Fortunately, media hasn't found this blog yet. *chuckles*
Dear Alvin and Vivian,
I’ve read about you, and I’ve read about the coverage from the media and how that made you a famous pair. Call me conservative, call me naïve, call me a fool manipulated by the media--anything. And my deepest regrets for using words too simple here.
We all know who you are---Law undergraduate students, at the prestigious NUS school, with the ASEAN scholarships in hands. I did not deny the fact that those are impressive achievements, and those titles may signify you as a person who is capable and independent enough to form your own opinions on your life.
Yes, I wish not deny your rights in having the freedom of doing what you are right now. In fact, you and I both know the notion of being right or wrong is subjective.
However, I would like you to know this terrible truth about freedom—it is only to a certain extent.
While you can view yourself as any ordinary individual on the streets doing what he likes, I would like to, kindly, remind you that you are a foreigner in an open country with a scholarship. That means you have a lot at stake—apart from your scholarship and the future (like you don’t know, and like you will care), I would want you to know that you are representing Malaysia in Singapore.
Not quite a choice you are in control of, not quite a burden you find pleasant, but the moment you received the offer from ASEAN and NUS, you are already labeled as such.
While you can use your eloquence and skills in talking yourself out, that you bear no responsibility over anyone, I would like to remind you that this is not true. You do have a responsibility. A responsibility too small that it is not a surprise that intelligent future lawyers like you would have missed it.
You bear an identity beside your name. Removing all the titles as a scholar and a law undergrad student, beneath that all, you are a Malaysian. And while you are comfortably sitting there with a chance to pursue your studies, and with your studies sponsored, I would like to gently remind you that there are a thousand kids in Malaysia who yearn to do so.
How is that got to do with me? you asked. Well, I said, because of what you’ve did, the media found you. And unfortunately, the public do trust the media to a certain extent. What you did may be as trivial as a peanut to you—after all, we shouldn’t be minding your business, no?
You can never imagine your impact on the other Malaysians. Imagine this, how would scholarship committees, school principals ready to admit prospective students think of Malaysians now? How about the employers? The black mark that you’ve left (unfortunately, that black mark left in their heads in out of your control, and out of mine too—well unless you want to change the color black to orange) may costs some talented students and people from Malaysia being barred from entering this country.
And you and I know how many Malaysians would love to come here just to escape the unjust system at home. While it may be arguable that this is not entirely true, it is not false to say that this country may offer more than what our government can do at home.
Therefore, before you speak every word of defiance, remember those at home trying so hard to earn a path here. I’d hate to see their chances deprived, I’d hate to hear rumors of fewer scholarships offered to Malaysian students, and I’d hate to know those disappointments and crushed hopes.
And be reminded you bear that responsibility, and there is no way of running from it.
Call it a restricted life. But it isn’t.
Greek philosophers said that each human being bears a responsibility to the society. Yours is to the Malaysian society. And of course, the Singaporean society who has paid for your education, silly.