PETALING JAYA: If you think racism is bad in Malaysia, you will be shocked to hear that racism is very much alive and kicking today in the land of our former colonial masters as well.
One Malaysian photographer, who has stared racism squarely in the face is Daniel Lee Adams, 21, from Kuala Lumpur, who studied in Britain, and whose work on the subject has been featured in the website of UK’s The Guardian.
On his own website where the same pictures have been uploaded, Adams says, “Racism in the United Kingdom & Ireland is a widespread problem. This series is based upon fellow Malaysians experiences with racism and ignorance who are either living or studying in the United Kingdom & Ireland.”
The 15 photographs featured in The Guardian are accompanied by a caption that details the experiences of various Malaysians, who had racist comments flung at them at some point or another, from out of the blue.
The first photo titled, “Love cheat”, is a visual representation of the experience Evelyn Bee of Wadebridge found herself in.
The caption reads: “I met this guy in a pub. We spoke all night and got on really well. When he asked where I was from, I naturally said Malaysia, as that is my country of origin. We spent the night together. But the next morning he asked why I could speak English so well since I was Malaysian. I told him I was half English. To which he replied. ‘That’s cheating, I thought I was sleeping with a full Asian chick.’ And he got dressed and left.”
Another titled “No Filter” shows how foreigners seem genuinely bewildered when they encounter a Malaysian who speaks flawless English. Malaysian Jason Vincent from Bristol shared his experience: “A guy came up to us to ask for a filter paper and stayed to chat. We then told him that a few of us were from Malaysia: Shaz, Shaun and I. He said, ‘How come your English is so good though?’
A photo titled “Enjoyable slavery” meanwhile tells of how Tasnem Aljoffery of London was told by an English housemate, “Well, I’m sure you guys enjoyed the slavery” when a group of friends were discussing why Asians were intimidated by the English.
Some English also hold on to the belief that colonialism was good for Malaysia as Izyan Hay of London found out. Accompanying a photo of Adam’s titled “Thank you colonialism”, is the caption: “This guy was telling me how great colonialism was – ‘We gave you justice, railroads, your country wouldn’t be progressive if it wasn’t for us’ – and then he told me: ‘You wouldn’t have gotten into uni if it wasn’t for colonialism’.” – FMT