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        By Mariani Binti Zainuddin (Malaysia) 文:玛里阿尼 · 宾蒂·再努丁(马来西亚)    Graduating, I asked myself, Where to now? Is it better to stay here in my hometown, Or to look for an opportunity in the big city? Ah! I asked myself, with a degree, a qualification Wouldn’t you like to help, to improve life for your family? Then go.... Go to look for that golden chance, use the knowledge and skills obtained from your varsity years. And I looked... I looked everywhere I could every day. Far and wide, but all in vain I felt a bit of despair in dismay. I asked myself, “Until when?” Laying on my bedside, feeling empty, lost, and suffocating, room was shrinking, breath was squeezing out, hopes... extinguishing Then, The good news came! Joy like a child. This is it, I said to myself. My spirits were lifted! Oh, how long I’ve wanted this, A chance, to prove my worth, my skills, To show the world my capabilities, to show them that I am made of steel. Even though, I realised this was not my specialty. It was not my field of expertise. But this was it. Then, I met you, my friends. You taught me the work. The meaning of togetherness, Making me a part of your team. And I, I was ever grateful. I was grateful, to the One, the Almighty. Life anew, the rays of hope widened, shining on every step of the way. It was not easy, but... This was it. I learned. Not giving up. I persevered. And I, I am still here. Days went by. Years went by. Friends came and went. Friends who despaired. Friends who gave up. Friends who stood back up. And I, I am still here. Ever loyal, I asked myself, Why am I still here? Because... Here my real life began. Here I learned to express opinions. Here I was criticised, and I learned to be critical. Here I bettered myself. Here I found refuge. Here I realised that life will not always be sunshine and rainbows. And I, I am still here. Stepping higher with all my strength, with my head held high, for I... I still persist. I refuse to give up. For as long as I can. Thank you, for this life. Thank you, for this opportunity. Thank you, POPULAR.  32 - popularnews 131 

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