June 14, 2008

#1 Studying Abroad

Despite the quality of education and cultural diversity that exists in Malaysia, many families send their spawn abroad to pursue a further education. It is common to hear of so and so's neighbour going to the UK or your former classmate hopping off to Australia to enrol at a mediocre university in a costly (higher exchange rate equals more bragging rights for parents) course.

It is then required of said graduate to return home after completion of their studies whereupon they will do two things:

1. Complain (a Malaysianism to be explored at length in future)

The returning Malaysian student will state the disparity between his adopted country of four years with his country of origin. "The people in Quebec are so much more friendly!" or "Our government does nothing for the environment unlike Kevin Rudd's administration." or even "Coffee is just not the same here, sigh.". Such statements allow the subject to appear cultured and critical, in comparison to their humble locally educated counterparts. When encountering such discourse, you should nod in agreement and ask them their views on the current political climate of their adopted country at which they will respond with a blank stare.

2. Develop a peculiar indistinct accent

The typical Malaysian upon returning will suddenly acquire an accent that would baffle the most discerning anthropologist. This is to lend the subject an air of foreign sophistication and remind his/her cohorts of the (short) time they spent abroad.

Most of the time, this fabricated accent will fade transitionally with rare occasions on which it will resurface (meeting people from foreign or western countries, showing off to new acquaintances). If you desire to win this person's favor, you should commend them on their unique accent and ask them about the merits of attending an obscure university.

Note: number of years abroad correlates with number of years "authentic" accent will be retained.

If you wish to annoy a foreign graduate, just ask them why they did not attempt to secure a job and stay in said country. But if you want to gain the trust of the Malaysian, tell them they made a wise decision to return home and they will proceed to explain to you their reasons for doing so, allowing them to justify their inadequacies. This allows them to feel good about themselves and gets you in their good books.


fie the elf said...

Quality of Education in Malaysia? Where? UM? USM?

For a non-Bumiputra, it's hard to get into public Unis, and if you do, you're mostly assigned to a course, and you can't choose your own.

And lol, I have quite a few friends who just stay in the country where they studied (mostly Australia, NZ or the States).

B.H. said...

Hi Fie,

My thanks for visiting the site and taking the time to leave your comments. I hope you do understand the site is satirical in nature and some statements would be rendered meaningless (and stripped oh humor) if irony or exaggeration were not taken with a pinch of salt.

I see that you do share certain sentiments in your blog regarding white people pedestal placing by Malaysians. Well spotted.

Hope to see you around.

Auf wiedersehen.

hitamberry said...

Do we relly have a CHOICE? My bumi friend was automatically offered a scholarship for studying abroad, when he obtained a Grade 1 for his O-level. I have to fight hard for a place at a local government school and my bumi classmate only secured a Grade 3..

synical said...

This post is really funny!

No matter how great said adopted country is, in the end we all come home because "there's no mamak", haha.

Keep it up!

♥ Haro ♥ said...

you can consider working there also instead..

Anonymous said...

Hmm... are you making a satire out of yourself as well?

B.H. said...


Why not? The best material for satire comes from personal experiences.


Anonymous said...

Bumi? as in ethnic malay? Had a few of them in my dorm. First off, guys do NOT treat girls nicely at all. Although malays are generally nice and polite they tend to be really brainwashed. It's okay to have a healthy sense of self-esteem but goes a bit far to a point of ethnocentrism. Most of them tend to have a bit of chip on their shoulders. But have to say they are hard working. Had a few ethnic chinese malaysians as well. Mostly smart but bit of stuck ups. They don't seem to mingle well with other chinese students. Also for some reason VERY obsessed with drinking alcohols. Can't really handle it at all but some reason likes to boast how they can out drink everyone. Because it's a private institution, I suppose a lot of students are wealthy. Chinese malaysian students usually likes to drive hondas(why honda???) but some drive BMWs and ethnic malays usually use public transports. My understanding is that ethnic malays are poor but the government sponsors them, whereas ethnic chinese are wealthy and supported by their parents. But they all seem to get along just fine.

B.H. said...


Thanks for leaving such a lengthy and thoughtful comment. Unfortunately I am in no authority to enlighten you regarding the true state of Malaysian education and psychographics. I trust you will be able to find more informative sites regarding this sensitive subject matter.

Malaysia is a land of democracy and meritocracy. At least that's what we are told.


Crystabel said...

I totally agree about the accent issue. I got back from US and my friends said that I speak with the American accent. I did not realize it myself but I got rid of it soon enough with Manglish!! cheers

The Faux Fashionista said...

I tried to stick to my regular "Malaysian" accent (minus lahs, mahs, ones, etc) when I first started studying in the US because I've always thought that the adoption of a foreign accent was kind of pretentious. Unfortunately, no one seemed to understand me - I had so many problems with words like Marketing, Thirteen, Thirty, Cotton, and Thank you. The way they pronounce their 'T's and 'Th's here are so different :(

Now I have an American accent whenever I try to speak 'proper' English, but am able to immediately revert back to Manglish among friends and family :)

r & Nai said...

Hey, I think what you are doing is really GREAT.
I wish I could 'study abroad' too but I already have an accent so I dont need to go now.LOL.