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Harmony Week 2018 (Interview with Rasa)

In the lead up to Harmony Week 2018, MYAN WA have been putting together a bunch of wonderful blogs ready for you to get to know our Shout Out speakers a little better better. Our first blogger sharing her story is Rasa Smriti. 

I have always been excited about representation opportunities particularly pertaining to youth and diversity in Australia. Back in Bangladesh, I was a debater and participated in many public speaking opportunities both nationally and internationally. My speaking experiences are very varied, ranging from presentations as part of Catalyst Youth Summit participation and international conference presentation to up-close interviews as a Shout Out participant. I have been an active delegate in many other capacities due to my involvement with various clubs at UWA and leadership position at University Hall. This has allowed me to present on a wide spectrum of purpose to different audience in multiple styles.

I love art, photography and travelling-anything that has an arty flair. This form of expression has been very therapeutic for me. Brush strokes with acrylics and oils have been my favourite art tool, with occasional attempts of sketching as well. But I am always self-learning new techniques and skills. Travelling broadens one’s mind, and I am always on the lookout for travelling opportunities. I am already planning for hopefully upcoming trips to Japan and South Korea in a years time. I also recently started my own art creation store ‘Srishti’, and presently my pastime involves making creations for my store, searching for market stalls and promoting my content. It is a very exciting project for me, and I have been receiving a lot of support from my friends and family regarding this.

My most challenging encounters have been while settling into the Australian way of life as a young Muslim women - dispelling myths and assumptions about Islam and Muslims, defending, and at times challenging, those notions. It is confronting when your belief is not shared by the majority anymore, and rather has such a negative connotations. There were times when I felt a cultural crisis, even coming from people of my own faith, as to why I do not wear the hijab. And I know so many of my fellow culturally diverse young people have faced the same issue. Navigating through stereotypes, bullies and varying, often colliding expectations, is difficult. This often led to a loss of sense of belonging, and that’s when you have ‘cliques’ with people like you. And then that blocks further assimilation, it’s an unfortunate cycle. To break this cycle, there has to be active participation of both sides. What I have learned is that it is important to accept your own strengths, flaws, beliefs and cultural identity. Because if you don’t accept it, no one else would.

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