In the fifties when I was born and in the sixties when i was a teenager studying in high school, Taiwan was a poor, underdeveloped country ruled by generals who lost the war in Mainland China and fled to this island in the late 40s.
In 1980, as a youn man, I went to Taiwan for a tour with my wife. It was then considered a developing country, with not much of industry and natural resources, but with many universities that churned out world class students.
Because it has very little natural resources, and much of its money were tied down in maintaining a huge army (relative to its size and population), the people were still very poor. An average Taiwanese family was poorer than their counterparts in Malaysia and percapita income was way behind Malaysia despite the fact that it had almost the same population in a country much smaller than us.
Many Malaysians, especially those educated in the CHinese Medium , went to Taiwan to study even in those days. I was impressed by the highly educated work force, and the worldly knowledge of the people. I mentioned to my wife then that it would be a matter of time they would overtake us, since they had very good universities and a very hardworking work force. Everyone there seemed to study so hard in order to be able to get scholarships to go over to the States.
Yesterday, I read an article that Acer is set to overtake Dell to be the second biggest producers of personal computers. For those who have not heard of Acer ( not many I suspect), Acer is a Taiwanese company which has grown to be a big multinationals.
Taiwan is also listed to be one of the richest countries now, while we are ranked around 60.
I can’t help but ponder ” what went wrong”?
While Taiwan has overtaken us and is now so far ahead, we are still at the stage of trying to lure investments from the likes of Acers from all over the world, including Taiwan.
Do you know who is the inventer of thumb pendrive? His name is Pua Kien Seng, and he is a Malaysian.
Wow! Malaysian, you will feel proud as a fellow Malaysian , just like me!
Pendrive is a small device which has become so big in usage. It is now an indispensable part of those who use computers. And it is invented by a Malaysian. Wow, we should be making tons and tons of money from this one invention from one of our own.
But wait a minute! Before you go out and celebrate this piece of news, which I read in my fellow blogger Justin’s blog, let me shock you with the following facts.
He is a Malaysian, but he invented the device in Taiwan and he is now based in Taiwan. So thumb pendrive is considered to be a Taiwanese invention. Or more correctly, it is an invention by the Republic of China, not Malaysia, even though the inventor is a Malaysian.
Another case of brain drain. You may want to read one of my top posts on this topic here (racial politics and Brain Drain).
JUst imagine how much our country could have earned if thumb pendrive is invented in Malaysia ? We could have sold millions of it and earns billions. NOt to mention the up and downstream industries that could have been spurned from this one invention.
This is just tip of the iceburgs. There are many other talented inventions by Malaysians in other countries, I am very sure. .
As usual , we miss the chance . Why are talented Malaysians not coming back?
I have written so many times on this , I am now feeling very tired to talk about the same thing. Tired yes, Sad yes, sick yes. Sick to the core. So sick that I would not want to go into the reasons of brain drain anymore.
Maybe you just go and read the article mentioned above and the 100 over comments in that post, some made by exMalaysians overseas, who are now professors, professionals , successful businessmen, etc etc..