Simon’s Story, Myanmar (Zomi Chin)
When I first came, I didn’t feel that afraid but the more I stay here, the more I fear.
“I am from Myanmar and I came to Malaysia in 2010. My family and friends are back home. I miss them but I have made new friends here, who are also refugees, like me. I am working with them but I only made friends with them after arriving in Malaysia so I’m not too close with them.
I’m currently working in the Zomi refugee committee as a secretary. When I first came here, I only thought about myself, how I am going to survive here in Malaysia. But when I see my people here, suffering so much, I feel like I want to help so I started volunteering for the community. I started in the past 3 years. The first year I came, I was working.
We are free to go around in Malaysia anywhere so in this case that is good. But I haven’t talked to Malaysians a lot, only sometimes. For myself, I feel like I have nothing to say to them or to talk about and I feel that they seem like they don’t want to talk to me.
I feel like sometimes I don’t belong because when I go for job interviews, they say “No, we only want locals.” I feel like sometimes as a refugee, I have no rights. Sometimes, the police stop will stop us randomly and look at our nail clipper and say “What are you doing with that?” They think we are going to use it to take money or open people’s bags or cases that have money inside. So now, I don’t even dare to bring it out.
When I first came, I didn’t feel that afraid but the more I stay here, the more I fear. I have no confidence, when I see the police I don’t want to face them at all. They will ask me so many questions. I am helping people but I have to say that I have no confidence in myself.
I want Malaysians to treat us properly so we can feel safe here. But I also want to say thank you to Malaysia because today, my people and I have a space to live and have some jobs and also get some money for survival. Thank you.”
*name has been changed to protect the individual