Unwanted at Home

I just read an article on TMI about Malaysians who give up their citizenship. While everyone has the right to renounce their Malaysian citizenship, I was curious as to why this was happening. One such person was quoted as saying that:

Lim, a single mother in her 40s, said the idea of renouncing her Malaysian citizenship was not foreign. She had grown up being told that as a Chinese, she was not welcome in the country.

What struck me was that, she had grown up being told that as a Chinese, she was not welcome in the country. I truly wondered who the hell told her such rubbish?

So, I thought back on how things were during my time growing up in Malaysia. The only people whom ever repeated such rubbish were the local Chinese community. I have never been told such things by my school teachers, by the government official or by any other random non-Chinese person on the street.

Therefore, I wonder if such a myth has been perpetuated through the generations, within the community, without any real pith or substance?

I can understand how such a myth could have started. When I was young, I used to be told that the local Chinese are unwanted and therefore, we have to work hard in order to survive. There are a lot of rather unkind sayings about the local non-Chinese community that often accompany such statements. So, being unwanted serves as a sort of motivational push to force the kids to excel at school so that we could all go overseas and leave this godforsaken place.

If that was the reason for creating such a myth, then I can understand the reasons for it but it is a myth nonetheless.

The scary thing about this myth is that I often see it spouted by those who have very little contact with the non-Chinese local community such as those who grew up living in local Chinese neighbourhoods, attended local Chinese schools and had friends mainly from the local Chinese community. These are often the people who shout about it the most.

While I have never attended Chinese school, I have heard rumours of their teachers spouting such nonsense. I would think that the purpose was to motivate the kids to study so that they could all go overseas for their education. In the end, I think that many are encouraged to go overseas including to places like Taiwan, where there is an active effort to attract Malaysians.

However, what I fear is that the myth has become self-perpetuating and is turning into a reality simply because everyone believes it to be true. Unlike in the past, today, we hear more and more stories of people saying such things and there are more and more people leaving our country.

While I don’t think that it’s a bad idea for Malaysians to work overseas for the exposure and experience gained, I do think that renouncing our Malaysian citizenship is an extreme stance to take.

In the end, I honestly think that such a myth should not be perpetuated further. Everyone is welcome in their own home. While the local Chinese may feel that we are unwanted in our own country, I think that we have ourselves to blame for the perpetuation of this myth.

Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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