Where have I been?

You’re probably wondering where I’ve disappeared to. And I really cannot blame you for being frustrated, worried etc. The truth was 2015 was a monumental year for me. Watch this video to find out more.

I’m now blogging at elizabethtai.com.  

I’ll keep this blog up, but I’m now more active at elizabethtai.com. You can contact me here.

 

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13 thoughts on “Where have I been?

  1. All the best. Yiu definitely has growth and become a better person after your Australia experience. We might have you back soon.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us, Elizabeth. It’s very brave of you. You should be proud of yourself for giving Australia a good go.

    Some key points here:

    (1) The economy in Australia is valued at $1.5 trillion. The economy in Malaysia is valued at $3 billion.

    (2) The Australian economy is 500% larger than Malaysia’s.

    (3) Logically speaking, all Malaysians who move to Australia should be landing well-paid jobs and prospering.

    (4) The reality is the opposite: most Malaysians will have to downsize, and they struggle to find their footing in Australia.

    (5) The reason is simple. Malaysia has scores of government-linked companies like Petronas, Proton, MAS, Tenaga, Telekom, The Star, The New Straits Times. If you happen to work for such a company (or even supply indirectly to such a company), you would have a very comfortable life in Malaysia.

    (6) Giving up that cushy status and standing on your own two feet in a fair and competitive environment like Australia can be very daunting. Remember: Australia has very few government-linked companies. The government has a hands-off approach in terms of business.

    (7) It will you at least 10 years before you can stabilise and get your footing.

    (8) Not everyone has the stamina and resilience to last 10 years.

    • I don’t agree that government-linked jobs is the cause of Malaysians struggling to get a footing in Australia. There seems to be an assumption that you don’t work as hard in government linked companies and that you have a cushy life. For one, it’s not really easy to get into these companies, and like any other company, they have their own work culture and demands. I used to work 12-14 hour days; I work very very hard. So no, government linked companies is not the reason why people falter in Australia. So many factors: Finance, economy, culture and network play a role in your success in Oz. The more money you have to last your time there, the better your chances to finally hit the job of your dreams. That’s the brutal truth.

      • I understand where you’re coming from. It’s frustrating, isn’t it?

        Let’s just say you entered a government-linked company in Malaysia at the age of 25. You worked your guts out and climbed the corporate ladder. You achieved a level of seniority by the age of 35. You have established a comfortable lifestyle through blood and sweat.

        Then, at the age of 35, you move to Australia and have start all over again from zero base. You’re optimistic for a new life. But then harsh reality hits. Your seniority is not recognised. Your qualifications is not recognised. Your work experience is not recognised.

        It does hurt the ego. It really does. And your savings only stretch so far. You inevitably feel dejected and think seriously about moving back to Malaysia.

        I understand that feeling all too well.

        I want to clarify: When I say cushy, I did not mean it in a negative sense. I was just talking about the fact that you would have a good job in Malaysia, a good network, and you have solid support from family and friends.

        It’s heartbreaking to leave all that and go to Australia, only to find that the optimistic dream is just a mirage.

        I understand that too.

      • There’s probably one last thing that I would add: I’m always fascinated by the process of migration and transitioning across cultures. In particular, I’m very interested in what separates the successful migrants from the not-so-successful ones.

        I have noticed this prevailing trend: most Malaysians who have achieved wild success in Australia inevitably identify themselves more as Australians.

        They maintain the core precepts of their Malaysian culture, but in day-to-day life, they talk like Aussies, they think like Aussies and they even act like Aussies.

        They have, for all intents and purposes, given up on Malaysia. Their sole focus is Australia and pushing forward, even if it takes them 10 years, 15 years, 20 years.

        Three of Australia’s richest entreprenuers (David Teoh, Sam Chong and Maha Sinnathamby) were Malaysian-born. However, for all intents and purposes, they are now Australian. They have wholeheartedly embraced the values their adopted nation, and they have never looked back.

        In New Zealand, I’ve met Malaysians who aren’t even familiar about what’s happening in the Malaysian political landscape anymore. In fact, I even met a Malaysian businesswoman who doesn’t even know very much about Lim Guan Eng. Yes, she vaguely knows that he’s the son of Lim Kit Siang and that he’s the Chief Minister of Penang. However, other than that, she doesn’t even appear to care very much.

        For all intents and purposes, she is a Kiwi. Her children are Kiwis. The family is doing very well in New Zealand.

        But is this good? Is this desirable? To almost completely jettison the land of your birth for brighter prospects elsewhere?

        I really don’t have a good answer for this.

        I think most Malaysians are still patriotic and very anxious about developments in their country of origin. They are eternally homesick. They love the food, the culture, the camaraderie.

        Perhaps that’s why they inevitably fail to settle into Australia. On a psychological and spiritual level, there’s always something holding them back from integrating into the new way of life.

        It’s an emotional tug-of-war, and yes, they are always afraid their children or grandchildren will become Westernised and forget their roots. They are also wary of conceding too much to liberal values.

        If the theoretical numbers are to be believed, as many as two-thirds of Malaysians fail to make headway in Australia and inevitably go back to Malaysia.

        Good? Bad? Again, I have no good answers. It really depends on how one chooses to look at it.

        It just shows the passionate strength of feeling that most Malaysians have for their homeland. And what a heavy price that has to be paid when you do choose to leave and start over.

        It’s a price that takes its toll, day by day, month by month, year by year.

  3. A personal anecdote here: my brother graduated from a New Zealand university in accounting and finance. He applied for jobs throughout Australia and New Zealand, and he got over 200 rejections.

    He was so discouraged and disillusioned that he applied for three jobs in Malaysia. He was offered positions with all three immediately. Because of this, he was seriously considering going back.

    However, after much consultation with our family, he decided to stay on and strive harder. He finally landed the job he wanted.

    Does 200 rejections sound like a lot? To me, it does. I have *never* heard of any Malaysian getting more than 10 rejections in a row while applying for jobs in Malaysia. In fact, most people get less than five rejections.

    So, yeah, it all comes down to the ricebowl, doesn’t it?

    In my personal opinion, emigration is not for people who are running away for difficulty in Malaysia. Because, let’s face it, all of us had cushy middle-class lives in Malaysia.

    Rather, emigration should only be reserved for those who are very brave and very tough. It’s for those who want a completely new life, along with a fresh start and a different identity. It’s for those who will settle for nothing else but a complete change.

    In the words of Kennedy, ‘We choose to go to the Moon not because it is easy but because it is hard.’

    But if the thought of going to the Moon scares you, then don’t do it. Good heavens. Definitely don’t. Staying firmly on Planet Earth may be the wiser decision, especially if you don’t have the temperament for change.

  4. I understand fully. I am born Australian. Think 5 generation or more. Grew up in Victoria, later residing Queensland. I not realise until I first travelling outside Australia and so many difference’s. Culture, foods, laws, religion, people, lifestyles, ect. I was lucky to had lived in Malaysia just over year in 2013. I return back Australia 2014, unhappy still to this day. It true, there is good and bad things about both countries. I have waved up the goods and bass many times. We as peoples, have different goals, what we seek. Some, money and political. For myself personally. I prefer happiness. I have worked for Malaysia ringget and could had been earning, much more Australia. Though , this not make me happy. I was happy living in Malaysia. I sometimes, wish I were born Malaysia

    • Yes, I was told this by some expats in Malaysia – they think Malaysia is heaven too. It’s a matter of perspective, I suppose!

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