Hey. Today I’d like to discuss one of the topics related to my primary research question in my thesis: ‘What is the lived experience ofBumiputera graduates involving themselves in entrepreneurship?’ I understand that reading academic theses and journal articles can be quite exhausting due to their complex language. Therefore, I feel it’s my duty to present my work in a more straightforward manner, with the hope that my readers can grasp the content more easily. However, please remember to provide proper citations, as indicated at the end of this article.
Bumiputera and the Culture of Getting Into Universities
The interviews revealed a prevailing culture within Bumiputera society, centered on the pursuit of university education and subsequent employment. This cultural ethos traces its roots to ancestral influence, which was passed down from parents to their children. The participants in the study suggested that this mindset is likely to persist as they, in turn, intend to instill the same values in the younger generations. Family influence plays a significant role in shaping individuals’ perceptions of what is considered normal and socially acceptable.
Furthermore, the participants indicated that they, as well as others, pursued university education due to the prevailing cultural norms. They perceived it as an obligatory life phase, essential for securing a stable and well-paying job after completing their studies. Consequently, some Bumiputera graduates entered universities not out of a genuine desire, but rather as a customary step, often lacking specific objectives or goals for their higher education journey.
Get Into Universities, Get the Respect
The Bumiputera graduates had good lived experience after they completed their studies. Other individuals congratulated and praised them for successfully overcoming the challenges and completing their studies, although it was not an easy task. Knowing that they had higher education qualifications, other individuals gave the graduates good treatment and respect and poured them with great appreciation. Furthermore, other individuals often sought these graduates’ opinions. These circumstances made them feel proud.
Getting a Job Is Compulsory After Completing studies..and Not Just Any Job
Nevertheless, completing their studies also meant that they had to move to the next stage in life, which is to secure employment. The graduates acknowledged that the Bumiputera society preferred occupations such as lawyers, doctors, and others, including civil servants. They considered these occupations noble and highly desirable in society. They added that their parents and others had never encouraged them to become entrepreneurs. The Bumiputera prefer to get the noble and desirable occupations and earn a stable income, especially working in the public sector. If the graduates could secure a position in the government, even the position as an office boy would be adequate. It was plausible that they were afraid of the unforeseen future and the risks of doing business.
Stigma of Not Getting Employed
However, it was a different lived experience for the Bumiputera graduates who failed to secure a job after completing their studies. They had to venture into entrepreneurship as an alternative means for them to survive financially. Not all the graduates had lived experience of getting poor treatment or lack of respect from others during their unemployment. However, they believed other individuals stigmatised or assumed unemployed graduates were lazy and choosy about jobs. Besides that, others may assume that the unemployed graduates had unsupportive family members for not pushing them to seek employment opportunities. When the graduates couldn’t find employment, they experienced feelings of uselessness and frustration. Regrettably, since the Bumiputera society has a working culture, the family members often told them to find jobs instead of encouraging the graduates to participate in business activities.
Work Experiences Led The Employed Ones to Become Entrepreneurs
Some graduates were fortunate to get employment opportunities after completing their studies. However, their work experiences itself have led them to become entrepreneurs. Apart from looking forward to doing something enjoyable for them, the graduates resigned from work to do business. The reason was that because they were bored with their work and aimed for more wealth and achievements. These Bumiputera graduates had the confidence to leave the positions that other unemployed graduates might desperately need. This is because they had the knowledge and skills required in the business they sought to pursue. Apart from that, they also felt confident because their closest ones. For instance, their family members and friends, supported their decisions to quit their jobs and switch careers.
No Wealth Means Still Unemployed
Some of the Bumiputera graduates started doing business straight away and on their own accord after completing their studies. However, even sadder, their family members still considered them unemployed when their businesses could not prove it was able to create wealth. Even though they were very keen to do business instead of working for others, their family members still expressed the need for them to find stable positions. These graduates believed that the profit or wealth gained from business activities is the aimed result of every entrepreneur.
In addition, these graduates believed the entrepreneurs must prove their capabilities through their income to earn respect from the society. That is why the graduates who were doing business on a small scale, their wealth was nowhere to be seen; their family members took them as unemployed and still pushed them to find other positions. On the other hand, it was different for those who were doing well and earning income steadly from their entrepreneurial activities. Other individuals have never asked them to find other employment. For instance, when one of the graduates started doing a small business, the family members asked him to find other jobs. However, the family members have no longer asked him to work because he has become the “ATM” (wealthy).
How to cite
Razalli, N. L. Y. M. (2023) Contextualising Social Status in Entrepreneurship: The Lived Experiences of Bumiputera Graduate Entrepreneurs in Klang Valley [Doctoral thesis, Universiti Teknologi MARA]