Sorry for posting this long question. I am quite down and depressed today. I was born in Malaysia. I come from a very poor family. Our mother died when I was very young. My father took care of me and my younger brother and he had 2 jobs to support us. We were considered Chinese educated. We spoke Mandarin Chinese at home. I also did not learn English until I was 13 years old. My father encouraged us to learn English to improve our education. But he was always against Western culture and said we should not lose our Chinese identity.
When I was a hardworking student growing up. I always did well in my studies and I leaned English very quickly, although not as good as my classmates who spoke English at home. But my brother did not do well in school because he was slow to learn English. My father was very proud of me. And I think my brother had something called sibling rivalry because I think he was envious. He still loved me very much.
When I was 18 I won a scholarship to study overseas in a western country. In the beginning I stayed in a student apartment with other Malaysian students. I remember people always called me the bookworm. They considered me very smart but I was not popular. I think I had bad self esteem at that time. I did not feel I was beautiful. I also felt lower class than my friends because they wore more expensive clothes.
When I was a first year student overseas my father had an accident. He was riding his motorcycle to work when a car hit him. The doctor said that he should not do any hard physical work. So my brother had to stop school and work at my father's noodle stall.
I wanted to help financially. My scholarship money was only enough for myself. So I first worked part time at a fast food restaurant. But it was tiring and I did not have time to study. I sent some money back. So my brother went back to school and only sold noodles at night.
It was hard to balance work and study. I tried several different jobs such as tutoring Mathematics to school children after school. I sometimes took jobs translating English documents into Chinese. I was also talented in art so I sometimes taught children how to draw and paint.
It is a long story and hard to explain, but I finally found a job I liked. But it was a part time job as a life drawing model. In Europe most art classes teach students how to draw the human body. And because it is important to learn the basics, the models cannot wear any clothes. It is very important to study the structure of the body, same as a medical student must study a cadaver.
So I worked as a life model for several years until I graduated. At first I was frightened but gradually got used to it. It was not sexual at all. All the students were very friendly and treated me with respect. And I think it was the perfect part time job for a student. After 30 minutes of gesture poses, I usually could sit in a comfortable pose for 2 hours. I usually brought my wireless earphones and listen to audiobooks of my university books. Sometimes I recorded the audio of my lecturer from the morning and played in back. And the art class that I usually work for was very nice and they allowed me to sometimes read a book while they painted me.
I usually worked 3 hours Monday to Friday and 6 hours on Saturday. I sent a lot of money home. My brother could go back to school normally and he went to university though he did not get a scholarship but went to a public university. I also graduated top 10 in my university and my father was so proud.
I am now working overseas. Several months ago something bad happened. Some people were gossiping that I was a porn star. Actually it was because there were some posters advertising a slimming product that had my picture in it. Those photos came from a stock photo website. I recognise those photos. When I was building my CV for my art model job i paid a photographer to take some photos of me so I can apply for jobs. I found out that the photographer had passed away but someone stole his work and sold them to stock photo companies.
Anyway my family found out. Since I wasn't wearing any clothes in the photos people assume it is the worse and think I am a porn star. I tried to explain that I am an art model and it is nothing sexual. I also explained that famous people such as Cherie Blair wife of former prime minister worked as an art model.
My modelling work also helped improve my social skills. I was shy and afraid of public speaking but this experience improved my self esteem and confidence. It help me open myself to new people. I made new friends. I also helped many people. There were some students graduated and now working as animators, concept artist for movies and computer graphics. They are very grateful and thanked me. European culture is more open. I sometimes don't even feel like I am naked as they treat me with respect. I did not feel ashamed when I was naked. In fact when meeting someone new i always dread when I have to put on my ugly low class clothes. I try to delay putting on my clothes for as long as possible. But even when I eventually have to wear my clothes my European friends never judged me for wearing cheap clothes. I feel that I am judged more by status conscious people from my country.
Even though I help my family, they don't understand. They think I am lazy and took the easy way out. My father said I dishonored our family. He hasn't spoken to me since October. My brother has also lost respect for me, even though I love him and sacrificed everything for him. He said in our culture we do not sell our bodies. I said I wasn't selling but he said then what am I selling. He still speaks to me and says he still loves his sister.
The Chinese New Year is next week but I have no where to go. I did not even buy a plane ticket to Malaysia. I love my family but I wish they are not so conservative. I am thinking I should migrate to another country permanently since I don't identify with my culture anymore. But I don't feel fully accepted by other cultures either. I am not sure why I am writing this. Complaining will not help me much.