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M’sian PhD Student Shares His Struggles & How He Is Treated As Cheap Labour


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As the society gets more competitive, many people would choose to further their studies in hopes that they’re able to stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately, this Malaysian has shared his woes as a PhD candidate onto an Instagram page.

In his post he said,

“I’m 24, a male and I’m Chinese. I earn about RM2,000 as a PhD candidate and there is no EPF, medical benefits as well as transportation allowance. After graduating, I immediately went through a fast-track program that allows me to skip my Masters and get on board as a PhD candidate.”

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Underappreciated and overworked

He mentioned how he is currently in the biotechnology field and his faculty does acknowledge him as a staff but refuses to give him any benefits. He shared that his contract states that he would have to work 5 hours per week but unfortunately, lecturers would make him handle classes and tutorial lessons that would accumulate over 15 hours per week.

“On a typical week, I’d have to go to the lab as early as 3am to get work done, handle classes from 8am-4pm and then finish some of my other experiments till as late as 10pm”, he added.

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Dampened spirit at its peak

He then expressed that outsiders wouldn’t understand the struggles he is facing as many of them would assume that he is only attending classes and going for exams.

“The workload and challenges I face severely demotivate me and slow down my progress and there are several times where I contemplated taking my own life when I’m still in the lab at midnight.

Other countries would treat their PhD candidates with respect and actually give good benefits. If you’re wanting to continue pursuing your studies in Malaysia, I suggest you prepare yourself as you’ll be subjected as cheap labour”, he added.

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Passion and support system is crucial

He mentioned that having a healthy support system is extremely crucial as they will help you through hardships. He then ended his post saying,

“As a PhD candidate in Malaysia, you must have the passion for it. Otherwise, your mental health will suffer, and it’ll drain everything out of you.”

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So, the next time you have a friend who is a PhD candidate, do check on them more often and be as supportive as you can towards them. As the saying goes, a little kindness goes a long way.


Also read: 25yo M’sian Confesses to Feeling Useless Compared to Peers Who Are Buying Houses & Going On Vacation


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