"Go Back To Sabah Lah" – 23-Year-Old Shares Hate Message He Received For Being East M'sian
A 23-year-old Sabahan recently went online to share his experiences with discrimination as an East Malaysian living in Peninsular Malaysia
Taking to Twitter on Wednesday, 6 July, Lee Sean Lanjuat — who works as a waiter in Ipoh, Perak — wrote, "Me. A Sabahan living and working in West Malaysia. This is too much. I'm sorry."
He uploaded screenshots of messages he received from an anonymous user on Instagram. The messages attacked him for the way he looked and spoke.
"Hey, can you stop working at the cafe? F—k you. I no understand what you say (sic). Stop working lah, boy. Especially your tattoos. It's disturbing the community in Ipoh," read the first message.
"Go back to your original state. It isn't right that you work here, you only look stupid. [You're] already a Sabahan, with no brains, and can't speak correctly too."
The messages also criticised Lee for being gay and for speaking English, instead of Bahasa Melayu, well.
The Sabahan told SAYS that it was not the first time that he had received such discriminatory comments since living in West Malaysia
Lee, who is half Kadazan and half Chinese, said that it hurt him when people judged him for his tattoos and made fun of his Sabah accent and dialect.
The youth also told SAYS that he has been studying and working here for almost five years now, since graduating from high school back in Sabah.
He added that he did not know who might have sent him the messages.
"But I've received many other criticisms and judgemental comments before, like people asking me to fix my Bahasa Melayu because they can't understand me, and some people have also called me 'stupid orang kampung' who doesn't know anything, and so on," he said.
His tweet blew up with netizens apologising for the horrible prejudice he had faced, and East Malaysians coming forward to share their own experiences with discrimination
"Sorry that you have to face such discrimination here. Stay strong, bro. Those people are usually insecure about themselves and divert their anger towards others. I'm married to a Sabahan and I'm proud of it. Most of us in West Malaysia welcome our brothers and sisters from East Malaysia. We are all Malaysian," replied a Twitter user.
"I'm from Miri and moved to Terengganu 20 years ago. My Bahasa Melayu was really formal, and students there didn't speak English in school. I was bullied, with teachers asking me not to speak, etc. You name it. Had to move to a private school where the mentality was very different there. There was more acceptance," a user recounted.
Another East Malaysian who has been working in West Malaysia for years said, "In the early years, when I was just starting to look for a job, some people told me that I should just go back to my kampung. They said people like me will take away job opportunities from them. Not to mention the discrimination."
Although disturbed by the incident, Lee hopes that there will be more tolerance, kindness, and respect for diversity in the world, especially in Malaysia, when people make an effort to understand others.
"Even though you have not experienced these difficulties yourself, educate yourself about other people's struggles," he implored.