growing up, i have not always been the most patriotic person, i will admit. in fact, for the majority of my young life, i had spent it wishing to be magically transported to england, (thanks to enid blyton) and then later, america (thanks to disney, mtv and, well, hollywood). being here, i had never felt a true closeness or deep connection to my country because i had grown up my whole life being told countless times by countless people that i was (allegedly) "whitewashed."

but circa 2015/2016, i began a long distance relationship and i found that every time i was abroad, i became automatically defensive and fiercely proud of my nationality. i spoke highly of the cultural norms, i constantly craved the food and above all else, i had a very strange inclination to want to converse in malay as much as possible. would you believe, i was actually fearful of forgetting the language(!)

these days, i would unabashedly say that i am unequivocally and irrevocably intolerant of foreigners who live and work in malaysia yet have zero respect for the country, its culture/cultural norms and act as if they are lords of the country instead of allowed visitors. what i think is outstandingly deplorable is a guest (at best) overstepping their boundaries and scorning the homeowner.

first off, in order to move to countries where english is declared as a second language, i.e. japan, china and thailand, for example; there is a requirement for the expatriate to, at the very least, have basic knowledge of the language. if not prior to arrival then once they have arrived. foreigners here who have lived for close to a decade and who are still uber proud of having never bothered to learn sincerely piss me off because it shows a total lack of care for wanting to assimilate. "why should i bother? everybody speaks english." how. rude.

secondly, this constant criticism of how things work in malaysia—the government, societal norms, et cetera. i would like to say that malaysians are totally allowed to lament because we are taxpayers plus, this is essentially our homeland. if we are lamenting, we are frustrated because we, the people, wish for change. it is not a green light for a non-malaysian to be granted the same right to lament because if you are a foreigner and you wish for change—well. put your money where your mouth is and effect some, i would say! it baffles me when citizens of a first world country make the conscious choice to move backwards to a third world developing country and expect for things to be first world. um. if you were living in a megalopolis and you moved away to a rural village, why would you whine about not having the same luxuries? it makes zero sense.

finally, cultural norms and expectations.

growing up, i was taught to remove my shoes before entering someone's home. to never show up empty-handed. to greet the elders of the house, i.e. parents. grandparents. if it was someone wanting to take you out to dinner, they would be your transport. they would pick up the cheque at the end of the meal. if you had volunteered to host friends from out of town, then you would never demand that they go out of pocket. however, with foreigners infiltrating the community, there is some unsolicited audacity to impose their "beliefs" and label such values as archaic. backward. apparently, it is some sort of bewilderment for such expectations and culture to "still exist" because it is 2021. excuse me, who cares? i truly was not aware that manners came with sell-by dates. and if this has been the values that i have been raised with and ingrained, am i the one to blame? the only bone i personally have to pick is with regards to basic human rights and fairness. i vehemently do not subscribe to male worship where a man is feared, revered and can basically do no wrong.

i was motivated to write this post following a grousing i had been on the receiving end of from a foreign national—protesting the movement control order. surprise, surprise. while i understand that this can be a trying time for all of those without solid support of a community (friends/family), i feel it is so selfish not to, again, consider the fact that this restriction helps all of us malaysians who live with our families. grandparents, parents, nieces and nephews—there are several generations under one roof and, yes, this is one more cultural norm. hereafter, i am fully prepared to tell any foreigner who continuously moans about how things are run and done in malaysia: please feel free to make your way on to the cheapflights or expedia website and proceed to purchase your one-way ticket for a return flight back to where you came from. dipersilakan dan sekian, terima kasih.