The one who comes home only for the summer holidays, the one who knows her country only from memories as a child and teenager, from the cocoon of her parents’ home.
The Malaysian abroad knows Malaysia as the perfect motherland, but perfect only because she does not know it well enough.
The Malaysian abroad knows her country from a distance, from Western newspapers, from online news websites. BBC, CNN, The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune.
The Malaysian abroad has never known the persecution and hardship endured by her peers. Her peers who live, breathe and eat Malaysian soil, the soil that tastes of racial injustice, crime and fear.
The Malaysian abroad has never been to Form 6, never been denied a place in universiti, never slept in an asrama. She has never had to call Telekom, does not know where to pay her saman, cannot navigate the LDP.
No wonder the Malaysian abroad loves Malaysia. She longs for its nostalgia, sees it through the eyes of Somerset Maugham and George Orwell, dreams of the halcyon days.
The mother land… a remote ideal that is never intimately known. Idolised only because it is beyond the horizon and allows the existence and behaviour of the Malaysian abroad to be made worthwhile. If she should go home, it would lose its sublime nature, and she would cease to be a superior man….