Malaysians Abroad Share Why M’sia Will Always Be Home

As a Malaysian, there’s nothing like coming back home from a different country and relishing in the love from our family, late-night lepak sessions with friends, the humid weather, and the delicious food.

Some Malaysians live abroad for certain reasons, like studies, job opportunities and marriage. We asked Malaysians who live abroad to share heartwarming reasons why Malaysia will always be home.

After all, home is where the heart is.

1. Nadhirah Badardin (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Nadhirah has been living in Europe for almost two years now, first in London and now in Amsterdam.

“I won’t lie – I had a tough time being me and living in Malaysia,” she admitted. “I’ve always been this big, bold and brown thing that a lot of people didn’t know what to make of in Malaysia.”

“But despite it all, I’ll always hold Malaysia dear to my heart,” she added. “Malaysia is where I’ve learned to cultivate relationships that would transcend time and space, it is where I had to learn to love myself because everyone else said I was too big or too bold to be loved.”

“Malaysia has shaped me to be the person I am today.”

“It is also where I find comfort in knowing that I have the convenience of having a heart-to-heart with my girlfriends over something unnecessarily greasy after a balmy night out in Bangsar. So even if Malaysia has broken my heart more times than I could ever count, I’ll always think of her fondly because my experiences within Malaysia has shaped me to be the person I am today.”

2. Ashwini Kurshan (London, UK)

A city girl at heart, Ashwini is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Anatomy, Developmental and Human Biology at King’s College London.

“I remember reading up on King’s when I was 16 and was fascinated with the medical advancements that were discovered within the campus,” she said.

“Malaysia just feels like home – any place you go.”

What makes Malaysia home to her? “Aside from most of my loved ones being here in Malaysia, one of the things that make Malaysia home is the familiarity you can have with complete strangers. Like, when you’re ordering your food at a hawker centre and the aunty says ‘Wah, lama tak datang sini. Sudah besar lah’. Malaysia just feels like home – any place you go.”

3. Shu Ern (Oklahoma, USA)

Shu Ern is currently in Oklahoma USA studying Chemistry and Engineering Physics.

“I’m also here for better opportunities in terms of career because the opportunities for women in STEM here are very good,” she explained. “I work now as a lab assistant in a chem lab, but I’m still studying.”

“In Malaysia, I love how everyone is ‘auntie,’ ‘uncle,’ ‘kak,’ or ‘abang’ – you definitely don’t see that here (in Oklahoma). It’s not that they’re hostile, but Malaysia’s hospitality and the way we’ve grown as a community is always something to shout about. And the food. Always the food.”

“In Malaysia, I love how everyone is either ‘auntie,’ ‘uncle,’ ‘kak,’ or ‘abang.'”

“To me, Malaysia always be home because I can’t think of a better place that has everything from family to friends, and nostalgic old shopping malls that barely have anything anymore that I still love.”

4. Lee Lui Xia (Ottawa, Canada)

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PJ-born Lui Xia is currently spending her summer in Toronto, but she stayed in Ottawa (the capital of Canada) for the past 4 years where she completed her undergraduate degree in Journalism with a minor in history.

“I’m also moving to Vancouver soon to pursue my Masters of Arts in History, with a focus on political media in Malaysia during the late-1960s to early-1980s,” she explained.

She chose to move out of the country because she felt that she wouldn’t be able to thrive in my field of interest at the time, which was journalism. “I’m still hesitant about returning to Malaysia to pursue journalism, but I will never stop calling Malaysia my home.”

“I swear the food in Malaysia is the best. Nowhere else really compares to Malaysia.”

Her favourite thing about Malaysia, though: “I can’t pick between it’s where my family and friends are, celebrating the important celebrations and festivities as well as the amazing food. I swear the food in Malaysia is the best. Nowhere else really compares to Malaysia.”

“I personally think Malaysia will always be home because I spent most of my life here – it’s where my family and friends are. It’s always exciting to see my family and family whenever I go home. There’s nothing like it. While I honestly enjoy being abroad because of the independence and better work-study-life balance, sometimes I wish I could be at home having dinner or celebrating birthdays with my friends and family.”

5. Syaza Nazura, Huddersfield UK

UK-based Syaza is currently pursuing an MA in Education (Youth & Community) at the University of Huddersfield. Before that, she was living in Wisconsin-Madison USA while doing a four-year course in actuarial science.

“No matter how hard things are, you know there’s always people to talk to and who will support you.”

“My favourite thing about Malaysia is that it’s easy to get good food without having to worry too much about whether it’s halal or not,” she said. “And my friends and families are around, so no matter how hard things are, you know there’s always people to talk to and who will support you.”

6. Clarissa Say (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Clarissa moved to Amsterdam to study psychology, but before that, she grew up in Sungai Petani, Kedah.

“I can say with full kampung cred, the best thing about Malaysia is how “Boleh lah” Malaysians can be.”

“I used to see this as a negative thing, the tak apa-ness of Malaysians, in the dirty streets and flaunting of rules. I found it something to be ashamed of, not lauded.”

“But now miles away from home, I miss the “tak apa” a pakcik says when helping me out, or the “jangan risau” the taxi driver says when I explain I need to double back to take something I forgot. Call it complacency if you want, but I like to think of it as a generousness of spirit. Can lah, it’s ok lah, never mind lah, tak apa lah.

“I like to think that us Malaysians are, at our core, empathetic. That we want to understand, we want to get along. Only, after so long of everything being racialised, maybe we’ve forgotten how.”

Whether you’re in Malaysia or overseas, there’s no better way to celebrate National Day than with a big breakfast and great company.