The Tempinis diaries

November 25, 2007

It’s Like Being in Love with Someone Who Doesn’t Love You Back

Filed under: education — Tags: , , , — toru @ 8:23 am

“If they (Malaysia) would just educate the Chinese and Indians, use them and treat them as their citizens, they can equal us (Singapore) and even do better than us…”

Quote from Lee Kuan Yew

 “It’s like being in love with someone who doesn’t love you back”  Alan to Orked in Yasmin Ahmad’s Gubra on how many non-Malays feel towards Malaysia.

Lee Kuan Yew’s words in a recent interview which is excerpted in the quote above enraged and infuriated many Malay politicians.  Now I am no fan of Lee Kuan Yew – but who can really dispute the sentiments that he expressed?  With all this talk about raising the standards of universities in Malaysia in light of the disastrous fall in the THES 2007 world universities rankings, Malaysia should seriously consider tapping into Malaysians who are successful academics and currently based overseas.  This can be done by either appointing such a candidate as the Vice Chancellor  or to working out joint Professorship appointments with these talented individuals.  Such steps will signal a seriousness and commitment by Malaysian universities on running Malaysian institutions of higher learning on the principle of meritocracy.  Certainly, this is a much better idea than throwing lots of money at some foreign academic superstar like Jeffrey Sachs who does not seem to have either much time for Malaysian universities or any emotional investment in Malaysia.  I am sure there are many Malaysian born academics who are extremely eminent and well qualified who can be called upon to help raise the standard of Malaysian varsities.  Some of the candidates that come to mind are the incomparable Wang Gungwu  who is based in Singapore, the world renowned economist, Danny Quah from LSE (head of department at the Department of Economics at LSE) and the much respected  Lai Choy Heng  (former Dean of Science, now Deputy Provost at NUS and originally from Ipoh ).  I am sure these people are only the tip of the iceberg of talented Malaysians who are based abroad.  When you actually sit down and think about the depth of talent that the country has lost due to the aggressive affirmative action policies, it is enough to make one feel really sad.


  1. […] 2007 We talk constantly about the brain drain from Malaysia in the abstract.  In my previous post, I mentioned Wang Gungwu  , Danny Quah and Lai Choy Heng as examples of eminent Malaysian born […]

    Pingback by Malaysian Born Talent: The Brain Drain in Perspective « The Tempinis diaries — November 26, 2007 @ 3:55 pm

  2. […] have previously written about the brain drain issue from Malaysia here, here and here. Now that the brain drain has happened, we should do something positive about this […]

    Pingback by Tapping into Malaysian Diaspora: Datukship for Danny Quah? « The Tempinis diaries — July 13, 2008 @ 5:36 am

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