As a mother in Malaysia in the wake of a Trump win


Yesterday I was devastated.  As updates of the US elections poured in, the stone in my chest got heavier and heavier.  

America has always had a soft spot in my heart, having studied there for four years.  I knew the US has its flaws course, but I also believed their leaders have more honor (and more checks and balances) than ours.  I created this image in my head of it, perhaps due to pop culture and gorgeously crafted political speeches, and definitely due to the wonderful friends I’d made and the people I met there.  Whatever racist bullshit happened in Malaysia (which is all the time), I’d bitterly compare it to the US and think it would never happen there. Today, I woke up with a different perspective.  

While I myself cannot fathom voting for a man who has been known to be so explicitly racist, misogynistic, untruthful and hateful, I would like to think that maybe this is not just about people rooting for racism and hate. I understand that there are others whose shoes I will never even know who may have different circumstances, priorities and needs than I and while I seriously disagree with their choice, I will try not to judge them.

That said, I am grieving for a world in which a Donald Trump presidency exists.  The thing is, I don’t even really believe that Trump meant all the outlandish things he said – about women, people of color, LGBT, Muslims, etc.  I think he was just saying shit to be controversial and get attention. And I think the media bias has definitely played a large role in magnifying this frightening persona of his, compared to any more moderate opinions he may have.

But you see — Donald Trump is known for being this huge outlandish bigot and he’s now the President of the United States.  He is the leader of the arguably the most powerful country in the world and his speech is peppered with slurs and intolerance and disrespect.  By virtue of example, that suddenly makes it okay to be racist.  To be misogynist.  To attack women on the basis that you think they can’t resist you.

And it’s already happening.

In Wellesley – a women’s college that’s considered a friendly rival to Mount Holyoke, also the alma mater of Hillary Clinton – this happened.

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If it’s acceptable for the  POTUS to be racist, why not the regular people too?

Not just espouse racism and bigotry and intolerance but also perpetuate rape culture.

I despise what Trump stands for.  Although in Malaysia we don’t talk about it often, these issues of bigotry are completely relevant here, maybe even more so.

The silver lining is that this election has given me great resolve.  There are so many things I want to teach our children but this shall be my priority.  That a few bad apples does not a bad community make.  That the color of our skin does not matter the slightest.  That to be different is not a bad thing.

To Fighter, that he must treat women right, not just because he has a mom and a sister, but because they are people and they are equals.  That locker room banter or jokes are an unacceptable excuse for disparaging women.  That he cannot be a Donald Trump is a given, but he cannot be a Billy Bush either.

To Penny, that whatever Koko can do, so can she.  That as Hillary Clinton says,

“Never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”






Comments (4)

  • I was so shocked watching the results. I agree with you wholeheartedly on this post.

  • A wonderfully heartfelt post, Audrey. As an American (an American guy, actually, can you believe there is one out there that always reads your blog ? !), I am shocked, outraged, saddened, and frightened – – and disgusted by what my country has just done.

    I remember so many years ago, on your original blog when you wrote about your experiences at university here. One of your friends similarly wrote on her blog, and encouraged young women to apply to schools here, despite it often being a daunting task, speaking of the quality of the education and the availability – – and generosity – – of financial aid and other help.

    And now I worry both about what the world thinks of us, and about the young people from other places that may turn away, and not have the experience you had with us. What a loss that will be for them, and a huge loss for as well, not getting to know them, to nurture them, and build lasting friendships and understanding between us during the time they would spend here, and the experiences they would have.

    And it was good to see your courage (that you always have) in the references to you own country above, in the political and social comparisons between Malaysia and America – – well, at least the America I THOUGHT I was living in prior to this week. It would have been good to see that sort of thing in Tim’s essay on his blog as well.

    That fact that both you and Tim (and others all over the world) wrote these words shows the role my country plays in all of this, and how we have failed ourselves AND failed the world this week.

    But don’t worry too much, Audrey. While you care for those two adorable ones I see here all the time, we will be working on this. I think I want to mirror a famous quote from the past: “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” I PROMISE YOU that the OTHER 50% of us over here are now filled with a terrible, unshakeable, and powerful resolve. This will not stand. Not for long. We are getting to work on it, and I hope you will continue to keep a watchful eye on us. We will again become what and who we really are, and prepare the way for Jude and Penny to follow their Mom to us in the future if they so wish.

  • Hi Eric, it is weird to think of an American guy whom I think would have nothing in common with me following my blog. But thank you! Hahahahaha. I think what it comes down to is that I see America as a role model. I know you have your flaws but the US is a model to aspire to because our country is plagued by so many political problems. But I still have faith in your system – I trust there will be enough checks and balances in place to keep Trump in control and hopefully we all learn from this and move on. Good luck to all of us hahahaha. And Penny and Jude are definitely going to the US for college 😛

  • Audrey,
    As promised (above), the resistance got started today ! Stay tuned, much more to come.
    And thank you for joining in with us via your “one-woman” march on Instagram. We feel your solidarity !

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