Firstly, I apologise. I'm sorry that this letter is a few days late. Been busy. I am also sorry for dropping spaghetti sauce onto your dress during your birthday meal. Really didn't mean to do it. Since I'm at it, I might as well apologise for the rest of the annoying things I've done to you in life. (Beating your head with a badminton racket as a child comes to mind). Sorry.
I have a lot to apologise for. If there was a report card for one's performance as an Eldest Sibling, I probably have a 'Distinction' for the section on "Being Annoying". If anything, that 'Distinction' is probably underlined, in italic and bolded gold; that's just how annoying I've been.
This letter is an attempt to make up for all that. It is a sincere piece of advice – more sincere than any typical RM50 note I normally give you for your birthday.
So, here it is:
You know very well that I am annoyed whenever I see you smiling at the mirror. Whenever you ask me "am I pretty?" I never fail to answer with a sincerely disgusted/dismissive grunt. So it will most probably surprise you that I'm saying this:
You are beautiful.
I just hate it that you have to rely on a camera to convince yourself that you are.
A mirror doesn't tell you how much you mean to your family and friends. Mama, Papa and I know your true beauty – and it's more than skin deep. You are a bright, intelligent and fun young woman. Your personality is more precious than any piece of jewelry or make-up you have. Unfortunately, you lose that beauty sometimes.
You lose your beauty when you smile more genuinely for the mirror, the camera or your friends than to your family. And you are plain ugly when you raise your voice to your parents.
Danny is one person who looks up to your beauty. All he does today seems (to me, at least) to be a reflection of you. He is like you, smart, funny and annoyingly hyperactive. However, like a mirror, he also reflects the worst of you. Don't you hate it when he raises his voice with you? Don't you know you are exactly like that against Mama and Papa sometimes?
One look in the mirror will confirm that you are a fashionable lady. But ask yourself: are you classy? Do you see one who relies on the strength of her own principles or the power of the 'current trend'? I just hate it that you can be so superficial. The comments I hear all too often from you are along the lines of: "She's so pretty", or "I wonder what make-up she uses", or "Ma, can we go to the saloon so I can have her hairstyle?"
The best look for you is YOURS, not Selena Gomez's. You are most beautiful when you are yourself. And to be yourself you must have your own principles.
Keep this in mind: fashion is temporary, but class is forever.
I'm going to sound like Nenek on this next one:
You are beautiful. But there is something else more beautiful: your religion. Unlike Nenek, though, I'm not gonna tell you (melodramatically) to wear a tudung or anything. It's something you have to decide for yourself. I think the answer will be clear after you know you religion. You just have to try.
I feel guilty for saying all this. I know I've not been the best eldest child. Two years ago, I left for PLKN, and a year later, to KMB. I have been cold, distant and rude to Mama and Papa. I've made Mama cry. Lately, I haven't even been around. You have done very well filling in for me as the eldest child of this house, Dik. I am both grateful and proud of you for that.
I guess I'm telling you all this because I need you to keep up the good work. If all goes according to plan, and if God is willing, I will go overseas and barely be around for the next 5 years. I need your score as an Eldest Sibling to be a 'Distinction', and not just beside the "Most Annoying" section like me.
I will never admit face to face that you are beautiful. Perhaps that is why I have to write this letter to tell you all this. But you are beautiful. I just hope that you don't need a mirror or camera to tell you that.
Happy Birthday, Dik.
Hehe...I know I promised you i won't post this pictures. Sorry, I have to. The 'Distinction' I have for "Being Annoying" requires me to do this :p
-work of non-fiction-