Growing up in the city of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, as a kid I was never shy about my fondness for all things West.  Somehow, in my childhood I had developed some strong xenocentric tendencies.  I’m not saying it’s right, it’s just how I was influenced as a kid.  I ate up everything that came from the West – television, food, music, you name it.  I seemed to be focused on America and all things American.  America seemed to the birthplace of awesomeness, full of bright and shiny objects that drew me in like a Star Destroyer’s tractor beam.  (Actually, that analogy holds more water than I care to admit.)

And the more I learned about and experienced Western culture, the more I grew ethnophobic – I became quickly dissatisfied with life in Kuala Lumpur.  I had miserable teenage years.  Not just average miserable teenage years like a lot of kids had – I had this weight on my shoulders about the country I lived in, the people around me, my surroundings, my whole outlook.  In hindsight, I was probably just another ungrateful little shit who didn’t appreciate what I had, but rather moped about how green the grass was across the Pacific.  I was an insufferable shit as a kid (I haven’t changed much).

But I was unwavering in one ambition that I had when I was a kid –  one day to get the hell out of Dodge.

I am privileged to have parents who planned well enough to be able to send me to college abroad (I’m nowhere near as prepared, my kids are so screwed).  Nothing super fancy or prestigious, just a modest college experience.  Malaysian colleges were never an option, but I’ll get into why in a minute.  Long story short, I left for college in New Jersey, then found a good job in New York, and I never moved back to Malaysia.

I now call New York home.  When asked where I’m from, I typically reply, “I’m from New York.”  Which fucking kills me, because it’s not the whole truth.  But it saves me from having to explain this whole Malaysia backstory.  It saves me from having to bite my tongue about the disdain that I’ve grown for my country of birth.  A moment of me being slightly disingenuous saves me from having to deal with my own self-loathing and what complete and utter disappointment at my former home country.

So, why am I so fucking down on Malaysia, the land of my birth, my childhood country, the country in which 90% of my immediate and extended family still live?

It starts from the top.  Malaysia is like an upside down tree.  The roots are at the top, planted in a toxic pot that gets no illumination from the sun.  These gangrenous roots are the government.  A government that is held together by only the finest grade of corruption and greed.  A government that is driven by the ethnic majority.

Ahh, the ethnic majority.  You see, Malaysia is comprised of three large ethnic groups – the Malays, the Chinese, and the Indians.  The Malays, who are native to the land, opened up the doors to the country to the Chinese and the Indians during the Spice Trade because Malaysia sits precisely at the perfect maritime gateway between India (who wanted Chinese tea), and China (who wanted Indian spices).  That’s the super dumbed-down version of that story.  What do I look like, Wikipedia?   If you want more detail, Google that shit.

Fast forward 500 years later, and somehow you’ve got a ruling class with a constitution that openly favors the ethnic majority, exercises extreme prejudice, and an inculcated environment in which the ignorant are rewarded and the hardworking masses are told to shut the fuck up and keep working.

No fucking way, right?  There’s no way that such a retarded country can actually exist!  I mean, it’s so fucking outlandish that it’s absolutely farcical at this point.  Like some insane Monty Python sketch.  Yeah, well check these out:

  • Bumiputera discounts.  “Bumiputera” is what the Malays call themselves.  Princes of the earth.  Can’t you just feel the ooze of racial entitlement?  Basically, if you’re Malay, you’re entitled to massive discounts on all sorts of big dollar shit.  You get a lower interest rate on mortgages, you get discounts, you get preferred acceptance into organizations, contracts, colleges, etc.  If you’re Chinese, Indian, or any other ethnic group, you’re fucked.  You get the privilege of paying top dollar, and you wait in the back of the fucking line.  Lucky you!
  • Pizza Hut.  Shit like this Pizza Hut commercial make even the most retarded used car salesman commercial in America look like a Clio winner.  Marriage proposals in a Pizza Hut.  Made over what is arguably the most disgusting looking food in the world it can’t even be called pizza at this point.  But neither the premise nor the pizza are even close to being the most grating things about this commercial.  It’s the fact that everyone’s wearing sweaters.  SWEATERS!!!  IN MALAYSIA!!!  Where it’s consistently 100-degrees year-round, with so much humidity, you could walk outside and do the backstroke.  This is the retarded standard of Malaysian advertising, of Malaysian creativity, of Malaysian cultural reflection – everything is poorly aped and incredibly shitty.  This Pizza Hut commercial is a perfect 30-second microcosmic film that sums up the country.
  • Gay and lesbian symptoms.  I.  Shit.  You.  Not.  Just keep in mind that these are guidelines that have been developed, ratified, and are being rolled out by the Ministry of Education.  This shit comes from the top!  Make sure you read the article in the link a couple of times over.  I’ve read it about 6 times now (woah, that might be a gay number!), and I still can’t decide which part fucks me off more.  Is the use of the term “symptoms”?  Is it the fact that someone actually came up with a list of these symptoms?  Is it the suggestion for “corrective measurements [sic]”?  Or is it the picture of the fucking asshole in the article that makes me want reach through my screen and beat the living shit out of his fucking stupid asshole face?  Could be any of those.  Most likely it’s all of it.  If Malaysia wasn’t such a tiny little pissant insignificant little turd of a nation, this rampant act of bigotry might incite some fairly significant outrage.  But as it is, no one gives a shit about the insufferable boil that is Malaysia so no one outside of the country draws attention when shit like this goes down.  And because no one makes a massive fuss about it, the powers that be live under this delusion that what they’re doing is perfectly OK and everyone else is OK with it.  What a bunch of assholes.

So what makes Malaysia stupider than other horrible countries around the world?  How’s it different from destitute countries full of despair like Sudan or Liberia?  In those countries, you live every day knowing full well that everything’s fucked and no one lies to you about it.  In Malaysia, there is an ever-present bullshit haze of hunky-doriness that somehow allows everyone carry along each day as if everything’s cool.  But underneath of it, EVERYTHING’s fucked, you’re fucked, the future’s fucked, and the impenetrable system that perpetuates an endless cycle of greed and corruption has been perfected.  That, for me, is the most hurtful thing about living in Malaysia – the grand lie and the forced acceptance of that lie.

I write this freely because I now live in New York.  If I lived in Malaysia, these words would likely tantamount to treason.  And I’d probably be locked up and beaten for it.  The government has been known to lock up and persecute citizens for a lot less.

But I needed to write all this down not because I’m angry or trying to be insurgent.  I’m past that now.  I’m writing this because I need to somehow exorcise Malaysia from my being.  Because enough is enough.

Fuck you, Malaysia.


P.S.   I’m grateful for my friends and family who are still in Malaysia, who despite my repeated urging, have chosen to remain there, either by choice or by circumstance.  I respect their decision, and I can only pray the best for them.  Besides, they’re the ones who keep me informed of all this bullshit.  And for that, you guys fucking rock.  You know who you are.