JUNE 9 — I’m an automotive engineering student currently studying in England. I was born and raised in Selangor for a solid 20 years before leaving Malaysia to study abroad.
Many would say only the rich are able to afford an education in the UK, but I would tell you otherwise, or maybe in this case I’m the odd one out.
I come from a family of six whose sole breadwinner is my father, and he doesn’t earn a five-figure salary and has been retrenched more times than I can remember. I have a diploma from a technical college that does one too many advertisements around the country (NOT cheap to study there at all) but I managed to score a scholarship from them.
Since my parents know very well that education is the base of a person’s career, they made sure I was going to continue studying for a degree even if they had to survive on bread and water. Seeing that my interest and brains were victims to the automotive industry, and there was nowhere I could go to further my studies in Malaysia, it left me no choice but to study abroad.
My education now is currently paid for by my grand-aunt who literally emptied her funeral piggybank because she saw how everybody around me supported this path/vision of mine. I wouldn’t say that I’m an “A” student, but when it comes to cars, it’s my thing.
Enough about my roots; I just wanted everyone to know where I’m coming from because it will emphasise my point.
I live by two main principles: “You reap what you sow, but sow SMART” and “NOTHING is permanent.”
It’s summertime here, most Malaysian friends of mine who are also studying here in the UK are going back to Malaysia for the holidays but I managed to score myself a summer placement which everyone tells me I am lucky to get in the UK seeing that it’s the only placement that I applied for.
Why do they say it’s luck? I believe that it’s all hard work and hard selling of an individual. I did so many personal projects and research during my free time and included them in my CV and cover letter.
When I was interviewed by the director of the company, he was impressed with the amount of hard work I put in, and eventually I beat about 150 other applicants for that single seat.
This company is a highly reputable one, and I can see why. Currently I work eight hours a day, same as every worker in this company. Everyone comes on time and leaves exactly at 5pm, nobody does OT, but for the eight hours these people here really do proper work.
Everyone is VERY productive. I remember while in Malaysia, workers will boast about how much OT they do, but deep down we all know, you can say that you work 10 hours a day, but this includes a two-hour lunch break, two-hour tea break, smoking break, toilet break, etc.
And I haven’t even touched on Fridays. As much as I respect the Muslims, please do not use prayers as an excuse, also please lessen the kuih-muih-teh-tarik time (this goes out not only to Malays, but to all races in Malaysia). The lazy ones will perish one day anyway, so work hard and smart to improve the current situation.
Also, we Malaysians complain about EVERYTHING! Long queue — blame the cashier working slow. Have you seen queues in the UK? Brits would line up for an hour just to pay for a small item and not utter a single word about the long line.
Every developing country will have their bad points, but isn’t that how every country grows? Look into the mirror before shooting down the failure causes. Has anyone of you stopped to think why you aren’t earning as much and living a carefree life? Are you really working as hard and smart as you should be?
And so what if our government isn’t any good? Young Malaysians should be able to see that no matter how lousy our prime minister is, he will have to step down one day. If all the smart people in Malaysia vanished, who else is going to give the incoming prime ministers a challenge? You think that leaving Malaysia and working abroad is a better choice? Why not put that smartness of yours into real use and outsmart the “bodoh” people running the country? Or even your “bodoh” bosses/managers if that applies.
I have plans to study here till I finish my engineering doctorate if my finances and results are sufficient. My future actually lies within the automotive field which, in this case, if we talk about the automotive sector in Malaysia, Proton and Perodua come to mind.
Our national cars are of terrible build quality and pure bullshit engineering compared to European marques and such. But I take this as an advantage, because since I would have learned more than these fools designing terrible national cars, and all the other “Einsteins” have followed the brain drain movement, who else is going to bring improvement and growing space for the upcoming generation?
Somebody has to make sure that Proton and Perodua are no longer toy car companies. Furthermore, Asians are now buying up all the European/British car companies, it is proof that we are going through an evolution, a growth.
Same goes for the growth of Malaysia. If we had more “professors who do more than they talk”, they will be able to really once and for all outsmart the current diabolical guys who run the show.
I know most of you all say that it’s hard for a non-Malay to make a change, that Malaysia is a show run by Malays who claim themselves to be Bumiputeras, that we Malaysian Chinese/Indians will never earn as much as the Malays, etc.
Look at it this way, once the country begins to grow, everything will change. Our land is rich with lots of resources, all waiting for a brain and hard work to work it out. It depends if you are willing to work hard enough to earn it all or not. We really have to stop the stereotyping; hardworking Malays EXIST, as well as lazy Chinese and Indians.
So why are we still looking back at our ugly history? Don’t you all know, there is no FUTURE in history. I tell myself, Najib/Anwar/etc are so 2010.
Do you still want to be “bodoh”? Or are you ready to convert to “boleh”? Can we outsmart the current mentality, defy the norm and make an impact on this failing country?
I still see hope, my family and friends who put their trust in me to change the world, and of course my packet of nasi lemak and cup of Ipoh white coffee are waiting for me back in Malaysia.
Will I still head back to Malaysia after I’m done here? Yes I will, because I “boleh”.
* We asked readers to tell us in their own words why they stayed... instead of migrating. This is one of the stories.