We’re celebrating Friendship Day today! While we shan’t wait for one particular day to celebrate love and friendship, 30th of July is a day where we all reflect upon the bonds that we’ve made; for some friendships are here for a season or a reason, whereas others last for a lifetime!
Some say that best friends are siblings that we get to choose.
True friendship is when someone knows you better than yourself; someone who celebrates you for who you are, triumphant moments or time of despair, they are always there to cheer for you and lift you up. They speak words when it’s needed, and they share the silence with you when words fail to string into sentences.
In conjunction with this special occasion, we’ve been releasing real stories about the best of friends since last week (some of you might even recognize them from social media!). Through their stories, you will be able to learn a thing or two about how they friendships blossomed, and in spite of the dynamic of their friendships, how they weather through the turbulence of life, together.
In today’s ‘Interracial Friends’ edition, we’re celebrating friendships that knows no cultural, racial, and religious barriers. Instead of shying away from differences, these friends have learnt to embrace them and earning themselves a friendship that lasts forever. After all, a little splash of colour in any relationships wouldn’t hurt.
So get comfy, and grab your best pals because these are reads that you don’t want to ignore!
Aaliyah Abdul, Charmian Kok, & Fatmah Musa
Apart from being in the same Communications programme in University, Aaliyah, Charmian, and Fatmah’s friendship is one of diversity. This unlikely trio shares with us how their friendship turned from friends at first sight, to sisters of a family.
1. Hi Aaliyah, Charmian & Fatmah! Thank you for joining us at this Special Friendship Day Featured Interview Edition! Three of you girls have finally finished your final year thesis! Do you mind sharing with us how the last semester of your tertiary education has been for the three of you? What are some of the most memorable moments that you’ve spent together during this semester?
A: Hi, Sevenpie! Some of the most memorable moments I’ve shared with the girls this semester would definitely have to be the time when Fatmah invited us over for Hari Raya Open House. Just all of us being there together made me really happy and appreciative of the girls.
Watching Lion King together was pretty fun too because we hadn’t watched a movie together in a while! Being in the last semester, it was our last outing together before we sit for our final exams and depart for our Internship next month. I’m surely going to miss our fun car rides to the mall and the late-night drive-throughs. The time spent with the girls has made me appreciate my friendship with these two even more.
C: Hello, Sevenpie team! Thanks for having us here. Well, I am just generally happy to be able to, you know, finish University, and never failing my subjects! I will definitely miss the three of them and my course mates as well. Life after University would definitely be different for all us. We didn’t see each other quite as often as compared to the previous semesters because we are always on-the-go, having different schedules, and classes. But, occasionally, we do meet up at the ‘mamak‘ just to catch up!
F: So far, this semester has been smooth sailing for me and for my two dear friends. The most memorable thing for me that we’ve done together this semester was watching Lion King when we were almost done with our assignments!
2. The three of you truly are unlikely trios! How did the three of you meet? Did you girls immediately “clicked” when you met for the first time?
A: Being an International student from Zimbabwe, and away from my friends and family, meeting the girls had really been a special part of my journey here in Malaysia. We met during our University’s orientation. During the subject briefing by our programme leader, Mr Tim, we were all asked to share our social media handles, specifically, Instagram, instead of introducing our names, which was really hilarious! Three of us then decided to join the same classes together.
Fatmah and Charmian have become more than friends to me. Both of them have become my sisters and part of my family. They have always been there for me through good times and bad. We had our fair shares of disagreements, but we have always mended things and moved forward in building our friendship.
C: For me, I met Fatmah first through our subject registration briefing. It was a funny story. My first impression of Fatmah was that she was a bit snobbish, haha! The lecturer asked us to move to the front, and Fatmah at that time was sitting the next row behind. I had an empty seat next to me, so I turned around and made eye contact with Fatmah. Somehow, I was kind of afraid of her because she had that fierce look on her! But the rest was history!
F: Charmian and I was like “friendship at first sight”! Haha! It happened during our course briefing with Mr Tim. The two of us made eye contact from afar as a sign to “gang up” because we were both by ourselves that day. Ended up, we have been in the same gang for three years!
I met Aaliyah too on the same day. Aaliyah was still quite reserved at that time. We only got to know the crazy side of her when we started studying and cooking together. At the start, all of us were still shy. But, from Charmian, I do know that I looked unfriendly, haha!
3. If the three of you were siblings, who would be the eldest, middle, and the youngest sibling, and why?
A: I’m technically the oldest by a couple of days to Fatmah, as we’re the same age. But if we were siblings, I’d actually think I would be the middle sibling, which, ironically, I myself am a middle sibling to my brother and sister back home.
I’m one of the introverts amongst the girls. I am always checking on the girls if they would want to meet together to head to class, constantly checking how they are doing – it’s pretty much like keeping a balance between your oldest and youngest sibling!
C: I think I will call dibs on being the middle sibling? Because, in a way, I like being neutral. You know what people say, the middle one is usually the quiet one, and probably the least to get attention because they’re the responsible ones. I guess, that could be me?
F: Charmian – Eldest
Me – Youngest
Charmian and Aaliyah are both way more organised than me. Charmian’s the most organised, followed by Aaliyah. I’m the more relaxed one (as I will sleep in-between studying and they will wake me up, hehe).
4. Could you please share with us what has been the most memorable thing that the three of you have done for each other?
A: It would definitely be the time when the girls surprised me on my 21st birthday. It was my first birthday away from home. The amount of love, thought, and effort the girls put into planning my birthday really warmed my heart. We always make it a point to celebrate one another and try to make each other’s birthdays memorable.
Our cook-outs together would also be something that I will remember the girls by! We would always cook together when we were staying at the University’s hostel. Even when we left the hostel, we would meet up at either one of our places and have dinner together. I hope this would be something that we would carry on doing in the future.
C: For me, it would be the time when I surprised Fatmah with a Body Spa present on her 21st birthday. There was also a time, during our first year, when Fatmah and I decided to surprise Aaliyah during her birthday because she was far away from home!
F: Studying and cooking with the girls is definitely my most favourite part. We have always been there for each other through the ups and downs. We would support each other emotionally, physically, and mentally. Another memorable event together was when we went to the Hot Air Balloon Festival in 2017. We really had fun!
5. Any common interests that you girls share with each other?
A: Being enrolled in the same programme, which is, Mass Communications, and have taken majority of our classes together, I would say we have many similar things in common! A few of it would be our love for food, pets, and the media!
C: I believe our friendship is kind of like “opposite attracts”. We all have our own uniqueness, which makes this friendship interesting, haha! We just go with the flow, sometimes.
F: Silly, silly jokes, good food, and ‘yumcha‘ (eating outings).
6. What are some of the struggles that you girls have faced together when it comes to overcoming cultural differences in your friendship? How did the three of you overcome those differences?
A: It wasn’t really a struggle, but in the beginning, I’d say communication was one of the differences we had to overcome. As I cannot fully understand and comprehend the Malay language, during our casual chats or discussions, I wouldn’t know how to respond or be a part of it. But, my friends are really amazing as they spoke mostly in English when they’re around me. Fatmah and Charmian would teach me Bahasa, which is like a win-win situation where I got to learn their language!
We have also unintentionally hurt one or the others’ feelings, in what we have said or did unknowingly. But we have always managed to resolve our arguments. It was uncomfortable, but we were open and we honestly spoke to each other and share what was on our hearts. Tears were shed, but it was happy tears as in the end, we got to mend our friendship.
C: We will always try to ask each other if we are comfortable in doing something, or going to certain places. This is so we can respect one another’s need.
F: To me, I think it’s more of our personal character that we’ve learnt to overcome with each other. Aside from that, I’ve learned and understood a lot about the Chinese culture from Charmian. There was a time on Charmian’s birthday, her mum told me that she can’t blow the candle twice as it’s bad luck. For Aaliyah, it wasn’t much on cultural issues. We helped her go through her home-sickness.
7. What would you say would be the most important value that you girls share that has kept this strong friendship alive through all the differences that you’ve shared?
A: I would say: respect, love, and support for one another, are a few of the strong values that we hold in our friendship. Not only that, being present and there for each other unconditionally. I believe all friendships have their ups and downs, so do ours. But we get through it together as a unit.
C: I’ve learnt the values of patience and understanding from both of them. They have always given me the best encouragements, all the time, and I believe this is what friendship really is about.
F: I think one of the most important value would be to accept one another. Our differences should never be a problem in the friendship. Instead, it should encourage a closer bond as there is something we can learn from each other.
8. What would you say would be the best lesson learnt or biggest takeaway from this friendship that you girls share? How has this friendship grown you girls in your own personal growth?
A: My takeaway from this friendship can be described in “D-I-V-E-R-S-I-T-Y”:
- D- Different
- I- Individuals
- V- Valuing
- E- Each other
- R- Regardless of
- S- Skin
- I- Intellect
- T- Talents
- Y- Years
We have definitely helped to build each other up, and encourage in our growth as individuals too. Meeting Fatmah and Charmian along the road here has helped me appreciate my journey in Malaysia.
C: Generally, we have learnt to be tolerant of each other. There will definitely be fights in every friendship, we just have to be forgiving. Friendships are very much like relationships, you know?
F: We have grown from learning from each other, to loving each other. We shed tears, fought, and laughed together – that’s the normal process of friendship! True friendship will stay even during your lowest. I’ve learned a lot by accepting our differences. It has also made me a more open, and welcoming person, especially when meeting people from different parts of the world!
9. Share a message with each other this Friendship Day!
A: To Fatmah and Charmian, I love you girls so much. You’ll never know just how much our friendship means to me. I am so proud of you girls and know that the world awaits to open up doors for you that will see you thrive where you are, and wherever you go.
C: Happy Friendship Day! Please send me more nuggets and hugs, always!
F: If you have a friend who not only laughed, and fight for, or with you, and will still be there for you at your lowest, know that that person is a keeper and should be your close friend. At the end of the day, it’s not about colour or background, but it’s the individual that matters the most. Happy Friendship Day!