Was back after an almost 2 weeks break in North Island , New Zealand. I arrived on Tuesday , reached home almost midnight. Since when it is midnight here, the time in NZ would be 5am, I was really feeling the jet lag the whole of yesterday (perhaps age is catching up). Slept at 8pm last night, which was 1 am in NZ and woke up at 4am, which was 9am in NZ. But was feeling much better after the fairly good sleep.
I had a fairly busy but relaxing 12 days, travelling through the central and northern part of North Island. It was not as scenic as South Island, where I went last year; nevertheless, the scenery is still breath taking and the beaches and the bays were beautiful . We saw dolphines and of course plenty of sheep and cattles. It is a great place to drive around yourself. The signages are excellent , the maps accurate and most drivers observe motoring rules strictly.
One of the comments in the previous post by Klm about Austin, USA ( I had been there in the eighties, a most beautiful city and capital of Texas) can be applied to New Zealand as well.
My daughter stayed in an apartment in Wakeful Street of Auckland, which is just off Queen Street ( the equivalent of Orchard Road in Singapore) in the central business district – where the University of Auckland campus is. Everywhere we went around the CBD, we saw and heard different types of people and languages. One in four persons in Auckland now is an Asian. The whole streets were full of Koreans, Hongkongese, Taiwanese, Mainland Chinese, Indians, Middle Eastern people and so on. We heard different languages being spoken while at the same time, we were able to converse with them in English.
One third of my daughter’s graduating class is non-White, most of them NewZealanders of Asian origin. This shows how cosmopolitan NZ has become.
The laws there are the same for all races. I would be wrong to say that there is no discrimination. It is human nature that makes people of the same stock gather together, and when they are together, there is bound to be small talk about other races. But on the surface, I did not detect any obvious form of discrimination. Under the law, any discrimination can be reported to the authority and action can be taken against those who discriminate against others.
The important thing that I would like to stress is that the same law and same conditions apply to all ethnic groups as long as they are their citizens. There are no 2 classes of citizens. In the university, whether one passes or fails depend on how good the person is.
The same thing is happening in the States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.. They are becoming more and more cosmopolitan. By being so, they are serving as a magnet to attract the best brains in the world to their countries. Human resources are the most important asset. A country which is able to continuously attract talents to that country will always stay in the fore front of innovation and invention.
Malaysia has all the ingredients to make it as great , if not greater, than these countries. If only we have leaders who have more fore-sights and who are less self-centred. We, in the early eighties, were much more advance than most Asians countries that are now way ahead of us. In the sixties and seventies, our students overseas used to be the best and frequently topped their classes overseas.
It is not an exaggeration to say that Singapore would not be what it is today if not for the hundred of thousands of Malaysians who have chosen to stay there and become their citizens. Most of my classmates – I graduated from the medical school there- from Malaysia chose to stay back there and now are professors and consultants in their hospitals and universities, helping train thousands of Singaporeans to be useful and contributing citizens. My own sister, who is an actuarist, worked almost her whole life there despite retaining her Malaysian citizenship. She is now retired there and all her children are Singapore citizens. Many Malaysians have migrated to Canada, Australia, US and so on.
Alas, we miss the boat. Instead we are now struggling to keep abreast with those coming from far behind us , countries like China, Vietnam, Thailand.
It is really time for those leaders who claim they love Malaysia to stop and ponder. What has gone wrong?
To me, the whole NEP culture- which has bred corruption, abuse of power, personal glorification and lack of meritocratic principles- is the culprit.
We need to have a bold leader who can make a clean break with the past, takes bold action to change our culture from a race based one to a meritocratic and needs-based one.
Otherwise, we would be losing even more talents and brains to these foreign countries, which are great partly because of the ability to attract and accommodate different cultures and ethnicity without having a separate law for the new comers.