Where are emigrations cowards and prodigal sons?

Finally, the learned Dr G Walter, PhD has conceded that some migrants - those who are wealthy and have influence, who migrate and humiliate things Malaysian - are, in his own words 'selfish cowards.'

His letter writing mate, Shaukat Ali is unrepentant about his stand and remains very bitter against those who have left.

Wealthy people everywhere can choose to do what they like, within the confines of the law. In Bolehland, some of them, if they so choose, are probably one step ahead - they can be above the law.

They can ignore politics or get involved in it. In the case of Bolehland, I would suggest that the majority of people who go into politics do it with three major motives or at least two of them. These are money, power and sex. This is not confined to Malaysia, but the world in general.

If Walter admits that he is directing his emotions and comments towards a group of people, who in all likelihood are probably not readers of malaysiakini, let alone be bothered about politics if they are already migrs, then this constitutes a minority. If my assertion is true, then the whole fabric of his argument completely falls apart.

Wealthy people who have power and influence will probably not migrate from Bolehland as they will be able to continually feed off the antics of the Barisan Nasional component parties and their crony companies.

They could also refrain from associating themselves with politics or political parties - at least overtly. Perhaps the only group of wealthy people who migrate are those who have fallen out of favour with the BN, after having fed off it for some time, and have thus decided to call it quits. They, indeed might have a bad story to tell and a grudge to hold.

In all probability, I would suggest that these people were once phantom members of BN component parties. The others are those who move in and out of the country because they have the means, but are probably not bothered to give their views and opinions.

On Walter's attack on Ryan Davidson's lifestyle of purportedly exploiting the inexpensive labour provided by foreign maids, I believe he is hitting below the belt (anything goes in Bolehland).

My wife and I debated hiring a maid for a long time when we lived in Malaysia, but we did not and did all the domestic work ourselves, as we continue to do in our new adopted land.

Yes, I too mopped the floor and washed the clothes then, and continue to do so now. That was, and is, our choice, and we pay the price of sticking to our principles of not exploiting inexpensive labour. Of course, this is completely personal.

The apparent social injustice felt by Walter is valid. However, some households, even those without five figure incomes, need the domestic help for practical reasons, as we temporarily did when our child was born.

In Bolehland, the infrastructure appears to be in place, as with a basic principle of economics - 'if there are willing users, there will be willing providers.'

The social problem lies more in the fact that Malaysians are not willing to do menial jobs anymore - or, they will do it for a price and for a short time (like the confinement women used by the Chinese).

It follows that Walter may actually be generating a lot of hot air about a very small number of people but he is entitled to do so.

But Shaukat, you amaze me. The parable of the prodigal son tells of unconditional forgiveness and the Bible, thank God, like other religious books, remains freely available in Malaysia. Briefly, the story tells of a father who divided his wealth between his two sons. One chose to stay and the other took his wealth overseas, squandered it and then, returned impoverished.

Upon his return, his father welcomed him home and gave him his original status, without subjecting him to any vengeance. The story symbolises the forgiving love of a father, and thus the divine love of God.

Your argument presupposes that Malaysian society (or, rather, its government) prejudges those who emigrate and should not be forgiving when they return.

Frankly, I think the government of Bolehland does not give a damn. What government would when it is too busy trying to hide its misdeeds of robbing the country's coffers, materially enriching themselves, their families, their offshore nominee companies and their cronies and subsidiaries?

There appears no workable policy to contain the brain drain. Methods to contain money drain, though impressive, are still bypassed. I don't even know if the Immigration Department keeps a record of people who have emigrated.

I do not think Malaysian society in general is bothered about who emigrates and who doesn't. There appears to be a lackadaisical 'good riddance' mentality prevailing. Paradoxically, and, much to your disappointment, Shaukat, the Malaysian government recently announced that it will welcome ex Malaysians who can invest and contribute their talents.

I agree that economic migrants, or those who have been misled, will come and go. They do not bring out a lot of money and come back bankrupt. Instead, they are people who go with little or no money and subsequently return, if they choose to, with little or no money.

Although, I know of others too who return with large sums and retire or contribute much to society, such people are not unique to Malaysia and no one bothers about them. They can hardly be called 'prodigal sons.'

In his recent memoirs, Chin Peng wrote, 'If you yearn to make a difference, you become obligated to the clamour of your time ... but you pay for your dreams.'

Those of us who give feisty feedback and become obligated to this brand of clamour, are indeed yearning to make a difference. Like Chin Peng, we migrs who write and debate in this forum, are indeed paying for our dreams by having been inappropriately shot down (though ineffectively) by others.

So, my simple question to you both is, where are these 'wealthy critics' and 'prodigal sons'? My dear chaps, each of you have just respectively shot your own foot!