Sunday, February 20, 2011

People are just people, okay?

So Malaysia is a multiracial country, and because of that, I am used of seeing various people of different races on the streets. There are a lot of foreign workers and international students here as well, so the prospect of seeing a foreigner isn’t terribly exciting.

*unless they’re European/American/British/Australian/all those people with white skin then you’ll probably hear coarse, creepy whispers of “orang putiiiih oraaang putiiiih” or “mat saleeeeh mat sallllleeeeeeh”*

*orang putih = white people = mat saleh*

*I really don’t get how white people got the mat saleh nickname*

*but there you go*

Imagine when a Malaysian decided to travel outside and realize that;

1. You’re a Malaysian. Wahaha!
2. You’re not that surprised to see so many people of different races so close to your eyes.
3. But apparently people are surprised to see how different you are.
4. Makes you wonder how different you are exactly, in terms of eyes/nose/lips/face structures and so on and so forth.
5. I mean sure, now that I think about it, we don’t resemble them that much. We don’t have such gorgeous eyes with amazing hues, small yet high nose, sculptured lips, prominent jaws, high cheekbones, sharp features, smooth like egg skin, curves, voluptuous figures bla bla bla…
7. What are we exactly? The Asians? I mean we look so…small and vulnerable next to them.
8. Not to mention they’re all that and they’re stinking rich! What gives?

*I might have observed that while drinking copious amount of Jeddah tea (I have no idea what the difference between normal tea and this special blend tea is, not a tea expert, you see) and they gave me such a huge chunk of sugar, I think it worth four cubes in total, and well, I lost track of how many cups I drank, and I might, as well got sugar rush. DIABETES! NO.*

*I was at a function you see, so that’s why I can observe all these gorgeous Arab women in all of their glory.*

*Funny thing happened at the function. I sat at the table. I don’t know anyone there to be honest. I know just one person but she hadn’t come yet. To make it worse she was the host so I can’t possibly spend the rest of the night mingling with her. I look Asian. Southeast Asian to be specific. All of these people were giving me strange glances. Because Southeast Asians in general only come here to work as a maid/labor.*

*Then their maids entered, and seeing me at the table, the maids decided to join me.*

*Bear in mind, all these maids are Asians.*

*They thought I’m a maid as well. Everyone did. Of course, I didn’t wear luxurious evening gown (!!!) or thick Arab style makeup (!!!) I think I wore baju kurung and a makeup so light people can barely see it under these dimmed lights.*

*Not that I went to functions all that much to know how functions really are, you know.*

*Especially not where women dressed like Academy Awards winners. Or nominees. Or attendees. Or whatever.*

*But that’s just the way I am. I’m very understated, you see. I don’t like bright colors. I don’t wish to cause temporary/permanent blindness on people.*

Back to the maid topic.

Seriously, I really don’t mind at all. I met a whole lot of maids here, and they are generally nice people, with a lot of stories to tell, and to tell the truth, I’m no better than them anyway. It’s not easy making money in this world, okay? I need to work my bones for a couple of bucks, and even if I have finally earned some, I love my money too much to spend it on unimportant things.

*what if I need to use the money to buy a super duper miracle itch cream that my mother wouldn’t let me because it is super duper expensive??? You’ll never know.*

*And what if I need to buy a new hard-disk??? Again, you’ll never know.*

I don’t think working as a maid/driver/nanny or anything is as low-class as some people put it. A job is still a job. Better than nothing, better than sitting on the street, begging for money. You still have your bones, you still have your skills, you’re still earning money in the right way, who cares really?

I mean, what gives these bosses to treat their maids cruelly, anyway? They take care of the house for you, they cook for you, your children are in their hands. They could, and I mean they could, sabotage your house for all you know, steal your belongings, poison your food, abuse your child, same way as you abuse them. If you want them to do your errands properly, the least you could do is to treat them properly, like human, for instance.

*though my mother’s ex-maid used to steal something from her. I mean, my mother was nice, she tried to make the maid felt at home, cooked nice food for her, provided shelter for her in our home, but the maid was in desperate need of money I guess*

At the end of the day, we are all humans, aren’t we? No matter if you’re a Caucasian or Arab or Asian, just because some people are from those third countries, it doesn’t mean that they deserve to be treated like that.

And some people, even if they look typical, could very well be richer than you. Who cares really? But some do.

This reminds me of something I once witnessed. Me, my mother and this aunt were talking to a bunch of Asian maids (similar language and what not), they chatted about their workplace, their bosses, their humongous three-storey houses located at one of the most elitist places in Jeddah, wherever that is, and the aunt said, “Hey, I live there too!”

And then they asked, “Really? What’s your mistress’s name?”

Cue for awkward silence.

I kid. The aunt instantly lashed, “What- I’m the mistress!”

Sure. I mean, the aunt’s probably the richest Malaysian in Saudi Arabia. Her husband is the second most important man at this bank (and here, the number one person must be an Arab, so a Malaysian to be the second man is a HUGE deal), and her son is the prince’s freaking classmate lol

But we still look Asian. And by looking like an Asian, it probably means that we are deprived of money and could do nothing but cook and tidy for a mere penny.

Oh, the misconception towards Southeast Asians in general.

One look at me, and they’ll think I’m from the Philippine. (what? Come on I have Thai blood lol)

*scoffing, nose up in the air*

If they heard me talk, they thought I’m Indonesian.

*still scoffing, examining their nails*

When I said I’m from Malaysia, out of the sudden, their reaction is…

“Malaysia? Oh my god you’re my best friend!”

I think KLIA is a great first impression for tourists. I guess. Maybe. Thank you KLIA. lol

But it seems to be the opposite in Switzerland, though. I didn’t get any strange stares from the locals, even though I look Asian and wear a hijab.

Apparently it’s because, “If you’re a tourist then you probably have a lot of money.”

lol what kind of logic is that. Okay, understandable.

Anyway, I just wish people wouldn’t jump to conclusion that easily. I might have contradicted myself somewhere, I might have written something that proves otherwise, but I’m trying very hard to not jump to conclusion and look at it from every aspect before finding a conclusion.

So people! As a Malaysian who grew up in a multiracial country, I can say that;
1. I don’t care how you look, I might be curious of what you’re talking about, because you’re talking in a different language and I’m the type who gets fascinated with languages in general, but all people, no matter what race, are just that, people.
2. Other races are not alien, people! We are people too. We meant no harm.
3. Their races might be infamous of inflicting harm on other people BUT it doesn’t mean that all of them are the same!
4. So what if our job is not as classy as you? So what if we worked as a maid, it’s not as if we’re robbing your money or anything. The maids work for their bosses, same as your husbands who work for their bosses. It’s just a job, come on.
5. And there’s also the case of family names. This tribe, that tribe, honorable family, ancient family, low-class family…

I heard of this happened to my mother’s Malaysian friend’s dear daughter, she couldn’t marry her boyfriend because she’s not from the same background and her ancient ancestors were supposedly the family’s enemy. How very Romeo and Juliet. Minus lust/love thingie of course. Or maybe not. I wouldn’t know.

And you thought racism only occurs when people of different races are together! Ah, how wrong.

Come on people, we’re just people! Ah. He’ll die, she’ll die, you’ll die, I’ll die, then the world will die.

Then you’ll see that you’re not that different from us anyway.

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