Anak Malaysia 2

By M. Chua
June 18, 2011 | MalaysiaKini

JUNE 18 — Someone sent me an article by Kalimullah Hassan, which appeared in The Malaysian Insider last week.

The article was on his experiences in trying to be an “Anak Malaysia” and I found the subject to be interesting, especially for me, an Anak Malaysia currently living abroad.

I must confess I hardly read Malaysian newspapers these days and not even The Malaysia Insider or any other publication or news portal. Frankly, most news coming out of my homeland does not exactly fill me with joy.

So thank you for keeping me informed. If not, I probably go on with my daily routine scanning the South China Morning Post for some news from home, more often than not, hoping for some pleasant news for a change!

I started my third tour of Hong Kong about five years ago and, since then, have been traversing the world on business. But it’s Hong Kong where I spend more of my time.

This metropolitan has many Malaysians like me, probably too busy on a daily basis to pay too much attention to what is going on at home.

After all, I remember this famous quote by a Malaysian who had spent more than three decades abroad: “The world can live without Malaysia, but Malaysia cannot live without the world”.

By and large, many of us are still holding Malaysian passports. When asked why, a variety of reasons are given. Top of the list is family and friends; second is our wonderful variety of food; third, the slower pace of life (Golf for me); and finally the cheaper cost of living.

Strangely enough, better future or prospects is never a consideration.

This is indeed very disheartening.

For a start, most families today are a nucleus. Family ties will soon be cut off as soon as my generation passes on. Thanks to AirAsia and Skype, I stay connected with friends from home too.

I miss mee goreng mamak but am quite prepared to settle for a nice bowl of wan ton mee. Slower pace of life and cost of living are both subjects that Malaysia expats like to talk about but in the final analysis, it’s not really a major pull factor to get them to return home.

During the heat of 2008 financial crisis, I told my daughter the following:

“A man with a Kenyan father may become the next president of America. An Indian migrant at a young age was responsible for the TARP fund. “

The moral of the story to my children is you must be prepared to accept the realities of life that there are still discriminatory policies in your country of birth!

We can debate about Bangsa or Anak Malaysia. The truth is young people today don’t really think about borders or barriers. I am grateful of what Malaysia has offered my siblings and me.

My late father used to tell me the hardship he endured in China, and constantly reminded us the many opportunities Malaya, and later the independent Malaysia he was proud to belong to, had provided him.

My children are growing up in a world where opportunities are most times not determined by race, creed of religion. I can’t tell them hardship stories that my dad told me about China. Hence, his profound gratitude to his adopted home. Nor would my childhood stories in Malaysia convince them to have the same emotional ties that I have with my motherland, Malaysia!

I don’t know whether I can ever be happy not being a Malaysian. But, unfortunately, it appears, our children can.

Finally, I can only say that people like me — the Malaysian diaspora abroad — want to remain as Anak Malaysia. But I am not so sure about the younger generation. So long as they don’t have a sense of identity, of belonging or of home, I think the more relevant question to ask is how long more they will be Anak Malaysia.

* M. Chua is a senior executive of a multi-national based in Hong Kong.

  1. #1 by rockdaboat on Saturday, 18 June 2011 - 4:39 pm

    Talking of Anak Malaysia, MCA must be really bankrupt of ideas nowadays. 雪州马华公共投诉局顾问林春景 even has the cheek to poke his nose into how Hannah Yeoh registered her child which is her own family affair.

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