Wednesday, February 11, 2009
When I look back at my life so far, I can fairly say that I've almost done everything by the book. Got married at 25, had two beautiful and intelligent daughters (Okay... I'm biased!), stayed at home and became a full time mom while my girls were growing up, went back to school to study Psychology Counseling and now I've completed my Masters.
Professionally, I started off as a lounge singer, became a recording artist and was in the entertainment industry for a good 15 years; during which I also practiced counseling, helping youths in need and eventually graduating to becoming a counseling psychologist in private practice. I am contented with my career path and thoroughly enjoy giving counseling to local and expatriate clients alike.
After all the many years of struggling and juggling and eventually completing everything I've set my mind on, I've reached another cross road. To sing again or not.
Thanks to my dear brother and his wonderful talent for composing songs, I've recorded my first single after more than 20 years has passed since the last time I stepped into a recording studio. And after hours of labour, the outcome was surprisingly pleasant sounding in my ears. This came as a big relief for me after many years of wondering if I truly possess the talent I have or I was merely the daughter of a famous maestro. This has nothing to do with the need for fame but more of my sense of identity. Who am I? What do I have? What am I capable of doing?
The late Sudirman Hj Arshad was a qualified lawyer who turned in his barrister's robe for the microphone and a successful career as an entertainer. I remember his advice to me as a young singer when I was just starting out as a recording artist. He said,"If you have decided that this is what you want to do, you need to set goals for yourself and work at achieving the best you can do." I think I have done that as far as my personal life is concerned. But as for my career as an entertainer, I've realized now that I sang for the love of it and didn't really set out to be the greatest star in the Malaysian entertainment world as I'm sure he did.
The difference between Sudirman and me are just too many to count. But one that really stands out in my mind is his decision to choose which career to pursue: Law or Entertainment. His choice was made and the rest is history. However, in my case, I am greedy, I guess. Because I wanna do it all. Why do I have to choose? Why can't I do everything that I enjoy and love? What is holding me back?
People are very fond of using labels. Not just on others but also onto themselves. They define themselves by what they do and what roles they play. They label others the same way. That's all fine and good. But why must there be only one label per person? Why can't one person have more than one role, more than one career?
God has created mankind with many talents. Some talents are inborn while others are learned or acquired. Either way, talent is nothing if we don't use it. Its as good us not having any. The proof of knowledge is by practicing it. The proof of talent is by using it.
So, what am I going to do with myself next? Do I have to choose just so that others can easily label me according to my choice of career or roles? What if I refuse to allow any labels to be attached to me?
Being an Aquarian Dragon that I am, I have a humanitarian streak within me. I have this strong urge to help others in need, to reach out and touch others, to spread the word of hope and love, to inspire. Therefore, I have decided to live my life to the fullest. Since God has given me a voice, I shall sing to bring His love into the hearts of those who have forgotten Him. God has given me the gift of understanding people. So I am going to continue counseling until the day I die. I believe these two paths are heading the same way... just different in its rendition. One is through music and the other is through therapy.
So, I predict people are going to call me The Singing Counselor? Hahahahahaaa.... We'll just have to wait and see. As someone close to my heart once said, "One step at a time, my dear..."