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Facing the future with Tasnim Alam

If you could take a peek into the future, what would you want to know? Covid-19 vaccine release date? Tomorrow’s lotto numbers? Who wins the Grand Final? For most of us, we just want to know if tomorrow will be better than today.

We all want less racism, a healthier planet and equal opportunities for all. Unfortunately, unless you drive a Delorean, no one knows what the future holds, but that won’t stop us from scratching our chins and having a good old guess-a-thon.

To talk about what’s up with tomorrow, we sat down with Tasnim Alam; life coach and entrepreneur who also happens to star in our latest video series, Never Have I Ever (check it out here). Before we get started, here’s what you need to know.

Tasnim Alam, 23, Melbourne, is the brains behind the Instagram page, Ukht Tee (which means sister in Arabic). With over 17k followers, she knows what the people want, so who better to ask about the future?

We sat down with Tasnim to get her best guesstimations about what the future has in store for Australia.

 

Rapt!: Tasnim, before we get started, can you tell everyone a little a bit about yourself, how you came to Australia?

Tasnim: I was born in Bangladesh. When I was around one and a half years old, we migrated to New Zealand. When I was around five, we came to Australia – lived in Sydney before settling down in Melbourne. I’ve only been back to my home country three times…

Rapt!: Oh really, how was that?

Tasnim: It was really eye-opening. First time I went was when I was seven, then the next time was thirteen years later. It was great, I felt like I connected with my roots. I met all my extended family. Connected with my cousins and grandparents more, building relationships like that is something you really can’t do unless you see them. I’m really grateful for that experience.

Rapt!: What do you think the biggest differences are between growing up in Australia vs Bangladesh?

Tasnim: There are many differences. They put a lot of emphasis on family back there, everyone lives close together in villages, so everyone supports each other and works really hard to get a better life. In Australia, there’s so much abundance here, there’s no famine.

Rapt!: You’ve achieved so much in such a short amount of time, what are your hopes for yourself and Australia in the future?

Tasnim: For me, I consider myself a citizen of this country, I’m an Australian, my origin is Bangladesh. I want to establish myself here and give back to the community and help serve the wider population by playing my part. In terms of Australia, I believe the future should be equal for everybody. That’s my hope and dream for myself and Australia. People who look like me, who wear a headscarf – or my mum who wears a head veil, it will just become normal. I can see that happening.

Rapt!: When you look back 10 years, it’s easy to see that Australia has changed a lot for minority communities, do you think it’s better and that it will continue to get better?

Tasnim: I believe it is getting better but only because we’re working so hard for it. Racism and discrimination will always be around but you need to overpower it with messages of diversity and positivity. I love what we’re doing today (with Rapt!) with intergenerational conversations and diversity – we need to do more of that. We need to give equal opportunities to all people and have fair representations of everyone.

Rapt!: Do you think technology is helping with that?

Tasnim: Absolutely. Without technology, a person could go their whole life without ever meeting a Muslim and only get their information from news sites which tend to stereotype quite a lot. Nowadays, with social media, you get to see Muslims who are doing everyday activities and are just like everyone else. The younger generation who use a lot of social media are more open-minded and I think that’s a beautiful thing.

Rapt!: Obviously, you’ve forged your own career. If you were to have kids, do you think you’ll have any particular hopes or expectations for your children?

Tasnim: Honestly, I haven’t really thought about it… I guess I would want my children to know themselves, to the point that when they do commit to a career it’s the right choice for them. That’s the process I had to go through. I went through a lot of struggle to actually know myself and to discover parts of myself before I could cultivate my talent. I would encourage my children to discover their natural talents and attributes and find a career based on that.

Rapt!: How do you think you’ll create an environment or allow your children the opportunity to follow their dreams and passions?

Tasnim: Imagining myself as a mother, I would just encourage my children to try new things. That’s what my parents did with me. So if my kids wanted to do sport, art or any type of STEM projects, that’s great. I may not understand it, but Youtube has everything nowadays (laughs). It’s all about encouragement and exposing them to different things.

Rapt!: We’ve all let down our parents from time to time. How do you think you will deal with that situation if they let you down?

Tasnim: When I think about it, the role of the parent is to give unconditional love, no matter what. You brought them into this world, so you do your best to set them in the right direction. There also needs to be a level of trust, so if your child messes up, they always know they can come back to you.

Rapt!: Do you think the relationship you have with your children will be different from the relationship you have with your Mum?

Tasnim: I’m not a mother yet, so this may all change but I would give them a bit more freedom. I will train them as much as I can to make the right decisions. Not so much tell them what to do, but teach them about religion, ethics, honesty and values and if they make a mistake then it’s something they need to learn from.

Rapt!: Final question! Is there anything else that you think will change that will give future generations a more positive experience in Australia?

Tasnim: There will be more representation and diversity in the media and in the public sphere. I hope to see that they will feel more included and won’t feel like outsiders. I hope they have their community to fall back on and have really good relationships with the wider community.

 

This article was part of our Never Have I Ever series. Check out our interview on making sense of Mum and Dad here.

Still keen for more? Revisit our interview with the first Hijabi ballerina, Stephanie Kurlow, here.