Time for change

by Ong

Dear Mr. Lim,

I’m a 29-year old Penangite, and I’ve been in the U.S. for over 10 years. I did not get a JPA scholarship or any government scholarships, but I was offered almost a free ride to five top-tier schools in the U.S. (Wellesley, Mount Holyoke, Middlebury, Wesleyan (Freeman Asian Scholarship), and Dartmouth). I chose Wellesley where I received an amazing education (I met Nat Tan who was then at Harvard), and then worked in economic consulting in Boston for a few years, before starting a Ph.D. in Economics at Brown University.

My father was a businessman (and not a rich taukeh, mind you) and my mother, a primary school teacher. Growing up, money was always tight. Yet they managed to send four out of five daughters on to pursue their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in top 50 universities in the U.S. How did we do it? It was neither through government scholarships, nor through Father-Mother Scholarships, but through the generous financial aid of U.S. institutions and the contributions of relatives. Not surprisingly, of the four, one is in London, and three are in the U.S.

As a teenager in the 1990s, my only news outlet was mainstream newspapers, e.g., The Star, which as you well know, was effectively taken over in the 1980’s by the government. I recall being irked by the low quality of the newspaper — I would deem the standard of writing equivalent to that of a Standard Six student. Coverage of local events, such as the planting of a tree, would revolve around xyz politician saying so and so. More annoying was that on day one, you would have Mahathir saying blah blah blah. On day two, you’ll have several politicians parroting Mahathir’s views, saying “Mahathir said blah blah blah so blah blah blah.” And so on and so forth for the next few days. Did these so-called leaders have no thoughts or ideas of their own? It would seem that they, sememangnya, are incapable of such. Sadly enough, the quality of the media has hardly improved, but that is another story for another day.

Only after leaving Malaysia did I slowly realize how oppressed and repressed we had been (and still are). Part of it may have been a natural maturation process that comes with age. A bigger part, I think, comes from being taken entirely out of the country, and placed in a new context where I was exposed to people from different countries, with different experiences and different ideas. Perhaps more importantly, I realized that I used to identify as a Chinese in Malaysia, but now that I was out of Malaysia, my identity evolved to that of a Malaysian … period.

The results of the March 2008 elections were unexpected, to say the least. Who would have thought it was possible? I have to admit that that was the first time I ever thought that one day, maybe one day I can go back to my country. Before then, it was not even a consideration … why return to a country where I’ll be treated as a second-class citizen?

Since 2008, the political sandiwara, parasitical leeching, and blatant thievery have continued, and in fact, intensified. At the same time, there is an awakening of the rakyat. The mantle of fear and oppression is being cast off. And we now have hope for the future.

I just wanted to thank you for fighting for our country, for speaking up when few would do so, for being a staunch opposition-er for decades. How much easier would it have been to fold in with the ruling party, to accept the accolades and bodek-ing and titles and easy money. I thank God for people like you who are willing to stand up to make a difference. And now you’ve paved the way for many, many people, young and old, to do the same.

I will be at the Bersih rally in Boston on Saturday. Those of us outside Malaysia have it easy. We just have to show up and sembang with fellow Malaysians. I pray for those of you in Malaysia, for God’s protection over all of you. I’m praying for our country, and for the new generation of leaders that God will rise up. God bless you.

  1. #1 by ShiokGuy on Thursday, 26 April 2012 - 3:22 pm

    Dear YB Lim KS

    If I have the power to impose or propose, I will make you the Father of Democracy of Malaysia.

    Anyone want to object? Fight on my dear friend for the future of Malaysian in the future.


  2. #2 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 26 April 2012 - 4:23 pm

    See what a liberal education can do? In 1Malaysia you can’t or are prevented to think like that. You must be docile, subservient, just be good parrots. ”Father” of this or that knows best. They have very big heads.

  3. #3 by Winston on Thursday, 26 April 2012 - 4:48 pm

    In fact, they are the father of corruption, cheating, duplicity, fornication etc.

  4. #4 by monsterball on Thursday, 26 April 2012 - 6:21 pm

    If this Malaysian says he is against the rally….you can be sure Najib will read and make sure papers will publish …all headline news.
    As it turns out…this is no good news for Najib to read….he will ignore….simple a that.

  5. #5 by jus legitimum on Thursday, 26 April 2012 - 7:12 pm

    This country will definitely become an ideal place to live if it is ruled by Lim Kit Siang and politicians like him.Our generation of 60 and above now just lament that we have been deprived of many things by the corrupted and self serving regime for the past 54 years.We hope our children and our future generations will have better quality life under the leadership of Pakatan Rakyat.

  6. #6 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Thursday, 26 April 2012 - 10:04 pm

    Oh dear how shall i put it. In a nice way. I suppose frankness is the way to go. So look here. You are not good enough for umno. Do you know anything about the world’s best economic policies invented by cintanegara – prinsip2 economi pokok rambutan? You are simply not up to umno expectations. So you may be ong something in truth you are only another hamba de bully. In short, umno does not need you. So pls stay on in some other lesser countries like say usa or uk. Malaysia is only for umnoputras, those supreme beings of the universe.

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