Friday, January 06, 2012

After 9 years.
That's almost a decade. But after 9 years of being in this country, I finally received my green card the other day. It's been a long convoluted road, from a J then H visa and now this.
Though it's a huge relief, and will make travelling with my family much easier, and not having to worry about 'secondary' screens (which is still much better these days compared to the post 9/11 days), getting this was almost a bittersweet moment.
Probably more psychological, since I've called this place home for the last 9 years. Including medical school, I've lived in North America since 1998.
But, becoming a Permanent Resident, also makes it pretty clear (if it wasn't already): This, here, is now home. Here.
No longer Malaysia. No longer the place I was born. The place I grew up with, the place that holds so many precious memories, and still holds so many family and friends still so dear to me.
Though this was not what I foresaw when I started my career here, this was but to be expected when Kristin and I got married and started our family. And though I do consider it a privilege to receive this card, I am somewhat saddened to think about the factors that led me here. The same factors that have led 5 of the 10 other close friends of mine from highschool to seek permanent residence elsewhere, outside of Malaysia. To cause the massive brain drain from Malaysia, the loss of so many young talents. The same issue that comes up over and over again, in a country that found her independence almost 55 years ago: If you are of a different skin color, then you'll always be an immigrant. You'll never have the same rights.
So ultimately, for my family, for my daughter's future, like many of my friends who think about their children's futures, we seek greener pastures. Though this place is far from perfect, this is now home. 


Anonymous lin said...

congratulations :)

11:16 PM  
Blogger Ivanka Ng said...

Congratulations... what were the main factors that make you thinking of migration? how about your privileges now after got the green card? would it better than malaysia?

3:11 AM  
Anonymous Shuz said...

congratulations Dr. =)

11:34 PM  
Blogger PaulOS said...

Next.. Citizenship?

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Vagus said...

Ivanka: Many reasons, personal and professional. I have all the priviledges of an American, except voting rights. That I get if I choose to become a citizen in a few years.
Paulos: call me silly but I'm still somewhat attached to being a Malaysian, not sure if I will apply for the next step

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Michelle Olivarez said...


I stumbled upon your blog as I was browsing through the Internet about Malaysia's brain drain.. and we have a lot in common, I find!

I am also a Malaysian who got my green card in January 2012! Married an American, I see that you too! I am happy to find someone who is going through the same thing as I am, as I rarely meet many Malaysian immigrants in USA. I live in Southern California, what about you?
Which part of Malaysia are you from?
If that's okay with you, we should keep in touch! It'll be cool to talk to another Malaysian whom I can relate to.

Just reply me here 1st and then, we can chat :) would like to know more about your journey!

6:19 PM  
Blogger vagus said...

Hi Michelle. Actually I know of several Malaysians in CA. I'm based in the midwest, but originally from Seremban

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Michelle O said...

Oh really? Anyone in San Diego? :D

Oh.. you're from Seremban. I am from KL. I notice that it took you around 9 years to get your green card?? Wow, that's pretty long. And.. about being a doctor.. did you do A Levels and study in IMU... then, go to medical school in USA? I am also in a health-related field.

I can totally relate to feelings of still being Malaysian.. in fact, I also don't know if I wanna apply for citizenship. I know that you've been in the USA for a few years now.. I just got here in January, as a PR. Am still adjusting.. but it gets easier :) miss my family and the food though back in Malaysia!

11:09 AM  
Blogger vagus said...

Michelle: Yes, I did A levels at Taylor's before IMU and Canada for medschool. The greencard took awhile because I was on a J1 visa which requires a long process to convert to green card.
Any change is difficult, but I believe the USA to be a country full of potential, and rewards those who work hard without the bigotry we left behind. The Malaysians I know are in SF, but am sure SD has plenty. While it's good to network with Malaysians, a key to settling down in a new place is to also form new networks with people here, and learn about the new culture. Am sure you will do great!

8:37 PM  
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