After watching some recent documentaries, I couldn’t help but feel sad seeing foreigners being treated badly and not to mention the extreme poverty they are facing. Don’t even get me started on their daily basic wage, a situation that is absolutely appalling.
Many Malaysians have recently voiced their agreement with how these foreigners were treated especially those unregistered/undocumented migrants. At times, one can say that they must really feel like victims of circumstances, and yet they choose to stay in the country. Why? Well for financial reasons of course, but do we know how much they contribute to our society?
Many do jobs which Malaysians refuse to do — in wet markets, in cleaning services, in labour jobs that require handling of toxic/waste materials that literally keeps our country’s wheels spinning. Yet, many treat them with much questionable attitudes.
I am here to share with you on a view of a foreigner — I know how it feels.
Ten years ago, I was a foreigner in the land of Scotland and England. Though I had all my documentations etc, it was hurtful to how I was treated at times. Being from a Sikh background, I was on occasion reminded of the turban I donned. I was always linked to a suspect with potential terror in places.
There were times where I would be charged more for food and usage of public services because they know that foreigners are vulnerable. Occasionally, I was intimidated by the presence of police stopping and asking me questions just because I look different. There are times, where I was asked to house with all ‘Asians’ because many wouldn’t want to house with us (hostels).
Sounds familiar? You are going to love the next bit. This all happened whilst I was serving (for a short time) with the NHS (the National Health Service — the ministry of health in the UK). Some, knowing my profession, still opted to treat me as described. It was not only hurtful, but it was degrading to one’s self confidence and soul — simply because I knew that I was serving to look after the health of people who had no regard for me.
In all, our income wasn’t all that great and it was a chore to make ends meet, but everyone takes advantage to make a quick quid out of me because of my nationality. As medical professionals, we have always been thought to treat a patient with dignity and humanity.
Regardless if the person is from a prominent family background or a homeless person — they get treated with dignity, equality and respect. KKM can be proud of this as we treat one and all that come to our doorstep for help.
Does all of the above sound very familiar? Well, I thought that all of you might want to know what a foreigner may be going through in their minds and souls. The next time you see on who is struggling, do offer them some help; they are already suffering enough.
Sure, there are bad apples who have indulged in crime, but that doesn’t make each and every one of them as unlawful members of our society. Remember — if they were not here, would we have been this developed as a nation? Think about it.
I feel that many other ministries can take a page out of KKM’s book in the manner we offer courtesy, equality and respect towards our patients regardless of nationality.
Dr Arvinder-Singh HS is a Medical Officer with a Certificate in Occupational Health, Masters in Health Research, Diploma in Football Medicine and is currently pursuing a PhD in Community Health focusing on adolescent athletes’ health.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.