Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Candle 30: Juliana Yeoh

I am very proud and honoured to introduce our next BBGSian: Juliana Yeoh. She is my sister and my best friend. And as sweet as that may sound, it's not been an easy ride. I've always known that her BBGS experience was very different from mine but it's only in the last two years that I've begun to understand how significantly different it was. Here's Julie in her own words...

(L-R): Joanna & Juliana at Lake Tahoe last spring

My journey in BBGS started from Primary 1 to Form 5 (1980-1990). My perspective will be slightly different than most. Here is my story.....

Throughout my time in BBGS, I have always been "Joanna Yeoh's sister" or "Mrs Yeoh's daughter". I never really had my own identity. Not many knew me for who I am or what I can do. I am so different from Joanna in every way and the opposite in terms of personality. I have the utmost respect and love for my sister, Joanna and I knew I would not achieve or do the things that she achieved. But in BBGS, I somewhat felt I did not live up to those achievements or standards Joanna had set. It was kind of hard living in her shadow (and I don't blame Joanna for it). This was my life. I lived with a huge chunk of insecurity. In my later years, I grew to find my identity and evolved to be the person I am now. A little late but I made it!

My most enjoyable times in BBGS will have to be the times I spent with the ‘Croakers” and working together in the Interact Club. Till this day, 20 years down the road we are still great friends despite being scattered all over the world. These are great friendships I made in BBGS. They loved me for who I am, with all my baggage. Thanks to Facebook and the blog we are now connected. Even now that I am here in Sacramento, California; I have Sujatha Rajagopal living in Tracy, just 2 hours drive away.

BBGS shaped my character and planted in me values that make me who I am today. Integrity, independence and achieving your dreams, no matter big or small, these are the values I hold dear to this day. It is now becoming a rare asset.

After BBGS, I did my STPM and then received a sponsorship from Subang Jaya Medical Center (SJMC) to study nursing at Klang College of Nursing. After graduating, I worked in SJMC and later in Sunway Medical Center. The lessons I learnt in BBGS like cleaning toilets and sweeping floors, has taught me that no job is beneath me. Nursing is not a glamourous profession, no matter where you are in the world. It is a profession of servanthood. It is physically and emotionally demanding, but with the right attitude, nursing is the best job in the world.

In 2006, when I received an opportunity to be sponsored for a green card and work as a Registered Nurse (RN) in the USA, I jumped at the chance. It has always been my dream to work as a RN in the USA.

I am now living in Sacramento, California. Many Americans have remarked that I did a very brave thing by jumping on a plane and flying halfway across the world to establish a new life here. The only thing I can tell them is that it was my dream to be living in the USA and I worked hard to achieve my dreams.

Looking back, being an RN, helped me develop my personality and chipped away all the insecurity that I once carried on my shoulders. Through my personal experience, I now can understand people a little better, see through the front many patients put up and help them with the core problems that they face.

I am really enjoying my life here in the USA and whenever I can, I plant the BBGS seed in the people here. Dream big dreams and work on achieving it.

1 comment:

Sunitha said...

Julie, believe your story'll be an inspiration to many. I got to know you when you were my camp leader at one of the CU camps, & one thing thats stands out in my memory was your kindness, compassion. It was there, though you weren't very vocal but it just showed. Suppose i noticed it bcos you have more of it than most people. It's a gift fr God. Appreciate knowing you!