Malaysia

We who left should not be seen as such — Zewt

June 06, 2011

JUNE 6 — Migration and the brain drain phenomenon seem to be the talk of the town at the moment. And when I read the comments on various articles here, I observe that people like me are being labelled in a certain manner.

Yes, I am one of those who left to ply my trade elsewhere. I don’t consider myself a migrant, though I would not rule out this possibility entirely.

“Unpatriotic” is probably the most common label — I wouldn’t want to deny this. Not that I agree with it, just that it is a never-ending argument. 

“Greedy and selfish” is probably another thing we are called. Again — not that I agree, but I do not want to debate on this for now. And there are many more…

However, there is one label that I cannot accept, when we are called “cowards who took the easy way out” because we refused to stay and “fight.”

Make no mistake, those of us who left are not exactly having a party outside Malaysia. 

We left a familiar environment to step into the unknown, most actually gave up a relatively “luxurious” lifestyle to endure a tougher living environment. 

Those who left in the name of career enhancement (like me) are effectively abandoning the environment where we have proven ourselves, to once again substantiate our worthiness.

Often, this happens amongst a legion of competent individuals. Let me tell you that it is stressful and certainly not easy.

Some even gave up an established background to literally start from scratch.

So those of us who did all that and chose to live in countries where if we drink and drive, we will land ourselves in jail are cowards, while those who chose to live in a country where if you drink and drive — you can get away with a “Saya boleh tolong you” solution are… patriotic?

Wait… my apologies. Those who are staying are trying to change that. I trust these people will not choose the easy way out. I trust these people will pay the hefty summons that comes with the offence, right?

Indeed, we may get better remuneration, we may enjoy a better standard of living, we may get better social welfare, we may no longer need to care about what happens back home because we chose to leave instead of fixing it. But all these come with a price. It does not come easy. 

I can go on to talk about who I think are the cowards, who are those I think are “choosing the easy way out.” But my point today is — those who left should not be categorised as such.

You may be asking the question right now — why leave then when life is so tough somewhere else?

Now, doesn’t that tell you something?

* We asked readers to tell us in their own words why they migrated. This is one of the stories.