The Malaysian Dream

All our lives we have been brought up to believe in a dream – the great American Dream. To own a house and a car, to have a family, to be financially free. But does that apply to us here in Malaysia? What does that mean to us – what is the Malaysian Dream?

Growing up we are told to dream big, to be ourselves, to discover who we are and what we’re good at. And then shortly thereafter we’re told to throw that away and be a doctor or lawyer or accountant; quickly complete our education and jump straight into a higher level of study for a piece of paper that will guarantee us a slot in a prestigious position that pays good money.

And we save up, and accumulate wealth and assets, and invest in shares and properties and family members. All so we can retire early and enjoy the rest of our lives doing nothing.

Would you be truly happy with that?

Is that the Malaysian Dream?

I have always believed that we should always be happy in the here and now, no matter our situation, no matter how shitty life is. Perhaps content is a better word.

Of course that doesn’t mean accepting crap when it can be changed, or settling for something just because it is the path of least resistance.

Aim to be better – to earn more money, to be a better person, to be happier. But don’t forget to find joy in where you are now.

Every step you take on your journey to finding happiness should be filled with many little moments of happiness, because each step contributes to your big balloon of happiness.

Person in 5 years

Yes yes, you are what you do.

I know, it’s all super cliched – happiness is in the journey, not the destination. It’s been said to death, what else you got, bro?

How do we interpret this in Malaysia? What is the Malaysian Dream?

Is the Malaysian Dream the 5 C’s (Cash, Car, Condo, Credit card, Career or something along those lines)?

Will that alone bring you happiness?

What makes Malaysians happy?

Certainly there needs to be some social aspect – good friends and family, an upstanding member of society, lavish donations to charitable causes in the community. Malaysians are very charitable people.

Maybe one of the C’s needs to be Charity.

Do Malaysians subscribe to this pathway to happiness? Or are we simply parroting what our colonial subjugators imprinted upon us in their brief stay here?

Of course there is no one single path to happiness. The American or Malaysian Dreams are merely constructs that we use to impart a sense of direction to our future generations of loyal peons, so they will continue to slave away at the system that supports our precarious society instead of leaving for greener pastures (a.k.a. someone else’s system that works much better than ours).

Still, there is power in dreams. There is hope in dreams.

Do Millennials still speak of dreams? Or simply of crippling debt and overwhelming prices?

What is our modern Malaysian Dream?

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