MKini letters: Continued name-calling of Africans most unfair

MKini letters: 1. Continued name-calling of Africans most unfair

2. Get it straight – Africa is made up of 53 countries

It is very unfortunate that some sections of the Malaysian mass media are still continuing with their character assassination of Africans in Malaysia with their reports and sarcastic way of addressing Africans as ‘Pak Hitam’ (‘Black Uncle’ or whatever).

This name-calling is perhaps purposely orchestrated to put Africans down and make us feel as second-class or a third-class race.

It is true that there are some Africans who commit crimes but the news is exaggerated. How about the majority of Africans here? There are professionals among us who have contributed in building human capital in Malaysia.

Reporting about Africans in this way will only create tension between the Africans and some of their Malaysian hosts and this may have a psychological effect, especially on African students here who require an undisturbed state of mind to concentrate on their studies.

All this put the Africans in a bad light, making others look down upon us. Why doesn’t the media report or highlight the cases where Africans have been killed and wronged?

Instead of reporting in such a derogative manner, why not the mass media and the authorities concerned, together with some of us African professionals, work towards finding solutions and not finger-point and engaging in the showering of blame?

Personally, I am ready to take part in any effort to provide orientation to African students studying in Malaysia from the perspective of an African who has been living here for almost 20 years.

I give the thumbs-up for the Higher Education Ministry in recently defending foreign students, particularly those from African nations . So far, the measures announced by the Higher Education Ministry are very timely and hopefully, they will produce results.

We have to bear in mind that for better, future cooperation between the African countries and Asia, particularly Malaysia, these African students must be treated fairly and made to feel at home for they are the leaders of tomorrow in their various countries.

M.Kini letters 1. by Ali Salman

Kindly allow me a space to add my voice to that of the concerns raised by the Higher Education Ministry of Malaysia that African students have been given a bad press image in Malaysia.

The facts cannot be denied because the newspapers in Malaysia and some of the writers of these stories do not even know that Africa is a continent and not a country because they have consistently used the name Africa as if Africa is a country.

They cannot differentiate that Africa is a continent made up of 53 different countries just like Asia and they always write in the newspapers an ‘African man’ has done this or that.

Such write- ups have no credibility with any African who reads it except to please those who are not aware that the identity of the offender(s) cannot be substantiated and to those with evil intentions on innocent Africans in Malaysia.

Again, most Malaysians hate Africans for no reason forgetting that there are Malaysians living or studying in other countries around the world and they expect the people in these countries to respect, accommodate, like and accept Malaysians.

I have experienced on countless occasions when drivers and motorists drove into me because I was walking by the road side and some even threatened me by blaring the horns of their cars simply because they see you walking and this gives me the fear that its dangerous to walk in Malaysia as an African not to mention the abuse on the public buses.

Also, the press has over the years fed the Malaysian public with a bad image of Africans and therefore they have taken these stories and believe that every African they see in Malaysia is either a bastard, homeless, hungry, aimless or has no moral standing to be accepted into any society so they better kill that person or do away with him or her by any foul means.

I’m not saying that every African is an angel right but if the reporters are able investigate their stories, they will know what and how to write it and that will give credibility and professionalism to the story.

 

But as I write this story, there is a Malaysian family who has been staying in my grandparents’ home back in my country for more than eight years now and a staff of TV3 also staying in my brother’s house and nobody has troubled or hated them.

However, if you want to rent a house or a room in Malaysia, the owner will tell you ‘I want to rent to a certain race only or a local only’ or ‘you pay me three months’ deposit plus one month utilities’ and then he or she will triple the normal price of the house or the room.

Well, all said and done, Malaysians and the press in Malaysia should learn about Africa and know that the continent is made up of 53 countries and therefore they must be precise and able to write stories of whomsoever they find to be doing the wrong thing and not just say ‘African man’ as it will be unfair to say ‘an Asian man’ – where is he from in Asia?

And when all this bad reportage is corrected, the public will stop their ill behaviour towards the Africans who are innocent and who are here for studies the purpose of which colleges and universities in Malaysia went all the way to Africa to ask them to come and study here in Malaysia.

Stephen Tetteh

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