MARCH 21 — A friend informs me the Bangladeshis have taken over the market. Something has to be done, he said.
This is Pudu Market at the centre of the city.
My mind floats to family.
My dad’s parents cleaned the market for City Hall. My mum’s paternal uncles, a slew of uncles and aunts of varying degrees of relations, had a decent grip of the city’s labour pool.
We were its cleaners.
I made a mental note to not regard this friend as a friend in the near future.
All menial these labourers, except for one.
Of all the relatives, my granduncle was competent enough to be of value to the administrators pre-independence and was asked to take an additional tools test which he passed.
The rest were for the lack of a better term, slaves, in the market.
There are no easy jobs at the wet market.
Which leads to the primordial question.
What are they doing at this corner of this city? Why can’t they just be workers? Be workers and be happy.
They can’t, because like any migrant around the world, they want more.
First, I made a mental note not to be friends with this “friend” anymore. Anyone who fears the future and spreads animosity about the present, spreads hate, and therefore does not inspire confidence. Not only in themselves, but in the body politic. In the society they live in.
Bangledeshis, Myanmarese or the Rohingyas are not here to weather the storm till things are better in their country till they can go back.
They are here to have better.
And therefore, when Malaysians muse, despite themselves being migrants however many generations removed, it is spectacular.
They are offended these newcomers are here with the mind to settle down and have their own families.
Well, honestly, what were their own families at the market for? To be permanent staff of City Hall’s wet market to fulfil the consistency of a government.
As I wonder, I realise that when the first accompaniment of Tamil labourers arrived they would be at the receiving end of the public’s derision. These “dirty and dark” immigrants fresh from the boat with the expectation of jobs.
How these people were gawked at, and how they survived it.
To other minorities I point out, looking at the new immigrants, they get a sense of how things were, for their ancestors.
When Australian Senator Fraser Anning was egged following his offensive remarks about Australia’s immigrants, Malaysians were in unison about their support for the young lad who could not put up with the hate.
Anning surmised “Does anyone still dispute the link between Muslim immigration and violence?” in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosques attack which left 50 dead.
The youth hit the senator with an egg at a press conference.
To all present, in and beyond the room, accusing the very victims of inviting the violence upon themselves by a radicalised Anglo-Saxon was impudent. It was outright rude.
There were various immigrants in these New Zealand mosques.
There was Ansi Alibava, 25, from South India who left a widowed husband.
Also, Imam Hafiz Musa Patel, who after 25 years in the country, had moved to Australia. He was back for a period only to be gunned down by a madman.
Some were defiant. Abdul Aziz, 48, and born in Afghanistan was such a man. He left three of his children in the targeted mosque and went after the perpetrator with a credit card machine. It was the best kind of financial machine abuse. His courage, the rest of us can only imagine.
They were migrants. They were the best of New Zealand, dead or alive. They were the best of humanity. Any country, or people, in the 21st century oblivious about the value of migrants is condemned to not benefit enough from its new arrivals and risks being designated the worst kind of labels, not limited to being bigoted.
Learn to love
The Bangladeshis have not taken over the city’s largest market as much as migrants have turned New Zealand into a new Muslim Caliphate.
But Malaysians have to learn that being opposed to racist bullies in other countries cannot co-exist with their own expressed hate of those different from themselves in their own country. Can’t be upset with newly arrived New Zealanders being murder targets in their new home while being great supporters of your own security forces compromising the basic freedoms of migrants in Malaysia.
It’s ridiculous, and if it is not self-evident, get a book to read, and if it is still hard to tell, stop speaking, because clearly it is beyond you to understand how your ignorance is the problem to the world’s injustices.
In a more limited sense, those Malaysians upset with new migrants in Malaysia need to realise this country has been built on the backs of migrants. The ignorant who argue otherwise rely on the absence of knowledge but they know in time their lies would be discarded. If they don’t, their ignorance is not their biggest problem.
To the opening question, if the Bangladeshis have learnt to keep the old market ticking on, what is the real problem... ethnicity or nationality?
Countries have the right to deny entry, but once people are in to work, what is the sense in opposing their success? It is fine for them to work under us, accepting of our oppression, but when they are able to organise themselves and capital to further themselves, then they are committing crimes against humanity, or at least Malaysians?
Consider that question, would you?
While you do that, consider your humanity.
And at the same time, reconsider your right to be offended when violence against human beings are being perpetrated around the world primarily for being migrants in a first world country.
Recognise the bigot in yourself if you seek a solution for a world gone wrong. For part of the problem might be, you’ve gone wrong.
And yes, I’m happy with any hardworking and zealous people seeking to financially benefit from the Pudu Market. All right-minded persons would be. What’s your opinion?
*This is the personal opinion of the columnist.