I did not make the decision to migrate very easily. Although I seriously started thinking about it way back in 2007, when my siblings and cousins began emigrating, I have toyed with the idea since I was a child, hungry for adventure and life in a foreign land.
But over the years, as my life in Malaysia got more settled and secure, when I began saving a comfortable amount of money and got myself a decent piece of property at the young age of 27, I thought that I have no need to emigrate. I buried my desire beneath all this security. I ignored the gross injustice I witness in Malaysia, saying to myself that this doesn’t affect my life so it’s okay.
But around 2007-2009 many of my friends and relatives my age have gone or are going overseas to begin lives anew. The thought of being left behind to live life under a dictatorship or suffering through a racial clash seems to get more real.
Also, after the triumph and euphoria of March 2008 seeing Malaysia slide into further corruption and injustice was just too painful. I became fearful of my future and for the future of the country. But at least I have my friends, by my side, I assured myself. But then my best friend said that she’ll be moving to the UK this year and I became really depressed. At one point alarming her enough to set up an intervention for me. As illogical as it may seem, I felt that my relatives and friends were leaving me behind to suffer in Malaysia.
I just thought that that there’s just no way out of this agonising mire I’m in. I’m not a brave person; I’m no Raja Petra who will put himself in front of an FRU truck. I just want to live in peace. Ah, call me a coward if you want. I’ve joined some candlelight protests but I’m starting to wonder if it’ll ever move this current Malaysian government who is more cruel than fair.
I’ve always known that I was qualified to migrate – by a hair’s breadth. I know that if I don’t take that chance now, I’ll never get it.
So after I signed the papers, I felt great relief. But there are some days where I feel that I’m making the biggest mnistake of my life. I’ll be leaving behind my secure job and my family. Other days I feel guilty – it isn’t easy to lie to my activist friends about why I can’t join them for this rally or that vigil (I don’t want to be arrested by the police and thus jeapordise my application, sorry).
Other days I feel excited, and other days I feel that this little chance will be taken from me by fate somehow. And I wonder if I could live in Malaysia if my chance is taken away from me … would I be happy or resentful of those who left? Would I become depressed again?
So, no, migrating is not the happiest decision I’ve made. Some people may think that those of us who decide to move make this decision gleefully. No, it’s probably the most agonising decision we’ve had to make in our lives.