If you are following me on LinkedIn and other social platforms, you would have known that I changed job, again.
Since 2012 until now, my current job at International Medical University is the forth within five years. The dire determination of changing job extends each time, depending on the situation within that organization but if I could insist you with my chain of swift-logic, I would say there were, a lot of times, droughts of satisfaction – and if anyone dares to ask, “What will give you the ultimate satisfaction?” I would say, “Writing.”
I want to write stories and at least two novels in a year. However, truth is, I cannot now and maybe never earn a living by my writing even though that is the one profession I want. Just like how Sylvia Plath wrote in The Unabridged Journals – What if our work (writing) isn’t good enough? We get rejections. Isn’t this the world’s telling us we shouldn’t bother to be writers? How can we know if we work now hard and develop ourselves we will be more than mediocre? Isn’t this world’s revenge on us for sticking our neck out? We can never know until we’ve worked, written. We have no guarantee we’ll get a Writer’s Degree. Weren’t the mothers and businessmen right after all? Shouldn’t we have avoided these disquieting questions and taken steady jobs and secured a good future for the kiddies?
Writers I know, cannot enjoy quite the same luxury as professionals. I wrote before the doubts I had in my mind whether I wanted to write for money. However living in this century, where money gives you a pinch of happiness, it would be an injudicious move to set that one enormous hesitation aside. Having written all these, I wonder why cannot writers earn just as enough as professionals. Enough is subjective which the term and its application vary according to ideal prosperity one thinks. In my case, I am honestly, greedy.
No one seems to be willing to question the obvious discrimination our country at large has been practicing since secondary school – science students’ excellence matters compared to art students. This is highly unusual if we ever turn to how our neighbor, Indonesia utilizes their talents in every corner of all islands. Meanwhile in Malaysia, science and technology have an admirable reputation for what we call national development. In such rapidly poisonous force, attempts to foster Malay language as linguistic culture and enforcement seem ludicrous. We had become habituated to neglect what art students can achieve and contribute to this country, hence the result, art people are paid lower for their talents, skills and knowledge.
There is an underlying theme – that of discrimination. Now it wouldn’t matter if I were alone in this respect. However, I know I am not.
I leave you with one puisi by Usman Awang, Penghinaan;
kerana besi hancurnya pasti
darah dan hati permainan suci
padanya cinta-kasih termetrai.
Siapa datang memberi kuasa pada cinta
hei penyair, puisimu tiada guna
tutup lembaranmu yang berkhayalan saja
duniamu asing dari keriuhan maya.
Betapa kosongnya dada mereka
hatinya buta matanya terbuka
Sedang dunia kami yang mengisinya
segala warna kami yang mempunyainya
Kami bukan dewa terbang mengembara
kami pengisi dunia dan dunia memberi kami
segala kasih semua derita yang dipunyainya
Luasnya dunia kami sejauh sinat matari
padanya nafas kami menerima dan memberi
cinta-kasih dan kemanusiaan sejati
bukan sekadar gembong menonjolkan diri