A few days ago someone asked if I could help her create an email account and help her with her resume. She’s only completed high school (the same as me, then) and comes from a not-so-easy financial background. I know she currently works at a factory with miserly pay (USD 0.70 per hour) and I applaud her for taking the initiative to do something new. I like her. Very hardworking and caring, though I’ve seen how others took advantage of her kindness. I want her to be my sister in-law, but my brother wants someone to discuss philosophy with.
So we talked over the internet as I guide her on how to create an email. To my surprise basic things such as where to type the domain name she didn’t know. She was afraid to log out of the current email account, et cetera. Very basic things that are at the tip of my fingers, she didn’t know them. I was kind of mindblown. Then I realised it was because she didn’t understand English, making everything on the internet difficult for her. She needs an English teacher.
I have a friend who’s an English teacher. He doesn’t seem to look for feisty girls. I’ve observed that the girls he’s liked are the sweet, agreeable kinds. He wants a wife to help him pick out clothes to wear. I know it’s too sudden but I felt that my friend was perfect for him. She doesn’t argue (me and him always disagree), only smiles, and doesn’t voice out her opinions. I was joking about them being together, but why not give it a try. I showed him her picture. He said she looks okay. Me and him met for dinner and I described the girl to her in person. He seemed bewildered that a girl who doesn’t know the internet exists.
“Where is she from, Indonesia?”
“She’s from Johor! Why would I want to introduce someone from Indonesia to you?”
We moved on from that discussion to work-related stuff. Back home, excited about pairing my friends together, I texted him again about her.
“Do you know about sekufu? Sekufu is not only about religion,” he typed.
From my understanding sekufu is similarities. That when finding a partner, it is better to find similarities in each other, but it is best to marry her for her religion.
“If she had a degree I would marry her in a heartbeat.”
Psh! I was dumbfounded, didn’t know what to reply. I’ve turned down several guys because of our difference in personalities; never about their education or working backgrounds. I had been naive enough to believe that “education” is but a piece of paper, and nobody should look at the education level in a potential partner. It’s okay if it had been about not knowing her or whatever’s along those lines, but straight-up attacking her education level is not right.
I was a teeny bit offended on behalf of my friend. My sweet, kind, caring, thoughtful friend. My friend didn’t have the opportunity to further her studies. As Muslims we believe everyone’s sustenance/wealth had been fixed. Is it a flaw of hers that fate didn’t write “University” in her book? And she’s trying! She’s trying to leave her bubble by reaching out to me. If given the opportunity, she’d probably be higher educated than the teacher is.
He said “teachers would look for teachers. Doctors would look for doctors.”
By this time I’m no longer offended. I was in self-acceptance mode. It’s no secret I have a crush on a medical student doctor. Maybe my feelings aren’t reciprocated because I have no credentials. Nothing to my name. All right. (or maybe it’s because of my personality, oh well!)
I remember the email I got from a book publisher. My all-expenses-paid trips to schools in Indonesia because I am great at what I do; people like me, so they want me there. Me receiving an invitation to speak to crowds. How I had to find a way to have people believe that I was capable of doing a job without any University to my name. How I had to rely on myself, my own communication and my own first impressions to give. Because I know I don’t have an “Honours in XXX” to fall back on in case I screwed up.
Do people really put themselves in a box and look only within the boundaries?
I have another friend who is currently pursuing her Masters Degree. Not only is she gorgeous but she’s caring too. She’s so nice. But like me, she likes a guy who doesn’t like her back. That guy isn’t even a phD holder or anything. Just a normal guy. We both looked at each other in love and understanding, and came up with the conclusion:
That there really is nothing wrong with us, whoever we are.
Just this morning I received a text from someone who suggested I should give him a chance. We’ll see about that. One says no but two pops up.
There is nothing wrong with us: educated, or not, pretty or not pretty, well-traveled or not, there IS NOTHING WRONG WITH US.
Leagues only exist in our prejudiced minds.
This message is for myself.