Refugees in Malaysia have always been a difficult topic to discuss, but the tougher the topic is, the more important it is for us to talk about it.
Malaysia has always been a country that, to a certain extent, welcomed refugees. That is, up until the Covid-19 outbreak happened and we had to turn away boatloads of refugees out of the fear of the virus’ reach. As tensions rose when foreign countries condemned Malaysia for our choice to turn them away, so did the hate Malaysians had towards refugees in general.
She wrote, “I want to tell you about the facts you’ve gotten wrong, about all the fear-mongering that’s being spread, about the policies we should change. But right now, I just feel much more compelled to tell you about people, and how wide they smile when they realise they’re gonna have food for the next few weeks.”
“About the hesitation they feel, from having to put on much trust in strangers. About the worry that shoot across their forehead from having to reach out for help, to rely on for survival. And mostly the kindness they continue to practice, when they hand you a cold bottle on a hot day,” she added.
“Their conditions are squalid and chaotic, and you’ll sometimes see grief and suffering. They didn’t choose to be refugees. No one chooses to be a refugee. But I’m compelled to tell you, that in those small interactions, I also saw dignity and joy. I couldn’t see any barriers. You. Me. Us. Them. And I hope in reading this, maybe you won’t either,” she ended her posting with a #refugeesarepeopletoo.
Considering that Malaysians have shot down misguiding comments from foreigners regarding the reason Malaysia turned away refugees during this Covid-19 pandemic, it’s only fair that we also shoot down xenophobic comments about refugees who have been living here peacefully for years.
Every community has bad eggs, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the community does not deserve kindness. After all, they’re just looking for a place to belong. Try putting yourself in their shoes, do a little research as to why they’re seeking refuge and hopefully, we can all understand why it’s so important that we show them kindness over anything else.
What do you think about this? Let us know in the comment section.
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