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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Don't come home to Malaysia?

Don't Come home, Son is the titled of a much read post in Malaysian Insider...

Here's a short excerpt from the page

" To Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, this is what I have to say in response to your statement about emigration by ingrates.

Sometime in 1980, when I was a final-year student in London, I had a very short telephone conversation with my father. In those days, there were no call cards, skype or the like and international phone calls were expensive. He had a very simple message – “Don’t come home, son.” "

And after reading through the many comments... here I include my own.


This story has been oft told- and the reality is that many are facing this dilemma.

I notice that many comments came from the middle-aged, or the elderly, most of those whom have children.

I am currently 22, A Malaysian first, chinese second... and I regret to say that my parents also have that to tell me: Go Australia, Go Singapore, go somewhere where there's equality and a good way of life.

Am I being unfilial by not obeying that command?

I hope I am not- because I am filial to this motherland of mine.

Yes the road is getting bumpier, the scenery turning into shades of grey... but I believe 柳暗花明又一村, that is, there is light at the end of the tunnel.. and but hopefully that isn't the headlights of the oncoming train.

Jokes aside. This is my country. I am born here. I love this country because of its people, the multitude of colours, personalities and faces, the lahs, mahs, aiyoyos, the "teh-tarik KAU kurang gula mau buih manyak" orders... The Azan that we hear, the bells that ring, the smell of fireworks, the red pows and green pows..., recently Chong Wei’s smile after he won and how he kissed the Jalur Gemilang…. in this potpourri... the amalgam of culture and tradition--it is unique- found nowhere else on earth.

Sadly, things are getting ugly. Its getting from bad to worse... It feels like its getting nowhere. We want to throw in the towel, to abandon ship, to fight another day, or just let someone else take the fight.
But, do hear what I have to say

I was on a stint for a medical posting in UK for 3 weeks.

I admire the country for its cleanliness, its transport system that is always on time, its politicians who are forced to quit their post when they are suspected of corruption. (YES! being suspected is already a way-out ticket.) I look up to their waste management system, their council administration, their customer service.

I love how they manage their ecosystems, how they maintain their tourist spots, how their road signs come a few times before the fork of the road at 100m, 50m ( so unlike KL where some signs show up past the fork!), their cars come dirt cheap- (a 2nd VW beetle in mint condition goes for 14000 pounds- ard RM80000; the cheapest 2nd hand car I noticed was a Ford selling for 1400 pouns- around RM8000!)

But despite all that.. I wouldn't want to live there. It's not my home. My heart still lies with this country.

Many Malaysians living overseas have relatives sending over sambal-belacan, dumplings, otak-otak, and the whole assortment of spices, they yearn for the sights and sounds from home, they yearn for the -lahs at the ends of a sentence, they yearn for the connections to their identity... but all this yearning takes a backseat when the reality of life looms large, I know. They try to find a better life overseas…

But, note that where I've been its not that rosy, not that perfect.

Nottingham experienced a bar-room brawl culminating in a shoot-out a week before I arrived. The 2nd hand bike I bought was stolen just 3 hours after I oiled the chains. The hostel I was provided with was broken in and a laptop stolen. Illegal immigrants make their presence felt now and again, almost all stores close at 5pm, the weather is extremely depressing during winter, (it was already moodiness inducing in autumn), the cost of accomodation is high despite the overall cost of living is manageable.

I'm not sure whether my message remains coherent- but I really do feel that hujan batu di Malaysia is better than hujan emas di UK, AUS atau pulau Singa. Because I grew up here. Because It's where I belong.

Should I migrate somewhere,I can’t help but feel that there will always be the nagging feeling that I missed out. The feeling that I stopped guiding my daughter through university and abandoned her in Primary 6…. The nagging thought that I gave up too early…. The sensation of emptiness in a foreign land where you know you don’t really belong, you want to make a pilgrimage home just to see how your hometown has changed

I won’t give up, not just yet. I will fight for change. I will exercise my vote. I will spread the word that we are taking this country back. For those of you who thinks that Malaysia is a lost cause- you should have gone to the Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia Roadshow- there you will be inspired. You may catch a glimpse of it here http://resonating-ripple.blogspot.com

Many people have given up the good fight without even trying. They lament and complain, but they did not strive to better the condition , they didn’t heed the clarion call for change, they didn’t voice their support for the cause, they didn’t sign petitions, they didn’t rally to the peaceful marches… they just threw in the towel before they broke a sweat.

Now would it hurt if we just try? Try to make our voices heard? Try to strive a little before calling it quits? Try to push for change instead of sitting arms crossed and waiting for things to happen?

I end my comment with these observations:

The lawyers think that doctors get easy money- pop-pop the stethoscope and there's RM50-
The Doctors think that the accountants have less risks and the money comes easy,
The accountant thinks that the engineers job is more engaging and interesting
The engineer thinks that lawyers earn easy money- just sign a document and there's RM50

Indonesians come to Malaysia,
Malaysians migrate to Singapore,
Singaporeans go to Australia,
Australians go to Europe,
Europeans come to Malaysia for Malaysia my second home. (oh ok, not that true but you get the drift)

the moral of the story- be content with what you have and you are always happier that way.

I may be young, you may think my views are idealistic, too far fetched, unattainable… but I beg thee, just try.


  1. Nicely written post. :P
    As they say, human's heart can never be satisfied, just like how a snake can swallow an elephant (mind the language, duno how to translate :P)

    Bout the last part of Europeans to Malaysia could hold true, like My 2nd Home. Or like my dad's friends who migrated to Australia, Canada, US and come back when they're old. Lol!

  2. Thanks bud!
    Phuiyooo for you to still remember that idiom is so geng already.. no need translate! haha

    Ah.. I repeated my sales pitch about the globe trotting people... but a taxi driver enlightened me about the catch in M'sia my 2nd home-

    the individuals coming over have to surrender some parts of their assets for 3 years- (govn's spending money) and other nitty gritty details before they can really settle down.

    So not many are interested.

    did you learn about why they came back- the reasons? I'd really like to know :-)

  3. Ah? Really? All I know is that MM2H was offered to really rich people to retire in Malaysia, cos they don't want to attract foreign workers using this as means to get a job in Malaysia. Though I do agree that the requirements are quite high, as stated in http://www.mm2h.gov.my/conditions.php. Malaysia is kinda good in ideas but it's always rough on the edges such as fine details. The fine details, erm.. That I'm not sure of, since Malaysia is my 1st home. :P

    Well, most of my dad's friends have different reasons. Few said they can't stand the cold weather at old age, some said the neighborhood liveliness here is better than their cottage houses-like which are far apart, too quiet life with no entertainment or mamak, or friends around, no golf-kaki, some form of barriers in forming ties with neighbor due to culture difference. One even have to forgo his Canada's citizenship becasue Canada gov taxes him for income in Canada and Malaysia! Some cite racial issues, but oh well, it happens everywhere, just the extent of it.

    But their children remained overseas because they are used to the life there.

    It sort of bows down to the fact that we're always used to the place we came from.

    Every country has its own strengths and weaknesses. It has always been that the moon is rounder and larger overseas, but I don't mind if the moon is square or small here. After all, there's no place like home. :P

  4. Wah.. did your homework somemore? Good Good.

    You actually found out on the reasons for the trip back home? Good for you!

    Yeah- I'd agree with them. The warmth of the citizens here is one thing I love.. but this value is quickly evaporating on hot pavement of urbanity

    Too quiet life- well to me not such a bad thing and people who are industrious will keep themselves occupied no matter how boring life is.

    Racial issues- Yeah.. people escape M'sia to avoid racial issues bearing their heads but I think its subliminal, everywhere.. just see what happened with the indians in Audtralia recently.. Why oh why must me seek to alienate ourselves from one another.

    Yuppedie- theres no place like home. Let's help save our home! :-)

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  6. I think you are being too idealistic. I presume you are still unmarried and don't have children to worry about. I left Malaysia to be in Canada for the sake of my children. Yes, things are different here, but the funny thing is I feel I have more rights here than I ever had in Malaysia. My chidlren love to go to school here and there is a real sense of respect for humanity. My wife who is not a Malsyian did not get her PR for 15 years she was in Malaysia and was unable to get a job. She not only got her Canadian Pr in 6 months of applying but also got her first job in so many years just two months after landing. Now what does that say??



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