Malaysia : Sunway University Student Speaks Up Against Foreign Worker Stereotype

Sunway University student reminds us that foreign workers are like us, very much humans, and have emotions too It’s an unpleasant fact that most Malaysians frown on and look down upon foreign workers, especially after the long string of unfavourable events here, like the ‘Bangla Voters’ incident during the 13th general election, and the more recent ‘1.5 million migrant workers deal’ brokered by the Malaysian and Bangladesh government. [caption id="attachment_9691" align="aligncenter" width="670"]Many frown upon the very thought of migrant workers, due to the injudicious stereotype cast on them Many frown upon the very thought of migrant workers, due to the injudicious stereotype cast on them[/caption] Many tend to forget that like us, migrant workers are living human beings, and that they too have feelings and share the same human rights as we do. Facebook user WaiKin Phan took to social media to share the one of the many belittling moments experienced by foreign workers, and to remind us that while they often go unnoticed, they too have thoughts and feelings. Phan was walking back to his hostel from his campus here at Sunway University College in Subang Jaya, when he bumped into an Indonesian cleaning lady and had the sudden urge to strike up a conversation with her. In the brief conversation he had with her, she revealed to Phan that she left behind her young son and travelled to Malaysia to work as a cleaning lady, to help lighten the burden of her family back in Indonesia She also mentioned to Phan that she works 12 hours a day, 6 days a week for only a measly pay of RM1,100 a month, which is  only a tad bit more than the minimum wage here in Malaysia. The story quickly turned from a pitiful note to a more disquieting note when she recalled the time where she returned a wallet she found in one of the lecture halls to the college’s security department. The owner claimed that there was RM100 inside the wallet and firmly demanded her to return it to her. Angered by the thought, and not trusting the promise of his employee, her boss made her cough up RM100 to the owner of the wallet even though she did not steal it in the first place. Bitter by the incident, the Indonesian cleaning lady complained to Phan that she wouldn’t have even returned the wallet to the security department if she really did steal the money.

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Below is Phan’s post on Facebook. Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 11.03.32 AMScreen Shot 2016-03-11 at 11.03.42 AM Phan ends his post on Facebook by imploring Malaysians to not discriminate foreign workers, and remind netizens to always be grateful for everything they have despite how unfortunate they think they are, as many others have it much harder in life. It goes without saying that Phan’s Facebook post touched the deepest corners of our hearts and provoked many soul-searching questions. So, the next time you see a foreign worker keeping their head down low out of ‘shame’ for being ‘unwanted’ by society, debunk the stereotype and remind them that we see them as human beings by simply acknowledging their presence with a simple ‘good morning’ or smile. What is your take on foreign workers before and after reading this post? Do let us know!   Phan’s original post on Facebook can be found here.

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