kheru2006 (kheru2006) wrote,

Pride in being ‘pendatang’

I REFER to the polemics on the word pendatang which were triggered by Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye in a letter to the newspaper last week. I don’t see anything wrong with the word pendatang, as indeed, we are all pendatang.

The Chinese are from China, Indians are from India and Malays from the Malay archipelago, which stretches from the Philippines to Madagascar.

Of late, we have the Rohingyas from Myanmar, Bangladeshis from Bangladesh, and a host of other ethnic groups from Africa, South America, Europe, Central Asia, Middle East, Southeast Asia, etc., who have chosen to make Malaysia their permanent home.

Once settled in Malaysia, we all adopt the Malaysian way of life. We tend to shed our pendatang image, but not our cultural heritage. Malaysia is thus a melting pot for all pendatang.

We should not take offence when we are called pendatang, which really means “immigrant” in English (and to immigrant-based countries like the United States). Instead, we should tell the so-called “locals” that it is the pendatang that contribute significantly to the phenomenal development of this country.

It was the British pendatang who laid the foundation of modern Malaysia. They left us a very good political, administrative and education system.

Above all, they gave us the greatest gift humans can give, the English language, which is now the universal language.

After the British pendatang left, with a few who decided to make Malaysia their home, the country was administered by local pendatang, comprising the various ethnic groups, which propel this country to greater heights.

As children of pendatang, we should be proud to tell others to their face that without the pendatang, Malaysia would not be where it is today.

The US is great because of the millions of pendatang who crossed the sea from all over Europe to make it home.

A country will not go far without pendatang. The infusion of new blood brings in new work culture. The pendatang, wherever they are on this planet, are actually the engine of growth.

Their survival instinct, plus their natural business acumen given by God, is what makes pendatang more than welcome by some countries.

The irritant is more to do with skin colour. When certain ethnic groups are the minority, it is only natural they are more seen to be pendatang.

This happens even in so-called liberal democracies like the US. But it is how the minorities make the adjustment and assimilation into the local culture and way of life that makes a difference.

For example, I recently met a British convert who has a Malaysian wife at an education forum recently.

Subconsciously, he knows that he is a pendatang by skin colour and belongs to the minority group. But he is able to adapt and adjust to local culture and he has no problem being a pendatang.

More important to him is his contribution to the enhancement of quality education through his company for the good of this country.

His children will bear the roots of a pendatang, but then they will be proud to know that their father was a good resident who has made significant contribution to the nation's growth.

There are other bigger issues that we should look into as Malaysians.
Hassan Talib, Gombak, Selangor NST Letters to the Editors 13 Jun 2015
Tags: pati

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