Chinese/Indian Malaysian Parents’ Dilemma

Many Malaysian Parents, mainly the non Bumi,have a dilemma regarding their children’s education and future.

I just met a friend who has this to tell me. He is an engineer earning a decent living but not really rich. He has 2 children, and he was grateful that he has only 2. The eldest is a son now just finished his studies in engineering in Australia. The second one is a daughter who has just gone to Australia to study business management.

His dilemma is this. He has no choice but to send his son overseas in order to provide him with a good education, and at the same time to broaden his perspective . He could have asked his son to study locally but the problem was his son might not be given the course of his choice since majority of places for medicine and engineering courses are reserved for Bumi students. He has to work very hard, and has to be very thrifty in order to save to send his children overseas. And he is now near retirement age. He wants his son to come back Malaysia to work but he fears that his son may not get a good job and the prospect of promotion may be limited.

SO he asked me what to do. I told him this is the dilemma faced by many , many Chinese and Indian parents. Who doesn’t want their children to be around them? But at the same time , if the children cannot get good job prospects here , what would the parents do? They would want the children to have the best chance  and do something that they are happy with. And that means letting their children work overseas, where the employment prospect is better, work satisfaction is better and upward mobility is better.

I asked him, why don’t you join your son down under? He answered that he loves Malaysia, he was born and bred here, his friends and relatives are all here, and his business is also here. He would feel out of place and it would not be easy for a middle age man to start his network and friends all over again in a foreign country.

What can we do about this? When a citizen’s child studies overseas, we lose precious foreign exchange and this is no small sum as overseas education runs into hundreds of thousands of ringgits for each student. Over the years, how many Malaysians have gone overseas to study? One hundred thousand? half a million? one million? I don’t have the figure. But Malaysian used to be the biggest group of foreign students in Australia, UK etc. How much money was lost? Astronomical, perhaps.

harvard2.jpgHarvard University is very expensiveauckland1.jpgEven Auckland University is not cheap.

How many of these did not come back? I have so many classmates working as consultants in UK, SIngapore and Australia that I have lost count. This is “brain drain” and “brain loss”. Human capital is now recognised as the most important assets in this flattening world. Many of these who stay abroad becomes very famous scientists, doctors, entrepreneurs etc. How much brain was lost? No one can quantify! Who knows, Malaysia would have become a first world country by now if we have all these brains realising their potentials locally. Everyone, including Bumi and non Bumi, would have benefited more than now.

How about the human costs? How many families were seperated? How many parents died a lonely death because their children are overseas?

The lists go on………………………. And the dilemma is getting more acute. 

We should in fact be more farsighted. Tertiary education should be based on merits, with maybe a small proportion reserved for socially handicapped people. For those studying overseas, try to lure them back, place them in GLCs such as petronas, TNB, Telekom,, government departments and let the promotion be based on merits.

That way, the companies can be much more successful, the countiry will be more prosperous, there will be much more job prospects, the economic cake can grow bigger and we then have bigger capacities to offer affirmative action for the less advantaged groups.

 Be farsighted and then be rewarded with every ethnic group getting bigger share of the economy.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. anggoron
    Mar 13, 2007 @ 14:07:01

    I fully agree on your perception on brain drain. If those studying abroad could obtain satisfaction ( pay, prospect of promotion) locally , they themselves could fill up certain gaps ( lecturer) in local universities.

    One reasons is the lack of qualified lecturers , thus unable to expand any departments within the university itself. If lecturers are of plenty than many other issuess hinder
    expansion of the academic institution.

    The issue of (bumi – non bumi) quotas and what so ever (politicians should answer)

    and i am just a layman with views.


  2. ed
    Mar 13, 2007 @ 14:19:33

    Both singapore and malaysia practice/d institutionalised racism. Singapore did it via their SAP school system(Special Assistance Plan – for chinese) and Malaysia does it via their ‘Bumiputra’ policy which advantages the malays (which, ironically, is an Indian word).

    However, whilst the BP policy might have been started to help uplift the malay community to the level of ‘others’, this can easily mutate into helping them achieve dominant positions throughout the economy. This is when ‘affirmative action’ degenerates into socio-economic eugenicism.

    To prevent this, what ought to be done is to increase the number of seats in the universities to ensure that all who qualify on the basis of academic merits get into respective faculties. Whilst the ‘Bumiputra’ ‘upliftment’ policy can continue within this scheme, all those who exhibit talent in respective fields, despite their attributed ‘race’, will also be included. If this is not done, then malaysia will stand to lose from a ‘brain-drain’ of its own making.


  3. Equally Concerned
    Mar 13, 2007 @ 19:17:48

    It will take several more generations before Malaysians, especially the Malays, are willing to see the development of the country on the race basis.

    Firstly, UMNO, MCA and MIC must be disbanded because they are race based partlies and are rulling the country based on interests of individual race. UMNO being the dominant party had been pushing Malay interest first BEFORE national interest.

    Right now, the so called new generation of UMNO are questioning the trend of developing the country away from race basis.

    Read here as the case in point:

    These articles are condemning Anwar and Parti Kedilan for asking Govt to revew the NEP.


  4. Penulis Tua
    May 04, 2007 @ 18:31:31

    This is all fine but place it in context. The Chinese were and are not innocent of racism. It is pretty rife…Malay are dirty,lazy,etc…Indians are dirty,black and smelly,etc… Cantonese only wear fashionable clothes though their homes are dirty…
    The Chinese economic dominance was not restricted to charging non-Chinese more for almost everything. Chinese were “from the same village” where discounts were and are concerned. The Govt was forced to introduce price tagging. Naturally now the Malays have the upper hand they too are prejudiced and even revengeful. There has to be a total change of attitude on the part of ALL races. That is not going to happen soon. Maybe after 200 years the Chinese will begin to respect the Malays and the Malays begin treat the Indians as fellow citizens. So where does it leave the “oversea educated Chinaman”? He/She can integrate, join the MCA and make money or migrate.

    If they are going to migrate, don’t make the mistake of your ancestors in Malaysia. Become citizens of your adopted countries from day your parents and siblings migrate if you can. Marry into your host community so that you donot stick out like a sore thumb there generation after generation. A few will do so successfully. These will be the ones who have imbibed values of democracy, fairness (or ‘fair go’) and love for their fellow humans. Some more will achieve some sort of balance after 2 or 3 generations. About half will hanker after ‘Malaysial’ style until they die. How about you, dear reader? Are you ready to be a human in Malaysia and respect the other races who make up that sad country? Be honest!


  5. karpa
    Dec 29, 2007 @ 03:16:13

    human make up that country? it is quite a joke.


  6. jeff
    Dec 29, 2007 @ 13:17:34

    Malaysia only interested in seeing malay successful, not other races, that is why there is non-bumi for minority citizens.It is understand there is no future for other races in this country with institutional racism


  7. Killi Valavan
    Dec 29, 2007 @ 23:34:51

    the quota system has been a demotivator for many non-bumi students for many years. Every year , those indians students with good results but rejected Uni place write appeal to MIC . But most of the time it will go in vain (did i heard someone said about proper channel?) . For MIC , Tafe is the alternate for local Uni . But it not cheap or recognized as Uni . For indians , gov’s failures are actually hindraf’s success .


  8. jeff
    Jan 04, 2008 @ 00:23:05

    In every civilized country, citizen can sue for discrimination to right his wrong, but in Malaysia, racial discrimination is institutionalized, so practically minority has no recourse and help even from their own government.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: