Apologies from thefourlobes for failing to updating thefourlobes you all on yesterday (Thursday). As the previous post, “Just for My Papa” have announced, we are bringing you the posts from The Malaysian Insider regarding the predicament many people faced and their decision on whether to stay in this country, or simply pack their bags and fly away. With this, I give you the first of the series: Why I Stayed vs. Migration Stories. Do enjoy these viewpoints published, and perhaps, make one stand of your own.


Should I stay or should I go?

MAY 24 — To tell you the truth I never envisioned myself working overseas when I first started working, let alone emigrate. So when I was given an opportunity to work abroad, I hesitated.

I half-heartedly accepted the assignment, hoping to return to Malaysia once my stint there was complete. After all, I was to be posted to China, a backwater Third World country. Imagine my surprise when I first set foot in their new Pudong airport (although not as “canggih” as KLIA at that time). The taxi drivers were very courteous, they used their meters and were readily available anytime of the day. As I was driven to downtown Shanghai, I was amazed by the level of development and advancement. I kept asking myself, “Is this really China?”

Fast forward five years. Yes, five years. My original stint there was only a two-year gig and since then I kept on renewing my job permit to continue working in Shanghai. And why is that? Here are my answers:

1. Living standard is better in Shanghai

You can get practically anything in Shanghai, from designer stuff to local fare. Better security, cleaner streets, excellent public transportation and excellent housing. Albeit the living cost here is a bit higher than in KL but then again the adjusted salary suits the environment. Unlike Malaysia, China has a minimum wage law and it is adjusted yearly according to the yearly inflation rate. The only thing KL has better than Shanghai are private hospitals (too many fake private hospitals in China).

2. No discrimination

No discrimination to any foreigners. All are free to come and go and work here in China. With my skin colour and language skill, I practically can blend in with the locals. As far as I know, there are over 50 ethnic minorities in China, and the government is actively providing protection for them. Free housing, free medical and school and a lot of other goodies. But in Malaysia, it is the other way round with the government protecting the majority and discriminating against the minority.

3. Capitalism baby!

Well, you may say China is communist but like any practical Chinese, if the system is faulty, tweak it until it’s right again. They realise all ordinary people want are personal security, housing and the ability to earn a living. They abolished the old communist ways and gave birth to capitalism, communist style. In fact they are more capitalist than America today.

New jobs are created, new economies are born and this gives birth to new wealth for the masses. Foreign countries like to invest in China because there are no barriers to doing business in China and of course the lower labour cost (though higher than Malaysia, dollar to dollar). There are too many requirements and disadvantages against investors doing business in Malaysia.

So how does all that translate to a normal wage earner like you and me? Well, it means it’s easier to find jobs and opportunities here in China than back in Malaysia. And they pay well too for my skill. Can I say the same back in Malaysia? Here, my chances of striking it rich are 10 times higher than back in Malaysia (business ventures, of course).

So what’s the verdict? Should I stay or should I go? (music)

It is hard for me when every time I come back to Malaysia, my relatives advise me not to stay in Malaysia. It’s even harder still when every time I “lepak” with my friends all of them are discussing about preparing an exit strategy from Malaysia.

For the time being, I’m holding my verdict. I’ll continue to work in China while watching Malaysia very closely. Even if the government doesn’t like me and treats me like a “pendatang”, though we live in a country with a broken system, this my home.

After all, Malaysia is “tanah tumpah darahku.” I have faith in our people (Malaysians). See how the old Soviet-era Communist China has been reborn into a new China, stronger and better. If they can do it, why can’t we… or can we?