Why or why would you not return to Malaysia?
Certain gripes/praises surfaced over and over again in comments, and I have categorized them here. Note too how individual preferences and viewpoints differ: for example, one person may view the current job market as unpromising and offering poor compensation, while another sees it as a opportunity to create new markets.
“I have high, and perhaps quite idealistic, hopes for my country, and I believe that the only way I will be able to create any change about my country is by physically being there.”
“I still do want to go back to Malaysia at some point in time after being abroad for while so I can help develop the film/music industries and support the much under-supported arts.”
“Although I do agree with many complaints that are common with malaysian students, I strongly believe that things will only change if we return to the country and change it ourselves. So long as immigration out of the country continues, these opinions will not be heard.”
“Malaysia is my place, “tanah tumpah darahku”…Even though things back home looks bad, political and financial situation is shameful and embarassing however I foresee a future in this country…I want to go home and serve the people of Malaysia.I see Malaysia as a country that has great potential however we are not utilize/using them to the full capacity.”
“Let’s face it, every country has its good side and bad side. America has its fair share of problems too. I think instead of complaining about how bad things are in Malaysia, we should acknowledge and give due credits for what’s good, and make contributions to improve what’s bad. I think it will make a great deal of difference if oversea Malaysians can have some faith in our own country and come back to make that difference.”
“I plan to migrate in order to obtain better opportunities and experiences from an academic and a career perspective. However, I do have a desire to come back to Malaysia. Possibly after my 40s.”
“I have already put in my application for Permanent Residency in Australia, just waiting for the results which would take about two years given the recent change in rules by the Australian government. The main purpose for staying here is because of my career. I am a registered psychologist. The opportunity for me to advance in my career in Malaysia is very difficult. However, I do have the desire to return home to put my services to good use and also raise awareness on mental health once I have established credibility for myself. Although I really dislike what’s been done to our country, I believe that that should make no difference in benefiting my fellow Malaysians.”
“I am currently working in the US, as a physician. With the horror stories I have heard about the lack of opportunities for those who are not Muslims and the outright discrimination (unfortunately sad but true), I have a very low desire to come back home to work (although I would very much like to, since all of my family resides in Malaysia and although I would like to contribute and serve my fellow Malaysians). All I want is for my efforts to be paid off justly and for me, to be given a fair opportunity. A place where I am given my fair chance of being the best doctor I can be.”
“I’m inclined to migrate due to job opportunity prospects. I’m interested in a more ‘blue-skies thinking’ field of research, for which there is little or no funding for in Malaysia, and consequently no research groups back home. I would probably have to do something else altogether if I came back to Malaysia.”
“I’m doing Journalism, and it’s just a much safer and open environment in Australia to practise this profession. Malaysian politics sicken me and unfortunately I do not have the stomach to persevere through such hypocrisy, nor the noble spirit to risk persecution for telling the public what they deserve to know. To say the grass is greener in Australia would be naive, but at least journalists here don’t have the ISA, OSA, PPPA, Sedition Act and other outdated, draconian laws hanging over their heads.”
“The honest, brutal truth is that Malaysia is no place to build a career. Racism (even though officially discouraged), racial inequality, inept government, ludicrous government policies, lackadaisical attitude of most Malays towards work and improvement (and who can blame them, when everything is handed to them on a platter?) make for a dismal working environment.”
“It depends on the job opportunities by the time I graduate and am ready to work, 2017. Would love to be home but if I don’t get work that satisfies my needs, then sorry lah. As it looks now, the wildlife vet scene is not particularly great. Work in conservation would also be great, if there’s anything left to conserve by then.”
Malaysia is Home
Recurring theme: food.
“It’s where I feel most comfortable and it’s a place where I can relate to the most.”
“I love Malaysia . Nothing can replace the food , the pollution , the smells , the political drama and the people (however unmannered they may seem compared to westerners cos that’s who I am too !) . The Malaysian pace [is chill], it’s a very easily contented middle class lifestyle I suppose .”
“I am Malaysian. Almost all of my family is back home in Malaysia. My ancestral home is in Malaysia. I’ve been brought up in Malaysia as a Malaysian. I’ve been invested in by many Malaysian people and organizations. I want to see improvements in our country. I think Malaysia as a nation has great potential and can be wonderful place. Malaysia also has very nice food.”
“There are some nice things about living abroad but then you’ll keep miss little things in life like nasi lemak and teh tarik. Above all I love the chaos that is KL; the disorder, the unpredictability and the rawness of the people – Australia doesn’t offer much in terms of excitement for a young executive like myself. I can’t call any other city other than KL as my home.”
1. My immediate and extended families are in Malaysia. However, there’s a chance my parents might migrate after they retire so I’ll likely consider where they’re moving to.
2. My friends. Some are all over the world, but most are in/going back to Malaysia. It’s not easy to click with foreign friends at all, due to the cultural differences.
3. Deep down every Malaysian, there’s a desire to change the country for the better.
4. I’m still missing the food, the mamaks, the fact that you can go out at 7pm and still find shops open, and the big malls.”
“This is wayyyy too cheesy, but its true. home is where the heart is. On a non cheesy factor – its hard to get a graduate job in UK as its very competitive, the money i may make may not be able to cover all my expenses of moving and starting a new life, plus, i really just cant be bothered to start new and make friends all over again.”
“Yes.Probably my current torso and mind have so far reached a homeostasis with the Malaysian environment and ways of living.Old habits die hard.Your hometown or negaraku is still the most powerful force calling you be rooted here, despite of the adverse govt policy.”
“Migrating no. Working abroad for a couple of years, yes. I’m afraid I do fall under the “I want to gain experience before returning” category. However, that shall not be the case, since it tends to be problematic for sponsored students to actually have the choice to be called back in the first place. The local Malaysian institutions outside of JPA/ Mara- under which I apply to (non JPA/ MARA) have always been quite strict with the fact that they want their scholars back, which makes getting around the system quite a tough one, albeit the minority some who quite blatantly choose to ignore these calls. I think migrating scholars are very and extremely irresponsible. I think migrating non-scholars just want a return for their big investments, though not entirely responsible, but somewhat justified.”
“I’m a JPA scholar, and they require me to report back to Malaysia to work, not necessarily for them, but within the country. However, once I have served my bond, I may consider working overseas if I were given the opportunity, but it is unlikely that I would completely uproot and migrate to another country.”
“As long as the government is making it COMPULSORY for us to work in hospitals for 3 years – NO. I do not see why overseas grads are forced to work wherever the gov places you, and when our education was funded by our own parents anyway. The government’s attitudes towards non-Malays is abominable and unfair – and the worst part is they fail to recognise the obvious, denied its existence AND declined to even look into the problem. If they don’t act quick, there will be an exponential increase in brain drain.”
“The overseas-educated young people like me has a moral responsibility to go back to Malaysia to build up our own country. If educated people like me choose to take the easier path and migrate, Malaysia will only become worse, devoid of talent from people it helped developed. I feel I have a role to play to bring Malaysia to where it should be rightfully, as a developed nation.”
“I will see if Malaysia needs drastic saving.”
“I love my country. Being in a developed nation stifles me. I feel I have a lot more to offer back in Malaysia as it is still in a ‘developing’ stage.”
“From an emotional point of view, I don’t feel like I fit in Malaysia: As a Chinese, I will never be fully accepted by the majority. As a Chinese who does not speak Chinese, I am also not accepted by my own community. Apart from that, life at home for me is a little too comfortable (summer vacation attitude) and I do feel I strive harder when I’m overseas.
“I was never given credit or appreciation for my efforts (academic or otherwise) here, and was deprived of opportunities for further studies under numerous Government provided scholarships. I do not expect things to be different in the working world and so I choose to be in an environment where meritocracy, not quota systems drawn across racial lines, are practiced.”
“I believe that fairness is game and being a malaysian that scored 9A’s for SPM with no offers of scholarship from the government when I applied makes me feel that I should not allow my future generations to go through the quota system that I had experienced and sadly, failed to admire. Sadly, although I love Malaysia with all my heart, the grass seems to be greener outside. I’m under financial assistance by [a US university] and funded research right now. None of it ever made possible by the country I love. For me, its not just about the financial aid, its about equality in mankind and that makes all the difference.”
Quality of Life
“I’d definitely like to return to Malaysia. However, as Khairy Jamaluddin pointed out a few days ago, return-ees (for lack of a better word) face “structural problems” when we’re back. We’re over-qualified, too smart, etc. and there are many limitations imposed, especially in academic institutions. In essence, the “desire” and “plans” to return may or may not be realised.”
“[Reasons I would migrate are] Political problems. Too much crimes. Syariah Law. Mentality. Inter-cultural marriages are hard. Discrimination. Lack of freedom of speech and expression. Low pay.”
“I have not been in Malaysia for 9 years now. It is a place that I grew up in and have instilled all the values in me. However, it is not a place that I call home anymore. The reason for my migration is that I now feel most comfortable in Aus where I have spent my last 2 years at. It has taught me how to appreciate life and I do admire the lifestyle that this country offers- fresh food, safe environment, good public transportation.”
“Education system in Malaysia is a huge fail – our reading, writing and comprehension skills are below what they were 20 years ago. Too much racial and religious polarization and segregation.What police? We have police?”
“Foreign spouse, need money to support family, a more conducive environment for personal growth, highly specialized work.”
“I only love the food. I have incredible wanderlust though, and I was brought up traveling so that might not help. I only plan to visit Malaysia, for the food.”
“The standard of living is low, and idiot ministers perpetually insist otherwise and choose to compare us with less developed countries. Countries that were once on par with us in terms of development twenty years ago are now far ahead of us in every aspect. Even the pride of the nation – badminton – is no longer where it once was. The country is not doing anything to build patriotism – the people who are skilled to make a difference are leaving for a better life elsewhere and are gaining much success and wealth overseas. The government continues to be arrogant in threatening to blacklist Malaysians who give up their citizenship but this has worked against them – we’ve called their bluff. The only thing Malaysia has going for it is the food, which I continue to miss. However, with sundry shops going on strike, where the hell are the mamaks going to get their flour?”
“Having lived in Scotland for a year, and being exposed to the ways of living in an advanced country, gives me the opportunity to choose to work there in the future if I ever will leave my country. It could be due to career opportunities, better quality of life, and fairer system of meritocracy.”
“Not that I don’t love Malaysia, I just see the world as one big country. Different parts of this big country may not be where I come from but I would still like to discover new cultures, experience new weathers, to try different ways of living…even if only for awhile.”
“The primary reason is in Malaysia, I can be prosecuted for my sexuality. I have come to like the way of life where I am at. To return to Malaysia might mean rebuilding my life again. I feel that I may be more bounded to my parents if I were to move back to Malaysia.”