By CHOY LEOW (aka LEOW CHUN CHOY)
Age: 52. Profession: Architect. Family: Wife Connie and daughters Szuyin Emily and Szumei Alison. Location: Apple Valley, Minnesota, USA.
My wife & I left Malaysia in 1981 & 1984 respectively.
In the three decades since, we have built our lives in two of USA’s Midwestern states: Iowa, where we went to school and Minnesota, where we established our careers and raised a family.
It was also in Minnesota that we eventually became naturalized US citizens. As parents to two daughters, we regard being good role models as one of many responsibilities we take seriously. Besides teaching them to be respectful, responsible and thoughtful, we also stress the importance of being caring and giving and civic engagement as the essence of what being a US citizen represents.
Tuesday’s US presidential election was special for us because it was the first time that all four of us performed our civic engagement together. Our second daughter turned 18 last October and became eligible for the first time to vote.
We put up with a year-long campaign of election advertisements in which candidates pitched their cases over the air, trying to convince us why they’d make for the most compelling choice to serve the various offices they were seeking. So it was with a great sense of anticipation and relief my wife and I headed to the polls early Tuesday morning, determined to join the millions of our fellow citizens in making our voices heard by the most powerful rights granted us as citizens: Vote.
It is with a somewhat heavy heart that we think about the voting process in Malaysia and wish it resembled the fervor, conviction and true democratic approach to debating, deliberating and deciding who is accorded the privilege to represent and serve us.
I don’t profess that the US is perfect, but having invested much of our professional, social and emotional selves in calling it home, we have learnt to value what it means to be a citizen of this country of immigrants, where equality, freedom and choices are granted to all.
As we wish our historic second term president well as he leads us through a slew of domestic and foreign challenges that affect the lives and well-being of countless millions, my wife and I are grateful in continuing our American journey that accords us privileges as prescribed in the country’s declaration of independence: “…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their creator, with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…”
Similarly, we also look forward to one day that such privileges will find its way through the governing structure of Malaysia, developing and nurturing future generations of Malaysians who will exude the same sense of civic pride, engagement and meritocracy in serving their country.
USA boleh. Malaysia boleh!