Thanks to the most wonderful wife in the world, I will be making a trip back to Malaysia in a week. This time, without the family. I had some extra vacation time, and since I had minimal time with buddies the last time- always difficult when you are travelling with jetlagged and cranky kids- she suggested months ago I should make a solo trip.
For about a millisecond.
And booked my ticket on Qatar Air. This will be my first time flying with them. And because I will be giving a series of lectures to Malaysian docs too, I'm able to use some of my CME funds for the trip and opted to go business class.
I'm psyched; after all, it's been 2 years since my last trip to Malaysia, or since I saw my sis or older brother. Many many years since I saw my school mates.
Many years since I made out with Ms. Satay, Nasi Lemak, Chow Kuey Teow and other seductresses.
But admittedly, part of me is not too excited about this trip. I'm disgusted and heartbroken reading about all that fucked up mess going on in Malaysia. From the alleged corruption charges of politicians, to the free falling Ringgit (yes, it is to my advantage coming in with US Dollars.... but still....). But most of all, saddened that despite our claims and boasting of how far Malaysia has come, that we almost 60 years from Merdeka, that the racial tensions now are worse than it's ever been. That many young Malays still hurl insults at the pendatangs, never mind that they might be 3rd or 4th generation Malaysian and was born there and pay the same taxes everyone else does. That any stupid problem is blamed on the Indians, Chinese, Jews, Lim Kit Siang or whoever. That there is still a paranoia that other races have ulterior motives or some grand conspiracy to take over the country. That DAP is a 'Chinese' party. That Bersih was an anti-Malay movement. That it's perfectly OK to put up flyers threatening bodily harm, of a man yielding a keris, with blood splatter all over another man who is kneeling and bound. That it's fine to say Shut up, or be reminded of the massacre of May 13. Or to call the Chinese pigs. And to have the Deputy PM stand behind these statements, saying it's important for the Malays to protect their rights.
What do we have to show for the 50+ years of Independence? It certainly does not seem that we are progressing as a society- racial intolerance seems worse than ever. And groups do not seem to be thinking for the betterment of the country or society, but only in terms of each racial group's interest.
I miss Malaysia. I'll always call her home- and though I've spent half my life overseas, this place still in many ways feels foreign to me. However, I thank my lucky stars that my parents had the strength, and the foresight, to tell their kids: Go, spread your wings and go where they may take you- but leave and don't come back. For the future for us minorities in Malaysia does not seem all that bright. And sadly, I've been much more warmly welcomed here, never mind my skin color- than in my native Malaysia where I'm still considered a pendatang.