Six years overseas in an institution that has been under the constant scrutiny of the MQA and I’m heading home this summer anyway. I could have opted to take the Kaplan Step-2 and move to the states. At least they have a sense of humour there. Their president was accused of being an illegal immigrant and he recently laughed it off by showing a video clip from the opening of the Lion King. Despite heavy criticism he’s one step closer to healthcare reform, and the withdrawal of the troops and the lack of pomp with which he did it won over even my reluctant vote. I used to think the US was overrated, not worth the respect they garnered at times, but I realized that one man does make a world of difference. Bush’s America and Obama’s America are worlds apart.
Am I less of a patriot of thinking highly of the West? I think not.
Sure we hit the global media for ridiculous things like ‘taking the gay out of our young men’, backyard trash like cowhead stepping and Molotov cocktails being thrown into mosque grounds. Sure we’re famous for things like hotel raids during Valentine’s day, armed robbery in broad daylight, racial bigotry, political voyeurism, and blind support of local industries at the expense of crazy import duties, less than efficient fuel consumption and generic versions of Lancers and Mitsubishis on our roads.
I definitely sound like am slandering my own nation here, but bear with me. Like I was saying, this summer, I still am heading home to quirky Malaysia.
You see, I spent 3 of my 6 years here with a Muslim roommate, something you would have never seen in a local university hostel. Trust me, my elder siblings, they were ‘placed at random’ and they all ended up with Indian roommates in their local public universities. When my roomamate and I split ways, it was due to personal issues, nothing religious. She prayed 5 times a day, and read from the Quran each night, and I sang my Hindu devotional songs and occasionally even lit incense sticks during major celebrations. She didn’t mind me eating pork, nor did I mind her eating beef. She comes from a traditional Malay family, and I from a traditional Tamil one. We’re still close friends, classmates, and occasional shopping buddies despite having had our differences.
When the MQA decided to get international recognition, and PSD decided to review its scholarship awarding, though I may not benefit from either… in the first case because I stand a risk of being careerless, and in the second because having completed my university education, I no longer stand a chance of gaining a JPA scholarship… I began to hope. The MQA review, suspension of civil servant hiring for 3 months seems to hold promise of a fairer system based on merit rather than racial quota. I am not saying please impoverish one race, I am saying choose people who are eligible for the job, those with necessary skill and the motivation to improve themselves. Since our Public Health is in such a state, a qualification exam would be disastrous to the 3000 odd Russian and Ukrainian Medical graduates, yes, but if it means it’s for a less biased, more efficient medical workforce, then why the heck not. Here’s to hoping there isn’t a quota on that as well though.. coz if there is, a lot of us would be royally f**ked. And on the PSD scholarship, awarding overseas scholarships should be based on merit. Admittedly it should have been discussed within the Cabinet to prevent rumours of a divided BN, but I think it was a gutsy move, transparent, and it got almost immediate results. As opposed to our annual dilemma about top scorers not being awarded government scholarships to pursue their field of interest, maybe this will give us a real solution to the problem instead of a temporary settlement when it makes headlines about how the top scorer who was missed by the system finally got a scholarship to Ireland to pursue Actuarial Science.
So yes am disillusioned, but I still carry a spark of hope that someday, Malaysians will tell race politics to go get a real job, and we might live together as a real community. Where people would rather come home and not choose to hold jobs overseas as opposed to a true career at home because they have given up with racial stereotypes and lack fair opportunities to be all they can be.
Someday perhaps... someday…
That is why am going home. Because I still have hope for Malaysia…