Yesterday, Malaysia celebrated it's 53rd anniversary of independence, or Merdeka Day, as affectionately known to us, Malaysians. This would be my 8th year of missing out on Merdeka Day (and hence, the public holiday as well).
I wouldn't call myself a very patriotic person. As a kid, Merdeka Day was nothing more than watching the parades on television and playing with flags. In my teens, Merdeka Day meant going to countdown parties and watching the fireworks.
My usual blog readings and friends' Facebook updates were mostly filled with concerns on the backward progression of our country and urges to the government make it better. I, being here, am unable to make an informed comment. And honestly, I feel it is something beyond my control.
But what I'd like to say is, Malaysia is still, and will always be my home. Yes, I'm one of the many brain drain statistic. Yes, I am living a lot more comfortably here. But Perth is not my home.
I still read the Star newspapers online everyday (although many would argue that the news are mostly one sided) as compared to picking up the West Australian, only to find myself reading the front headlines and going straight to the sports section, which are usually mainly about Aussie Footie, that I totally cannot relate to.
As with friends, I have a handful of close friends here, most of them are Malaysians. I guess our cultural similarities make it a lot easier to understand each other. Likewise, with race events here, they lack the friendly atmosphere as they do back home.
I do intend to return to Malaysia eventually. Our children will be enrolled in SKs or SJKs, instead of Something Something College or Something Something Grammar School. And they will eat char kuey teow by the roadside, not in some fancy Chinese restaurant that serves red wine with your noodles. They would visit their grandparents at least once a month, as opposed to only on Christmas, Easter or Chinese New Year.
But having said that, it's not that I'm unhappy here. Perth is great, I have work life balance, the environment is very conducive for my triathlon training and most importantly, I met the love of my life here (yes, darling, I mean you!).
It's just that there can be only one home. And it's not Perth.
Happy Merdeka Day, Malaysia!