Miss Aida
Life is all about challenges. It is hard to imagine a single individual who would breeze through life without encountering a single problem, a time where they felt a loss of hope, be it temporary or a more lasting period, through times of frustration and despair. Some individuals have the misfortune to face these times more than others, and who is to say what is fair and what isn't?

This is a story about a girl close to my heart. It is not my story, but it is also mine to tell, for I have experienced enough of what she has to understand the taste of what she endures. This story is not about the major challenges of the world, of hunger and poverty and depression, but a story about a single individual and her personal challenge, or rather, a very small part of it.

The girl in question has always been on of the bubbliest, liveliest, friendliest people I know. Perhaps on occasion she comes across as brash and overconfident. Little Miss Popular. The one who attracts all the attention. The pretty one.

She cares so deeply about her friends she has gone through large extents to maintain old friendships, if only for old times sake, and sometimes, time can no longer sustain the embers of the close rapport they once had, and I hear the wistfulness in her voice as she talks about old friends. Despite being surrounded with her new, fun friends, sometimes she still wishes for the familiarity of being with the old neighbourhood gang.

The girl I know is deeply passionate. She aims to save the world one day, or at least make it a better place to live in. In Malaysia, saving the world isn't always viable, considering the corruption and lack of free speech and lack of resources the people and the government system has to face, and I have seen her become cynical sometimes as she discovers that the world is not always hearts and rainbows. But she still tries.

Perhaps, one of the things that cuts the most are her parents. Solid, mainstream Malaysian parents who believe their children should become accountants and doctors and engineers and architects, so-called professional courses, and despite her achieving deans list every single semester in the course she loves, they often lack to acknowledge her achievements and often lapse into criticism, and ever so often she cries out her frustration at the lack of support she receives, and wonders if everything she does is truly worth it.

Who knows the ending of a story. Perhaps she will go on to save the country, and the world one day. I have seen her face these challenges, and I believe that the obstacles she endures have made a stronger person, a better person, and perhaps the reason God has chosen to put so many challenges in her path is because she has the strength within to become the person she is destined to be.

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