I am an ordinary Malaysian living a fairly ordinary life. I have a small family. I see my children grow up by the days. Like any father, I wish to give them good guidance to life, good education, good health, happy environment to live in, etc. These are the basics of many, if not all, family expectations from the parents and perhaps from the children.
I was born to this country by god's creation. I have a fantastic father and an incredibly loving mother. I lived a healthy rural lifestyle. I was destined to be born to a rural family. I am happy to live in this country. I had friends from all the main races in the country. They were all very nice people to be with and to befriend. I could not understand racial tensions. I grew up thinking that human beings come in different skin colour tone. We pronounced slightly differently but we understood each other fine. Our differences did not stop us from becoming the closest of friends.
Growing up in this country means that I have been exposed to all kinds of food available here. Be it any type of food from whichever ethnic background, I have learned how to enjoy it. Most types of the food available in this country suit my taste very well. I have adopted most of them as my kind of food. I am happy eating the food in Malaysia.
I once worked overseas for a better paid job but I decided to come back to Malaysia after a few years to be back with my family. It was a new and pleasant experience working overseas. It was however not fun to me that i had to be so far away from my parents most of the time. I could call and talk them but it was not the same as physically spending time with them. In recent years, I hear that more Malaysians have started to find career opportunities in foreign countries. It seems that well rewarded jobs with good prospects are getting harder to come by. I am hanging on to my stable job now but several friends of mine have tried to seek greener pastures outside this country. Some of them have decided to settle down overseas for long term, while a few have come back for their families. As far as I know, none of them come back because of better prospect or better pay package. One way or another, for those that have come back, they have taken some form of pay cut or lowered lifestyles.
I love my children like all other parents. I wish to have them near me and spend time with them. I see them grow up. It follows that I want to grow old with them around me. I want to share their good and bad times even in their adulthood. As I grow older, I wish to be able to be near them to see them grow old too. I believe this is a characteristic found in pretty much all families in this country. Who would wish to be far away from their loved ones?
Should the trend of younger generations having to seek career opportunities overseas continues, I fear for my children. They may have to seek career opportunities overseas in a few years' time. That means that they will be far away from me. I hate to think of that. I have always wanted my children to be close to me. It is important to have them physically near me too.
Or course, one can argue that I can travel out of the country and stay with my children overseas. I hate to think that I have to take an aeroplane just to see my children. How can that be? Children and parents are part and parcel of a family. A distance that require taking aeroplane is a distance too far for me and my children. It is awful to think that the requirement to see one's children is to take an aeroplane.
When I get to see my children and spend time with them overseas, I will have to miss my favourate food like roti canai, fried kuey teow, beef rendang, etc. When I get to eat my favourate food from my favourate stalls and restaurants, I do not get to see, hug and hear from my children in person. These are inconciliable realities that parents with children working overseas have to accept. This harsh fact can be undone if there are more good career prospects in this country.
There is another setback for parents that have to take an aeroplane to see their children. The parents will have to live and get used to the lifestyles in a place that their children work. The need to adapt to new different food tastes, overall living habits and possibly weather seems inevitable. Why does it have to be this way?
When I was young, I would not have chosen anywhere else in this world to live for the longest time that i could remember. At my matured age now, I still love this country as much. I want to live the rest of my life in this country. However, I will definitely not want to hamper my children's career prospect by keeping them in the country, potentially at their expense. Like all other parents, I want my children to have the best career prospects which are available to them. I must not be the achilles heel of my children's future. I am also too Malaysian to stay away for a long period without eating my favourite food from my favourite stalls and restaurants.
I just want to have my favourite fried kuey teow and, at the same time, spend good family time with my children. Is that too much to ask of our government?