NIGERIAN STUDENT ADDRESSES HER EXPERIENCES AND STRUGGLES STUDYING IN MALAYSIA AS MULTIPLE STEREOTYPES ARE LABELLED UNTO HER BY MALAYSIANS.
If you’re a fellow Malaysian yourself, you’re probably aware that racism, stereotyping, ethnocentrism and xenophobia are still major problems underlying within our society. It’s something very shameful about our society yet we still see it after decades of trying to eradicate it.
Recently a fellow Nigerian Student from the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus spoke up about the issues she has experienced as a result of studying and living in Malaysia. She addressed the issues under the Facebook page of “Humans of UNMC” (UNMC: University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus) on the 21st of March. She states…
“I’m here basically for the educational part, I don’t like Malaysia. I find a lot of stereotypes being labeled on us Nigerians. The hostility, people are not very trusting. A lot of landlords do not rent their houses to Nigerians. They label us as criminals. Most people have fun in Changkat on Wednesdays but because you happen to be dark skinned and wear a short skirt, you are classified as a prostitute.
And when it comes to jobs, I don’t want to keep talking negatively but I haven’t seen anything good! I came out on top of my class when I graduated, the very top, but the person who didn’t do so well got a job and I couldn’t, till now.
Even the laws. I’m like, ‘How do you guys live?’ To me, it is bringing down your country as a growing country needs as many hands as possible to grow, not limiting your workers and resources to a certain group of people. I don’t understand what’s going on here. I’m gonna finish school and go home. In Nigeria, the job opportunity is equal. And as long as you are good and you have the qualifications, the sky is the limit. And I think that’s the way it should be.”
Of course typically when something related with race comes into play, backlash and criticism would too. The comments is both filled with the good and bad. Some people are telling the Nigerian student that she’s ironically stereotyping us as well, while some remain sad about her comment and even supported her in her statements.
The top comment that receive the most likes stated, “She’s not stereotyping Malaysians as racist, she’s just expressing what she experienced here. No matter how hard it is to admit, there’s no denying that there’s racial prejudice in our society even to us Malaysians. She’s free to say what she thinks and no one has the right to ‘boo’ an opinion.”
Frankly, I agree with the top comment’s statement. The Nigerian student has every right to express her thoughts and feelings, she isn’t harming nor critisizing anyone too. Ironically the other half of comments are.
I could understand how the Nigerian Student must have felt. Having to deal with the many labels labelled against her, the horrible hospitality she’s been experiencing and many more because solely from where she comes from and her skin colour.
Now I understand that many people would ask me, “How would you know how she felt?” and that’s a good question. The answer is that I don’t. I don’t exactly know how she feels but I know what she’s going through because of the many experiences I’ve heard from my college friends as well who are from Zambia, South Africa and even Nigeria.
They too are going through similar struggles. With that, If so many of international students are going through the same struggles, there’s definitely a significant underlying problem we ought to fix!
I would like to point out also that I do understand we have many foreigners who come in legally or illegally to do drug trades or any other things, so do Malaysians too. There are those who are here for a good purpose while others don’t, with that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover in its first glance. Judging too quick will only result in those you judge judging you back.
Last but not least, this isn’t what the Malaysian spirit stands for too, for those who do not know us, forgive us and please do give us another chance to show you that there is also a brighter side towards the Malaysian culture, people and value. Confucius once said, “You cannot open a book without learning something.”