Greener pastures — Tay Tian Yan
AUG 5 — I am not trying to pour cold water on anyone, but I sometimes feel that brain drain is not always a bad thing, not something we should be excessively pessimistic.
Think of it this way: These departing students could help groom our own talents some day.
For instance, a straight A student can choose to further his studies in Universiti Malaya, or Oxford.
If he chooses UM, he could be a crème de la crème of our country, a Kampung champion, four years down the road.
The knowledge he has picked up, the faculty of thinking, his linguistic competency, self-cultivation and the disposition he has acquired here are... Well, I don’t mean they’re not up to the mark, but there is always enormous room for improvement.
That will make a world of differences were he trained at Oxford.
IBM, Merrill Lynch, McKinsey and other global bellwethers recruiting all over the world will be least impressed by the number of distinctions you have scored in SPM, but from where you have graduated and what you have learned there.
If our education system fails to groom the talents, we should then not talk about trying to retain them.
Sure enough, my friends would argue that we should not stop our students from going overseas, as they will come back after graduation one day.
I beg to differ.
If they have received foreign scholarships, they are but the talents groomed by foreign varsities, in which case we should thank Oxford, Harvard, NUS, NUT, etc. profusely.
Moreover, having performed well academically is not everything. Real talents are people who work in world-class organisations, absorb top-notch knowhow and compete with other top guns of their trades favourably.
For example, someone pursuing an aerospace course in California Institute of Technology declines an offer from the Nasa but comes home to serve at the Malaysian Aerospace Council. His most glorious achievement could have been helping the country lift its first astronaut space-bound onboard a Russian capsule.
Instead of seeing our failure in keeping these talents, why not take pride in them finding the right places elsewhere?
Perhaps my friends have put the “concept” of nation in too high places.
I wouldn’t say that is wrong, but a student who has accomplished much overseas has seen the fruition of his hard work and the realisation of personal values, and has been able to bring better lives to his family.
A real talented person should set his stage on the world, not confine himself to his birthplace. His values should extend from his individual being, his family, community and across the frontiers to the most distant reaches of the world, far exceeding the boundaries of nations.
Whichever country he chooses to settle down in eventually will very much depend on what kind of values he wants for himself. If he thinks his expertise can fit in well in Malaysia, he will choose to come back. But if he feels his domain is elsewhere, why stop him?
Like our revolving planet, talents are on constant move. There is no way or necessity to constrain their mobility. — mysinchew.com
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.