My Anthem

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

PM starts today

PM: Press Monitor
PM: Prime Miniserial
PM: Post Mortem
PM: post merdien
PM: Prime Monitor?

I said I'm taking a seven-day break (save Sunday's Inter:Lude which is my soul-journey and hence enjoys a differenet plane of priority). Meanwhile, to occupy my time, I'm picking up some GEMS at blogosphere which I have missed, like several of my fave mentee's writes. I would also place on FOR THE RECORD some key events in NegaraKU which I may come back to; meanwhile, Desi would welcome my EsteemedReaders take centre stage, share their 3sen worth on the monitorings.


Why do I enjoy johnleemk's

Infernal Ramblings of a Thoughtless Mind

so much?

DESI: Because he writes with a critical, independent and democratic mind. I had once wanted to purse a THREE-EYE PROJECT with me, but as the saying goes -- Man Proposes, God Disposes (Woman Exposes?) -- the planned excursion had to be deferred, or diverted, or migrated.

Meanwhile, let's hear it from the Y&A -- blardy hella, he's young&ambitious, and I think he'll join the migratory birds soon. Another Jonathan Livingstone Seagull?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fleeing, Abandoning, Migrating

Written by johnleemk on 1:00:08 pm Sep 8, 2006.



PREFACE


Migrating to fairer shores is a longstanding tradition of about 40% of all Malaysians; it flows in our blood. Nowadays, it seems the migrationary instincts are kicking in more stronger than ever. The politically correct explanation (at least for those who don't listen to what the half-brained government says) is racism. But what of other factors?



Migrating to fairer shores is a longstanding tradition of about 40% of all Malaysians; it flows in our blood. Nowadays, it seems the migrationary instincts are kicking in more stronger than ever. The politically correct explanation (at least for those who don't listen to what the half-brained government says) is racism. But what of other factors?


More people than ever are migrating from Malaysia to live and work overseas. This trend is particularly evident among the young; most people with ambition dream of living somewhere other than home. (Certainly, few would reject the opportunity to at least study overseas.) The worrying thing, however, is the nature of this brain drain; instead of returning to apply their skills learnt elsewhere, many Malaysians end up domiciled in some place other than Malaysia.

The conventional explanation in the blogosphere would have something to do with racial discrimination and/or governmental incompetence. Now, although I've blogged extensively about both, I don't think one can be so simplistic as to attribute the brain drain to these factors alone.

Let us look at one particular feature of the brain drain, namely the fact that most who do migrate are non-Malay. Inevitably, one must reach a conclusion involving ethnicity. However, the appropriate conclusion to be drawn need not be the simplistic chants of some harebrained bloggers, and commentators at places like Malaysia Today.

At one end of the spectrum are those who accuse such people of lacking a particular spirit of patriotism. "These non-Malay buggers," they say, "don't love this country. That's why they left." I'm inclined to disagree with this assessment. If you ask those who have left or plan to leave, Malaysia is their home - and they love it. Most who leave don't have a burning hatred of this country or its people - its government, perhaps (maybe even probably), but not the country itself.

The opposite view would insist that these non-Malays have been discriminated against. "How," this side would declare, "can these people stay in a place where they are discriminated against?" While I've used this argument to defend migration as an option, I would not necessarily describe racial discrimination as the ultimate motivating factor in migration. I would instead view it as a tipping factor - the straw that breaks the camel's back.

The thing which got me thinking about all this was a recent BBC News article about Cuban migration. (Unfortunately I have been unable to locate it; otherwise, I would have linked to it.) The BBC's analysis concluded that most Cuban migrants - the bright, young, and educated offspring of socialism - yearn to leave as a way of dealing with the less than ideal situation in Cuba when it comes to civil liberties. Migration is the easy way out for those who lack the passion or idealism to actively fight for what they desire - in this case civil liberties.

I would say that although such a picture does somewhat resemble the Malaysian portrait of migration, this is not a real, main motivating factor in driving people to flee in droves. (Fleeing in droves they are; ask any young person in the city and they can tell you stories of best friends and classmates who just upped and left with their families.) If so, then, what could be the case?

I believe the truth is rather prosaic; many are mainly driven by economic factors to migrate. The Malaysian economy and standards of living cannot compare to those of the countries people favour for migration such as Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, etc. If one can make the cut and gets a decent offer, why not go?

At the same time, in addition to that social contract I oft favour mentioning, other issues contribute to the racial disparity among emigrants. The Malays are protected to a certain extent by the Constitutional provisions and government affirmative action policies related to their special status. As such, they do not feel the need to migrate as acutely. Nevertheless, many who can hack it overseas often do end up overseas; Bakri Musa is one prominent example. The education system also comes into play, as Malays are statistically more likely to gain entry to local tertiary institutions than non-Malays, forcing the latter to seek a degree elsewhere. This provides an opportunity for enterprising countries such as Singapore to woo such students and retain their services.

There is also an unsavoury issue that many are reluctant to discuss: the possibility of another, and worser, May 13. It's not a pleasant possibility to consider, but the fact is that it always remains a possibility. The New Economic Policy and its attendant aggressive economic policies were predicated on a growing economic pie to avoid robbing Peter to pay Paul. Should the economy begin to shrink, and the government be unable to contain the fallout, it would not be too farfetched to expect rioting in the streets again. Irresponsible blockheads are always there to stir up unpleasant sentiments. Presently they are part of the lunatic fringe because of the expanding economy. Should things change - as they inevitably will, unless the business cycle ceases to exist - the lunatic fringe may suddenly be the majority.

I haven't managed to touch on as many issues as I would have liked, and I know this piece can be confusing at times, but hopefully we have been able to look beyond the simplistic homilies of the Malaysian blogosphere. Not everything is coloured by race; relatively speaking, one might say the situation here is still not too bad (despite keris-waving and whatnot). The main issue simply is: can we earn a living here that is commensurate with our ability and needs? If we can, we will stay. If we can't, we will go. Ethnicity is incidental. It plays a role, but rolling back the government's racial policies would not be a magical solution to the problem of the brain drain - something many bloggers seem to enjoy overlooking.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

DESIDERATA:

EPILOGUE:
I urge my ER to visit johnleemk at his own Blog where you are also linked to his writing references. You note he prefaces his peices with what is called a PREFACE in general essays. or EXECUTIVE SUMMARY in business proposals, or Okay, in Shakespeare's terms, a PROLOOGUE.

I would advise my Readers still undertaking tertiary studies to make this style a habit for you can take it from Desi, it elevates your writing from mediocre to aboive par, assuming that you have a relevant, grounded and proper Preface, to be followed by persuasive articulation. Of course, excellent English is a pre-requisite.
I hope regulars like Helen are not put off when I stress "excelence" in the English language. Here I am only making it a desideratum for intellectual discourse befitting undergraduate and post-graduate enivironment -- until of copurse Malaysians settle for half-past-six. For consolation, maybe visit Desiderata-YLChong on Sundays, I give thee some intimation.
(Thoughts? Comments? Discuss this and other ramblings at the forums.
Return to Article Listing at IRoaTM.)


by desiderata at 11:39 AM


2 comment(s):

UPDATEd @8.50PM:


Writing is a talent. To be able to write like johnleemk is a gift. (how old did u say he is?):-)

Not everyone (even with best effort) can write like him. That is what makes him exceptional.

Hey, everything has its check and balance. Without mediocrity, there is no excellence. lol


By Helen, at 12:35 PM

singapore is also losing its talents and govt is frank and pro-active about it. hence the govt foreign-talent friendly immigration policy and malaysia with its pool of talent and the push factor affirmative policy is a natural source of human resource.

right now, singapore is looking for a talents in hospitality, tourism, bio-science, high finance and casino management.

i agreed with johnleemk that race discrimination alone is not the only push factor. the non-malay is also the biggest group of singaporean migrant.

with a more sophisticated population, economic consideration aside, freedom of expression and political openness ranks high in choosing one's domicile.


By See Fei, at 7:04 PM


DESI:
Helen and Seefei ~~ Malaysians unfortunately suffer a fate often determined by their ethnic origins -- hence TALENTS like Y&A johnleemk would inevitably be lured overseas. What's NegaraKU's loss is others, like Singapore's, gain.

Later, we label them SinhgAlong or Taiwan or Japanese operatives.
To such idiots, I say: Shaft your ops up where Da Sun don't shine. Protect us, Lord, from these foul mouthed elements. Oh, more Oxygen, O2dep! Amen.

2 comments:

Helen said...

Writing is a talent. To be able to write like johnleemk is a gift. (how old did u say he is?):-)

Not everyone (even with best effort) can write like him. That is what makes him exceptional.

Hey, everything has its check and balance. Without mediocrity, there is no excellence. lol

See Fei said...

singapore is also losing its talents and govt is frank and pro-active about it. hence the govt foreign-talent friendly immigration policy and malaysia with its pool of talent and the push factor affirmative policy is a natural source of human resource.

right now, singapore is looking for a talents in hospitality, tourism, bio-science, high finance and casino management.

i agreed with johnleemk that race discrimination alone is not the only push factor. the non-malay is also the biggest group of singaporean migrant.

with a more sophisticated population, economic consideration aside, freedom of expression and political openness ranks high in choosing one's domicile.