Connie who? Connie Khoo.
Hello! My name is Constance, but you can call me Connie. I am the new intern blessed with the opportunity to work with Matt in developing this blog into a collective, where you can hear from inspiring activists, adventurers and thought leaders from around the world.
Matt asked me to share a bit about who I am with ‘you’ the readers, and suggested I interview myself (move over Oprah) as an interesting way to force me to share some of my better stories and experiences. So here we go!
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So…Where are you from? As in, where are you really from?
This is the number one question I’m asked in almost every introductory conversation and it used to annoy me and make me defensive.
I just wanted to fit in and look like everyone else. Growing up in communities where I was one of the few kids of Asian descent, I experienced bullying because I looked different and brought exotic food to school.
Nowadays I say I am from Sydney, Australia. My heritage is Chinese Malaysian (my ancestors were Chinese and migrated to British Malaya around the late 1800s/ early 1900s). I was born in a small Malaysian town called Ipoh, moved to Queensland when I was a baby, and grew up in Sydney.
So are you Aussie, Malay or Chinese then?
Initially, whenever I visited Malaysia I felt as though I did not quite belong and, when I visited China, I experienced culture shock. Yet when I would return to Australia, a sense of confusion still loomed.
I’ve since learnt to fully embrace this question and love to ask others the same thing! This existential dilemma has served as an amazing agent in making me who I am today.
It forced me out of my comfort zone and taught me how to assimilate and be open-minded in various cultural and social contexts. Most importantly, it made me realize that,
Everyone is ‘different’- we are all a canvas of different experiences and stories that have shaped and continue to mold us.
When we share that with each another, I think something really beautiful happens.
It sounds like you have a love and fascination for learning about different people and places… Where have you been in this world Connie?
In my 21 years of life, I have travelled to 21 different countries. I have stayed in 5-star resorts, shared rooms with randoms in youth hostels, and slept on a floor with a mosquito net as protection.
I rode a horse through royal stables whilst living and studying in Amsterdam. I have also rode at the back of rickety motorcycle with a tai-chi master whilst studying in Kunming. I’ve played and sung with local children in Vanuatu, and screamed and instinctively done a defensive dance when grabbed by a Roman gypsy at night!
What is one of the greatest lessons you’ve learnt?
I’ve learnt that people living in poverty do not need ‘developed countries to ‘save’ them. They have the skills to provide for their own community, they just often lack the resources. They need partners and encouragers. (I’ll have to go into more details another time). And that whilst there is suffering and injustice happening all over the world, there are also people longing to use their skills and resources to help.
So why did you apply for this internship?
Apart from it being a wonderful opportunity to improve my media and communication skills, I share Matt’s passion of enabling an avenue where different stories that provoke thought, passion and purpose, can be shared.
As a Christian I strive to follow the model of Jesus Christ who sought to serve and sit with the needy, oppressed, and marginalized people at the bottom of the social pyramid. I love that Jesus shared meals with all kinds of people! I am hoping that this blog will attract a wide range of readers as we discuss different issues.
I believe that we can all make a difference. Whether you work for an NGO and move to a developing country, or you work in the corporate scene of a bustling city. To quote Scott Adams “Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end”.
I know that sounds cheesy, but I really believe it’s true! I’m praying that as an intern, I will be used as a vessel for a blog that inspires action, affirms your purpose, provokes thought and engages you with global issues of injustice. To end, I’ll close with the words of one of my most favourite leaders…
We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now… injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
So now you know a little bit about who is Connie Khoo. I look forward to writing more for you, and getting to know you better throughout the year.
P.S. If you liked the typograms in this post, I have an instagram account: @wordpennies where I create and post all of my own typograms. Check it out if it’s your thing.