Home  >  Opinion

A dialogue with young people

  • “Patriotism is not about where you are; it's about where your heart is." Photo courtesy: AFP

Sin Chew Daily

My young niece has just graduated from a renowned foreign university. When she returned to Malaysia to visit her family, she was also thinking about her future.

When I met her, she asked: “Uncle, should I remain in Malaysia or work overseas?”

I replied, “This should have been a question for the previous century. It should not be coming from your generation!”

In doubt, she asked: “Why do you say so?”

I replied, "People used to live where they were born and raised, which was the mentality of farmers, but that was in the past. They were afraid they would lose everything the moment they left the land.

“People have left agriculture era for a long time. They are no longer relying on a plot of land outside their houses to farm for a living. We are now in the information age, and some say it's Industry 4.0. People’s future is built on information, knowledge and technology instead of the land."

She protested, “Uncle, you have not answered my question…….”

I continued, “I mean the bigger your dream, the bigger your world is. If you have no dream, your world will be small. Of course, remaining overseas does not mean you have a bigger dream. Returning to Malaysia also does not mean you have no dream at all. The important thing is, what is your dream!

“To put it bluntly, you should opt for places which are suitable for you to start your career. This can be Malaysia or elsewhere. In today’s world, the concept of a country’s boundary is no longer clear cut. The moment you are on a plane, the boundary is gone,’’ I said.

She seemed to have understood my point and said, “Right. But when I read your articles, you used to stress about patriotism. If I leave the country, where is patriotism? “

I couldn't help but laughed at her response.

“Patriotism is not about where you are; it's about where your heart is. If you remain in Malaysia but the place is not suitable for you, you will lead a miserable life. Then such patriotism is pointless.

“In contrast, if you can learn more overseas and apply what you have learned there, you will have a good life and a better income. By then, if you are still patriotic, bring the skill home. You can also contribute to foreign exchange. Then this is patriotism.”

My niece asked, ”You used to tell me to either work or study in Hong Kong. It used to be a great choice. But now that Hong Kong is in a mess, is it still good to go there?”

With a sigh, I replied: “Yes, I did make such suggestion. Hong Kong is an international financial hub and it enjoys a strategic position in China. It is a place full of potentials, and is a great place for young people to pursue their dreams.

“But Hong Kong today is entirely different. Its future is bleak.”

She asked, “On the social media, people scold those protestors in Hong Kong. Some scold the police and the Hong Kong government. Who is right then?

With some hesitation, I told her, ”The issue will not be big if it is a matter of right or wrong. In simple terms, it is right for the Hong Kong government to uphold the rule of law. The public who protest demanding democracy are not wrong, too.

“We used to think that democracy and rule of law are together. But it is at an intersection point now which may also lead to clash. The vicious circle in social and economic development in Hong Kong have resulted the democratic protest and rule of law to clash.

“Uncle, can you explain the vicious circle in social and economic development in Hong Kong?”

“A stable society builds people’s confidence in their future. The younger generation of Hong Kong appear to have food and shelter but in fact they do not see their future.

“Imagine a university graduate’s salary is only enough to pay for the rent. Prices of goods are high in Hong Kong. Most people work for their entire life but still can’t afford to buy a modest flat. Hence, a family of three generations may have to squeeze into a unit of 500 to 600 square feet. Is this their future? “

“Oh, I get it now. The chaos in Hong Kong originates from a deeper lever of economic issues apart from political factors. Can the protest help to change the current scenario? Will they have a better future?”

“Unfortunately," I said, "the answer is no."


Copyright © 2019 Sin Chew Media Corporation Berhad (98702-V).
All rights reserved. Contact us : [email protected]