Recently, two of my acquaintances launched WatUFighting4Lah?, a site that provides a platform for Malaysians who still haven’t given up faith on our home country to tell the world what’s worth fighting for as a Malaysian. It’s accumulated more than 200 entries since it was first launched last week and having read through most of the contributions, I am utterly moved by the fact that many of us still keep our home close to our heart. Of course, I had to write something – and was lucky enough to be featured on a news article that reviewed this blog.
This is what I wrote:
“For the day we no longer think that the grass is greener on the other side of the world; been there, done that and it really isn’t that impressive.”
I wrote this with a passion because it is something I feel strongly about. All my life, I’ve heard people complaining about how they can’t wait to get out of the country and head to the furthest end of the rainbow to search for buckets full of wealth before they return, and some denied the possibility of ever returning. I wouldn’t deny the opportunity to work for a couple of years abroad just to get the so-called experience and exposure, but not every returning? That’s a little too extreme. I could never comprehend the logic behind their reasoning simply because Malaysian food is way too awesome to give up (shallow I know, but I’ll get to the point soon enough), so when I studied abroad for the first time I thought it would be a great opportunity to put the idiom ‘grass is always greener on the other side’ to test. After being in the Midwest for two solid years, I actually thought Malaysia was way more awesome in many ways. Food and climate aside, it’s the people who I’m fighting for. Even though technically I have a love and hate relationship with them but hey, when there’s love there’s always hate.
In the US, things are often too good to be true it almost felt like I’m living in an alternate world. I had all the freedom in the world, go to places I desire without anybody’s approval and pick up skills and experiences that would have been otherwise much harder to attain if I were home ie. sledding during Winter, canoeing in the middle of a natural lake, picking strawberries and apples, drinking beer by the lake, etc…but could all that still be true if I’d left school? I’m still a college kid with little to none interaction with what the real Americans essentially represents – sure, most of the people I’ve met are great and friendly, but I doubt they have emotional capabilities of which on par with mine – a true Malaysian. They like to embrace culture, but to them, culture is a study, not an experience and the last thing they would do is be less American so they can be accepted into another form of culture, there are of course exceptions but rarely. Fact is, we are just different and we will always be an outsider no matter how much we try to fit in.
The question is though, why we Malaysians willingly toss our identity around in exchange for approvals? For Malaysians, culture is the way of life and I don’t think we should give any of that up.
Malaysians are generally very passionate about everything they do – regardless of creed and culture. They argue with a passion, they eat with a passion, they speak Manglish with a passion, they make a living with a passion, more recently – they struggle for democracy with a passion. There’s a lot at stake and some of our political situation and scandals may well be the laughing stock for many but we are certainly not the only country with such issues, (many others have had it worse) why do some of us feel the need to put our country down by comparing it countries that have existed for more than 200 years? It’s not fair at all, no?
It’s upsetting that many of us have struggled to put our differences aside and fight for a common goal – making Malaysia a better and safer place for everyone to live in. Some, if not many have decided to take on the easier way out and fled to a distant land only to realize being an alien sucks just as much but they are too ashamed to admit it. The issues of brain drain has been around for far too long and has become such dry tabletop conversation but it’s never too late to make amends. Let’s compile our greatest resources by giving back, one way or another, and focus on the right things. I know, it’s a terribly long shot but the desire to build a better nation should stem from each individual for every little effort counts.
Don’t think ‘someone else can do it’, but ‘I should do it’ instead.
Our differences is what made us such a unique entity, it can be painfully frustrating sometimes but instead of fostering animosity we should be grateful that we have the best of so many worlds. Believe me, we are the melting pot of excellence so don’t let it go to waste.