When we reflect on our own individual history, we will realise that many of us Malaysians have our roots grounded in Malaysian soil from living here for a time span that stretches across generations, with our ancestors being the ones that planted that seed in the first place.
Years ago many of our forefathers and mothers embarked on arduous journeys across growling ocean waves and reached Malaysian shores. Some took different routes to get here. But, the common denominator remains the same, it was an endeavor of grit and resilience.
When they got here, many of them toiled, slogged, and gave it their all to construct better lives for their children and the offsprings of their lineage that would come after that.
They were given a blank canvas to hopefully craft a better life. And, their voyage here just demonstrates one thing, Malaysia is a land of migrants.
A hundred or more years ago, this was our origin story.
Fast forward to the year 2021, Malaysian soil attracts more hopefuls.
Throngs of hardworking people from countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Pakistan embark on similar if not identical journeys across angry oceans and roaring seas to escape poverty, violence, and destruction with hopes that Malaysia would receive them with open arms.
It is a similar story, just different characters across a different timeline.
But then, why are we rude and make those weird disgusting kissing noises to the foreign waiter who has not seen his family in seven years because he hopes to make a better life for them?
Why do we avoid sitting next to the young Bangladeshi man on the train who has probably been deprived of real social connection after toiling his life away to make a living?
Why are we so utterly mean to the foreigners who line up to get a life-saving vaccine so they could work in factories to produce the goods WE need?
Why do we expect them to “just leave the country” when they demand basic rights after hoisting and constructing the buildings of our city’s skyline?
Why do we apply gross stereotypes to them which further amplifies the disease of xenophobia that slithers rampantly?
If we look at the bigger picture, we will realise that they came here, with the same intention as the people who migrated here years ago had-which is to have a better life.
Maybe, with that realisation, we could all disembark off our high horse and be a little bit nicer to the foreigners around us and try to make life a little less cruel for them.
Migrant workers endure grueling journeys to come here and work in abhorrent conditions to feed and educate their children back home.
Let us not spit on the faces of the same people whose hands build our city. #MigranJugaManusia
Cover image by Daniel Mensah Boafo on Unsplash . The copyright of this piece belongs to the author of this literary work.
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