Dear Mr. Lim Kit Siang,
I have utmost respect and admiration for your tenacity in remaining in Malaysia to champion the cause of justice and equality and fight for a Bangsa Malaysia.
My heart broke when I read about your article regarding the honest cyber cafe operator especially when he wondered if he ‘had chosen the wrong country’ to start and operate his business.
I see my situation summed up in that phrase. You have said before that the best and brightest are leaving this country. Well, I am making every preparation to leave. I have consistently scored straight As in every public exam and placed among the top 3 of my form. In university, I studied medicine and am among the top scorers. I have just graduated and scored near perfect results in a medical licensing examination that will enable me to work abroad and further my studies.
I was born a Malaysian yet I cannot see myself as a Malaysian. As a Chinese, I feel that I am being discriminated against. I feel that the government is trying its hardest to sideline me just because of my race. I look around and see this discrimination manifested in various forms. From the issue regarding religious conversion to the allocation of places in local universities, the stench of discrimination is sickening.
It was horrifying to note in my batch of medical students, there were a substantial number of malay students who actually did not apply for medicine but were sent to study it. It is disgusting to think that many STPM straight A scorers are deprived of a chance to study medicine while the government gives the places to people who are not even sure that they want to study medicine.
I have seen how racial politics sully the environment in the university and how unqualified people are in high posts at the expense of far more intelligent and qualified individuals just because they are Malay. I have heard the terrible statements made by delegates at the recent UMNO General Assembly about revoking my citizenship rights should I question their special rights.
I have seen the videos on YouTube where UMNO MPs have the audacity to ask us to ‘keluar’ of the country if we don’t like what they are doing to it. And I see the pathetic attempt by the PM to ‘discipline’ these racists. I hate the fact that Gerakan and MCA have done NOTHING to fight for my rights instead of just kow-towing to UMNO for their own gains.
Patriotism isn’t about singing the national anthem or raising the flag. It isn’t about accepting at face value everything the government says. It isn’t about attending merdeka celebrations. It is about feeling accepted as part of your nation. It is about knowing that your nation accepts you as a son or daughter. It is about realizing that being a part of a nation entails certain responsibilities. That is my definition of patriotism.
And right now, as a Malaysian, I am feeling anything BUT patriotic. 50 years of independence? So what? What has it done for me? Whoopee. I have a chance to change my life. I will change my destiny. I could not choose the country where I was born but I can very well choose the country that I will swear my allegiance to. I want a country that will recognize me as a citizen and grant me rights equal to that of all other citizens. I want a country that has the wisdom to recognize my potential and talents and reward me accordingly. I want a country where the government fears its people and conducts itself in a manner worthy of respect and honor.
This is not my nation. I am leaving. Mr. Lim, I salute you and all those like you who can find the strength and energy to fight for an ungrateful bunch of people. How many actually held mass protests, hunger strikes or rose up to defend you and your family when you or your son was imprisoned for fighting for us? How many did more than just shake their heads and move on with their petty little lives? None that I know of. Yet you continue to defend their rights.
You are an amazing man, Mr. Lim and I truly admire you for that. Unfortunately, I have a bright future ahead and I will not waste it in this country. It is not my nation.
Thank you for fighting the good fight.
(Author’s name withheld for privacy)