YES Alumni, Loo Si Ying recounts her volunteering in Hawaii and she explained how Islamic teaching about NOT killing others, as well as how peaceful the religion was.
Pre-Departure Orientation Camp meant my day to fly to United States and leaving my comfortable zone was close. I thought I was determined and tough all along as I am independent and steadfast since a young age. However, this time is different. I will be leaving for months and not days or weeks. All my feelings mingled together. I was surprised, I wailed the night before leaving. Honestly, I didn’t know what I cried for. My emotion was up and down that night.
It was the time to leave. I could see the faces of our family members and us, the young ambassadors. Our faces were sorrowful, but, I was calm. I was ready to accept the new challenges that were waiting for me. Stepping out my comfort zone was hard. It meant that I am getting more mature. My parents will not be there with me forever.
After flying for days, we finally reached our destination- Washington D.C. I was lucky as it was winter! How amazing it was to experience snow though it was freezing cold. I felt like I was dreaming. I never thought I would have a chance to experience snow even in my dreams!3.png
“How about your first meeting with your host family? Nervous? Awkward?”
“No! No! No! I was not.”
I still remembered clearly. After getting off from the plane, I was walking alone to the arrival hall baggage claim. I could see there were three people waving happily to me, who were my host parents and sister. They were very friendly and enthusiastic! They gave me a big hug. Within seconds, it felt like a family. We had been in contact with each other before my departure. At the moment we got home, I knew. This is my second home not for only 6 months, but forever.
Life in Hawaii.
Being the youngest in the family, the most important thing for me is to have a sister to dote on. Her name is Joy. Joy always brings happiness to me. Hawaii is a special and unique place. It is very different from other states in the United States. There is no snow here. The people here have their own lifestyle and culture. I am a lucky girl to be hosted by the Leung family in Hawaii. Otherwise I will not have a chance to experience a new life and to learn more about the culture here.
Besides attending school, I have tons of after school activities. Every Monday and Wednesday, I go hiking with my host mother on Diamond Head, which is a famous hiking trail in Hawaii. Hiking not only can be a good physical training but also allow me to enjoy the beauty of nature.
Friday is my favorite day as I volunteer in AWANA Club (Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed). Awana is a club that teaches kids to learn more about God’s word. The kids memorize verses from the bible and do all sorts of different activities. I like to volunteer, as I feel happy when I do something for the community. Later, I will volunteer in Hamilton Library and adopt a beach. “Do more gain more never request for pay off is” my motto.
Living in Hawaii, I think learning to hula dance is a must; therefore, my host mother sends me to hula dance classes every Saturday. I always have fun no matter where I am. These are activities I do on a daily basis. As we say, all study no play makes Jack a dull boy, in order not to be a dull girl, I fill my weekend with different activities. Always trying out new things such as tennis, piano, spotting whales in Makapuu, taking a walk in Magic Island, swimming in the nice Pacific Ocean and so on. The most wonderful time is the time having fun with family.
Why I am here: my responsibility as a young ambassador.
It was my second week going to school. During U. S. History class, Mr. Utsumi asked me to talk about the religions in Malaysia. I didn’t even have a chance to continue my second sentence yet after coming out with the first sentence, “In Malaysia, our official belief is Islam.” At that instant, all my peers and Mr. Utsumi looked so shocked and came out with “You are Islam? Are you a terrorist? What is in your bag? A Bomb?”I was like losing my head when they questioned me like that but I kept on smiling at them and explained to them “Though I am from Malaysia, I am not a Muslim. I have a choice to choose whether I want to believe in – Allah, Jesus Christ or Buddha. Malaysia is a multi-cultural and multi-racial country. Everyone has their right to choose what they want to believe in except Muslims. They have no choice, they believed in Allah since they were born but it doesn’t mean that they are terrorists.
Islam is only a belief like what we believe in either Christian or Buddhist. Their Al-Quran doesn’t teach them to be a terrorist but teach them not to kill and if they kill even one person it is as if they killed humanity. I still remember what I had learned from school about Islam, they were not allowed to attack women, children and the weak during the war. They were also not allowed to start a war except when they were attacked by people. They could only defend themselves without harming others.
Actually the acts of violence don’t belong to any religion. I don’t think any religions will teach people to kill or attack others but those heathens.” I told them. After listening to my explanation, I could see the frown faces turn into glorious smile. Before leaving the class, Mr. Utsumi left a sentence for me, which made me feel proud, “You are doing a good job, Si Ying. You gained my respect. Keep up the good work. It is good to let more people know about your country. Thumbs up!”
Well, I am proud to represent Malaysia, the place I was born, homeland of all Malaysians.
Loo Si Ying (YES’16), hosted by American Councils in Hawaii.