A lesson on gratitude and patriotism, from a foreigner. October 22, 2008Posted by malaysianstory in Uncategorized.
A man came to see me. He said his family was migrating to Australia the following week. He had come to say Good Bye. He also said he had been happy in Malaysia and was grateful to the country for what it had given him and his family: life and peace, education, a decent job, friends of many races. He was leaving for the future of his family, had already the offer of a good job in his new country, but he wanted to show he was grateful to Malaysia where he was born and wanted to give me 2000 ringgit to give to aborigines or poor families as a sign of love. I accepted the donation and we said good bye. I was sorry I would not see any more his two little children and his lovely wife at Mass but that was life…
Now, what I want to say is that the story is not true. I was never once offered a donation from someone migrating to another country to say he was grateful for what he had received from Malaysia. Perhaps they did it on some other way with someone else… On the other hand many have come to say Good Bye!
Quite many people have migrated to other countries, among them bright young students from different races who have not come back after their studies. Very often they go for the sake of their families, trusting that the future will be brighter for their children over there than it would be here. They say they are responsible for their family and that comes long before any sense of responsibility and loyalty they may have for Malaysia… Surely I will not disagree with that…
Does it mean that we are only migrants here, or like passengers, waiting at the airport for the plane that will take us to some other place where we will all be happy for many years? Migrants? Some of us may be. Mere passengers, we are not. As long as we live in Malaysia it is only fair that we be loyal to the country and its government, that we appreciate the many good things given to us and we should not take for granted, that we play our little part in the building of the country like others, develop some roots, perhaps take part in politics, and so on… And perhaps, when we say Good Bye, there is a donation for Orang Asli or someone else. Think about it.
(I eventually discovered that this was part of a Sunday mass sermon delivered by Rev. Fr. Andrew Volle, a French cleric who has served in Malaysia for over 50 years, and has on a yearly basis apply for a visa to continue staying.)