Why I would leave Malaysia

Hafidz Baharom
The Malaysian Insider
May 26, 2011

MAY 26 — There are a few things in every nation that a person can’t handle. With our nation now in a state of brain drain (or maybe not), it comes as no surprise that there will be people wishing to migrate for what they may consider greener pastures. I have mine as well even if the country’s national flag features a red maple leaf.

The truth is, I do love this country. To be more specific, I love my hometown of Shah Alam. I love the friends I grew up with even if some of them continue to argue that I should join PAS for some odd reasoning that I personally can’t comprehend. I love my dysfunctional and quirky family and perhaps would even go so far as to say that I love the people in the country when they’re not bigoted idiots running on emotional steroids.

What I don’t enjoy in this nation is the fact that we have a government and government agencies that are run exactly like our Parliament, where a whip is so strictly enforced that minority opinions cannot be promoted. In 2009, Shahrir Abdul Samad said that a Member of Parliament from his own party should be censured, and this motion was denied because nobody would go against the whip.

Similarly in 2010, when women MPs, both from the government and Opposition decried that the new Family Law amendments being tabled, which would grant a husband half of his wife’s property, was unfair, they still voted for it and then chased after the Prime Minister afterwards. Why? Because of the whip being enforced.

Call me naïve, but I want my government members to give their honest opinions on issues without having to adhere to a whip like some circus animal show.

Similarly, regardless of how Anwar Ibrahim came up with a statement that education will be provided with regards to LGBT issues, I just know that the “education” part is reserved for people like me, and not the closeted members of PAS and the conservative people of Malaysia who get married, have kids and then screw around. And sincerely, I have no problem with that. But I do request that they stop doing raids that lead to people jumping out windows.

Leave that to the MACC, which seems to have a new tagline of “when a door closes, a window opens”.

And of course, I do think that PAS members have no problems personally saying they have no problems with a gay, but they can’t support it openly.

Thus, the fact remains that my community remains absurdly unrecognised regardless of the 1 Malaysia agenda because of not wanting to piss off the majority of Malaysians who put them in government.

And I’m not even talking about wanting legislation to marry a guy.

Another reason for me wanting to leave is quite selfish, but also true. It is the fact that I would perhaps make more money overseas. And even if I don’t, the amount I earn would probably have higher purchasing power.

Let’s face it. Writers, political pundits and all-round raconteurs are not exactly part of the Malaysian social and economic agenda. Even our writings sometimes go unpublished due to the increasing level of censorship, especially if you write about things that are considered against public interest and seem to “encourage a deviant lifestyle”.

Of course, these are all reasons why I would leave.

Now let me tell you why I choose to stay.

With all the social injustice, warped politics and the even more warped Malaysian mind-set, I choose to stay because I believe we can change the nation. I know that this sounds very Obama-ish, but it is true. We can change this nation one step at a time. We saw it in 1957, 1963, 1969, 1998 and most recently 2008.

And I know this may seem ironic for a gay Malay Muslim to state, but I have faith that in due time Malaysia will be able to accept their rainbow brethren without prejudice. In due time, Malaysia will warm up to the concept of media freedom to the point that they won’t have to censor Glee on Astro when Blaine grabbed Kurt’s hand and ran down an open corridor in slow motion, let alone the kiss in the study room.

I just hope I live to see it.

But till then, I have faith that Malaysia’s future will be a vibrant multicultural people with varying beliefs which will in fact become a better place to live. That being said, however, it will take the efforts of all parties to get involved and make those changes happen. As Oprah Winfrey said, the greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.

So the main question for Malaysians fighting for race, religion, gender and sexual orientation equality is this; how do we change people’s attitudes?

  1. #1 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 26 May 2011 - 11:29 pm

    ‘..how do we change people’s attitudes?’

    1. Don’t hold any more ‘open houses’. We are a nation of free-loaders and we are teaching them bad habits.

    2. Consult the national bomoh, feng shui man and what have yous etc etc to do whatever necessary.

    3. Export Ibrahim Ali and geng.

    4. Give everyone a Datship. They have all suffered and sacrificed enough.

    5. Give them more ‘opium’ like Najib says.

  2. #2 by negarawan on Thursday, 26 May 2011 - 11:54 pm

    Another reason to leave: extremely incompetent ministers in the government

    The Defence Ministry is studying the possibility of lengthening the current three-month period for the National Service (NS) Training Programme. Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the three-month period was too short a time to develop noble character and foster a sense of patriotism.

  3. #3 by pulau_sibu on Friday, 27 May 2011 - 12:32 am

    We should listen to people in China. How many of them left the country every year? Majority of students in the best universities go to USA. What are these people looking for? a better place. A better place means better than China in almost everything, not just the democracy and freedom. …

  4. #4 by dagen on Friday, 27 May 2011 - 10:19 am

    //// Leave that to the MACC, which seems to have a new tagline of “when a door closes, a window opens”. ////

    That is a fact. A scientific fact. The inside of a building is an enclosed space. When a door is shut suddenly, air pressure within the building would inevitably build up. And in consequence any window that has not been securely shut could be forced opened. As a matter of fact, if the door (specifically a very very large door) is shut quickly enough, that could cause sufficient pressure build up inside the building. In which event not only would windows be forced opened, nearby objects too could be ‘sucked’ out by the pressure differential.

    Ohh sheeet. Just gave macc a new angle to argue their innocence in beng hock’s case.

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