Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Chasing the American dream but holding on to memories of Malaysia: A family’s life story on video

Vloggers Logesh and Rachel stress the significance of being grounded in culture.

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Just under a year ago, Logesh Kumaar and his wife Rachel started their own YouTube channel, focused on their family and their “crazy adventures”.

Logesh’s efforts to share his Malaysian culture with Rachel, an American, quickly won them favourable reactions from viewers who enjoyed the clips of Logesh teaching Rachel to speak in Malay and to enjoy Malaysian food.

But cross-cultural efforts for them don’t stop at just language and food. Logesh and Rachel are also trying to integrate values from both American and Malaysian cultures in bringing up their two sons, Zaden and Kyren.

“I lean towards the American parenting style because that’s how I was brought up, but there is some Asian parenting that we have adopted as well,” Rachel said in a recent interview with MalaysiaNow.

“When it comes to parenting, we look out for the best of both worlds.”

And when it comes to the best of Malaysia, naturally food is involved.

The nicest part about Asian parenting, according to Logesh and Rachel, is introducing their children to the wide range of dishes that come from Malaysia’s multiracial society.

“When the children reach a certain age, we introduce them to the same things that we eat,” Logesh said.

Their hope is that by doing so, they will teach their children to appreciate the many aspects of Malaysian culture in food.

Both Logesh and Rachel agree that their children should learn about Malaysian culture.

As an American, Rachel said, it is easy to lose track of heritage. While the US has a culture of its own, she said it is not as grounded or as strong as Malaysia’s.

“I grew up not knowing my culture,” she said. “My family has been in America for so many generations, but I have never really felt patriotic towards my country.

“But Logesh has a deep connection to his country and to the people there. I want my children to be like him, I want them to know who they are, I want them to speak the language and I want them to feel connected.”

She also spoke of differences in culture such as the individualism seen more in the US whereas Malaysia values a more collective spirit.

For this reason, she said, Malaysians have a strong support system as they have a strong sense of community, family and friends.

“Logesh still has friends that he knew when he was seven years old,” she said. “Up until today, his friends would do anything for him and he would do anything for them. I think that is a very unique situation to be in.”

And while there is no denying the less picturesque side of Malaysia, Logesh, a Klang boy, still holds to his belief in its beauty as well.

“People tell us that the politicians are horrible but for me, there is no perfect country,” he said.

“Every country has its own flaws. What makes a country truly beautiful is its people. The people that we have here are the most important thing for us – our family and friends are what we care about the most, regardless of what other people say.”

Logesh has been in the US for more than 10 years now, but he plans to come back to Malaysia for good, bringing his family with him.

He said his reasons for wanting to return include what he described as the “rat race” culture in the US.

He said people in the bay area, particularly the Silicon Valley, are continuously striving and place their careers before all else.

He said this pushes others around them to fall in line too, which can be draining in the long run.

“I don’t want to live the rest of my life like that. I want to reach a place where I feel content with my family,” he said.

“I believe no amount of money can make you happy. We have learnt that there is no point in struggling more and more.”

This is also why Logesh and Rachel think it’s important to keep culture and heritage alive, to be passed on to their children.

For them, when people know their roots, there will always be something for them to go back to.

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