These are my two grand daughters. Isabel, the older one, was born in KL and Sofie in Canada. Their mother Terrina (my daughter) was born in Assunta PJ and their uncle Zack (my son) in Adelaide. Like me, all of them are now living outside Malaysia. The reality is that they will continue to live outside Malaysia and over time Malaysia will be a distant memory within their lives.
But not for me. My ties with and within Malaysia is too recent to discard.
My grandfather is Dr Abdul Latiff bin Abdul Razak. I remember him vividly... this is an image of him that I just googled - a formidable presence in his house at Kampong Kassipilay.
My grandfather is the first Malay Doctor of British Malaya, of Bugis ancestry and descended from Raja Besar Bugis from Pulau Sanghie in Sulawesi.
From a very young age I have always remembered him for his white hair, which I now have, and I remember him dying in 1956 as we gathered around his bed....and in between many many wonderful memories of family gatherings in that house in Kampong Kassipilay.
We call him Tok Tan.
He was survived by his wife, also a formidable grandmother in her own right - held in awe by all of us and all of her six sons and three daughters. She, we called Tok Tina.
From these two matriarch have descended my two grandchildren - Isabel and Sofie. They have no recollection of their great great grandfather and soon their children's children, will have no recollection of me and my wife. If they continue to live in Canada they will be Canadians. Whether that is good or bad for them and for Malaysia is for others to decide. Suffice to say that for most of us that has left Malaysia, our concern for our children and for ourselves, lies in the future.
But I can tell you what has changed for most of us.
It is the same feeling that most Arabs feel when they leave their country and arrive in Europe, London or New York....or any other country where they are free to do what they want, within reasons. For me the moment the plane that I boarded at Subang leaves the tarmac, leaves Malaysian soil.....I feel as if a heavy load has been lifted from my shoulders!
I am no longer defined by my race, my religion, my place in life, who I know and certainly not beholden to any one who seeks to impose their sense of complete entitlement over all things Malaysian, including me.
I know that where I am going to disembark - in any part of Australia - the immigration and customs will do their duty without fear or favor. After clearing immigration and custom, I know that if I do need a taxi, I will be able to get one and pay a fare that is fair and correct. And what lies ahead of me in Australia is a life that is for me to decide.
Once you have lived that life, there is no going back to the life we lived in Malaysia. No going back to everyday corruption, no going back to everyday racial and religious harassment, no going back to having to kowtow to anyone who thinks themselves better than you....but is NOT!
Of course if you have not lived that life - then you will exists in hubris. Live in ignorance of what could be - in short macham katak di bawah tempurung. And for those of you who are that katak....we know that it will not be this Umno led BN government that will change your life. You will have to do it yourself.
If not, then you will forever exists in hubris and ignorance of what is possible if you will only challenge yourself in life!
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