Malaysia’s Migrant Workers: Part 2

In May of 2020, a few months into the first MCO, in a pique of depression and hopelessness, I wrote a piece arguing that Malaysia’s exploitative and unfair colonial economy never disappeared: that it only shifted from the backs of our coolie and indentured labour Malay, Chinese, and Indian ancestors; onto the shoulders of Bangladeshi, Nepalese, and Burmese workers. That we owe these workers, and our ancestors, a moral debt to protect them and their basic human rights.

In the year and change since that piece, conditions for migrant workers in Malaysia have only worsened. In the wake of spiking…

A Story of Malaysia’s minorities.

From when I was a child until I was 17, I was scared of Malay people.

I wish I could tell you that this was because of some traumatic incident that imprinted itself upon my psyche: maybe a scary security guard who magnified in Freudian proportions to roam the depths of my subconscious; or a strict and overzealous teacher who punished me to excess. But frankly, I have no such excuse.

I grew up in a sheltered Chinese urban middle-class bubble. I went to a Chinese primary school, spoke Chinese at home, and hung out with Chinese people. I was…

A story of Malaysia’s migrant workers.

Imagine that you are poor.

You have always been poor.

You father was poor, your grandfather was poor, and your family through the generations have always been poor. They were farmers or fishermen, or shepherds: life has never been easy: but through hard work, persistence, prayer, and not a little luck, they’ve survived down to today.

But in recent years, things have changed. Strange forces of industrialization and free flowing capital have arrived from beyond the sea, transforming your mother country beyond recognition. The land is more and more untenable, in the face of the changing climate, the demands of modern life, and political instability…

Vincent Loh

Exploring Malaysia, one historical chapter at a time.

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