By SHAHANAAZ HABIB
SANA'A (Yemen): While most Malaysian students in Yemen want to go home until the situation in the strife-torn country stabilities, third-year-student Syed Mohd Faris Syed Roslan is not one of them.
His apartment is walking distance from the anti-government protest area and the Malaysian embassy has advised Syed Mohd Faris to move out but he has decided against it.
"It's not that I am stubborn or don't want to listen to advice but I feel safe here.
"All the Yemenis around us, including our neighbours and the owner of the apartment, have told us there is no need for us to go back.
"They have given us their word that they will protect us," he said in an interview in the apartment where he lives with his wife Nur Hidayu and two-year-old daughter Sharifah Aishah.
He believes that even if the fighting intensifies and there are violent clashes among the pro-government and anti-government supporters, the Yemenis would not target foreigners.
"The Yemenis have very soft hearts. Even the Holy Prophet said that. One minute they could be fighting each other and the next, it's over and you see them kissing each other on the cheek and drinking tea together.
"They will not disturb foreigners. That's why I feel confident to keep staying on," he said.
He said he was surprised that many Malaysians wanted to leave Yemen.
"My apartment is one of the closest to the protest areas and I don't have any problems. I can buy things easily. Shops are open. I don't go to shops in the protest area but in other places, it's fine and I can get whatever I want.
"I think the Malaysian students want to evacuate not because they are scared but because they just want to go home (for a break)," he said.
Syed Mohd Faris is reluctant to leave Yemen for a number of reasons.
"We don't know when the protests will reach the peak. It might be just a matter of days. My fear is that if I go back to Malaysia and the protests ends and my university classes start again.
"Then I would lose out because I have gone back. I would need to rush back to Yemen and pay RM1,400 for a one-way flight back to Sana'a," he said.
So for him, if the Government was using the Hercules to evacuate Malaysians, he would ask only his wife and daughter to leave.
"But if it's a commercial flight and fully sponsored, then I'd give it some thought. Why should I deprive myself if it's all paid and a commercial flight," he said.
However, a number of other students did not share his views.
Syafiq Husni Zain from University Science and Technology of Yemen wants to get out.
"There are no classes anyway because of the protests so what is the point of us hanging around because we have nothing to do."
He said Yemen practised a tribal system and most of the tribes have their own "armies" and he feared all-out bloodshed if one tribe leader got killed and his tribe sought revenge.
Megat Firdaus Megat Basri has only one semester to go before he graduates.
He has dreams to become a lecturer and then on to enter politics.
"I want to prove that students majoring in religious studies can govern a state and even a country. They do not need to be confined to only jobs in the mosques or religous schools," he said.
Despite being only months away from graduation, Megat Firdaus thinks the situation in Yemen is getting out of hand and he too wants to evacuate and return to complete his studies once things settle down.
Source: The Star Online