When I was in High School, I studied in one of the top 10 schools in Malaysia for the STPM. My teachers constantly reminded us of our very illustrious alumni and were relentless in making it clear that it was our responsibility to carry the torch (so to speak) and bring good name to the school. I was very proud then to be studying in that school (and I still am) although it was very difficult and at times bordering on the impossible to keep these demanding teachers happy. They demanded for the best and they were not going to accept anything less. In that sense, I would like to think that the education I received there helped me become a more determined person and driven to achieve my goals. I would also like to think that at this relatively early stage some of us have already shown that we are more than capable to join the illustrious list of ‘old boys’ sooner rather than later. As my Economics teacher once said “you’re the leaders of the future and in you Malaysia will put its trust” (although granted, he said it in a mixture of BM and English).
However, lately after my suffering with the CLP has abated for the moment, I have been able to keep in touch with some long lost friends. Besides the usual stories of A is getting married or C is now pregnant with her 2nd child, there were more pressing and in my opinion sad news! Maybe a lot of friends of my batch are now reasonable success in their own right and in that sense has succeded in bringing good repute to the already dignified reputation of the school, but, a number of them have already indicated that they are not willing to continue their struggles in this country anymore.
As an example, one of my friends P, who was one of the brighter ones in my class, is already planning a permanent rendezvous to the UK. He is currently working in one of the BIG 4 Accounting Firms and I would like to think is earling good wages. However, it has never escaped my attention that he is growingly dissastisfied with the conditions here. I once asked him, why did he want to migrate to the UK when he has never even been there. His reply was bitter. “Anywhere will do but here!”
Another example is L, who has just graduated with a good degree from the top university in Malaysia. He was once the most cheerful among us and was also a very good student in his own right. Now he is an engineer back in our hometown. However, he too has been feeling more and more resentment towards his country of birth. This once cheerful person is now always burdened by a frown and the occasional scowl.
What has happened to my friends? These are only just a few of the many where I have encountered growing disdain for the country. I, myself, for reasons better not disclosed, have considered with more than a passing interest the feasibility of leaving this country. I have once decided to spurn the temptations of staying in the UK only to come back here and feel very unwanted and deprived and helpless. Will I finally decide to follow my parents footsteps and decide that the country of my birth shall also be the country where I will finally be buried? Truthfully, I DO NOT KNOW
There must be a reason why all these young bright men and women feel that they have to leave their own country to find happiness. The PM has issued a threat that those who renounce their citizenship will not get it back. But, perhaps they do not want it back?
Then it seems imperative that we find out why all these people want to leave. Have they lost a sense of belonging? And if yes, how do we tell them this is indeed home? That is a question that I can’t answer but it seems many these days do not seem to even bother anymore!