My post, Malaysians, No Need To Migrate! Malaysians Abroad, It's Time To Come Home! struck a chord. Many Malaysians now feel euphoric after the historic GE14 election; many Malaysians abroad are now thinking about coming home.
If you are one of these overseas Malaysians, should you make the trek home?
Some Malaysians commented that the move back home isn't possible for all. That, I agree.
When I wrote the article, it was meant for those on the cusp of making that decision. Those who are about to graduate from university. Those who have realised that, despite years in a foreign land, Malaysia is still calling to them.
But making the move home is challenging, if not, more challenging than making the trek out of it.
Here are some considerations to take before making that move home:
1. Are you prepared financially?
Before you emigrated, you had to make sure you had enough money to survive the transition. It's no different the other way around. If you can get a job before you return to Malaysia, that'll be better (I did that). But if that's not possible, be sure that you have enough money to weather months of unemployment.
2. Is your family okay with the move?
Perhaps your children are happy and settled in their new homeland. Perhaps the wife loves the easier, care-free life in a four-seasons land. It would be really important then to take their opinions into consideration because the last thing you want is to disrupt your family's happiness.
3. We have to talk about persecution
Some people had to move out of the country because they are persecuted for their religion or sexual orientation or more. Sad, but true. If your life will be in danger, or if your freedom is going to be severely limited if you return, who can blame you for staying away?
4. Malaysia in 2018 may have changed from the Malaysia in your mind
You may have rose-tinted memories of Malaysia. Great nasi lemak. Friendly aunties at the local pasar malam. Then, when you come home you finally remember the nightmare that is LDP during rush hour.
Jokes aside, lifestyle really matters. Can you re-adapt to a Malaysian lifestyle? Is the weather going to be a hindrance to your quality of life?
5. Are you psychologically prepared?
We probably will never be 100% prepared, but when you come home, there will be questions. Malaysians are a largely kaypoh lot, and will often ask very personal questions about your move. Some can even be very judgemental. Yes, it's a new Malaysia and all that but many people still believe it's better to live abroad. Be prepared for an interrogation - you're gonna get it whether you like it or not!
So, if you're thinking about moving back to Malaysia, what SHOULD you do?
Have a trial "stay"
Instead of moving home immediately, have short stays in the country to re-experience it. Stay a month. Two weeks. Travel. Speak to the locals. Scout around for work. It gives your mind time to readjust to the idea of life back in Malaysia.
Do your research
Contact those who have made the trek home (like me, I suppose!). They may not help you in all areas but they can share their experience of readjustment. Getting to know a network of like-minded Malaysians can really help you ease back into life here.
Remember that you can contribute to Malaysia in other ways
For some, it's really impossible to return home. Maybe you're in your late fifties and finding a job back in Malaysia would be a great challenge. Maybe most of your family is in Australia, Europe, whatever, and you don't want to leave them.
That doesn't mean you can't contribute to Malaysia.
You can always return home for the holidays and spend your hard-earned foreign currency on our shores to boost our economy, for one. :) You can also be a good ambassador of Malaysia and tell others about Malaysia ... instead of bitch about it like we used to! (Come on, admit it, we all did that haha).
Yes, in an ideal world, all the brains that we lost would return home in a wave of patriotism. But real life is trickier, and there are commitments that we can't shake.
Just remember, wherever you are, whether you return to Malaysia or not, you can still help build Malaysia.
We just have to be creative about it :)