Wednesday, July 11, 2007

How I Began To Love Malaysia

I am a really proud Malaysian.

Honestly, I never always used to be like that. I had a turbulent young adulthood with a very tiny sense of patriotism.

I had no idea how it felt like to be a patriot and the hours of Pendidikan Moral and Sejarah back at school never really helped much even though I aced both subjects in SPM.


It was only when I left for the UK that I began to understand what being a Malaysian really meant.


There I was heading to UCL, the 3rd oldest university in the UK (after Oxford and Cambridge) off to study Economics at a faculty full of students from all over the world.
I made friends with British, Americans, Russians, Israelis, Japanese... they came from all over the world to represent their respective countries in that faculty. I on the other hand, came along with 4 Malaysians to represent Malaysia.

It is only when you sit in a room full of people from all over the world that your national identity suddenly comes closer to heart.

People would ask me where I was from and whenever I said "Malaysia", nobody ever said "Where's that?"


They all nodded their heads and often said something like

"Oh I love your twin towers!!! That has got to be the most beautiful building on the planet!".


It is at moments like this that I began to feel proud of where I came from.


Then there were the friends I hung out with.

There were the two nice Singaporean girls there that I met in my first year.
The first Hong Kong girl I met in my lecture that I almost fell for. And even the first Japanese I met when I was there, his name is Koichi. Yes, my reaction in the picture came right after I said.

"HOLY SHIT YOU'RE A JAPANESE!!! I'VE HEARD SO MUCH ABOUT YOU!!!"


Then there was the group of Asians that I hung out with.
Some of us were from China, some from Singapore, some from Hong Kong, and one of my very best friends Hasan, from the middle-east.

But being 10,000 KM away from home, sometimes it feels good to be around a group of Malaysians... to talk or even curse like a Malaysian.

People that will understand you when you say
"Oi!!! Pundek!!!"

And for that I had a friend or two like Michelle who went to London with me all the way from Penang.
Or Alina Rashid, one of my best friends back at UCL. And a group of friends that followed me to London right after we finished our A-levels here at Help Institute.

I remember this very moment when the group of us Malaysians stood in this picture in Leicester Square. It was only a few months since we all touched down in London and we were walking around Leicester Square.

One of us hustled and said

"THIS IS THE FAMOUS LEICESTER SQUARE!!! LETS TAKE A PIC HERE TO MARK OUR ARRIVAL!!!"


And take a picture we did.


I spent 3 years in London with these friends of mine. 3 years sounds like a long time but it sure felt very short.
Before I knew it, the time came for us to start making plans about what to do after graduation.

Many of my friends were adamant about finding a job and staying in the UK.

But my mind was clear from the start. I wanted to go home.


Even my friends back home were shocked when I told them that. "Why? Why do you want to come back here? Life there is so much better, better standard of living, cold weather, equal rights.. you name it!".

I admitted that the dear country that brought us up was not perfect.

But that just made me want to go back even more to somehow, make a change.
It didn't matter if I would be earning in Ringgit instead of pounds. It didn't matter.

What mattered was that I went overseas to find myself... and now that I had found myself it was time to go home.

I did come home and along with Ming, we started Nuffnang which is something Malaysian that has caught the eyes of even those on other side of the world.


I really am proud to be Malaysian... I am.
So when one of my business associates-cum-friend Chan, the CEO of Exabytes told me about his company's Merdeka initiatives I offered myself to help, which is why you see a little Merdeka logo at the bottom right of my blog. Sure, the nice Chan gave another incentive for people to support the cause by giving away prizes like a Sony Ericsson Phone or a Logitech Wireless Mouse & Keyboard.

But as for me... being Malaysian is enough to support any initiative like that.

Dear Malaysia... it feels good to be home.

33 comments:

aL said...

1st 1st 1st!

me definitely a proud penangite!

den second a proud malaysian ok?!

voch said...

Amazing speech bro. Love yr M'sian spirit. Hehe:) Keep it up!

Jasonmumbles said...

What's with you and your "V" sign?

And the picture024, were there any other meaning with your "V" sign placing at that area? :P

NoHz said...

man... no one to ask me out for movies at Angels' VUE and 4 seasons anymore...even ah quah also don eat so much boss... sigh... nway, glad that you are doin great in malaysia, boss! hehe... will join you in a year!

MaN|acZ said...

Boss,
Thank God you came back and made changes here.

HIDUP TImothyTIAH!!!

:P

Freethinker said...

Holy cow, you so patriotic one ar... I missed Covent Garden...

Stan said...

Jo Tim,

being in overseas at this moment, I definitely can relate so much with your sentiments that you've felt. To an ironical extent, it feels strangely good and proud to be msian when I get to explain how msia is made up of different racial grps and how despite the differences we have coexisted and lived together for so long...

I certainly do wish I feel more patriotic abt Msia, but perhaps with the current state of affairs, I do think there's more for both the people to do for msia, AS Well as for the leaders for the people. With Merdeka coming up next month too...mm mixed feelings. Naja!

giovoni said...

Finally, the real Timothy Tiah stood up.

vegemaster said...

I love my country(Malaysia) as much as you do too ..

Its only the people i cant stand ...
You know who i'm talking about rite??

Boss Stewie said...

al: haha yes yes i'm proud to be a penangite too

voch: hahaa thanks dude

jason: hahaha no lar no lar!

nohz: yes yes !!! faster come back and join me dude! serve thy country!

maniacz: adui dun say Hidup Timothy TIah wei... i'm not king or anything

freethinker: hahaha i missed covent garden too.. yes its true

stan: hey dude... i read a lot about what goes on in our country but as patriot doesn't curse and swear at the flaws his country, he tries to do his part and hope for the better. e.g. if you love your gf, you don't leave her for her flaws, you stay with her and try to correct her

giovoni: lol giovoni

Boss Stewie said...

vegemaster: no ler dude, it's not nice to generalize. i know a lot of very nice and capable people

Our Journey said...

"..as patriot doesn't curse and swear at the flaws his country, he tries to do his part and hope for the better. e.g. if you love your gf, you don't leave her for her flaws, you stay with her and try to correct her"

what a good phrase & good example. salute you!!

hao said...

I was just going to ask you what Jason asked. LOL

The photos really bring back a lot of good memories, don't they?

Cely said...

how come u look the same few years back compare to now?

KY said...

[People would ask me where I was from and whenever I said "Malaysia", nobody ever said "Where's that?"]

That's because you didn't go to the US. hee-hee

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

very patriotic ar..good stuff..true malaysian..

Michael Song said...

wah lao sibeh patriotic... i laughed damn loud when i saw ur uni's pics... very "jiwang" post this time around... i added the little thingy on my site as well... COOL!!!

William Leong said...

Patriot siallllll..... surely must've knock ur head on some ceiling or a bunk bed when waking up one morning :P kidding bro..

I know what you mean, the 'i miss malaysia' feeling all came to me when i landed in KLIA and saw the 'welcome to malaysia' banner while still in the plane after coming back from US after 2 months there.

like what you said, its not a perfect country. but it's where i'd call kampung.

Jason Lee said...

No joke man.. I got to know about you through kennysia.com and I think from now on i'm go be a regular reader of timothytiah.blogspot.com d.. haha.. what you're doing is good stuff man.. I have the same aspirations like you so go pave the way to motivate people to get going and make a change for Malaysia! No need to reach the millionares league, as long as what you did made a difference here!
Go achive the Malaysian dream..
God Bless Malaysia... =b

Jason Lee said...

*chup chup* actually heard about you through a seminar back then at my school,(form5) SMKDU, PJ
from this really proud (of you) lecturer at HELP bout how tuitionhamster.com was created through your iniative.. darn my respect and admiration from you is increasing.. you're bigger than you think! Go further than you can!

Boss Stewie said...

our journey: lol thanks thanks

hao: yes they do!!! kinda miss my london days

cely: hahaha yes i never grow old eh?

ky: hahahaa lol.. yes i can actually see that happening there

joe: hehehe thanks dude..

michael: yalar.. quite jiwang rite
hehehe

william: yes... not perfect.. but it's still home

jason: really? no ler dude.. really nothing to admire now.

Nicocoa said...

timothy.. ur hair.... ur college hair.... ugh...

i like u now better. :D

ehon said...

i did a post about this too, but couldn't be bothered to go find it. bah.

i share the same view as u, except instead of only opportunities, i see the values, the acceptance, the comfort and unconditional love we receive back home. :)

hmm.. anyway, NICE post! love zit! ;)

Danny Foo said...

Tim, looks like we have another thing in common. The aim to help take Malaysia further. :)

I left Melbourne not only for my gf but I guess there's something in Malaysia I can't leave behind thus making me want to help it go forth.

So when you want to start discussing how to takeover the world or Malaysia with me? :P

GiN said...

wow...thats the kind of speech u should be awarded with a Malaysia Boleh award/flag. Sounds like u've just came back from UK??

tulipspeaks said...

Its amazing to feel your love for our country via this post!



ammu.

Daphne said...

im sorry to say that i cannot feel the same way about this country. sad.

im not saying that i want to be singaporean either.

both countries dont strike my fancy.

so much is wrong in this country, so many things can be improved. sadly, it will take another 70 years, maybe.

Boss Stewie said...

nicole: hahaha!!! well glad you like it the way it is now

ehon: great to meet another one who loves being home

danny: eh why don't you send me an e-mail wei... lets set a time and place properly

gin: hehehe gin yes it feels like i just came back

tulipspeaks:thanks ammu :P

daphne: yes daphne.. i understand... but we will make a difference.. one way or another.

Jun King said...

hi tim, i totally agree with ou on the whole patriotism thingy.

never struck me till i got back OZ myself, home is still the best!

n good luck with nuffnang!

clement said...

Your post remind me of incident half year ago when i decided to work in singapore. I got the job there and start to work there for 2 days and i think and think and think, why do i to suffer and work so hard for other country. Malaysia need me, sarawak need me, so off i go. I rejected their offer because i haven sign with them officially and now i am working in Malaysia earning RM and i am so happy for it. I LOVE MALAYSIA.

MamaBoK said...

What an uplifting write up..!! I hope alot more youngsters will be inspired by what you wrote.. :)
http://babybokchoi.blogsome.com/

Gwendolynne said...

omg ... i was from HELP ... ADP 2000. Psych program. Aiyoh. Hey ... you so no class wan, laugh and POINT at ppl some more because he's Japanese, as if you come from some rural village where barbaric huntsmen still eat babies .......... malunya.

MY said...

Penang... definitely proud to be a Penangite.
Malaysia, wait for me to come home.