Just chatted with a friend a few minutes ago, and with great despair I made a mental note right after finishing the chat which says, "I think I've lost P."
P is my friend, Pooh.
He's a Javanese/Malay chap who will be migrating to UK in a week. Like me he's an X-Genner, but unlike me he went to a high-profile boarding school, sponsored by the government to get higher education, went to work in a local MNC, married a girl who 'doesn't fancy Malaysian food'...
I asked him, "Will you be one of those folks who goes, 'All that is Malaysian is bad, and it is so much better in UK?'"
He replied, "Are there many people like that?"
I said, "Quite a number, yes, those 'More Mat Salleh than Mat Sallehs'."
"But if there are so many of those people than don't you think it's true?"
I inwardly gasped. Sorry. That's me, the Malaysian me. The one who will love my country no matter what bad things goes on on its soil, tis still my mother earth.
He continued, "I'm Muslim, I'm not a Mat Salleh."
"Are you saying, you're a proud Muslim but a not-so-proud Malaysian then? Or worse, a not-so-proud Malay?"
He said I sounded racists, and he's a proud Muslim, he loves every other Muslim regardless if they're Chinese, Indian or Mat Salleh.
Oh what a heartbreak? That wasn't my intention at all (to be/sound racists). Told him that if my 'Malay comment' is me trying to preach to him that I should be proud of Ketuanan Melayu and about being superior than other races, sorry, that's not where I was heading. (In fact if that's what you're implying, then you're more racist than I am, if I am at all.)
I was more heading towards being able (as a Malay) to appreciate that somewhere inside my genetic makeup I have talent to do joget (though I can't right now, not that my macarena is so hot either), and knowing that my love for petai and tapai are inherited from my gran's grans.
It's about being proud, associated, connected to my genes and heritage. Forget all that Perlembagaan stuff. I'm not qualified to talk about it. I never read it. And there wasn't a film made to chronicle it. I wish there was one.
But I've watch Yasmin Ahmad movies. I remember her going, "I want the Malays to be Malays, the Chinese to be Chinese, the Indians to be Indians, the Ibans being Ibans..."
I knew exactly what she meant. I identified exactly what her vision was. She just wanted all of us to be happy with the way each one of us are. There's no need to be serving mooncakes during Raya Haji just to demonstrate your 1Malaysia spirit. I bet Yasmin would give me a hi-five if only she could hear me saying this right now.
Back to P.
I wished him well anyway. Told him he'll enjoy making UK his new home. Having 12 children there. Sending Salam Perantau photo to Harian Metro to let his parents and their friends see what his offsprings look like having fun playing with the snow man.
I'm still shaking my head right now. I can't believe he succumbed to being predictible. Wonder if it is a set thing for the boarding school boys and babes to go "When I was in UK... " and "My dream house is a piece of property in Notting Hill..."
Tis already an accepted thing to have them go, "I want to be married by the time I'm 26, have 1.5 children by the time I'm 30 and own a UK property by the time I'm 33, get Datukship by the time I'm 35..." It's like they all leave their respective hostels with the same Gantt chart to put up on the wall.
I remember one 'Who wants to be a millionaire' contestant who answered Jalaluddin Hassan's question to what she'll do if she wins a million ringgit... and she goes, "Well, a million ringgit is not enough for me to buy a house in UK to settle in.." and sounding as if that question just managed to pull her mood down. Like "Boo hoo..."
I get a feeling more and more educated Malays who are of my age do not have faith in Malaysia anymore. They have no sense of belonging to their home country, no sense of pride of their origin, no feeling of I-O-U to the government (though flawed) that gave them the scholarship that eventually led them to the UK/US/AU whatever other country that they feel so strongly about simply by having stayed there for a coupla years.
I've met some people and have friends who did go overseas to study - not even on gov grant, note that - and they have more love for their home country. Sure they do appreciate Subway sandwiches, Starbucks coffee and the public transportation model in Washington or Tokyo more, but they think our own Putra LRT and health ministry are quite cool though the education system could do with a full-blown reshuffle. Thank God for these fellas. I see them as folks who love their country but hey, they're (and I am) not blind either.
I wonder if this is worth feeling sad about? For a milisecond, yes, I guess. Malaysia could use more folks with skills, brains, experience who could contribute towards making this country better. This country is not perfect, I doubt it will ever be, but I still love it!
I guess to those folks who are like P, who think other countries (Singapore/UK/US/Australia /whatever) are so much better than Malaysia (which I'm sure by certain standards and measures they are, and there's nothing wrong about admitting that they are either) by all means, follow your American dreams. I'm sure those countries will welcome you with open arms.
Leave my Malaysia to me.
I ranted this much to my friend who quipped, "If those folks love it there so much, migrate lah. Less traffic jam for us!"
But hey, Good Luck P! Selamat Hari Raya Aidiladha and Maaf Zahir Batin!