Recently there is an issues about immigrants in Malaysia. I overheard conversations in a coffee shop while having my Teh Tarik, a discussion about immigrants from neighboring country occupying various main city in Malaysia, and the main one is Kuala Lumpur. From the conversation I can sense there is unpleasant feelings toward the flood of immigrants coming to Malaysia. One of the reasons are based on the public tax fund, that was use to build the public transport. The fact that the public transport like LRT, Monorails and buses around Kuala Lumpur are now mostly been occupied by non-Malaysian. I kept my ears wide open for the next argument. One person said it is annoying to take public transport now days, because we have to share and squeeze in with the new immigrants. Asked by his friends how did he found out about this, the way I heard the conversation, the other man apparently have a skill to identify and distinguish between local and immigrants, and therefore, he knows that mainly the passengers that occupied the public transports are immigrant. Then his friend add by saying that its unfair that we have to share our public transports facilities with the immigrants, because he feels that public transport in Malaysia was meant and created only for Malaysian. He disagree the fact that the immigrants are allowed to take the public transport.
I continue listening to their conversation, expressing their feelings about their developing country and of course the discussion also covers comparing the past and now. That things have change and life is now different then before. My thoughts, yes of course, luckily, otherwise they will still be leaving in the past, and nothing is progressing. Their discussions continue and touch on topics such as immigrant’s fashion, their behaviors, and languages that they speak. It is clear to me that these immigrants they have in mind, are not the professional expatriates , instead they are the skill workers, like building contractors or mostly known as cheap labor. The one that helps many big constructions company complete their bilions $ projects. The one that is willing to gamble their life taking on a job walking along highways sweeping the Malaysian roadsides from rubbish that been throwed out from the car by many unethical Malaysian. Yes, these are the people that they were annoyed with. The discussion continue on ranting about how their tax are used to full fill the needs of the immigrants and similar things until they decided to leave the mamak place. Each one of them walk towards their car parked at the LRT station’s carpark and drive away.
Now, that conversation makes me think. First, why bother feeling annoyed about the immigrants occupying the LRT, buses or other public transports when they are not interested to use it? Most of the time when I was in Kuala Lumpur, I have mainly traveled with public transports, and yes, there might be plenty of immigrants occupying the train, but what is the problem here? They are human, may be we’re not from the same country or cultural practices, but they don’t seems dangerous to me, in fact I have witnessed several times where most of them have been kindhearted. An old lady was given a sit by an Indonesian man, and an Bangladesh man assisted a blind man from the LRT to the KL Sentral exit. Now, when it comes to behaviors, I blame the local. See, when people migrated to another country, first few things that they do is to observed the kind of lifestyles and behaviors the society they’re living in. Only in some very rare cases that the immigrants strongly portrayed their cultural or country origin. At least not in first few months. They might kept their way of dressing, but to be able to blend into the ‘new society’, they need to be able to understand how this society works. One would ask what is it for? May be some would be in other people’s country to make problem, this kind of people are everywhere, they make problems anyway. But what about the one who migrated for their future life? They not here on sponsored advertiesments about their country, they are here only for one reason. To try their luck in another country. To seek for better life and future for their children.These people are here to work, and shouldn’t Malaysian be happy that this phenomenon will encourage business and skills ? That it will also generate fluxs of culture between both, local and immigrans. That there are lots of things to learn about the new people in the country? And that they should not be treated badly and downgraded?
The way I see it, what we seeing today in Kuala Lumpur is the reflections of the Malaysian society. Being selfish and arrogant will not help to nurture the relationship between the immigrant and the local. Hatred will not lead us anywhere. Sharing and showing that we love the facilities that was created for all, is one way to facilitates and encourages new immigrants to understand us as Malaysian. If we make fun of their way of dressing, then we should start looking at ourself in the mirror. The new immigrants is our reflection, so what ever we think about the new immigrants, it is a reflections of our new nation. Remember, one need to be able to look at oneself at the mirror before start pointing fingers at other.
I wanted to post this long time ago, but I completely forgot about it. We move to the new space, new building in September. Building 9, on Bowen Lane. We have to share this space with other postgraduate student from other media and communication discipline (which is great! We use to only talk to ourselves because all we got around us is the MCD people). MCD studio stand for Media Communication Design, ‘the designers’ and not the others. Anyway, back to the new space, yes nice space, newly designed, nice try thoght on saving the energy on sensor based light (which after a while can be annoying, because some sensor is not working so you have to walk around to the sensor that is working to relight the room). The reason I started to take photos of my desk is to document how I use, organise, mess-up and left over my space while I am working on my PhD. The desk is a space for me to explore, get inspired, cut, glue, paste, stamp, of yes the most important is to write. I can work from home, however the space, computer screen, size of the table and the post notes that I stick around me on the cubical imaginary wall brings me comfort. I also have blanket under my table, because the air-conditioning in this space can be super cold.
Now, as I get more confortable with the space, the artifacts around it grows, sticky notes, papers, books, wall is full of important skecthes over one another. I’ll post on another image later on. Oh! By the way, Happy Easter! Happy choc eggs hunting! (for me).