One Brain is Chen May Yee, a Malaysian journalist who lived in the US for nine years.

Before moving back to KL, I spent my time writing homesick essays like this one in the Nut Graph, ” Should I Stay or Should I Go.”  I was even featured in the New York Times, “Loss of Young Talent Thwarts Malaysia’s Growth.” (I just barely made the “young” category, and some might dispute the “talent” bit too.)

What’s it been like? Well, the good stuff’s still good and the bad stuff’s still bad. But we came back for the good stuff and we can all help to make the bad stuff better.

I’d love to hear from other returnees, thinking-of returnees and i-will-never-returnees. Think of me as a one-woman TalentCorp, only without the multi-million-ringgit budget.

One Brain is my personal blog. I recently started www.Outstation.my – for Malaysians Abroad, Returnees and Everyone in Between. Take a look see.

Write to onebrainblog@gmail.com or leave a comment below.


17 responses to “About

  1. Steve

    Hi May Yee,
    I enjoyed your article about PR. I’m a US hubby married to a Malaysian (Chinese). Together we have a son. Been here 17 yrs. Married for 14. Still on spousal work permit. I applied for PR in June but they don’t give a document number so I have no idea of the status. Still, will continue praying.

    Your article made it sound possible to get. Hopefully things will improve. When I took my wife to the U.S. embassy to help with her visa the lady said, “You want me to give your wife a Green Card instead?” So easy. Wish it was the same here.

    • Hi Steve,

      17 years! I can only imagine the frustration.

      What do you do for a living? I know it shouldn’t matter, but if it happens to fall within a field the government is trying to promote, you might have more luck if you get in touch with the folks at TalentCorp.

      Good luck!

  2. Derek Tan

    I read your article in Malaysian Insider and immediately know you as you wrote in Nutgraph ‘Should I stay or should I go?’. Whilst you had to make that ‘gut wrenching’ decision, mine was obvious. I have two college and university going children and Britain will offer them a sound education. So, its ‘stay’ for me. Good luck!

  3. ishsal

    Hi May,

    Didn’t realise you’re back until the MI piece … Selamat pulang! Hope family’s settled and all good. Keep in touch!

  4. ishsal

    I am indeed. Connect soon, mail anytime.

  5. I read your article on Malaysian Insider – the link was shared in a Malaysians forum on FB. Interesting to read what the Msian Govt is doing to entice ppl to return. Unfortunately, not an option for me since my parents have joined me here in Oz.

    • Charmaine, thanks for dropping by Onebrainblog.

      How nice for you – and your parents – that they joined you there.

      Wondering if you can send me the name of that Malaysians forum on FB that linked to my article? Or send me a link to it?

      Thanks, Onebrain

  6. Hi May,
    Reading your blog brings back a lot of emotions…thinking about my own struggles of being away from home and family. My sister was also a ‘Returnee’ from NZ, having a 10 year old son whom she home-school in Malaysia, she struggles with many challenges of ‘living again’ in small-town Sarawak… I will refer her to your blog, hopefully, she can also share her thoughts!

  7. Lim Yin Foong

    Hi May Yee,

    You probably don’t remember but we met once a long time ago, introduced by a mutual friend Ruth Wong, at a foreign correspondents’ bash (I was a local business journo who tagged along…).

    I read your piece in the Nut Graph a few years ago and it really struck a chord with me – I moved to the UK with my family in 2006 on a ‘let’s see how things go’ basis, and we are still here! Am missing home and family (esp on gloomy and grey days like today!) but knowing that my (now 9 year old) son will have a better education here in the UK. My husband and I dream about retiring back in Malaysia (but not in KL – too hectic for us now!) but who knows what will happen in 10-15 years time?!

    Anyway, I was intrigued to discover (from Ruth) that you finally made that move home, and I’m really pleased to discover your blog. I look forward to following your experiences as a returnee!

    All the very best!
    Yin Foong

    • Hi Yin Foong,
      Thanks for writing – am touched to hear it struck a chord. I think many Malaysians who stay in Malaysia don’t understand how homesickness can be….But as a parent, you do what you have to do.

      Just was Ruth a couple of weeks ago at a big party in KL. Was nice to reconnect after so many years.

      What do you do in the UK?


  8. Hi May,
    I’m about to move to the SF Bay area to join my US fiancé there. I told him – 2 years, 5 years max! – and we move back to Asia. But I know that may likely not happen, especially after we have kids. Still, a girl can dream….

    • Hi Hui Ping,
      The Bay Area is lovely! Ya, it’s good to have a plan, but life can get in the way…
      Good luck in your new life. Drop me a line to say how you’re doing. Would love to hear.

  9. Silly 666

    Hi May Yee,
    I left Malaysia for the last 7 years. I made a pledge to my parents to see them through old age 7 years ago. I’m doing my last round of holiday in Adelaide and will be returning in a weeks time and reporting to work in Malaysia the following week. To be honest, ‘fear’ is the word when I look ahead (you summarize it well : whether I can acclimatise to Malaysia?). Thanks for your article.
    Your article made me realized that there are those who are returning as well. Your statement is so true ‘people made decision for different reason. Who are we to judge’

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