Sarah loves reading and educate our youth with great literature to exercises the imagination. She enjoy stories; it is a pleasure to meet characters and to live in their world, to experience their joys and sorrows.
Rapid Fire: How would you describe yourself and what do you do?
I am A WHOLE LOT, and THEN SOME. I’m a “committed freelancer” of sorts – I wear multiple hats, as I’d like to think I’m the person you turn to for solutions or answers. I’m “on call” all day, EVERY day.
Long story short: I’m attached to a boutique PR agency so my main tasks include drawing up reports, lots of research + writing press releases for lifestyle brands.
My biggest commitment would be the students I teach (after school) – Sejarah for national schools and History for IGCSE students. I also conduct private sessions for English Literature (SPM & IGCSE), for students who are home schooling or take it outside of their school hours.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Scramble and panic for: the air conditioning remote, and my phone that is usually swallowed up by my comforter. I really want to say open my eyes in gratitude y’all, but panic is where its at most days!
What are you most passionate about?
Knowledge – having access, acquiring the knowledge and passing it on. I’m still hungry to unearth as much as I can about the past, to see how all of us fit in the present so that we can mould our future.
I want as many young human beings to learn about ourselves, and where we come from – I want us to find our power in learning, and to be open enough to share our knowledge with those around us!
What do you usually do to stimulate your creative juice?
Pre-pandemic, it would have been packing my bags and flying off for a change of scenery. In the past few years, I’ve taken solace in stepping outside by myself – I take a walk, look at my plants. On the rare days, I make my way to the park. Look at curves of the trees, the way flowers unfold. The lines imprinted on the leaves. I try to “listen” to what I see, how it makes me feel. My life is pretty hectic, and it’s always noisy – at home, in my head! So stepping outside, and seeing just how much bigger the world is around me definitely unearths something in me.
I also get a lot of ideas when I’m listening to music, watch a million more music videos to imagine I’m the leading star (LOL!) and get into a good, good groove. It’ll eventually come to me! And for the days I don’t have time to do any of this – I get coffee at a nice coffee spot, y’all. That DEFINITELY stimulates whatever creative juiciness I need!
What part of you that you are most proud of?
I’m proud of my resilience, and my insistence to do the right thing and do things right, even if it does cost me some days! I keep going even when I should not, I don’t stop until I find a solution or check that to-do list.
I’ve learned that this comes from a deep instinct, to make sure no one gets left behind. They KNOW someone sees them. I’m sensitive to who needs a friend in a big room, I know from a student’s expression when it’s time to bring them aside and have a chat.
I know it because I’ve been there, so it’s my turn to pay it forward!
Top 3 series that you’re currently watching at the moment?
I get really anxious about watching new shows, and not committing! I usually stick to the ones I love, and watch over and over again – it’s comfort, more than anything. I promise you I watch at least one episode of Community before I go to sleep (TROY AND ABED, FOREVER).
When I need something a bit more fun, it’s RuPaul’s Drag Race (ALL STARS because my favourites always come back, I’m consistent y’all).
I’m also patiently waiting for The Crown’s next season; so it’s Downton Abbey comfort re-watch until then!
What are you doing that helps your mental health the most?
I correct the voice in my head – before I had a whiff of therapy sessions, I’d always crawl back to the familiar + comforting. But it’s a place that won’t allow me to grow, and while I haven’t completely crawled out of it, I’m more aware of the things I repeat to myself.
I’m more than my absolute beliefs about what I am and what I’ve been through, so I try to be conscious of what I’m allowing to happen in my head. I start by doing my best not to force me to “feel better” immediately – instead, I allow myself to feel sad/anxious/nervous/sorry for myself/envious before I ask myself questions to redirect so I can remind myself to practice gratitude for what I have, who I am.
So when things feel a bit overwhelming, I would distance a bit from social media. Then I always go back in after I’ve navigated all my questions about my feelings – and I see what my friends and mutuals are up to.
I press that love button, I send comments, and I send private messages. Draw up REALLY long captions on my posts. I show as much love as I can, because that’s the ‘Sarah’ I need to continue thriving beyond the (not-so-nice) voice in my head.
(Also, I buy flowers for myself on the days I feel the most weighed down. It doesn't always work – but it tells me I will always show up for me.)
What or who is your biggest influence?
The community I exist in – my loved ones, human beings I call my friends, or people I admire from afar. I’m learning that there’s room for all of us, and seeing them grow reminds me there’s space for me to do that too.
I’m drawn to human beings who understand the power they hold in themselves. I also find strength in women who shaped the worlds they live in, whether they are names on plaques or women time has forgotten. Fictional characters.
Above all, it’s BEYONCÉ. BECAUSE. (She’s absolutely shaped my world, just stormed into my life from the time I was a slightly strange eleven year old to now… a slightly strange thirty five year old!)
What do you want to see more of in the world?
There is a lot more room for thoughtfulness, which is a way to extend compassion and kindness. There is so much we have to unlearn about our way being “the right way”.
I want to see more people care about OTHER people, and the only way we’re going to get that is if we’re willing to look inside ourselves. This is cheesy, I get it. But the hardest part is facing who we are, and being honest with ourselves. Then, LOVING ourselves enough to be ACCOUNTABLE for whatever actions we make. Really be the embodiment of “cakap serupa bikin” lah!
I want us to continue expressing our feelings, loving LOUDLY and as openly as possible. Life is too short and too long, we need as many delicious moments to savour in this existence. LAUGH, AH. Don’t wait for others to give it to us, DO it ourselves. BE that deliciousness for the world to learn from!
If your life is a song, what would it be and why?
This is suuuch a difficult question to answer – because I have so many!!
Surprisingly, Ariana Grande’s ‘Sweetener’ album really stayed with me at the end of 2018. The last track ‘get well soon’ is a “musical hug” to remind me that the chaos and noise of my life IS overwhelming. In my quest to fulfil my purpose as a human being, an educator, a friend, a partner, and a leading family member – I live with a lot of anxieties that I don’t know where to send off sometimes.
But “there’s so much room at the top”, if I remember that everything I do will come back to me from the people I love the most in the world. I might always have my plate too full, but I’m never alone because I have them.
Most of all – I have me! ☺
(Worthy mention: my life is as frenetic as Beyoncé’s 7/11 - all I can really do sometimes in this life is wave my hands side to side and put it in the air – and never EVER forget that I’m #FRESHERTHANYOUUU hehe)