Saturday, May 28, 2011

Why I Stayed - A Profundity

Here is why I stayed — John Rahman

May 28, 2011

MAY 28 — I shall start with a story of hope.

Two, actually.

I had an ex-colleague who runs a car wash business in one of the most ulu places in Peninsular Malaysia. It’s a simple business, so simple that his wife just sits under a tree all day long collecting money and supervising some school kids they employ to do the dirty work. He keeps his day job while earning a cool RM7,000 side income every month.

In my skyscraper of an office now, an old makcik pushes around a shopping cart (probably nicked while the guards at the nearby hypermarket weren’t looking!) filled to the brim with knick-knacks, kacang, muruku and stuff. She comes by once a week and without fail, my colleagues and I will stock up on junk food to munch on while working. Based on sales on our floor alone — okay, maybe we are gluttons! — but we estimate she profits around RM50 per floor, and with well over 50 floors in the building, she must earn at least RM2,000 a week (tax free!).

We can complain about spiralling cost of living, but these are ordinary people taking full advantage of the abundance of opportunities in Malaysia to earn a living. This is the land of opportunity. If an illegal immigrant can come here and earn a living, justly or not, there is no reason why a person like me, born and bred in this environment, with ample knowledge of how things work — for better or for worse — cannot make it big.

I shall say this, whether or not people choose to leave the country is entirely up to them. Everybody has their own dreams and ambitions, and if migrating overseas takes you closer to those dreams, so be it. But do not give excuses to justify you leaving. You don’t need an excuse, certainly not a bad one, to pursue your life-long goals.

You do not need to blame the crummy education system — it is crummy, but it is an education system we all grew up with and I would like to think that a lot of us turned out fine.

You can’t blame racism or glass ceilings because everyone honest enough to admit will tell you that glass ceilings exist EVERYWHERE. The current debate over the “tradition” of Europeans as the de facto head of the IMF should tell you more than you need to know about glass ceilings.

All those crummy reasons don’t hold up because while Malaysians are busy flocking to Singapore, Singaporeans are busy flocking elsewhere too. That is where the whole argument falls apart. Do we see some green pasture across the straits that the Singaporeans don’t see? And do the Indonesians see something green about KL that we don’t?

My friends, this is the age of globalisation. Borders between countries are blurring. This is not like the time where miners came to Malaya from China with the sole purpose of better economic prospects. Today, there are Malaysians working in Sudan, Dutchmen working in Nigeria, Americans working in Siberia. Do you think these people are where they are because of some misguided notion that these places are better than their homeland? No, people work where they work and people build a home where they do because this is where life takes them.

When addressing his own country’s emigrant issue, Rajiv Ghandi once said: “A brain drain is better than a brain in the drain.” That we, as Malaysians, are deemed capable enough to be able to work anywhere in the world is a clear indication of our talents. And whether the people migrating will choose to admit it or not, these are talents nourished by the foundations we built for ourselves while growing up on the streets of KL, Ipoh and JB.

I can go on and on about how I want to change this country, how I want to make a difference. That is all true, but that is also secondary. People can claim that they are leaving because of better prospects, a more comfortable life. That is probably true as well, but still a secondary issue.Read more.

(Drove from KK to Sandakan yesterday and Sandakan to Lahad Datu today.My last trip on these roads was 3 years ago and I cursed every mile of the way how we had been had.Today, the road conditions have degenerated so badly your car could be your very coffin.Maybe, the PM,CM and all the ministers should board 1BUS and see how wonderful their trip would be on Sabah's hellish roads, just waiting to maim or kill you.

Not only the Federal Minister of Health should resign, the Minister of Works should also resign.Sabah, by rights should have dual-carriageways linking East and West and North and South.

On my way to Tabin Wildlife Reserve.Will have lots of photos, probably too busy, no politics, no posting, just enjoy God's gifts to mankind, nature and tranquility of the jungle - Hantu Laut)


ajimsan said...

I drove to KK to Sandakan 10 years ago. Is is still that bad?

zaidi said...

Dear Hantu
Globalized workforce is the right explanation. This has nothing to do with loyalty or brain drain. What is the use of a surgeon without a operating theatre. No use of bringing back Malaysian, just bring in the talent. Prove that he can create opportunities here. As long as he pay the tax, create jobs for the local and increase the overall competitiveness and intelligence we should welcome them

SM said...

Bro HL,

On some point si agree with John & on some points I disagree.
But one main point that John makes at the end of his article is that "we stay because we want to or we leave because we want to". Very true.
However, sometimes people just don't have the "heart" to stay so they move. Some of us (like me) are eternal opitimists (despite the occassional bouts of "giveupness") & that's why despite all the reasons to go, we still stay.
Dunno, for every John Rahman that stays, there's probably 4 or 5 who disagree & move away.

eddy said...

Bro, I share John Rahman's sentiment, I have always been telling people who care to listen that:

1. People stay because they want to.
2. People leave because they want to.
3. Those who left need not blame the system in Malaysia.
3. Movement of people/labour round the world is part of a never ending trans-migration process that will never end as long as there is man.


SM said...

bro HL,

Maybe you should publish this one written by this Malaysian girl too...

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