Having Psoriasis in Malaysia

By: Rocyie Wong 

I have been struggling with psoriasis for almost half of my life. Growing up with a skin disease in Asia is not an easy thing, especially in a Muslim country like Malaysia. Covering up with long sleeves and long pants is the norm, so it is really easy for those patches to stay hidden. Thus, this also explains why skin disease is not talked about widely over here. As a result, there is a lack of education, awareness and understanding about various skin conditions even though they are actually very common among us. This puts us, various skin condition fighters like myself, in a position where we struggle in silence for social acceptance. Exposing our skin comes with unpleasant stares and comments from strangers, which can end up being a traumatizing experience so we avoid that at all cost.

 As a Marketing graduate, I am always very aware of the content and information available around us. With the rise of various social media platforms, we are bombarded with images of perfect skin and body on a daily basis. To be brutally honest, society’s obsession with perfection sickens me. I realized that all that we consume on social media is based on the concept of ‘you’re not good enough’. I wanted to challenge the idea of what is considered perfect and beautiful. I wanted to see a change on Instagram and I realised the only way to see the change is to be the change, as cliche as it sounds.

That’s  when I discovered @getyourskinout and the whole psoriasis community on Instagram. It made me feel so relieved to know that I am not alone. However, I noticed that most of them were caucasians. I wanted to be the pioneer representative from Asian countries and that’s one of the reasons why I started Project Naked. It took me 3 years of mental preparation and every ounce of courage I had in me to start this personal project of mine. But once I crossed to the other side, I was so glad I did it. The sense of liberty and freedom I felt was out of this world and I hope that I am able to inspire many others to do the same. Through being transparent and sharing my journey, I wish to highlight the struggles of the psoriasis community to the world. Because as much as this condition can breaks us down, in many ways it is also the very reason why we have a story to tell. I want to tell the world that our struggles are worth celebrating and worth sharing.

Rocyie Wong is the founder of Project Naked and Safe Space. She is also part of Project Liberate, which raises awareness about human trafficking issues and campaigns for a #SlaveFreeMalaysia. You can follow her on Instagram @rocyie.

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