a teenager who has always wanted to be a doctor, studied hard to get good grades, got into medical school and graduated as a doctor and later has a fulfilling, satisfying career).
However, now, we are talking about a boy from a typical Chinese family who dreamt about being a makeup artist which feels more like emerging victorious from a war.
Here is his story, as told to me.
Edward’s Story about Family Culture
“My name is Edward Ginibun, I am 23 years old and I hold reasonable educational qualifications. I am an ordinary boy from a very traditional Chinese background. As far as I can remember, my family only uses chopsticks during meals. I have been taught a lot about Chinese culture; historical characters from China, family traditions and the sorts.
“My father was from the military, and my mother was a teacher. I am their only child. One thing typical of all Chinese parents is how they talk about who-and-who’s son and daughter doing well in school, or that their friend’s kids are so smart and all.
“The pressure from wanting to make them proud was naturally implanted in my brain since I was a little boy and that was what made me, me.”
The teenage years: When sparks happened
“When I was in secondary school, I was the brightest student in class, the “athlete” that participated in everything and the all-rounder who joined almost every club available in the school. It was quite a handful, but I spent my teenage years being the ‘Popular Boy’ in school.
“When I was 16, I was exposed to some makeup programme on television and I started to be interested in that field. Every now and then when I had some free time, I would research the internet for makeup references and articles. At that time, I was obsessive about making myself look presentable and nothing else.
“When I finished my SPM, I confronted my parents. I wanted to take up hair-dressing and makeup courses because that was what I was really interested in. My proposal was rejected and I ended up in a college studying Telecommunication Engineering.”
The test of patience
“Of course, I was not happy and I was constantly whining about it whenever my parents brought up the topic. Dinners always ended with harsh words and unhappiness, and I can assure you that it is not something anyone would want to witness. It was pretty much this way until I graduated college.
“The only reason I finished college was because my mother promised me that if I finished the course with flying colors, she and my dad would allow me to take up hair-dressing. That motivated me: I was so pumped to study.
“However, it was a major disappointment when my graduation ceremony ended and my parents sent me to university to continue in Telecommunications instead. It pained me to even look at any engineering stuff.
“I would be forced into that situation again with another fairy-tale (from my father this time), who insisted I finish my studies and get my university qualification before I could go for what I wanted, so I agreed.
“During those years, my parents attempted to brainwash me into forgetting about hair-dressing and makeup which they proudly succeeded in doing at that time. I was doing quite well despite that. I chose Graphic Design for a course, but then half-way through, I felt things weren’t that right for me.
“I finished my course anyway, and when I did, my dad brought us to New Zealand for a vacation where once our family of three had shared sweet, loving memories.
“One day as we sat in our small garden, I brought up the topic about what I wanted to pursue and what I had wanted all this time.
That day I fought really hard. To be honest, a lot of unpleasant things were mentioned, blame was assigned and it felt like I was a teenager all over again as we had the same fights.”
The Wait Is Over
“When I finally got back to Malaysia, my father sat down with me and we talked.
“I was very surprised!
“He asked me about where and what should I do about learning hair-dressing and makeup. My father, the hard-headed ex-army man, agreed that I could attend courses that are “only meant for girls”. It was very tough for my mother because she was an old-fashioned, retired headmistress who found it hard to accept that her only son was going to makeup school.
“But they gave up trying to change me and just let me be me.
“It was quite hard to watch my parents send their only child to this line of education.
“Typically, Chinese families won’t send their children down this path. They desire their children to become someone worth mentioning like a doctor, engineer, pilot, etc.
“However, I gave them no choice but to let me go, and the persistence will continue until I hold the qualifications that I have been dreaming and wishing for.”
Why I Fight For What I Want
“I do not want to live a life that I will regret in the future. I know that my parents are thinking the best for me by making all these decisions, but I believe that even if I possessed all the qualifications that I could have, I wouldn’t be living a life that I want.
“I want to work happily doing what I love, rather than always being stressed out by a job that I hate.
“I wanted to share my story about a person being patient and tested. If you are not brave enough to confront and hold your stand in your passion, you will always be the one that is whining about your job or boss, or bored at your desk doing the same routine everyday in your work place.
“I love my parents to bits, and I know they are very sad that their one and only child had chosen this career path. I vow to make them proud for who I am and what I love to do.”
Following-up on Edward
I find Edward’s story about swimming against the current very inspiring. He told me this story about a month before he left for makeup school. As I was writing the article, I sent him a message on Facebook to check up on him (photo below).
To all those pursuing your dreams no matter how ‘controversial’ or frowned upon, I wish you all the best. There are many who would call you courageous. At the end of the day, it is your life and it is the journey to the end that is worth it.
Karen is a born-and-bred Kuching singer/songwriter who made her debut with her single ‘Cold’ in 2011. She is a trained occupational therapist, experienced makeup artist and has been a writer her whole life. She writes on a variety of topics and the tried-and-tested lifestyle as she sees it; direct, witty and down-to-earth.