I hope that one day I can return

John Malachi
The Malaysian Insider
May 25, 2011

MAY 25 — I am a Malaysian living abroad. I graduated as a doctor in Australia and went back to Malaysia in the early 1990s. From the first day I started working in Malaysia until the day I left, I have worked all the 15 and a half years of my time in Malaysia in public hospitals, not a single day in private practice.

In the mean time I got married and have two beautiful children. I went through the system, however unfair it was, being posted to hospitals that no one wanted to go to, and being sent on a merry-go-round around the country with two kids and a wife in tow.

I have had many opportunities to leave the public health sector to go into private practice – I was even offered a consultant specialist job in Singapore, but I hung on to the government hospitals, willingly foregoing better opportunity and financial rewards.

The reason that I went back to Malaysia? Well, in spite of the warts and all, it is still my country; where I grew up, where my parents live, and where my grandparents lived and died. In spite of all the corruption and cronyism, it is still where my roots are, and where I want my children to grow up and to acquire the identity of being Malaysians.

Yes, I know about the religious bigotry and the racist policies, but it is still the land that has given birth to me and where I thought I could contribute a little in return. I don’t have the eloquence to be a politician, the courage to be in the opposition, or the brains to constructively criticise and shape public opinion to move the country to a better future.

But just like my grandfather who spent his life as a hard manual labourer who helped build the railway from Gemas to Kota Baru, I thought the little skill that I have as a doctor would do some good to some people somewhere. That was why I stayed back.

But why then did I leave? Well, there comes a time when you have to look into your children’s eyes and tell them that you have to sacrifice their better future because you love your country. There comes a time when you have to tell them that you don’t have enough money to educate them because you want to do your bit for the less fortunate in the country. There comes a time when you have to tell your children that they have to grow up and get used to the discrimination — in spite of all that the family has done for generations — just because of their skin colour.

The only problem is, I couldn’t bring myself to look into their innocent eyes and tell them that.

My family and friends have been gracious; they have been glad that we could leave, and none of them called us traitors. But I do feel like a traitor inside me. And as I write this in tears tonight, I hope that one day I can return — return to continue to do what I was doing before I left

  1. #1 by drngsc on Thursday, 26 May 2011 - 8:36 am

    Dear John,

    You know what it is like here. we need your help.
    Please register to vote. Please, when the day for GE 13 is announced, take 2 days leave. You are in Australia, about 6-7 hours flight time from here and about RM 2K. Fly in on GE day, cast your vote, have a nice dinner with your friends and loved ones here, and the next day, return back to work.
    There are about 1 million eligible Malaysian voters overseas. If they can return to vote, it will help us change the government and make Malaysia a better place.
    Please help us.

    We need to change the tenant at Putrajaya.

  2. #2 by dagen on Thursday, 26 May 2011 - 8:39 am

    “Yes. One less worm burrowing in umnoputras’ pie. Yes. Yes. Yes.”

    So you think you hv a good story to tell? That is the most likely response you would get from umno, bro …. errr doc.

    I see. You wrote with a heavy heart. Wake up. And cheer up. Be happy wherever you are now. It is bound to be better than umno’s malaysia. Anytime, doc. Yeah. Anytime better.

  3. #3 by ablastine on Thursday, 26 May 2011 - 9:08 am

    If we cannot get rid of all the extremists and ultras from their grip of power fast enough in this corrupted government, many more good and patriotic Malaysians will leave hollowing out this once prosperous and blessed nation. When the number of able men and women drop below a critical number the country will become dysfunctional and the power to destroy wielded by these radicals increases many folds driving the country beyond the a point of no return. Malaysia will join the ranks of failed nations like the many in the African continent where money for construction is being diverted to buy arms for the people to kill each other.

    If the Malays are to unite, it is to unite to get rid of the traitors within their midst who have been feeding the mind of their young with poison and hatred for other races using race and religion as tools. It is hope that the Malays especially the moderate and rural ones can recognise that those of us from other races here are more than their friends but also compatriots who have very much the well being of the State and Nation at heart and will do anything within our power to resist the evil force that is now seeking to divide us and forcing the nation to its knees.

    If the moderate and wise Malays do not lend us their hands and together forge a union to drive out the evil ones then all will be lost. We will not be able to stay here for too long for the force to drive us out is increasing by the day. When most of us have left, Malaysia will practically be finished and the people who will suffer the most will the the rural Malay mass who have so far being given the opium of dependency to live but never the tools to equip themselves to survive in the globalised world. Change must come and it can only be if all the wise and good men and women from all races in the country come forward and become united to drive out the BN evil government which has done everything in its capacity to rape the nation poor and divide us. We must act together and now.

  4. #4 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 26 May 2011 - 9:10 am

    ‘But I do feel like a traitor inside me.’

    Why bro, why? Your country has failed you and things ain’t going to get any better, no matter who rules. So snap out of it and get real.

    Your children will already find this place you call ‘home’ an alien place to them. They are already probably so detached that they will find it very difficult to fit in, despite globalisation. They probably call your current place ‘home’ while you still dream about your old ‘home’.

    My nephews and nieces already call another country ‘home’ and have no desire to go back to the home where their parents were born, bred and schooled.

    So enjoy yourselves overseas, realise your dreams, live your lives to the fullest and then come back when you retire if you so desire.

  5. #5 by chinkimwah on Thursday, 26 May 2011 - 9:27 am

    I guess emigration to another land is always the last option. We all hope to see the day when Putrajaya changes hands. I hope to live to see it!

  6. #6 by loveandgratitude on Thursday, 26 May 2011 - 9:43 am

    Do return to retire in Msia.
    That’s where you belong.

  7. #7 by wanderer on Thursday, 26 May 2011 - 9:44 am

    Leave. It is better late than never and charity starts at home! Very patriotic but, for what?…to get a Tunship? sorry, you do not come from the same dang hole…..
    Like me, come back to vote, for my friends who could not leave.

  8. #8 by dagen on Thursday, 26 May 2011 - 10:55 am

    Cheer up people. Cheer up. There is always hope. We have come far. DAP has done well. And DAP can only do better each time. Nothing is impossible.

    Look at the scruffy middle aged lady from scotland. Listen to her sing in Britain’s Got Talent. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxPZh4AnWyk&feature=player_detailpage

  9. #9 by PoliticoKat on Thursday, 26 May 2011 - 1:12 pm

    It took you how long to figure out this facet of Malaysia life? 15 years? What took you so long? How many times did you need to be slapped in the face to wake up to reality?

    But then again I am being unkind and a little unfair. I am watched my parent, aunts and uncles do the same thing you did.

    Thus I grew up with many examples of why serving Malaysia is an unappreciated and ultimately meaningless task.

    Serve the nation in the Army? An uncle did that. Serve in the police? An uncle and my father did that. Serve in the hospital. An auntie did that. Serve in the fire brigade. Another uncle did that.
    Serve as a teacher, mum and another auntie did that too.

    My entire family has served Malaysia. But I have learned Malaysia doesn’t appreciate loyalty. Sacrifice all you in the name of patriotism and Malaysia will tell you to get lost just the same.

    It falls to you to take care of your family. It is your duty as a father and husband to serve your family.

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