Dilemmas Of A Young Malaysian Abroad

After three years studying abroad, ideals fade, hope dwindles and one is faced with the omnipotent question: to return home or not to return home?

You say you want a revolution? | Source: glogster.com

You say you want a revolution? | Source: glogster.com

When I first stepped off the plane in Heathrow Airport three years ago, I was your average idealistic-19 year old who thought she knew everything, and who thought she had it all planned out.

I was going to come to the UK, finish up my law degree and go home to Malaysia and single-handedly change the system. Everyone else who had trodden this path before me and failed just hadn’t tried hard enough. Everyone who went abroad and never came back were cowards who didn’t love their country.

Now, three years on, as I face my imminent graduation and the prospects of returning home for good, I find myself questioning the very beliefs I once held so dear.

It’s hard to leave the fact that I can walk a mile to class everyday and not fear for the safety of my handbag (or my lungs). It’s hard to leave the fact that I can discuss religion and race openly without getting accused of being an “infidel” or “ungrateful.”  It’s hard to leave the way I am allowed to think and question and  express and explore for myself, and where my views are respected. It’s hard to leave when here youths are given a voice and never patronised, and nobody says “because I said so.”

It’s hard to leave the fact that I can walk down the street wearing anything I want and nobody will give me odd looks or whisper behind my back, or even force me to “cover up.” It’s hard to leave the fact that throughout my three years here I managed to immerse myself in student activism and politics and went on protests and demos and nobody bat an eyelid. It’s hard to leave the fact that whilst yes, racism does exist everywhere, at least here it is not institutionalised and ingrained and incited by the system.

And as I sit in my little student room in Nottingham and read about the latest Federal Court hearing or by-election outcome, or the latest racial slur by a politician, or the latest “religious” festival that has been banned, I think to myself: Why should I go back? What’s in it for me back home? Why should I go home and try to fight for something that is obviously only going downhill? What role is there for a young law graduate whose interests lie in Human Rights and International Law — human rights, international law, Malaysia, are you kidding me?

And even if I did eventually go back, I realise it is surprisingly easy to not care and to get sucked into your own little material world with your own little problems. I came home for the summer with the full intention of getting into the thick of things and ended up spending most of my time drinking overpriced coffee in Bangsar, listening to my friends talk about internships in large law firms and financial powerhouses. Maybe I could get used to this life after all — it’s nice and cushy and there are yummy cocktails involved. What happened the last time I went for a demonstration of any kind in Malaysia? Oh policemen with riot shields chased me and the FRU trucks blocked my way home. I think I’ll take the cocktails, thanks.

In short, I had become the person I despised, without even realising it.

My wakeup call came in the form of the Aljazeera Youtube channel on 10 February. Watching Mubarak’s speech, and watching the energy in Tahrir Square, something in me snapped and I realised that maybe we could do it too.  Sure, we had a few teething problems to address — like perhaps having a single united movement with the same aim in mind, but yeah, teething problems — but it wasn’t impossible. It could be in a few months, or a few years, or even a few decades, but there was hope at the end of the tunnel, and maybe at that time it’ll be our turn to scream and cheer in our very own Liberation Square as we finally realise that the country does, indeed, belong to the people.  And I realised, it will kill me if I wasn’t a part of that.

There is a line from Yasmin Ahmad’s Gubra that I’ll always remember: “Sometimes, it’s like loving someone who doesn’t love you back,” Orked says of Malaysia. And it’s true, sometimes it feels like we’re all alone, fighting and struggling for something that doesn’t even want to be fought for. Most of the time, there are a lot of easier options, like for me to just stay on in the UK and be perfectly content here. But I guess it’s like a long distance relationship, where you need to keep putting in the effort, and you need to keep trying, and at the end of the day you need to go back to the person you love.

We have a long, long road ahead of us. There won’t be any change (much less a full-fledged revolution) in Malaysia until we get our act together, until the people can come together and decide what it is that they want. We need to wipe out apathy amongst the youths, and educate and entire country about their rights and their choices. But amidst the darkness some people have lit their candles and they shine brighter than ever — the recent solidarity movement amongst students, the outpouring of protests against the PPPA and the building of the mega-tower, the fight of the indigenous people.

What these tell us is that we need to be patient and keep fighting the good fight and don’t ever give up.

What it tells me is that I need to regain my passion and hope and idealism, and get my ass back home (and overpriced cocktails in moderation).

Alea is a final year law student in the University of Nottingham, and is in denial that she is, well, becoming a lawyer. She thrives on sunshine and good food, and thinks that the world would be a better place if we all lived life according to a Beatles song.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posts by Alea Nasihin

Alea Nasihin is a recent law graduate just about to step out into the big, bad corporate world. She loves people, and gets through life with the help of a lot of sunshine, good reads, teh-o ais limau and interesting conversations.

Posted on 23 February 2011. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

Read more articles posted by Alea Nasihin.

Read this first: LB Terms of Use

44 Responses to Dilemmas Of A Young Malaysian Abroad

  1. There is an old Chinese saying, 'Where my heart is at ease, this is home.' It's something worth pondering about before you decide where exactly you want to be.

  2. shaun

    Dear Alea, I sincerely applaud your optimism and faith in believing that change is possible in Malaysia. I am not unlike many Malaysians who went abroad to further my studies and today I am a junior doctor in the UK.

    You see, like many other people I used to think that I missed Malaysia and home whenever I am abroad but ever since I started working and my family visits me here due to the nature of the job I realise that what I actually miss is my family and not the country itself and if my family were elsewhere I would not feel inclined to return to Malaysia except for holidays (and food, which is undeniably good :) )

    Like you correctly said, racism is everywhere even here (BNP, EDL and the like) but most people shun it. In Malaysia, sadly the majority race and the government promotes it. Egypt is different because the people came together as one to protest against an unjust tyrant. In Malaysia, the majority race benefits (or at least they think so) from the government's policies. Once a person has used crutches all their lives, it is unlikely they would willingly give it up even if they know it it keeps them handicapped.

    Its admirable how hopeful and optimistic you are but I'm sure you have plenty of examples of how people our age are faring both back home and abroad. Think and reconsider carefully is all I can say.

  3. MT

    Calling on all Malaysians or ex-Malaysians working/living abroad who have decided to call it home instead of Malaysia home; please check out Project Exodus at http://www.mudframes.com/projects/exodus.

    Am looking for suitable candidates to be photographed and have em exhibited as part of an artistics expression of "people power" and a form of "visual demonstration" if you may. It's a project on an unprecedented scale.

    We can complain all we want. But you'll be surprised how Msians shy away from even coming forward to "make a statement". Imagine the impact of such an exhibition touring the country…etc.

    To those who have left, you may feel powerless to effect change. But unknown to you, your very actions, by voting with your feet can greatly influence change in Malaysia.

    To those who have participated, congrats on making a stand!

  4. MHP

    Hi Alea,

    I agree with boru.

    Go home and fight for change

  5. Clarice

    Hey Alea,

    Just read your article; it's good to know that people are still giving thought whether to return home or not. I'm in Australia and doing my final year in law as well, and may be staying on for a bit before going back to Malaysia to practise.

    Try working for a firm/lawyer/politician who inspires you. Don't write off politicians as a lost cause, work with them to bring the change we all desire to see.

    Godspeed to you.

  6. Joel

    Well said, Alea. You’re not alone in this dilemma (Am due to come home, been away 4+yrs). However, just to point out that the UK is not perfect either. No country can be said to be perfect. I see many flaws in UK’s society, from healthcare, to social expectations, to the gradual decline of morality. Personally, if I had to put effort in to start a change in a society, I’d rather my efforts count in my home country. I just hope that when I do, I won’t be the only one standing.

  7. Coming Home…Prof Nawi, pls be precise and concise. Sasha, couldnt have said it better.

    We are powerless against the politics of the country. They've played us out with their 'divide and rule' and now a handful maybe different but that isnt enough. Change the constitution.All my Malay friends should fight for the constitution to be changed. Then i can say that Malaysia loves me back. Then i'll be on the next plane back.

    Until then, its not for the minority to fight for minority rights, its not the 50s anymore. You know it but you choose to ignore it.

    Kishan

  8. nikrahimah

    please come home all of you who got sponsored we need you to change malaysia you may be a small group bot we need to start small then only we can grow big it is now or never i am just one of the parents luckily my son came home and has started onthe small changes change malaysia we must

  9. Rosaleen Goh

    Hi Alea. We hear you. And we who are home extend that hand of welcome and of camaraderie. I was a student overseas in my uni years too. Every brain and ounce of passion counts. You are that one person too. DO COME HOME! :)

  10. Brian Boru

    I was very interested to hit on this site and to read the comments from Malaysians living in the Country and from those studying abroad. Living in Britain as I do and a frequent traveller to Malaysia, I have noted that on the surface Malaysia seemed multi cultural and tolerant especially of other religions, but when you dig a little deeper I have observed that the opposite is true.

    The twin evils of a dominant religion and corrupt government have such a grip on the population that it is no wonder that the youth are so docile and the occasional diverse view is criticised. Religion should be seperate from government and free from any persecution especially from those who think they have the god given right to impose their sense of morality.

    If Malaysia is for all why exclude economic benefits for some of the population and if demoracy is to truly flourish why not have a stronger opposition. Be more tolerant of other religions, rather than steam rolling them if they happen to get in the way.

    Malaysia wake up and move to a more democratic society otherwise some of your well educated young who you so badly need, will choose to live elsewhere.

  11. Sophie Lau

    Hey,

    I'm a third year student in London from Subang Jaya. Decided to get my ass home to be part of the good fight too. Passion, idealism, and hope restored after a long arduous journey. See you there.

  12. Pei Ling

    Correction: "Some will dismiss the theory as just a theory, and since the research was based on people’s behavior adopting technological change, it may *not* be applied to social/cultural change."

  13. Pei Ling

    Hello, I'm one of those "idealistic" fellows trying to make a difference now and not "consumed" by the system yet. Ha!

    The thing about change is, a small group of people must always start it first, the majority population will always follow later. And even when majority follows, last-standing minority groups, who likely stand to lose the most from the change, will continue to resist it ferociously.

    So yes, resistance is guaranteed. =)

    But one valuable insight I've gained from a theory of change (http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC28/AtKisson.htm) is – all we need is to convince the critical mass (5-15% of population) to adopt a proposed social/cultural/political change, be it in habit (eg recycling) or opinion (eg abolishing ISA/PPPA), then the change will take off by itself.

    "For those interested in changing the world, the moral of this simplified story is this: you don't have to change the whole world all at once. If it's a good and valuable innovation, you need only work to get it up to the take-off point, and momentum (i.e., the work of a lot of other people who are now sold on the idea) will do most of the rest."

    So THE ultimate questions are these: Do we have the determination to work on spreading the change we so desperately want until that take-off point/the idea reaches the critical mass? And with resistance guaranteed, are we still game? =)

    (p/s: Some will dismiss the theory as just a theory, and since the research was based on people's behavior adopting technological change, it may be applied to social/cultural change. But I still find it very useful. Whenever I'm tempted to give up ie. "consumed" by the "hopeless system", I just think, a bit more, a bit more to critical mass. And being surrounded by groups of "idealistic/naive" old & young friends who don't know how to give up helps lots too.

    So happy to hear that another idealistic youth will be joining what some described as our "hopeless" quest for a better Malaysia!)

  14. mind-boggling

    Welcome home soon Alea! Im sure this country need people like you

    A true Malaysian

    -a wake up call for those who dont plan to come back-

  15. V-Theorist

    Food for thought:

    Saya nak komen tentang 'Tak nak balik dah lah, duduk kat negeri orang tu – bila balik semuanya salah' Persoalannya: Adakah semua perkara betul dari titik permulaannya?

    Kat negara orang putih bukannya semua hebat – bukannya semua betul. Kalau saudara/ saudari nak tahu – pelajar Malaysia yang belajar di luar negara lebih memahami apa maksud PERPADUAN dan maksud BERSATU HATI.

    When you are away from home studying abroad, you are out of your comfort zone and people tend to think more than usual. These guys that studying abroad understands better what it means to be united and be integrated as one nation. They understand what it means to be a Malaysian, that is why a lot people study abroad wants to help to improve the country.

    But do you know what is the problem. The problem is the people in the home-country which is so complacent with their routines. Psychological studies have proven that people resist to changes. So I am not surprise when any instant changes were to be made people suddenly become so defensive.

    NO NO NO !! TAK BOLEH!! MANA BOLEH TUKAR!! JANGAN KACAU!!

    Saya nak tanya: (Think about this) How is your country going to be outstanding when you do not want to improve?

    Have you seen the I AM NUMBER FOUR Movie Trailer? The mat salleh still have the perception of Malaysia as a 'jungle'.

    And if there are people in the country that resist change – refuse the brilliant minds of people that return home from overseas… MANA NAK PERGI LAGI? CABUT LAH.

    Human Capital is dynamic. If you do not treasure it, fully utilised and pay them appropriately – it will flow from one country to another easily.

    • kwws

      The Mat sallehs' are right. regardless of which racial rhetorical issue existing in Malaysia hindering its way forward, we are still very stuck up in our own 'Jungle Mentality', i.e. resisting changes and reformation, unwillingness to put down ego and listen, using personal attacks & baseless claims driven by emotions whenever a critique is raised, and etc..this is just the least of the problems with our mentality and I can go on & on forever on this aspect. If Malaysians care so much about the progress of government, stop complaining and take active steps to fight for the causes of politics, be more inclined to listen to people coming from different viewpoints, be it the everyday rakyat or the pan-international Malaysians abroad.

  16. I read (some) of the comments and I am disgusted. The fundamental problem with (some) Malaysians is this; when someone opens up to being vulnerable in sharing her story, her personal experience or in this case, a dilemma, you people do not even stop to think how much guts it takes to do it. Milo spoke about "The nail that sticks out gets hammered down". Isn't this precisely what many are doing to Alea for sharing her story now?

    Then, there are some of who makes it a point to be "patriotic" by making an issue out of her source of financing. Let me tell you this, lovely Malaysians (if you are), it does not matter who sponsored her studies. For all you know, she is self financing her studies. Wouldn't that be a total slap in your faces? The core idea of sharing this story (to me) would be to hopefully inspire others, especially those who happen to be in the same position as herself. Mind you, she wrote about COMING BACK to Malaysia.

    To me, some Malaysians are just not going to be pleased, EVER. When someone takes a right stand, you complain. When someone takes a left stand, you criticize. So be it, your bitter self. We know better, hence we do better. Your words just show how you have yet to really LIVE life. For now, I pray that one day, one hopeful day, (some) Malaysians will come to realise how much they have said and how little they have actually done.

    All in all, I just want to say, siapa makan cili, dialah yang terasa pedasnya.

    Regards.

  17. malayantiger

    Oh, the burning passions of a young mind. I was young once. I had ideals. I wanted to change the world too. Yeah, back in the early 80's when TDM became PM, there was a wave of optimism. Then there was ops lalang, the financial turmoil ollowed by Sdr Anwar's black eye. We knew that was the beginning of the end. Now nearing my 50's, I admit defeat, I am tired and no longer have the will to even hope.

  18. Milo

    The Malaysian Standard is an outdated version of the British Standard. It's like running Windows 95 on a modern computer. Figuratively speaking, the youth of Malaysia are being sent overseas to live with broadband, only to return and have to live with dial up.

    Probono, what is Peninsula Malaysia doing to the resources of East Malaysia?

  19. probono

    hi..alea….i understand why u fell in love living in uk….but remember this..british govt robbing our country health for how many decade…they become rich country by taking every single thing from us….even they managed to spoil our thought that why the way our govt manage the country now are from their legacy…umno allowed to be in power becourse their political view are in the same mould with british…pls come back home and change british standard to malaysian standard…

  20. Adrian A

    Here's a really simple test,consisting some questions, which are just to make a younger generation think:-

    1. Is it Bahasa Malaysia or Bahasa Melayu?

    2. How different is 1Malaysia from race relation provisions in the Federal Constitution?

    3. Would your Malay friends give up their preferred discounts on property, quota etc so that someone (regardless of race) from lower income/poverty be able to better themselves?

    4. Was the cow-head entourage fiasco dealt with in a manner respectful of Hindus?

    5. P.Ramlee movies were representative of the social environment of that era. Notice how different society is now?

    6. If you had RM1 to give a beggar, and you saw 3 beggars representative of each race,which tin-can would you RM1 go into and why?

    7. Friday lunchtime, ever drove past a mosque? Christmas Eve,cars were summoned outside a Church. Fair?

    8. When was your last meal with friends/family where there was a fair mix of races represented?

    The problem is so entrenched into the System and thus into Society that it will take years and more than just one generation to change it. Now ask, would you want YOUR kids to have to continue the battle?

  21. Kay

    Reading your article made me shed a tear.

    I was exactly in the same predicament about 4 years ago. I was prepared for the worst and I knew it will take me a long time to fit back into the lifestyle back in my homeland. It’s funny but this is the place where I have spent almost all my life, somehow I just don't feel like I belong here anymore. Fact is, once you have moved away from home, you will never see things the same way anymore. You have been exposed to a whole new world and to come back to this close minded society is not an easy and pleasant experience. I have to agree with Adrian A, the country is slowly killing my spirit and yes, I have begun to slowly compromise my moral compass.

    Malaysia is home, it will always be my home, yet I cannot deny that I still feel like a stranger in my own home. Coming home will not be a mistake but be prepared and it might help to lower your expectation just a teeny –weenie bit. Good luck!

  22. anonymous

    commenting on the above respond, (this may sound out of topic, but i believe must remind this):

    I'm not that religious nor have a strong knowledge about religion.

    But for what we've been taught in school from primary to secondary + pre-U, in any way, religion must not and never to be put aside or second in any thing that we do, business matters, family matters, ,govt matters etc. it must come along with anything we do. not just Islam in particular.

  23. ahmad jameran

    great article. i am myself thinking of staying here in notts(already had a decent job offer) – haven't really decided. but – i love my country. i love the people – the smile, the food, the weather etc. perhaps – it's time for the new generation to set a new height for malaysia. perhaps, it's time for the old politician to stand down. KJ (BN) did say something about changing the landscape from race/religious base politic to an idea/policy based politic – i just afraid that he'll be consumed by the system. and there are new politicians in government & opposition with fresh ideas – perhaps, the system is too difficult to be changed? – i don't know.

    out with the old, in with the new. let's change malaysia together for a better future.

    p/s: there are more important issues to discuss – to improve our healthcare/public transport/agriculture system + make it obvious + involve public in this matter. rather than publishing sodomy, racial & religious disharmony, etc etc – on the front page. get the citizens to think about important and essential matter in building a country.

    - maaf, just my 2 cents

  24. Katarina

    I understand how youve fell in love studying and living in Notts.

    If youre govt sponsored, do come back. Recall back what's the purpose of the govt funding you to study abroad. our country needs more talents and giving hope to us.

    But if youre self-sponsored, everything is up to you. its good stay there for a few more years working getting experience and even settle down there if you want.

    i believe that someday you will miss malaysia :)

  25. Harris

    yeah,same shit different place here Alea.

  26. Anonymus

    Come back home & make a change.

  27. Hiu Woong-sin

    Your journey for salvation could begin from here…………….

    Day of Protest against the wanton destruction and corruption of Sarawak's Forest by Taib Mahmud, one of the most corrupt politicians in par with Ali, Mubarak and Gadaffi.

    Where – 10 Weymouth Street, W1,London.

    When – Monday 28th February 2011

    What time – 9.30 am

    Mob 07920105078

  28. charlie chan

    young malaysians – please come back to malaysia n help to change the system n change the corrupted administration. just do it – nike

  29. r

    tak nak balik dah lah, duduk lah kat negeri orang tu. bila balik nanti, semua nya salah, cara orang putih aja yang betul. tak usah balik lah. merdekakan diri tu dari minda orang puteh celup tu dulu. minta maaf,saya komen bahasa malaysia, fahamkan? kata orang malaysia.

    terima kasih.

  30. More for me who is here?

  31. Old Man

    I am happy and yet sad to see out young talking like this. But I have this to say. Dont come back and let your talent go to waste. This country is not ready for you yet. Make the world your stage. But keep your idealism. We will need you later.

  32. Atiqah

    Hi Alea,

    excellent well-written piece. Your points resonate with me as I was in the same place you are now, and was (still am) hopelessly idealistic. I've been home in Malaysia for almost a year after graduating in the US, and though I agree that there are places where the environment is poisonous and everything just makes you want to commit seppuku out of sheer frustration, there are also pockets of places and people who ARE sincere in trying to make a change, who ARE fighting to improve the system and who are just like you.

    Milo says this place will consume you, and it will definitely do its best to do so, but I think that will only happen if you let it. I was lucky enough to find my little place in Malaysia, and my little group of incredible people who try their best to improve things despite the negativity and the pessimism. And with some effort and some luck, I think you will find yours too. :)

  33. HuaYong

    Prof Nawi,

    I can't grasp your point. Can you write more? Or shall i say can you be more precise?

  34. LSW

    It's vey SAD that our clueless politicians are making our country a last choice to stay option for many many of our bright students who can bring great changes to the nation to be at par with the rest of the world.Sadly, this is the last thing most of our old men politicians want bcos it will see their demise.The students are not in power, these old men are, so status quo decade in decade out.I really look forward to the day when our students especially the overseas ones will unite(all races/religions)and stand up to steer the country forward to bring glory and honor back to us all, where now all of us are so disunited by all the nonsense rhetorics,ketuanan,religion bashing,ancestory,backstabbing,frogging,money and more money for oneself….

  35. Adrian A

    As a Malaysian who studied in the UK and stayed on working as a lawyer for 6 years, i fell into that same misguided trap of returning to KL to "make a difference". Let me just say, after a few years, i've given up and left. Its nice that Talent Corp calls to entice me back, but its pointless. Lets just face facts,the system is an old dog that is immune to learning new tricks. And the sad part is that the lawyers in malaysia, the very people who expound these virtues of justice blah blah blah are not living up to their own "values".

    The advice i give to any candidate from Malaysia who applies to the company i work at is this: If u have the brains to leave,then use those brains and leave. If you cant, only then return to M'sia.

    The country will kill your spirit unless you compromise your moral compass.

  36. Iman

    Tepuk dada tanya selera.Please don't keep on bragging about this and that if you come home.If you went overseas by "fama" scholarship.(fatherand mother)…by all means stay there coz you love about everything there BUT if you are on government's scholarship….you should come back because it's the taxpayers' money who financed your study….simple.isn't it? Otherwise ,pay back your scholarship.There are others who do need them.

  37. Prof Nawi

    We need many young Malaysians like part of you, not all.

    I am an educator and as a statistician, I use the word "observation" very often, especially during classes that have been going on for 40 over years. Towards the end of every semester at least the students would be able to appreciate how and what "findings" and "conclusions" that can come out from what were observed. The gap between observation to findings and conclusions are filled with the necessary knowledge and skills.

    You may want to know, at the age of barely 13, I was then in the "Remove Class", we fought for Malay medium secondary school.(Put aside the question of correct decision or otherwise.) During a demonstration many of us were cornered by the riot police and were forced to jump into the river. Fortunately, no fatal injuries were reported.

    You may want to know, at the height of May 13, 1969 tragedy, I was there participating in a student demo, we wanted the "Tengku" to go. Prior to that, you may want to know, we had a GE on May 10, 1969. That was during the university inter-session break, I was there up and down the stage campaigning for UMNO-Perikatan. I was made to belief that as a good thing to do. You may want to know that was the time when (Tun) Dr M was beaten by a Pas candidate in then Kota Star Selatan, in Kedah. He then sought his fortune in Kubang Pasu, also in Kedah.

    If you want to know, I was lucky for not been selected to go to the Malay medium classes. The system was not ready for us yet at that time.

    What I want to express to you and other young people abroad (including my sons and daughters who had spent some years studying overseas and now aiming to pursue for more)is about arriving at finding and making conclusion.

    My first concern is about how young people declare their take on the concept known as Human Rights. My point here is they often arrive at conclusion based on a process not even commensurate with their own belief. You have to know that in statistics we are trained to accept the term "a best" rather than "the best". "Best" is criteria-based.

    Who is "human", a group or a single individual? If both, it cannot be equal. I tend to have more weight on "group", in which case, as human need varies, human rights cannot be absolute, it is criteria-based. As such it has to be dynamic, it can never be perfect but subject to continuous improvement.

    In short, we can run away from believing that life after death is real, true. We must be prepared for it, minute to minute.

    Sorry, got meeting now.

  38. michael Lui

    Welcome home soon Alea… I left for 15 years and came back hungry for a fight. We are in it together… :) You are a patriot true and through :)

  39. jwrx

    Alea,

    Pls come back, we need ppl like you here to continue the fight. There are plenty of lawyers who returned and are very active in human rights…Edmund Bon, is one example

    I spent 5 years in UK and when i came back i suffered reverse culture shock, in the last ten years, things have really gone downhill, most suspect its the gov doing everything it can to cling on to power….anyway, hope to see you back here after you graduate, good luck in nottingham, wonderful city

  40. Milo

    I returned from the UK three years ago. Studied law, wanted to make a difference, etc. Managed to find myself a job in the thick of it. If the shit hits the fan, I literally have the best seats in town.

    Unfortunately, the show so far has mainly been of the horror variety. Not the sort of horror that scares you, but the kind of horror that irritates you; all cheap effects, bad acting and painfully unoriginal scripts. You kind of want to switch it all off, but just like the scene from A Clockwork Orange, you're strapped in, with your eyes forced open… except this time it's a tudong clad lady applying the droplets.

    My experience of it all can be summed up in a japanese proverb. The nail that sticks out gets hammered down. Even if everything was as it should be, right now, with a snap of your finger, it would take at least a decade to see any noticeable change in the culture. Life is short, live it. This place will consume you.

    But don't take my word for it. Come see for yourself.

  41. Three years in the UK, I am used to the open-minded and liberated lifestyle we few lucky Malaysians get to enjoy just the way you described it. And just like what it did to you, the revolution in Egypt made me realised that it is the small but united voices that will bring the changes the country need.

    People will say that being doctors in Malaysia is hard because of the huge workloads and crazy hours that are not matched with the salary so most who graduates decide to stay overseas to chase money. What this group of people fails to realise is that the huge workloads and crazy hours get to that point due to lack of doctors serving at the hospitals because most decide not to come back in the first place. I'm coming back after I have completed my training to break that vicious cycle because Malaysia, for all its imperfection, is still home and I am in the UK in the first place because of what I have gained on that precious soil.

    Just like you said, unless the few people who realises the need to keep fighting and bringing and being the change come back home to show fellow Malaysians the prize and rewards at the end of the long fight, the changes will not happen. May we both come back home and bring the necessary changes to our beloved country in our own ways.

  42. Alea Nasihin

    Hey Ee Ping,

    Thanks so much! Judging from the response I've gotten from my friends, I guess a lot of Malaysian students abroad go through the same struggle as well. But don't let it stop you from enjoying your UK experience to the fullest! :)

  43. Dearest Alea, I will remember your words and keep in mind everything you have said when I head to the UK in September. I am almost sure I will face the similar thought whilst am there. I love how you put it all in words.

    Regards,

    Ee Ping