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Wednesday, 19 June 2019 21:51

Balik or Pergi?

Assalamu alaikum,


Melayu UK is a community comprising of people of Malay heritage who lives in the UK. Living in UK means that we accept UK as our home. First generation Malays in the UK who were born in Malaysia may unconsciously find it difficult to fully accept that the UK is their new home. So the term “balik Malaysia” is frequently used when one makes a trip to Malaysia. “Balik” implies “going back home”. This phenomenon is not unique to the Malays in the UK. Other ethnic minorities in the UK e.g. the British Pakistanis uses the phrase “back home” to refer to Pakistan.


Second or third generation UK Malays who were born and bred in the UK will most likely accept that UK is the one and only home. For them “pergi” is the correct term to use compared to “balik” when making a trip to Malaysia. Our community comprises of many who were born in Malaysia and an even bigger number of those who were born and bred in the UK. In one household, we can have part of the family members who still consciously or unconsciously refer to Malaysia as the “home” and the rest of the family consciously and unconsciously consider UK as the one and only home.


It is not wrong to have an attachment with the Malay world e.g. Malaysia, Indonesia etc. In fact this is encouraged as the Malays have a rich cultural heritage that can enrich our community. First generation Malays in the UK are key to creating the cultural bridge between UK-born Malays and the Malay world. The bridge can be created on a smaller scale that involves only family members e.g. making regular family trips to Malaysia. However not everybody has the time or the financial resource to make this happen. As a community, we have to think of more cost-effective methods that can benefit a larger section of our community. This may involve organising events or activities that combines the interests of UK-born members with a blend of Malay culture. For example outdoor activities such as camping and hiking are common activities that attract UK-born members and we have to look at these as opportunities for bonding and blending the Malay culture. It is not currently practical for Melayu UK to organise them regularly at national level. However members can organise such activities on a smaller scale at local level and advertise them on Melayu UK FaceBook. The physical interaction between members is needed for us to create a loving caring community. This is in line with the theme of our recent Perhimpunan Keluarga i.e. “Melayu UK: Moving offline”.