Sunday, 27 November 2011

Eating rendang with the transgender community

Nigel ( from the project blogging team) couldn't go to the PT Foundation's Hari Raya open house alone. And since no one else was free to go with him, I was (sadly) the last resort. But I was probably the happiest one to be able to attend the open house. I heard so much about PT Foundation from this project, but I just never been there. Also, I have met Pong, Siew Lian and Lucy but I haven't met Nisha and Sulastri. Attending the open house would also be my first experience with the transgender community.

Now was my chance.

Since neither Nigel or I could drive, we had to rely on public transport. In one train, out one train, in one train, out one train. So by the time we reached the PT Foundation building, we were both hot, sweaty messes.

When we entered the open house my eyes widened.

All the transgenders were dressed so beautifully! Their baju kurung's were beautifully designed and their make up was flawless. I only wear make up on rare occasions, and today would have been a good day to do so.  A little eyeliner on my eyes would have made a difference... if only I knew where and how to apply it. Without my mom's guidance, I'm useless when it comes to make up. And of all days she had to be in Penang. I  smoothed out my plain green baju kurung and tried to fix my sweat drenched hair. I had to look more presentable.

Sulastri greeted us and invited us to eat. I wanted to stay and ramble to her about how I was such a big fan of her video journals. She always spoke with so much confidence and the way she talked made her look very sexy, which is something I think many women find hard to do naturally. But since Sulastri was one of main hosts of the open house, she was very busy so I did not get to tell her.

When I sat down on the mats to tuck into my rendang, I still kept thinking to myself, "If only I had planned my outfit beforehand and Googled how to apply eyeliner, I would't be feeling sorry for myself now..." Despite my hunger, I tried my very best to act as ladylike as I could while eating. But it was difficult for me to do so while eating a piece of rendang, so I gave up and went for the kill. While chewing my first bite I realized all around me were the transgenders who ate their rendang in small bites and they had no traces of rendang sauce on their faces. I gulped down my mouthful and to avoid any further embarrassment on myself, I turned around to face the wall to finish my food.

When we found Nisha, I was bedazzled by how beautiful she was. She donned a black baju kurung and she looked so graceful as she walked. From across the room I could already hear her sweet melodic voice. Her make up was also evenly applied. She knows how to behave more like a woman than me! I took big steps towards Nisha and introduced myself to her while vigorously scratching an annoying itch that suddenly appeared on my lower back.When I noticed what I was doing, I stopped.

After filming Nisha and Sulastri, Nigel and I had to leave. We thanked the two of them for hosting us and made our way down the stairs to start our long journey back home.

As we sat on the train, many thoughts were running through my head. I am born a real girl, and the transgenders aren't, but yet they still manage to show more ladylike etiquette than me! I guess I just take my gender for granted. Growing up a girl, I thought that I didn't need to act anymore girlier since I already was one. But now I realize how far behind I am.

That night as I prepared for a date, I wore my black dress instead of wearing shorts and a blouse like I normally would. To add a little zest, I even put a ribbon in my hair and put on some cherry flavoured lip gloss. I looked in the mirror and nodded. This wasn't a make up occasion, but this was a start to acting more like a lady right?

Now, after 10 years of tolerating growth of white hair begging me to wear ribbons in my hair, my mom is still in shock that I am suddenly wearing them out of the blue.

A special thanks to the transgender community for giving me the drive to act a little more ladylike in my life. My first experience at PT Foundation was certainly a memorable one.


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