Why, Malaysia?

By Lisa Ng | Loyar Burok

As we bring #WhyMalaysia week to a close, Lisa Ng writes a heartfelt customer complaint letter to our tanah tumpah darah, our beloved Bolehland, Malaysia.

My dear Malaysia, it doesn’t get more melodramatic than this, does it? “This” being about whether to stick with you till “death do us part” or to walk away, even if for a little while, especially if there is evidence of ill-treatment.

You see, for Christians, marriage is an unbreakable covenant between God and the couple. Some people would call it a “contractual promise” of sorts. Others would say that, however we term it, the general principle of faithfulness applies to Man and Motherland. The only difference is, even Christians are not so cruel that they insist we stick with our hurtful spouse (or even parent in some cases) if our wellbeing is at stake.

That is why my Conscience was clear when my family decided to depart from your bosom to—not necessarily greener—but relatively safer pastures. At least for now.

You may label me a traitor. Or you may accuse me of cowardice. Perhaps you may also venture so far as to call me an unfilial daughter. But loyalty is not a blind man. And I believe that loyalty to you isn’t meant to be at the expense of some measure of fairness owed to me and, more importantly, my dignity as a person. People may not be perfect and neither are governments. But there is a limit to what each person can tolerate. For the physically and/or mentally abused spouse, it could be the 100th punch to the face. For the oppressed Iban or Dayak, perhaps the face of a certain man they’ve seen on posters for a long time. But then, I’m no Iban or Dayak or any of the many indigenous tribes who can rightfully be called Bumiputera. I am, however, a true Malaysian. And while I am not entirely fed-up of the way you’re manipulating me, I am in need of some perspective.

I was born here. In Taman Cheras, Wilayah Persekutuan, to be precise. I have a valid birth cert, MyKad, Malaysian passport and even if my Bahasa Malaysia is rusty, I was brought up learning and speaking the language and when I meet a Malay, I salam them. I love your nasi lemak, roti canai, durian, cendol, satay and sayur lodeh. I am also a Malaysian because I’ve rolled with the NEP ever since I was old enough to understand its impact on me and not held any grudge against you or my Malay friends. I know how the political parties in Malaysia were formed because I rote learnt it in high school. Outside the Dewan of my school, I memorised the names of Sultans from the time of Parameswara, through the reins of the Mahmud and Iskandar Shahs, to the era of Disco, all the while sucking on those umbrella-shaped kacang merah ice creams sold unhygienically by the roadside.

During those formative years, there was already a lot of talk about different races in school having different passing marks for their SPM exams. The news was that Kelantan and Terengganu students could pass their Advanced Maths with 30% while the mark to meet for the “others” was 40%. I remember being bothered by this rumour but I don’t recall breaking up friendships with my Malay friends over this.

When I studied in Australia, my lecturers thought I was Malay because my skin is quite tanned and I don’t look typically Chinese. The only reason why I clarified that I was Malaysian Chinese was because it helped me explain the multicultural aspect of Malaysia (and prevent them from asking why I have special concessions on homes whereas my fellow Malaysians don’t). I pay taxes to you. I eat the vegetables your farmers plant. I am comfortable excusing myself when my Malay friends are fasting and I know the difference between Ponggal and Thaipusam.

I’ve even learnt a little bit of Jawi, for goodness sake.

So why do I have to prove to you that I am Malaysian, the way I just did? Because as time goes by, it seems that non-Malays need to, more and more, defend their citizenship to you. You, who BORE us. Citizenship is NOT a favour. Your granting me a Malaysian birth certificate and MyKad may require that I abide by the Federal Constitution and the laws of this country; it’s something I believe in and do. But it does not come with a gag that I have to put on robotically when your policies affect me negatively. After all, your “managers” are working for my vote. And if they’re working for my vote, then they are essentially in the service industry—and I’m not only a daughter of your soil but also your client.

So as the saying goes, this client is NOT happy with the current service. I have honoured our contract. You have not. Instead, you have tried to hoodwink me into settling for less benefits with the promise of living a quality life in peace and harmony. But as it stands, you’re not only NOT delivering on quality life; even the peace and harmony aspects are left fraying on the side.

My ringgit is beginning to take the shape of a pisang rastali. My grocery bill looks like I shopped for Louis Vuitton vegetables and Prada pork.

Meanwhile, my mother had her handbag snatched three times in broad daylight in a span of eight months. And you conteng on my Bible while allowing a self-professed scholar to irresponsibly bullhorn his total ignorance of my religion to a wide audience, by associating Santa Claus with it.

In reality, clients get to complain. Then what ensues is a review of the business contract. Here, my vote has a tendency to get rigged. And if I try to protest, I’ll probably be arrested. If I ask why I am being arrested, you’ll probably tell me I have no permit. If I ask for a permit, you’ll likely say I can’t have one because protests are wrong. Meanwhile, as we speak, a large crowd of Malaysians will be dragging a headless cow in protest against an Indian temple being built in their vicinity.


Does it make me less Malaysian to want more respect? More fairness? More security? Or maybe just the opportunity to live comfortably without needing to convert to Islam? Has it occurred to you that “more”, of late, simply means returning a little closer to “equality”?

Does it make me less Malaysian that I’ve chosen to continue building my life in a different country? I don’t think so. We settle wherever we feel gives us the most value for money; nostalgia and sentiments alone are not enough if one has family. This may sound a little too businesslike, but you know, even businesspeople return home once their work is done.

I will always be a Malaysian. Even if I lose all my rights overnight. You can take away my identity cards too but I will still remain nothing but a Malaysian, because identity lives in the Consciousness of our being. It cannot be taken away once it is encrypted into one’s self-awareness.

I did not want to say Goodbye to you, Malaysia. I still don’t. The day we left in the taxi was an emotional one. Because I didn’t just leave behind corruption, crime and crooked policies. I left behind 37 years of friendship, late nights at the office to support the economy, pot-holes and school songs. I left behind countless national day parades, open houses, pasar malams, mamak stalls and yau char kwei dipped in kopi-o. And yes, I left behind all my hopes and dreams for my child to experience all these things. And more.

However, staying on would be akin to accepting that all is fine and nothing needs to change. Or standing up to challenge all that is wrong. Either situation means death to me. Death to the conscience in the first scenario, and death of freedom in the second. And neither is a position I want to take because, above all things, above being Malaysian or Chinese, I am a mother first. And mothers are supposed to put their families before everything else.

Lisa Ng is a human being. She used to be a copywriter in the advertising industry. But now she just writes. For whatever helps us regain the lost art of “giving a toss” towards things that matter to the human race.

  1. #1 by k1980 on Monday, 21 March 2011 - 12:55 pm

    //And mothers are supposed to put their families before everything else.//

    You have done the wisest thing in your life. Your children will get to grow up in an environment without being labeled as “pendatangs”, “mata sepets” and “prostitutes”. They won’t be restrained by the artificial ceilings imposed on them by umno just because they are of the dhimmi class. When they grow up, they will thank you for taking them away from a land filled with racist politicians who label their opponents as “ungrateful”, “unpatriotic” and “greedy” while they themselves are the ones robbing the country.

  2. #2 by undertaker888 on Monday, 21 March 2011 - 1:45 pm

    we are all Malaysian, except for umno and its BN cohorts. real traitors to the country. they are there just to rob us blind. that’s their main objective. by doing this they need to keep us divided.

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Monday, 21 March 2011 - 1:52 pm

    Lisa Ng as well each and every rakyat is not a client of BN govt. WE ARE THE BOSS. But we seem to have found ourselves being unable to FIRE our errant EMPLOYEE who keep underperforming and stealing from us the shareholders…What do you do when your employee steal your company and the police is in cahoot with them?

    You write it off and move on to your next venture…

  4. #4 by cemerlang on Monday, 21 March 2011 - 2:06 pm

    Lisa Ng should not have brought Christianity into the issue. She is making it sounds like Christians are enemies of Malaysia. This is very careless. It shows she does not care about other Christians who choose to stay back in Malaysia and possibly become martyrs for Christ. She could run away and find her freedom. What about Christians who could not run ? This is very wrong.

  5. #5 by dagen on Monday, 21 March 2011 - 2:40 pm

    Malaysia does not belong to umno. That is a fact. So umno has no business dictating this and that to us; not even as government. This is because as government umno is actually our servant. Now who in this land allowed umno to grow and turn into such a monster? We did. So who must now undo the wrong? We of course.

    • #6 by cemerlang on Monday, 21 March 2011 - 10:26 pm

      Thing is that whether you love it or hate it, it is with us from the very beginning. Malaysia does not belong to MCA either or MIC either or for that matter, any political party. To undo the wrong means going back in time to history , to how it all began. Can we undo UMNO, MCA, MIC or even DAP ?

  6. #7 by tak tahan on Monday, 21 March 2011 - 9:47 pm

    The sad thing is majority likes of rambutan is still wating for government’s hand-out,don’t mind the least to be called lazy,dump,hypocrite and incompetent.Until this indoctrinated katak could get rid from under the coconut shell,we are bound to doom.


  7. #8 by ablastine on Monday, 21 March 2011 - 11:34 pm

    I am beginning to feel that Malaysia has reach a point of no return and the UMNO Devil will continue be be voted in again and again until the country is totally bankrupted. As more and more thinking men and women leave the country leaving behind those without the means to either think or fend for themselves the process of corrupt governance becomes irreversible and the despot firmly entrenched. The blame cannot fall squarely on UMNO itself but the people who voted them in for one reason or another are just as guilty. However, for this group only basic instinct such as hunger pangs and abject poverty can bring realisation of the folly of keeping BN in power. Unfortunately when it dawn upon them the country is gone and Malaysia will just become a mirage in the history of time. My condolences for those who stay behind to suffer together as the country heads inexorably towards degradation and degradation.

  8. #9 by VincentW on Monday, 21 March 2011 - 11:39 pm

    Well said, Lisa. I am afraid it might all fall on deaf ears.

  9. #10 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 - 1:18 am

    BN proclaimed recently dat they hv a secret weapon 2 b released during S’wak state E
    Yes, it’s yet another SEKS VIDEO of an opposition politician (alleged)

  10. #11 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 - 1:43 am

    Carcosa Negara Hotel not a cheap place 2 hv a function
    Was there a look-alike actor hired 2 enjoy oral seks n 2 hv seks with a pros titute, truly boleh
    Looks like seks is a political weapon in dis land n rakyat keep getting seks education

  11. #12 by hallo on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 - 7:12 am

    Why are they so busy body so mind other people lifestyle?

    If keep on at these rate next time maybe they demand one must report to get approval from them before can have SxX.

    I dont think Malaysians will bother this except the enemies.

    Malaysians are more bother about CORRUPTIONS stealing the country MONEY.

  12. #13 by waterfrontcoolie on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 - 8:12 am

    Lisa, you have rendered such beautifully, though 30% for Advanced Maths seemed an improvement. In my time just up to before 513, the bar for Entrance to Form 6 Maths was for one year; put at 10.25%!!!! No wonder I had to deal with engineers who could not even deal with basic algebra.
    To answer #11, when you have people you get paid for doing nothing, they have to justify their existence by involving in others’ business. In reality, they are Peeping toms who wopuld have done under any cover! They are sickos!!

  13. #14 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 - 8:22 am

    Elsewhere, make love not war, in 1M’sia, make war not love

  14. #15 by undertaker888 on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 - 8:28 am

    see how low these umno bustards can be? low life creeping creatures are more noble than these p@ri@hs. they have the guts to show so-called anwar video in parliament. in parliament, my goodness. is our parliament becoming a porno dvd shop?

    interlok got the wrong p@ri@h described. it should point to umno goons. all these p@ri@h dogs.

  15. #16 by k1980 on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 - 8:30 am

    Anwar must now provide an alibi for where he actually was during that 17 minutes on February 21st. Nik Aziz will say, “Takkan ular patuk 3 kali di lubong yang sama ?”

    Datuk T unmasked?—http://zorro-zorro-unmasked.blogspot.com/2011/03/dato-telok-revealed.html

  16. #17 by k1980 on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 - 8:36 am

    Here we go again— they will now “prove” that the dna from that Omega watch matches the one obtained from saifool’s ar#ehole…..

  17. #18 by baochingtian on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 - 8:37 am

    #4. To me the religion issue brought up was just one of the evidences of what’s happening, nothing offensive to other christians. The politics of this bolehland is already in chaos, fanning fire is not necessary here.

  18. #19 by baochingtian on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 - 8:54 am

    An outrageous act put up by Datuk T. No police arrest. Imagine if this were shown by opposition party, the bolehland police will storm in and everyone will be arrested under illegal gathering and prono viewing.

  19. #20 by Thor on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 - 9:14 am

    It’ll backfire!!!
    With sodomy case still going on, will Anwar be so stupid to cause another case to emerge?
    These master planner are real stupid and could be of low IQ indeed.
    Remember the first sodomy case which caused Pakatan to win 5 states?
    Now with second part on-going and plus that idiot Mr T, will sure land Pakatan with a landslide victory for sure.
    Keep on going with all your stupid ideas and tactics, all you Umno fellas!
    At first, I thought that will all the money that you’ve and with all the government machinery under your thumb, Pakatan will have little chances of capturing Putrajaya but I was dead wrong.
    If you UmnoBn fellas are real comfortable with all that, will you come up with all those low graded “show” just to smear Anwar.
    You must be receiving some warning sign that you’re going to lose so you’re now desperate, are’nt you?
    Well, another few more months to come and you’ll be doom!!!

  20. #21 by k1980 on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 - 9:16 am

    That village idiot Datuk T should had used high-definition 3D video and then broadcast it on Astro B.yond should that the whole world can see the fella’s face properly.

  21. #22 by dagen on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 - 9:17 am

    They are definitely afraid of anwar. So they saw the need to down anwar by whatever means. I hv not seen the clip but I will dismiss it out of hand. More than that I would conclude that it was the work of umno. Umno got someone to impersonate anwar in the clip. This is purely a smear campaign. It wont work. It will backfire on umno.

  22. #23 by k1980 on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 - 10:18 am

    The best defence is offence. Get a couple of twats, one plump as Jib and the other slim like Altantu, with the same shapes and sizes, and upload their actions onto the net. Date the video to the time before the c4 incident and let the pm explain himself.

  23. #24 by baochingtian on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 - 11:16 am

    Doctoring the video may not be the case, jz get someone of the similar body size and hair style; afterall, the actual face has not been shown ….
    Video in black and white, quite an effort, eh?

  24. #25 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 - 11:46 am

    They must hv watched lots of Mission Impossible clips – a person who looks like a baddie is not d baddie but actually tom cru ise with a well-made latex head mask

  25. #26 by baochingtian on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 - 12:27 pm

    Asking m’siakini’s reporter to write what he watched from the video was indeed an honor to m’siakini for acknowledging their fair reporting thus far. CSL must be quite disappointed.

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