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Foreign Students Studying in M’sia Share How They Experience Racism on a Daily Basis in Our Country

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Foreign Students Studying in M’sia Share How They Experience Racism on a Daily Basis in Our Country - WORLD OF BUZZ 1
Source: Otherexpats / The Star

Being away from your family and friends whilst adapting to a different culture and language is really challenging. Unfortunately, most foreign students in Malaysia go through much worse than just homesickness as they tend to be stereotyped and sometimes even experience racism from our fellow countrymen.

That’s why a group of second-year Public Relation and Corporate Communication students from Sunway University are trying to change this by raising awareness on the underlying issues of social bias happening in our society today through a campaign called “Beyond Labels“.

[Test] Foreign Students Studying in M’sia Share How They Experience Racism on a Daily Basis in Our Country - WORLD OF BUZZ 10

To further promote the cause, we’ve decided to go around and asked foreign students studying in Malaysia to share their stories anonymously, and here is what they have to say.

 

1. Calling dark-skinned people the “N” word

[Test] Foreign Students Studying in M’sia Share How They Experience Racism on a Daily Basis in Our Country - WORLD OF BUZZ 2
Source: bgcmc

“One of my classmates once asked me, “why are all you n****rs so ugly?”. Seriously, I was really stunned. We didn’t even know each other that well (it was our second class together) and I didn’t know how to react! I just laughed it off, but deep down, my heart cried and continues to cry every time I meet him.

The “N” word itself is really offensive to us but I guess most Malaysians didn’t get the memo or something because even police officers call us that! Don’t get me started on the random stops by authorities we’ve encountered just because of the colour of our skin. This would be considered racial profiling in any other part of the world! Also, I find it quite funny how almost all of you assume we are from Nigeria. You do know Africa is a continent right?”

  • An African not from Nigeria, 23.

 

2. People from the Middle East are lazy and always cheat?

[Test] Foreign Students Studying in M’sia Share How They Experience Racism on a Daily Basis in Our Country - WORLD OF BUZZ 1
Source: ESS

“First of all, I’m not even Arab as I’m from Iran, but people just lump us all in with the Arabs because we look the same in their eyes, I guess? Secondly, every time I try to correct people by telling them that I’m from Iran, they suddenly get angry for some reason and say, “Shi’ah like you are not welcomed in our country”. I’m a Christian by the way, which makes it all the more confusing!

Every class that I’ve joined in Malaysia I can see the same pattern, where the local students won’t mingle with us and always leave us out of assignments and study groups. One of my local friends clarified to me that they do this because apparently there’s a stereotype going around that says Middle-Easterners are lazy and will always cheat to get a high mark without doing any work. Guys, we wouldn’t be travelling thousands of miles to study here to be lazy!”

  • A Christian Iranian (yes, there’s a lot of us!), 24

 

3. Bangladeshis are all hard labourers?

[Test] Foreign Students Studying in M’sia Share How They Experience Racism on a Daily Basis in Our Country - WORLD OF BUZZ 3
Source: hrinasia

“I was really confused when my classmates keep on calling me “Bangla” with a grin on their faces when I said I’m a Bangladeshi. It’s not a derogatory term by any means but I found out later that it is some sort of slang for second class citizens in Malaysia. Yes, my country isn’t doing too well economically, meaning that many choose to travel overseas to find an honest living and support their families back home.

But the way I see Malaysians treat my fellow countrymen really saddens me! These people are not some persona-non-grata, they have feelings and ambitions too. The way you hold your breath when a Bangladeshi shares the same lift as you, the condescending manner in which you talk to us, and other stigmas and prejudices apparent in day to day life really baffles me.”

  • A proud Bangladeshi, 21

 

4. All Indonesians are dishonest and criminals?

[Test] Foreign Students Studying in M’sia Share How They Experience Racism on a Daily Basis in Our Country - WORLD OF BUZZ 4
Source: afh

“One of the reasons why I chose Malaysia as my study destination is because of the relatively similar culture and language. However, it seems that we got quite bad PR here. First, the way Malaysians use the derogatory word “Indon” freely when talking to us is quite shocking especially since your own government ordered for the practice to stop way back in 2007!

Worse is how most of my classmates associate all petty crimes to Indonesian immigrants living in this country. If I read a story about a snatch theft on social media, the first comment must be about how the perpetrator is an Indonesian and followed by other racist and unfounded statements. Why not see everyone as individuals rather than putting stereotypes by the way we look and how we dress?”

  • Indonesian and not a maid, 26

 

It’s 2019 already weh! It’s time for such stereotyping and racist behaviour to stop, don’t you think? Putting labels and stereotypes on to someone just because of how they look or what they believe in is the worst sin we can make as human beings.

That’s why we’re partnering with a visionary group of Sunway University students under their awesome Beyond Labels campaign held from now until 12 June 2019 throughout Sunway University and Sunway College to raise awareness of the matter!

 

 

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Through observations and analysis, these students found that Malaysians tend to unknowingly have personal biases or stereotypes towards certain minority groups such as:

  • International students.
  • The LGBTQ+ community.
  • Even against people with tattoos and piercings!

These biases are then unknowingly perpetuated through our thoughts and actions towards these minority groups, which results in an unfair work or study environment for these individuals. Hence, Beyond Labels are seeking to rectify this by conducting the wholesome activities to increase awareness listed below:

Beyond Labels Bazaar

[Test] Foreign Students Studying in M’sia Share How They Experience Racism on a Daily Basis in Our Country - WORLD OF BUZZ 9
Source: WORLD OF BUZZ

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Source: WORLD OF BUZZ

Various booths and food trucks will be welcoming you with not only super delicious food but also activities that help educate the public on social biases!

Date: 28th & 29th May 2019
Venue: Sunway University and Sunway College

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Source: WORLD OF BUZZ

The Story Behind

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For illustration purposes only | Source: SRSCC

A story-sharing session will be held wherein victims of social bias will be sharing their experiences with the crowd.

Date: 12th June 2019
Venue: Sunway University JC2 Hall

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Source: WORLD OF BUZZ

 

Mini Exhibition

Foreign Students Studying in M’sia Share How They Experience Racism on a Daily Basis in Our Country - WORLD OF BUZZ 2
Source: Amanda

In collaboration with amazing local photographer Amanda, this exhibition aims to showcase the thoughts of victims of social biases. With the consent of the victims, a portrait photo will be displayed on the front with their stories written on the back. This is to create public awareness on the importance of not judging a book by its cover!

Date: From now until 12 June 2019
Venue: Sunway University and Sunway College

[Test] Foreign Students Studying in M’sia Share How They Experience Racism on a Daily Basis in Our Country - WORLD OF BUZZ

Identify, Not Classify! Come and join us at the Beyond Labels event at Sunway University and Sunway College from now until 12 June!

Such an inspiring initiative by these students. Interested to join? Well, see you there then! For more information regarding Beyond Labels and their wholesome campaign, click here or just directly contact the program director, Chester at 017-335-5011!

 

 

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