Made in Myanmar
- 11 Posts
- Age 24
My name is Kyay Mon and that’s how we say “hello” in my country, Myanmar.
I’m studying International Relations in Japan at the moment.
Here are a few things about me.
“We don’t have many possessions to leave you with when we die. But this is what we can give you while we’re still alive: a good education, a strong character and our unconditional love.”
That's what my parents said to my sister and me when we were growing up.
Our family may not be rich in the conventional sense but my parents have their own way of defining wealth. For them, wealth isn't measured based on the income you earn but the things you learn. Investments made out of love and kindness will return profits in terms of good friendships and meaningful encounters. Trade your fears for new experiences because you always stand to gain more than you lose. Throughout my life, I have tried to be a rich person according to this philosophy and after almost 22 years, I feel like I have made a small fortune for myself.
One: I want to be richer than I am now.
“If you don't turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else's story.”
That's what my favorite author, Sir Terry Pratchett, said.
Growing up is hard for everyone. But it's even more so when you are a socially-awkward kid. Luckily for me, stories made it easier. I spent most of my free time borrowing and reading books from the British Council Library in Yangon, Myanmar. They were my escape from reality and gateway to countless adventures. Now I have come to realize that stories do not reside only in the pages of a book. They're everywhere. In the trees around me. In the air that I breathe. In each and every single person I meet. In me. As I breathe, think, feel and act, I am writing my own story. When I decided to start the new "Study in Japan" chapter of my story, I asked myself if there's any room for that element that makes a good story: character development. The answer was a resounding YES and so I decided to come to Japan.
Two: Once upon a time, I loved stories. That remains unchanged to this day.
“Don't you miss home?”
That's what people will often ask you when you’re studying abroad.
I like Japan with its beautiful scenery, advanced technology, convenient public transport and interesting culture. But it's not Myanmar. The buses always arrive on time in Japan but they don’t take me to that place I call home. There are huge skyscrapers and shopping malls but they don't make me feel calm and peaceful like the golden pagodas back home. The pink cherry blossoms here are beautiful and soothing to my eyes but I still try in vain to catch a glimpse of those famous yellow Padauk flowers whenever April rolls around. I have learned to speak Japanese, well to some extent, but I still need those Burmese words rolling off my tongue for the sweet taste of satisfaction and confidence.
So, to the land of the rising sun, I would say, “It’s not you. It’s me.”
I like you very much but my heart will always belong to my homeland, Myanmar.
Three: Yes, I miss home.
That’s what we say in the Kumon English Immersion Camp (EIC).
In my second year at university, I volunteered as a camp leader for Kumon EIC. It’s a camp for Japanese kids where they can communicate in English with camp leaders from all over the world. But it’s more than an English camp for kids. It’s a place where they learn about various things from cultural diversity to global issues through different activities and gain self- confidence by trying new challenges. This camp changed me a lot. It helped me realize the power of small actions such as a high-five, a simple “Thank you” or a genuine smile. My mantra became “Mistakes OK” and I was more willing to expose myself to the risk of failure and discovered for myself that wonderful things happen when I go out of my comfort zone. I learned about the big important things in life, too. Like how education is the key to creating a better world and how the way to add meaning to your life is by being passionate about what you do. It made me think of the kids I met back home who cannot get this kind of education because of poverty or lack of opportunities. I grew more determined than ever that I cannot stand by and watch as children fall victims to their own life circumstances.
Four: I am passionate about education and equality.
That’s how I internally screamed when I found out that I’ve been selected as one of the VOY interns.
As an introvert, I have always expressed myself best through the written word. As someone who loves stories, I love collecting and sharing stories. As a VOY intern, I will try my best to share my stories and hopefully, you will be interested to hear me out until the end.
Please call me Kyay and it’s nice to meet you.