Home is where my heart is at ease to serve

By Kang Ho
June 22, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

JUNE 22 — In the 1980s, I received 8A’s for SRP. Thereafter, I transferred to a technical school and received 3A’s for SPM with Grade 1.

My Malay schoolmates who received Grade 1 were sent overseas for further studies and those who received Grade 2 were placed in local universities. My other Malay schoolmates who received Grade 3 were left behind in the same class as I was in Form Six.

Even back then, I knew something was not right and I lost focus on my studies in Malaysia. My teachers told me that the reason I was not treated the same as my Malay schoolmates was because of “kulitfication.”

I decided to try my luck in Singapore by enrolling in a parochial college and gave tuition classes to support myself. Meanwhile, I saved enough money to go to the United States to finish my university education.

I was also fortunate to have opportunities to receive my Master’s and doctoral degrees. To sustain myself, I worked in janitorial jobs, farms, cafeterias, restaurants, and libraries.

I came from a poor family. My father was a rubber tapper and my mother was a homemaker. Despite the challenges of being in a family of nine siblings, all of us were able to finish tertiary education, with three holding doctoral degrees. We helped one another and the last five siblings were able to attend universities in the United States.

Life in the United States is not without struggles. I encountered various hurdles during the process — family (divorced but happily married now), career (change of profession due to unethical politics), and health (I have three kidneys, the original two are dysfunctional and one belonged to a white friend!).

I am currently a clinical psychotherapist counselling a variety of individuals who need guidance and support to put their lives back together. These individuals include former inmates/ex-criminals, drug addicts, alcoholics, domestic violence offenders, married couples, as well as mental health patients. I enjoy helping to empower these individuals to change their lives.

My school education, career training, and life experiences have equipped me to assist people who are less fortunate than I am regardless of their race, religion, socio-economic status, and lifestyle. Coincidentally, most of my clients are Caucasians and Hispanics, and I have no qualms accepting and treating them as one of my fellow human beings.

My wife is internationally recognised for her exquisite concerto performances in Asia and North America, and has received numerous prizes and scholarships. She has a doctorate degree and teaches at a local university.

She was from Hong Kong and used to play with the orchestra on the National Day of China in Hong Kong. She performs at many concerts on university campuses and in community festivals. She frequently receives rapturous acclaim and standing ovations for the performances.

In spite of our culture, language, and country of origin, we are well accepted and respected in our white majority community. We are able to contribute to our local community and live a meaningful and productive life. We are also able to own a big house with over two dozen fruit trees and a vegetable garden in our yard.

So where is home? Home is where my heart can be at ease to serve without being discriminated against or sidelined due to my parental heritage, spiritual value, and lack of opportunities to attain my dreams.

  1. #1 by k1980 on Wednesday, 22 June 2011 - 1:52 pm

    // “kulitfication.”//

    Definition— foreskin from a certain organ of yours was not “buang”ed

  2. #2 by wanderer on Wednesday, 22 June 2011 - 2:19 pm

    Oh, I was born to wander, I was born to roam….

    Malaysia (then Malaya) was my birth place which I have no choice.
    China, my mother land I am most proud!
    Dear Australia, a place I called home, by choice.
    How great!…no kulitfication is required.

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