How to love Malaysia

    (Updated )
    James Chai  |  columns

    COMMENT | Malaysia is a tough country to love.

    At first, she draws you in with her easy charm. She brings you sunshine every day and gives a warm shelter from the storm. Her story recounts a miraculous past: of how she rarely fought despite irreconcilable differences, of how she always preferred a peaceful and modest life, of how she never gave up on prayers and hope.

    Like all first love, you thought you found perfection and boasted about her wherever you went. But like all first love, her charm eventually fades.

    You listen closely.

    She is not spared from the curse of divisive politics: race, religion, and identity were used as combat tools for sustenance. Sometimes she articulates her sufferings from decades of oppression, other times she is unreasonable and too demanding. In her bones there are fractures that are common to every country.

    There is no perfection in Malaysia, there is only beauty-in-progress...

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