March 18, 2014

A Bit of Angst from a Malaysian Abroad

Last weekend, I read a Bloomberg View article titled "A Plane Disappears, Malaysia's Flaws Emerge". On 8 March 2014, Flight MH370 disappeared while travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. To date, the cause and plane location are unknown. I hope both aircraft and passengers will be found safe.

Anyway, the article was pleasantly on-point, highlighting how the incompetence of Malaysian officials (note: not the brave folk doing the actual searching; I'm looking at you Hishammuddin) in managing the aftermath and coordinating search efforts with other countries is a symptom of the underlying political malaise in Malaysia.

Reading the article gave me mixed feelings, but mostly frustration. Frustration with the Malaysian government's incompetence re the MH370 disappearance, frustration with the corruption, cronyism and divisiveness of Malaysian politics (aaaaaand they're going after Anwar with the same sodomy charge for the third time), and frustration with myself for being in HK and not being able to contribute to nation-building.   

I didn't vote in last year's General Election - a non-action that I will regret until the next election. It was definitely an opportunity squandered, as the 2013 elections marked the first time Malaysians overseas could cast their votes. Then again, considering the massive election-rigging, I wouldn't be surprised if my vote had been substituted... which is why some of my fellow Malaysians in HKUST flew back to vote in person. 

Now that I've further solidified my residence in Hong Kong by taking a job, I often ask myself  "to be or not to be". I'm just 2-3 years short of being eligible for a HK PR, a very attractive proposition. After all, more opportunities await ambitious fresh graduates in Hong Kong than in Kuala Lumpur, and I'm definitely relieved to have escaped the institutionalised racism in Malaysia.

And yet my tanah air still calls to me. Well, mostly through my family who still reside there... and through my stomach on days I wake up craving asam laksa or Nyonya kuih. Some days I feel displaced, neither here nor there. I speak much better Malay than Cantonese or Mandarin. Despite being mostly Chinese (go, Peranakan!), I don't really fit into the Hong Kong Chinese culture/mindset. But back home, we have blowhard racists like Perkasa's Ibrahim Ali who spout things along the lines of "Cina balik Cina, India balik India" (translation: the Chinese should return to China, and Indians back to India) if we dare object against the status quo, so where do I go? When and how can we take back our country?

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