by Henry Yew:
The Malaysian Man is known to be a unique individual, with the capability to converse comfortably in at least two languages – some three or more, has the capacity of accepting cultures and food that are not native to the individual, has the understanding that despite people having social backgrounds, he is able to work together with them in harmony for a common goal, etc. In many ways, the Malaysian Man is a perfect being who has received numerous accolades for such traits.
However, the Malaysian Man is subjected to the many trivial issues that are plaguing his country and his society. He often finds frustration in elected representatives squabbling about issues that are not worth the people’s time; he feels disappointed that representatives from different sides spend so much time belittling each other to gain some political mileage. He is angry that time was spent on making “bocor” and “balik China” remarks, which he could have done without.
Despite the shortcomings that the Malaysian Man has to face, he is also blessed with intellectual capabilities. He is able to form opinions and engage in intellectual discussions with other individuals and accept perspectives that have eluded him. Issues that people would look from a pessimistic point of view would always seem to be a blessing in disguise. He is also fortunate enough to have met people who have shown him a new path in life – one that is perilous should things go horribly wrong, but would reward handsomely if proper planning is done.
The Malaysian Man is fully aware that his land is also a blessed one – a land rich with natural and human resources. He feels privileged to be able to celebrate the diversity that so many other countries are deprived of (minus all the name callings). The land that he has lived for twenty-three years is shielded from various natural disasters that would haunt many other nations annually. Surely, apart from the unimportant matters that certain quarters harp about, the Malaysian Man should be content with his life!
However, the Malaysian Man is not. He is tired of the political and social debacles that never seem to keep his nation out of the limelight.
“I want a new environment,” says the Malaysian Man. “I want to see how people do things differently, and what I can learn from them.”
“Let’s see what I can do for myself, and how I can change things for the better,” he quipped.
“Hey, hold your horses! Everything seems to be for yourself. What about the bigger picture?” his inner voice reflected.
“Well, how do you expect me to look at the bigger picture if I cannot even care for myself?” the reply came, determined.
Therefore, the Malaysian Man took his flight to a new, foreign land. He anticipates that his stay would be temporary – for about a year or two, six or seven at most. “This is for the pursuit of knowledge… and better living,” he says.
He suddenly reflects on the words that his teacher once said to him: “Just go, and don’t come back.”
There are many individuals, like the Malaysian Man, who have taken their flights to worlds unknown in pursuit of knowledge and experience, and have returned to their land which they call home. Many do not return just because they have a responsibility to fulfil for their education sponsors. Some even claim that coming home was perhaps the best thing that they could have done; to be close to their families and to be in a very familiar environment mattered more than all the political and social fiascos that are happening at home. Some even go the extra mile to say that there are just as many opportunities at home.
Indeed, home is such a beautiful place to be, and looking back now, the Malaysian Man feels more certain that he will return home, too, after completing his personal quest for knowledge and experience. The Malaysian Man has family and friends at home whom he treasures very much personally, and nothing whets his desires more than Malaysian food.
Nevertheless, there are also individuals who came back to the beautiful land, and found nothing but disenchantment. They claimed that meritocracy is hardly practised, that trying to scale up the rungs in the corporate world is like getting a camel to go through the eye of a needle, etc. They said they left the land again to the foreign world where their works are better appreciated. The Malaysian Man wonders if that is how he would feel one day.
The Malaysian Man does not feel that there is a need to have Talent Corp trying to woo his countrymen back home to contribute economically and intellectually to the land. He feels that the assertion that no work goes unpaid, unaccredited and unrewarded is an assurance that would fuel human resource – with a just income, of course. Even he would come back, too.
However, the Malaysian Man would naturally think twice about doing so if there are still quarters playing the race card. He believes in caring for the last, the least and the lost regardless of race, and he is disappointed that some quarters, who pledge themselves to community service, fail to discard colours when it comes to addressing social issues.
The Malaysian Man is also uncomfortable about apparent rise in crime rates, despite the police claiming otherwise. The invoking of the Internal Security Act or Sedition Act so loosely further casts a doubt as to whether he would return home if no improvements take place. The attempts to disperse the Bersih 2.0 rally by using water cannons and tear gas were, in the Malaysian Man’s opinion, a poor way of solving issues diplomatically, not to mention an apparent show by the government to flex its political muscles. The manner in which the Bersih 2.0 rally was handled by the government would also arch many eyebrows, for while the group did not have approval from the government, the latter did not mention a support for its fight for fair elections either.
The Malaysian Man, fortunately, has been granted the ability to think, and possesses the capacity to make decisions which he thinks is best for himself. He pays attention to the issues happening at home, and he knows how to form judgments. He has the desire to come home; he misses home, too. However, the desire and the longing alone would not suffice to bring him home. There is no need for 1Malaysia in the first place actually. There is a need to give the Malaysian Man the reason to want to come home.
What could it be, he wonders? Could the reason be to answer the call of servitude to the people and to set this land’s priorities right?
Henry Yew is the Malaysian Man, which is not representative of all Malaysians. He has no desire to get involved directly in politics, but that does not mean that he cannot bring change for the better. He believes that when the seed of change is planted, it will grow.