A poem that I wrote and performed at the final meeting of the Fulbright English Teaching Assistants in Malaysia. There are several names in the poem, all of whom were other teachers located in different areas of Malaysia. Again, I apologize for any confusion as result of the Malay words used. Enjoy!
We’ve explored ASEAN, Malaysia, and all of their places,
That feeling when only your presence brings a smile to their faces.
Teacher’s Day, Koperasi Day, and of course Hari Raya,
Whose the tall, crazy, orang putih? Saya.
Every family I meet getting wedding proposals,
As a teacher you must have stickers at your disposal.
One of my biggest pet peeves is I don’t have a knife for slicing,
I’ve resisted all conversion attempts although four wives is slightly enticing.
The kids here all ETAs adoring,
Shout out to Jess for her Singapore snoring,
When I try to show students music it’s always ‘Sir, so boring.’
Taking pics with girls, leaving an awkwardly wide gap,
immediately after school I’m in a coma AKA a nap.
The haze is equivalent to two packs a day I bet,
and most nights I lay awake in a puddle of my own sweat.
When you don’t understand and dangerously say, ‘yes?’
When someone sneezes and you start to say ‘bless-’
My friends back home saw my sarong and asked why I wear a dress,
and when something is cool it’s always, ‘best.’
For 200RM I ate a dead beetle no shame,
Rose eating an entire side dish of garlic is her claim to fame,
A very fun lesson was teaching the quiet game,
And when Malaysians say they travel to go shopping I always say, ‘same.’
Rolled up to Bachok, Kelanton oh what a place,
A man saw my sarong and a smile crossed his face,
their roti is better than KT but only by a smidgen,
The man said you’re almost a Malaysian just make the right choice about your religion.
Some memories I love: first meeting the ETA cohort,
Mr. Max one night on Chongkat St needed our support,
The first day of school eyes wide and curious,
The never ending repeat of See You Again from Fast and Furious.
Mr. Matt’s birthday, and shout out to Sarah M too,
midyear filled with meetings anew,
I have a new appreciation for the song Sledgehammer, thanks Drew,
and 4th of July in Kedah, Kyle made hummus and for that I love you.
Sabrina’s camp at Tamen Negara,
Showing the Muslims in America video made by the lovely Miss Farah.
I found my happy place it’s on a Sabah beach,
Mangosteen’s my favorite fruit time to move over peach,
Do a Dr. Jim impression, ‘Now I didn’t prepare a big speech.”
And then he talks for 10 minutes and we all sit there like ‘Preach!’
So here’s to you all, MACEE, the coords, and Dr. Jim the master,
Here’s to the small moments, little victories, the laughter,
It’s not only what we’ve done here but what you do after,
And with that I’d like to wish you the best in your next chapter.
Koperasi: school store
Hari Raya: most significant holiday in Islam
Orang putih: white man
Kelanton: state in northeast Malaysia
Chongkat St: Street in Kuala Lumpur
Tamen Negara: National Rainforest
Sabah: Malaysian state on the island of Borneo