Sometimes I feel like drinking my heart out and staring blearily at the sky knowing there is no future in Malaysia for me. Be it as a young woman, a budding designer, an opinionated and left-wing lesbian or a fresh graduate, I can’t stay in that country.
As a female, the patriarchal and sexist nature of both the politicians and the people in the country is degrading and revolting. The religious nature of most of their reasonings in treating women that way doesn’t help, contrary to popular belief.
As a designer, Malaysia’s creative industry is limited. There is only so far you can take a campaign because of the overwhelming amount of self-censorship involved in the conceptualisation and execution of an idea. There are so many lines you cannot cross, a lot of red tape, and a creative sphere that can’t be breached because of all the sensitivities you have to consider with our multi-racial community. How ironic that the one thing that makes us so unique will be our downfall because of how tensions will never be eased, what with people dredging up petty issues all the time and ads getting withdrawn because it offends the sensibilities of one particular race or another.
As a left-wing supporter (along the lines of Lib Dem), I despair to look at the state of Malaysian politics. Our opposition is divided and weak. Our errant authorities are milking that situation to the fullest, maintaining an iron grip on control and governance while making all sorts of decisions, passing all sorts of laws regardless of what the people need. The recent passing of the new amendments to the Employment laws is a mockery of our nation, a dismissal of the workers. It is also, among other things, a huge disappointment. The increasing religiosity of the ruling parties’ motives and manifestos is a way to buy votes, but also, again, a mockery of the constitution given how we are technically and rightfully a secular nation.
As a lesbian, especially one who wants to be accepted and married to a woman one day (possibly with children), I know Malaysia is a place I cannot go back to to raise a family. Anywhere in Asia or any place with a fanatical religious background is not a place for me to live, work and raise a family and start my own legacy as a person. Malaysia is rife with hate, homophobia, intolerance and discrimination.
I repeat: how does it feel to know that you’ll never belong?
To know that you’ll never truly be able to become the person you aspire to be in your own place of birth, the country you were born in, and be with the person you love openly?
To know you will have to struggle with work more than some other countries due to a lack of a proper law on minimum wage and an alarming economic and financial crisis that no one seems to be addressing due to a preoccupation with bringing up politicians’ sex scandals in getting ahead of one another in the rat race for power?
To know you can’t explore creatively as much in an industry that is looked down upon in a country that, being Asian, extols the virtues of science-related professions more than they will ever give the arts and humanities the time of day, and will constantly sneer at your choice of work even if you earn the money?
To know you’ll always be considered a sex object in more ways than one, and considered inferior because of your gender by the majority of the population, because their beliefs were ingrained into them as such since birth?
It’s very, very painful to realise that you do not belong in your home country, but that you’ll never be home anywhere else.
And it hurts.