Monday, December 18, 2006

Greener Pastures

Are you leaving the country yet for greener pastures?

This is certainly not a new issue. I was reminded today on a letter from a talented but "very frightened Malaysian" written some 20 months or so ago, who was not sure whether he wanted to return to motherland. I blogged about it here in "Education in Malaysia", and it is the 5th most popular post on the blog, attracting more than 5,300 pageviews to date.

Well, according to a New Straits Times report, an exodus of Malaysians is on the cards.
"On an average, we used to receive between 15 and 20 enquiries (on migration) a day," said Desmond, a migration agent in Kuala Lumpur. "However, over the last two weeks, our phones have been ringing non-stop."

This "ringing non-stop" translates into about 6,500 enquiries for migration to Australia between Nov 14 and Nov 19.
According to Desmond, the callers were multi-racial. These people are also lining up to sell their houses.
Checks with real estate agents also revealed an increasing number of people wanting to sell their houses. "The reason given by most of them is that they are migrating and needed to dispose of their houses," said Chan, a real estate agent from Kuala Lumpur.
So, why the sudden rush? Now, is there a correlation with a "distorted UMNO" during their recent General Assembly? Or a little to do with UMNO Hypocrisy? Or for that matter, the proverbial NEP or Never Ending Policy? Or how UMNO and the Prime Minister's infamous son-in-law can't count?

I didn't think much of it then, when Sdr Lim Kit Siang raised 3 weeks back the concern of a new exodus of professionals of all races from Malaysia. But it looks like the veteran Parliamentary Opposition Leader is clearly astute with his perceptions.

For those who are leaving the country for good, I wish you well. But for those who are staying for one reason or another, we should band together to build a better future for our children and theirs.

Me? I'll certainly be sticking around.


Anonymous said...

It is in the interest of UMNOputra's that non-Malay migrate.

I surmise this when I read Lee Kuan Yew's biography. He confronted Tun Razak in the early 70's on the severe brain drain from Malaysia to countries like Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. Tun Razak replied that he doesn't see it as a brain drain, more of a trouble drain. Thus with less non-Malay's around, it will be easier for UMNOputra to go around with their business.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're sticking around. Malaysia needs more people like you. Staying and making a difference is what true Malaysians would do. Kudos!

Anonymous said...

My sentiments are... ambiguous, as usual.

"This country's such a mess that I hardly know where to begin with help. Of course, if I feel like I can't be of any help here, then it becomes much easier for me to leave..."

These are widespread sentiments.

Anonymous said...

So many people are leaving, or will leave Malaysia soon. Some of my friends in public universities don't even bother to register to vote or care about what is going on. As the Chinese often say... "no eye see".

They are so disillusioned that they have already decided to leave the country as soon as they graduate.

Anonymous said...

But do remember that not everyone can leave and not everyone has the ability to leave. Recently an ex-classmate of mine mentioned that most of the people he knows are all working overseas.

It is truly sad that while many countries are fighting so hard for talent, Malaysia is more than willing to let their "sons & daughters" leave for what we all know now as "Good riddance to bad rubbish"

Anonymous said...

London's streets not paved with gold....

Anonymous said...

it is assuring to know that ppl like you do not plan to leave.

Anonymous said...

Don't believe what others say. Malaysia is still the home to all citizens irrespective of colour. I have been living abroad for two decades. I am treated as a third class citizen. What's the point of packing up and going to a place that you do not even know... Never trust anyone.. Even how discriminatory it is in Malaysia, we were born there.. The grass on the other side of the fence is not greener... TRUST me...

Anonymous said...

People leave for all sorts of reasons. I left to study in the US and even have 2 degrees from a top school in Massachusetts, and am now working in Singapore. It's true that one might encounter racism abroad, though I personally never did, and that one would probably feel more comfortable living in the place where one grew up. But I would have neither the professional prospects nor global mobility I enjoy had I had stayed in Malaysia, or chosen to go back to work. Simply put, I have chosen to leave Malaysia in order to enjoy the opportunities open to me in today's world.

Apart from the fact that I make much more money in Singapore, what is more important to me is the skills and experience I acquire here for my career prospects. "Globalisation" is the reality of our times, and work in Malaysia is inadequate to prepare one for the opportunities in the global economy. In my work, I get to travel regularly around the world and discuss cutting-edge financial issues with the top people globally. These are opportunities I would never get in Malaysia. I will soon move to Europe simply because I would like to get a taste of life there.

Now one could argue that career is not everything. That is true. But the fact of the matter is that the grass is indeed greener out there IF you want to grasp the tremendous opportunities available in the global economy. In today's world, talent is becoming increasingly borderless. If one has the talent, why confine one's imaginations and abilities to a single country? The world is your oyster.

If you are worried about racism, then you can go to Singapore, Hong Kong or Shanghai if you are Chinese-Malaysian. After all, the richest Malaysian (Robert Kuok) lives in Hong Kong. One can go to Mumbai or London if one is Indian-Malaysian (richest man in the UK is an Indian).

Of course, life in Malaysia has its attractions particularly if one has other priorities. It's pretty easy-going. But Malaysia is definitely not the place to be if you want to have a global career. This is frankly a major pull-factor for talented individuals who leave Malaysia to seek their fortunes in the global economy.