Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Hope That One Day I Can Return

Note from author of the blog: This article is taken from The Malaysian Insider which is written by one John Malachi, representing his personal view of his own country.

John Malachi
The Malaysian Insider
May 25, 2011

MAY 25 — I am a Malaysian living abroad. I graduated as a doctor in Australia and went back to Malaysia in the early 1990s. From the first day I started working in Malaysia until the day I left, I have worked all the 15 and a half years of my time in Malaysia in public hospitals, not a single day in private practice.

In the mean time I got married and have two beautiful children. I went through the system, however unfair it was, being posted to hospitals that no one wanted to go to, and being sent on a merry-go-round around the country with two kids and a wife in tow.

I have had many opportunities to leave the public health sector to go into private practice – I was even offered a consultant specialist job in Singapore, but I hung on to the government hospitals, willingly foregoing better opportunity and financial rewards.
The reason that I went back to Malaysia? Well, in spite of the warts and all, it is still my country; where I grew up, where my parents live, and where my grandparents lived and died. In spite of all the corruption and cronyism, it is still where my roots are, and where I want my children to grow up and to acquire the identity of being Malaysians.

Yes, I know about the religious bigotry and the racist policies, but it is still the land that has given birth to me and where I thought I could contribute a little in return. I don’t have the eloquence to be a politician, the courage to be in the opposition, or the brains to constructively criticise and shape public opinion to move the country to a better future.

But just like my grandfather who spent his life as a hard manual labourer who helped build the railway from Gemas to Kota Baru, I thought the little skill that I have as a doctor would do some good to some people somewhere. That was why I stayed back.

But why then did I leave? Well, there comes a time when you have to look into your children’s eyes and tell them that you have to sacrifice their better future because you love your country. There comes a time when you have to tell them that you don’t have enough money to educate them because you want to do your bit for the less fortunate in the country. There comes a time when you have to tell your children that they have to grow up and get used to the discrimination — in spite of all that the family has done for generations — just because of their skin colour.

The only problem is, I couldn’t bring myself to look into their innocent eyes and tell them that.

My family and friends have been gracious; they have been glad that we could leave, and none of them called us traitors. But I do feel like a traitor inside me. And as I write this in tears tonight, I hope that one day I can return — return to continue to do what I was doing before I left

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