Wednesday, May 03, 2006
the braindrain reason
The Sunday Star published an article the other day based on a study conducted by the UK Executive Council for Malaysian students. They tried to investigate the reason as to why Malaysians are reluctant to return home after their studies. It is an 'interesting' article to say the least, because it attempts to look at various angles and to disect the problem at the source. "As a developing country, it is impossible for Malaysia to match the salaries of doctors in Britain. We don't have such deep pockets. "Money should not be everything," he told about 100 Malaysian students at a dialogue organised by the Malaysian Students Department in London yesterday. Of course, telling a bunch of Chinese that "money isn't everything" is kind of a foolish thing to do. (That was a joke, please laugh). Labels: malaysia
I could go on and say that the UKEC probably got their data from students, in which case a lot of the reasons in that article are not valid - because let's face it, what does a student know about a working environment? Heck, for the data to hold any shred of credibility, the only people who are qualified to make such an assessment is someone who has worked in BOTH the UK and Malaysia. But for argument's sake, let's just assume all is right and dandy.
So, that article to various discussions and comments, most notably by the Higher Education Minister, Datuk Mustapa Mohamad.
Money is not everything, students told
I do not begrudge all that. We all live to fulfil our ambitions, and if those ambitions take you some place else, then all's fair.
Yet, as I was reading all that and thinking, "Something's not right here." That remark of his led to various comments by various young people saying that "Patriotism doesn't put food on the table". I was actually amused by such comments, for these people seem to be implying that doctors and engineers and lawyers in Malaysia are struggling to 'put food on the table'. Your ambitions are yours and yours to fulfil. Do not try to justify something that cannot be justified. Do not try to make it out as if you would be stone poor if you were to return.
Among the reasons given for wanting to work in the UK was 'career advancement' but again, I suspect that that means nothing more than 'I want more money.' The thing is, if you were good enough to get a job in the UK after all the competition from the British citizens themselves and the EU citizens, then chances are you are pretty darn good and shouldn't have a problem securing a job with a big MNC or GLC in Malaysia, which is pretty much one of the best starts for 'career advancements'. From the engineering point of view, short of Airbus (who incidentally doesn't employ non-EU citizens), there aren't really many companies that have operations which are not covered by similar MNCs in Malaysia.
What probably peeves me off the most is that the government is practically begging people to come back and serve. One of the steps taken by the government to attract these people is to make their pay almost comparable to what they would be getting overseas. What we have reduced ourselves to become? Begging our citizens to serve us? Creating merceneries? Patriotism cannot be forced upon people. Let them come back when they are ready. Let them come back if they want to. When they decide to return, welcome them like you would a prodigal son. But do not, do not bait them with wads of cash. If cash is all that a doctor is interested in, then they are doctors who we probably do not want anyway.
Here you go, the real reason why Malaysians don't want to come home after they study:
"As a developing country, it is impossible for Malaysia to match the salaries of doctors in Britain. We don't have such deep pockets.
"Money should not be everything," he told about 100 Malaysian students at a dialogue organised by the Malaysian Students Department in London yesterday.
Of course, telling a bunch of Chinese that "money isn't everything" is kind of a foolish thing to do. (That was a joke, please laugh).
But at the end of the day, this is Malaysia. You've stated something that goes along the lines of Malaysia being fault-ridden. But its still Malaysia. And I love Malaysia.
Am I patriotic? What say you Vincent?
doctors with Masters can work 2 yrs in UK to earn 1 million and retire for the rest of her lives, u can clarify with nanook if u want.
My peeve is that the government were trying to tempt people back with money. That, I cannot accept. We should let our doctors and scientists return when they want, on their own free will.
Anyway, just for your info, career advancement is a big big issue for doctors. Simply because, the postgrad training programme for doctors in Malaysia isn't nearly as good as that of the UK, for obvious reasons. But ironically, it's also ridiculously difficult to get into, as there are limited spaces and tough competition. Whereas in the UK, almost everyone who wants to further their studies and pursue a more specialised field will have the opportunity to do so. Sounds like a better deal, innit?
The operative word there is actually school. I think I should supply orange and red fanta as well. Just for variety, you know. Let me know how much you need, Vincent.
If Malaysian students studying outside of Malaysia wanted to come back, they would do it regardless of reason or preferences. The ones who indulge in self-justification are usually those who don't want to come back; but don't want to be seen as ungrateful / unpatriotic bastards or even wannabe angmohs. Free will rules, if you don't want to do something then don't, but don't bore the crap out of other people with your rhetorical reasons and explanations.
Case in point: During my student days, I made more money delivering beer to pubs around Melbourne than any fresh grad who was starting work in Malaysia ($500 per week as compared to RM 1,800 per month). I could have taken on a professional position that paid even more after I graduated, but that would mean ending up as some foreigner who needs a work permit to earn a living. So I came back to earn my living in RM.
Cronyism? Racism? You find that shit happening everywhere, even in the UK and the States. Oldham race riots, anyone? Halliburton, anyone? Green fanta, anyone?
Vincent: As a matter of fact, I have experienced it first-hand at home.. so don't even try to patronize me, Mr-I-think-I-know-it-all. Haven't you heard of the ''race' glass ceiling'? Look around you, open your eyes, you can try to deny it as much as you can, but it still doesn't change the fact that it happens. (Especially in the government sector)
Yes, racism/cronism/whatever exists all over the world, in all kinds of different societies, but the difference is, it's actually 'accepted' in Malaysia and no one seems to be doing anything about it. Nor does it look like things are going to change in the next 5-10 years. Malaysians seem to have accepted this fact and learn to work around it. Now I'm not saying that this is necessarily a bad thing, but I certainly haven't learned to accept it quite so well.
If you fail, you can always blame the colour of your skin, and if you succeed, heck, victory is sweeter when you say "I made it to the top IN SPITE of my yellow skin"
Of course I might...MIGHT just face it one day, but at least I am going into it with a pair of colour blind eyes and an unbiased mind. More Malaysians should learn to do that you know. It amuses me when people say they haven't learnt to accept it. Like, how many years have you been living there already?
Besides, on other 'racial' matters. Its the same everywhere you know. I don't think you would find an Asian CEO heading a British company. And never mind if you have a work permit of not, Airbus does NOT employ non-EU citizens last I heard. Some people might call that 'racist' you know.
and that's an even more interesting answer. ask any of us where research is going in malaysia, and we'd truthfully tell you - no where! we're more interested in hunting down a big foot in johor than joining in the search to find a cure for avian flu. the bio valley is an embarrasing ghost town. university academics cannot entangle themselves from political will. our private hospitals don't even have the latest equipment for cancer treatment (and this I know because the doctors in SJMC sent my dad down to Singapore). How lah like that?
Nope money isn't everything. Researchers here don't get paid big bucks either. Would be interesting to find out why they stay behind...
The ones who hang around here indulging in self-justification are the wankers who are prolly putting off their assignments. Wankers.
Green fanta, anyone?