As Malaysians living in a multiracial society, we have been accepting and respecting each other’s different values and beliefs
The government ads and programs also promote us as different people who are living in peace and harmony, so it’s not unusual to see interracial couples around us. It’s not so much of a strange phenomenon in a country like Malaysia.
While it is quite common these days, is it truly accepted within our society? Interracial couples in Malaysia have been stared and sneered at, with tones ranging from curiosity, dissatisfaction to straight out disgust. On top of that, these couples often have to answer some really weird, repetitive questions coming from family, friends and even strangers about their relationships.
So, what are the weirdest questions Malaysian interracial couples are tired of being asked? We talked to four couples to give you this list of what NOT to ask them:
1. "Eh, bila nak convert?"
This question is a tale as old as time in Malaysia. Why should the difference in religion of the couple matter to you?
Putting all legal issues aside, the decision should be solely up to the couple themselves. Not only would you look like you’re undermining their relationship to religious issues, but you’ll also be a disrespectful busybody.
2. “His/her parents won’t say anything about your colour ah?”
Parents are undoubtedly one of the hardest barriers to overcome when it comes to Malaysian interracial couples. But at the end of the day, they should be happy for their children for finding someone who makes them happy.
If these couples have made the decision to convince their parents that interracial dating is actually normal, it’s not okay for you to ask this question assuming that parents will put their roots first before their children’s happiness.
3. “Eh why date (insert race of bf/gf)? You’re better than this lah!”
Some Malaysians still think that one of our cultures is better than the rest. Saying that someone ‘deserve better’ than being in their relationship implies that you think the other races are inferior to yours, when we should be treating each other with equal respect.
The fact that this still happens in this day and age in Malaysia shows that we have a lot to improve on as a society.
4. “You got (insert skin colour of bf/gf) fetish issit?”
Not only is it mean to assume someone’s romantic preference by skin colour or race, but it is also dangerous.
Saying that someone has a ‘fetish’ for the race of their significant other doesn’t just mean that you think it’s wrong to like someone from a different background romantically, but also that their relationship is solely based on preferences for physical traits. Ideas like this should have no place in the multicultural society we live in.
5. “Why can’t you date your own race?”
This is the oldest question interracial couples get asked in Malaysia.
The fact that they’re in an interracial relationship does not mean that they are trying their best not to date anyone from their own race or culture.
Asking them this question makes them feel as if you’re accusing them of rejecting their own roots, when it has nothing to do with you. They just happened to meet and like someone of a different background from theirs. This can’t be stressed enough: liking someone from another race does not mean these people don’t like their own background.
Remember, it’s none of your business!
As interracial couples in Malaysia are not uncommon, the questions they get about their relationships should not make them feel otherwise in our society. Keep this list in mind the next time you meet an interracial couple!
This story is the personal opinion of the writer. Contribute a story as a SAYS reader by emailing us at [email protected]