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Letter: Rohingyas are humans too

by Michelle Liu

This letter was also published on Malaysiakini, Malay Mail and Free Malaysia Today.

The recent outpouring of hatred towards Rohingya refugees on social media has been nothing short of appalling. One “meme” stood out in particular to me – it was an edited comic strip depicting a human and a dog sleeping in a room. The human, who had been sleeping on his bed, ended up sleeping on the floor because the dog had climbed onto and gradually took up all the space on the bed.

I am sure the original comic strip was intended to depict the funny sleeping habits of dog owners and their beloved pet dogs. The edited comic strip, however, painted a different narrative as if the dog had stolen and occupied the bed which is rightfully the human’s. You get the racist idea: here, the human is the “Malaysian” and the dog, “Rohingya”.

Continue reading “Letter: Rohingyas are humans too”

More than just race

In the midst of all these racial hulla-baloo, I want to remember their faces and names in my life. Because they are, too often, left aside while race gets elevated to become the only living signifier. When I remember the names and faces of my friends, I remember their quirks, aspirations, character and the memories we’ve shared together.

If I am to pick one touching memory, it would definitely be that time when I developed an allergic reaction and had to be taken to the hospital. My friends chose to wait for me until I’m allowed to leave in the wee hours of the morning, just to make sure I’m not alone and to take me home after. (Lol look at the second picture, I actually looked terrible and this pic is the most decent one)

Perhaps what we need right now isn’t intellectual points to win the argument for unity but compassion and understanding. Perhaps then we’ll see the whole debacle for what it is – a manifestation of distrust and fear due to our broken relations with one another, which must be resolved not merely by mending the institutions and law, but also the heart. #SayaAnakMalaysia

The hypocrisy of Himpunan 405

(This article was published on 6 May 2019 on #Liberasi and Malaysiakini.)

by Michelle Liu

About one to two thousand people gathered on the streets of Masjid Jamek in the afternoon of May 4th to “defend the sovereignty of Islam”. UMNO and PAS politicians appeared alongside NGOs like Ummah, ISMA and Sedar to give speeches. Plenty of signs and placards supporting The Crown Prince of Johore were also visible at the rally. Unfortunately, it had to end one and a half hour earlier due to a downpour.

While the freedom of expression is to be celebrated, a non-Malay Muslim onlooker such as myself cannot help but to ask if the “sovereignty of Islam” was so threatened to a point that it has to be “defended”.

Continue reading “The hypocrisy of Himpunan 405”

Imperious Imperial Impetuous Instead?

(This article was published on 18 March 2018 on ASASIkini and #Liberasi.)

By Arveent Srirangan Karthirtchelvan and Michelle Liu

Satire has always been on the cutting edge of comedy. It is unapologetic and often offensive to many people. The topics discussed are usually risqué and hit close to home, making light of recent traumatic events or looking at what would be considered painful memories in a humorous light.

This is what was attempted by the Imperial College Malaysian Night team when they wrote the lyrics to their dikir barat performance. As per tradition, they took a handful of universities and made fun of them. The common occurrence this year has sparked a huge blowback in terms of a petition started by a few Malaysian students who urged Imperial to stop including insulting and demeaning comments about other Malaysians in different universities. This sentiment is echoed by over 1000 Malaysian students throughout the UK and it seems the people really want Imperial to drop the practice.

Continue reading “Imperious Imperial Impetuous Instead?”