Categories
Malaysia

On migrant workers

When Phadendra Kumar Shrestha heard about the cupboardful of abandoned passports, he knew he was in trouble. The 27-year-old migrant worker from Sindhuli district, Nepal, had travelled to Malaysia on the promise of a salary more than double what he could ever hope to earn at home, but the contents of the cupboard made him afraid.

Shortly after his arrival in Kuala Lumpur in October, his employer confiscated his passport and those of the 36 young men who had travelled with him. Without his documents, the only way Shrestha could leave his employer was to run away. And so the pile of abandoned passports indicated that several workers had fled, leaving their documents behind.

Via The Guardian

I’ve always taken my hat off to those who actually take the step of leaving their home to venture into another country, whether it’s to escape political prosecution, or to find their fortune.

Leaving home is never easy. It takes guts, sacrifice, and determination. Often you’re leaving behind family, everything you’ve worked for until that point, and you might never come back. It’s even scarier for migrant workers as they’re often going to work at construction sites or similar jobs, and not corporate jobs where they might be treated better or afforded better protection.

It’s sad to see many of these workers be abused along the way, often with no way out. It also reminds me of an article I read not too long ago titled “Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants?” The Wall Street Journal also had a similar article on the topic.

Not all migrant workers (or expats?) are good, but that applies to any group in society. There are bad people from every country, race, gender etc. There are some happy stories of course, and the one about some workers in Singapore saving a baby was widely circulated recently.

In the end, one can hope that society will eventually progress to the point where we’re evaluated and treated based on our abilities and achievements, rather than the country that we’re born in.

Categories
Malaysia

Security Isn’t a Priority At The Curve Shopping Mall

I normally prefer not complain about things online, but I feel that it’s important to point out my recent experience at the The Curve shopping mall, since car park security at shopping malls has been a hot topic recently.

Note: In case this happens to sound like something bad happened, there was no attack, just disappointment in the management of The Curve. So there isn’t any crime story here (fortunately).

As we all know there have been several incidents at The Curve shopping mall, the recent attempted carjacking/kidnapping of a girl and a ‘curry powder’ robbery all happened within a day or two of each other. Not too long after that, a long list of attacks started happening in shopping malls. The good news, is that some shopping malls have begun to beef up their security and also offer shoppers the option of having the security guard escort them to their car. I recently noticed that One Utama had posted such a notice on their Facebook page. While I haven’t asked their security guards to escort me to my car (yet), but it’s a step in the right direction.

At least One Utama is offering a security guard escort service

I hadn’t been to The Curve in a while, but I was there for a movie today (The Dark Knight rises, if you’re interested, excellent movie). I parked very near the escalator under Borders bookstore, figuring that it’d be easy to me to quickly get to my car when I was done and leave the mall. I was mistaken.

Categories
Bersih Malaysia Movies

V for Vendetta and the Malaysian Government

I had some free time last night so I took the chance to check out the movie V for Vendetta as I remember reading some things about it recently. In case you’re wondering why I’m watching a movie a good 5 years late, I tend to do that all the time. I was commenting on the parallels that I found between the government in the movie and the government in Malaysia when my cousin (who is studying overseas) asked if it was that bad here. It served as a strong reminder to me that most Malaysians (locally and internationally) haven’t really seen how badly our rights have been trampled upon. I write this not as a supporter of a specific political party, but as your average Malaysian.

Note: There are some references to the movie below (obviously), but if you understand what a totalitarian government is about, there aren’t any spoilers. Not to mention, it’s a 5-year old movie, so most people have probably watched it :)

As as I always tell my customers, I’ll post this in point-form, as it gets the message across in a simple and easy-to-read format. I’d just like to mention some of the similarities and differences that I saw between the Norsefire (NS) government in the movie and our present Malaysian Barisan Nasional (National Front/BN) government:

Categories
Bersih Malaysia

Bersih 2.0: My Experience

By now I’m sure most Malaysians (and many people internationally) know about the Bersih 2.0 movement. Writing this took a little longer than I thought, but I’d just like to take this opportunity to share my experience of it, and hope that it offers some additional information of that day.

 

The sun rises. It’s off to the Forbidden City of Kuala Lumpur I go.

I must say that I was quite scared during the last few days before Bersih 2.0 (henceforth referred to as Bersih), with all the threats going around of violence, police crackdowns and sadly even silat groups, I was seriously questioning if it would turn into another May 13, and whether I’d be able to get home. I thought about writing a note for my parents and girlfriend just in case, but decided to stay positive and skipped it. I had prepared some items such as salt, a bottle of water, a towel, and the all-important “illegal” plain yellow shirt, and went for breakfast with my parents, a meal which somehow felt important. After that my dad dropped me off at the LRT station and at 9am I headed into the Forbidden City. Even at the Paramount LRT station there was a police presence, but fortunately they didn’t look twice at me, and I kept my eyes firmly trained on my phone while I walked past them. Despite all the brouhaha by the government, there were still plenty of people in the LRT going into town, though I wasn’t sure if they were joining the rally or not. While I was planning to go to KLCC and walk, I noticed that the Pasar Seni station looked pretty safe, and it was very near the Stadium Merdeka that we were supposed to assemble at, so I got off at that station. Police were present at the station too, but they didn’t stop anybody. I chanced upon a group of young students who were busy discussing their alibi in case they were asked where they were going (the KLCC education fair apparently), so I introduced myself and joined them, it’s pretty obvious why everybody is in the Forbidden City anyways.

Categories
Malaysia

Arrest the yellow fiend!

I usually do my best to keep this blog away from political issues, but it’s hard to stay away this time. With the beloved Malaysian government and its police lackeys busy arresting anybody wearing a yellow shirt to intimidate people away from the Bersih 2.0 rally, it’s hard not to take the Mickey out of them.

Do share this with friends via email, Twitter, and Facebook. I feel it pretty much sums up the situation Malaysian’s are in at the moment.