Me: So, we don’t have Independence Day starting this year, only Malaysia Day.
Friend 1: Yeah. What’s up with that? First time celebrating Malaysia Day.
Me: Well, it has been around for ages. We have holidays in Sabah and Sarawak during Malaysia Day.
Friend 1: Really? I thought it just started.
Friend 2: What’s Malaysia Day anyway? I thought Independence Day is more important?
Me: It’s when Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Singapore joined Malaysia.
Friend 2: Brunei joined Malaysia? WHEN?
Growing up, I feel so proud living in Malaysia. “Malaysia Truly Asiaaaaa…” the radio played. Gorgeous views, beautiful people, SALE, harmonious land where its people of different races, cultures and religion live side by side with each other; the TV showed me.
Comparing this to the outside world where everyone hates each other’s guts made me realize how amazing Malaysia is. The text books said so too and well, I see that in school too where kids regardless of race or the colour of their skin, played with each other.
And then I grew up.
I saw so many god awful things about Malaysia. So many racism happening, so many conflicts with the politics, how the government brainwashed us to thinking that we are perfect, we are ONE. But in reality, we could see who’s given the most priority; don’t talk about which race gets most of the cake, because that’s bull. Instead, focus on who’s richer and more influential, and then, ladies and gentlemen, we are going somewhere.
When I got my scholarship to go to a private school here in KL, I was exposed to more shit about Malaysia which made me angrier and disappointed in my country and its people. We have one of the worst human rights issue in Asia, we don’t recognize refugees and treated them badly, MORE RACISM, we have 1st class infrastructure but 3rd class mentality… the list goes on.
But don’t let me kill whatever love or hope you have towards Malaysia just yet, because despite all these flaws that we face, we came to realize that no country, even its people are perfect.
I came to realize that Malaysia, despite all the drama, is alright. I talked to a lot of my international friends about why they moved to Malaysia and they just made me feel grateful that I am from here.
“You have better and faster Internet here. We on the other hand have a quota for the Internet that we use. If we reach that quota, our Internet will be cut off or it’ll be slower than before.” – Maldives
“It’s much more cheaper here and because of less competition and pressure, everyone can succeed equally.” – South Korea
“I feel like home here. People of different ethnicity living side by side from each other. It’s fantastic, I love it.” – Canada
“You’re peaceful and you should be proud to have a proper government and set of laws. I wish my country has that. I miss home and I wish I can go back, but I can’t, it’s too crazy there. This is my home now.” – Sudan
“You have great international universities and colleges here and Malaysia is one of the cheapest countries for school, that’s why I came.” – Tanzania
“I miss home terribly, but I can’t go back. I don’t like it here. People treat us badly and it’s nothing like home. I miss my family and my friends back home, but this is all I have.” – Refugee, Somalia
These are real conversations that I have with real people over the course of 1.5 years of my stay here in Peninsular Malaysia. You don’t meet a lot of international people in Sabah, not that there aren’t any. Most of them are tourist and they only know touristy things. But being in an international school here, I tend to meet a lot of international people who actually live here and understand the life; that’s valuable thought right there.
So you see, Malaysia is not THAT bad after all. We can praise other countries for their development and crazy ass technology and kick ass government service, but at the end of the day, home is where the heart is. You can’t reject something that you were born into just because it’s not 100% perfect. Remember, we’re not the only fucked up country in the world, so quit whining.
I HATE Malaysians who go around talking about Malaysia and praising other countries. Seriously. If you’re not happy with Malaysia, migrate, change your nationality, live there, rot there and die there, and then you realize how it’s not all perfect there too. It’s the whole ‘grass is greener on the other side’ mentality. What you see is not always true.
I love Malaysia. It’s not perfect, yes, I have to agree, but it’s home and that’s the only place where you’re treated warmly and with open hands. If you’re in other people’s country, who knows what kind of treatment you’d get because well, you’re not one of their own.
Having said that, it doesn’t mean that we can just shut up and go about life as if nothing is wrong with our home. There are a lot of wrongs here and we NEED to fix it. Which is why there is a lot of talk about making a change to our country for the better.
And you know what worried the shit out of me after the Bersih rally? My Persian friend’s frantic message to me all the way from Iran.
Friend: “Jasmine, are you okay? I heard that Malaysia had a demonstration? Was anybody hurt?”
Me: “Oh, yeah, but it was a peaceful one. One died from it though. What’s funny was that the government called is as extreme and dangerous.”
Friend: “One died? Oh dear. Well, that is always how it is. It started out as a peaceful rally here in Iran as well, but our government said that it was dangerous and started sending out police troops to curb the problem. After several peaceful demonstrations, it got really violent and people were dying.”
I’m scared for Malaysia now.
I’m seeing a pattern.
The last election in Iran was a famous one because everyone in Iran urged the public (especially the younger generation) to vote and everyone did, but the result was not what everyone anticipated for. What if all this urging to vote right now (here in Malaysia); to vote against a party, but in the end, that party won? What will happen next?
We’ll never know. But what we know now is that we must do something to change the future of our nation.
EVERY MALAYSIANSHOULD WATCH THIS.
The future of Malaysia is uncertain. But what we are certain of is that, if we don’t do anything about it, we will regret not doing so in the future. It’s much more better to say, “We’ve done this and this” than say, “What if we did this and this“.
Don’t let our fellow Malaysians efforts go down the drain, support them, support Malaysia.
HAPPY MALAYSIA DAY EVERYBODY!
Or HAPPY NATIONAL DAY! (whichever fancies you!)