The Portrait

My mum bought the above portrait from one Bangladeshi salesman. This portrait is pretty common in Kuala Lumpur as many Bangladeshi men are seen selling them around the streets.

It was around 9PM, Mum and I were at our usual restaurant at United Garden.

Immediately after giving him RM15, the Bangladeshi man said, “5 months ago, at the restaurant, same table, you bought one from me. Few months before that, you bought another one from me too”.

“Do you remember me?”, he said.
“Yes, you’ve gone fatter!”, replied Mum.

The Bangladeshi man then said, “Oh, I’ve gone fitter?? Thank you!”.

The Bangladeshi man then continued, “Today, I’ve only sold 2. My friends and I are so tired”.

Almost tearing, he said, “Abundance of thanks”
“It’s Okay”, Mum replied.
“May you live long..thank you”.

I felt so amused with his level of gratitude. It’s amazing how RM15 could cause such reaction.

The short drama told me of an untold story of immigrants. They had to leave their homeland to make a living and yet our society has been branding them as a menace and shunning them away.

Many decades ago, our grandfathers left their homeland to Malaysia to make a living. They too were subjected to all sorts of abuse when they first came to this foreign land. When I see all these immigrants, I can’t help to think that of grandfathers used to be like… them.

Illegal or not, they are here to make a living.

14 thoughts on “The Portrait”

  1. wah. so touchy feely one.
    well, i’m in sales and i know how discouraging it is when you can’t sell your things…but have to see also lah. can’t keep on buying things you have no use of, right?

  2. At the end of the day, immigrant or not, they are a fellow human being. There is no harm in being humane to another fellow human being.

  3. since no one claimed it, #1!!!!!!!
    Illegal they might be, but at least their better than some locals who rob and steal for a living.

  4. least they put themselves thru the tough ride to earn every cent with pride..I’d come across a 30 year old Pakistani in Food Foundry and he’s earning his money as a waiter to further his studies in Pharmacy.. I salute his humble persistence…
    They’re indeed the sole survivors in the land of others..well as the saying goes
    ” To live anywhere in the world today and be against equality because of race or color is like living in Alaska and being against snow.”
    – William Faulkner

  5. Foreigners are more hardworking than many locals……and many of them are good men. It’s teh few bad apples which spoil the general perception about them….

  6. Karheng: You are absolutely right. Most of them are actually very nice people. Most of us can’t even imagine what uncertainty the have to go through everyday just to make a living.

  7. Hello,
    Thought i’d give my two cents worth on this.
    We all sometimes take our lives for granted in the sense that we live in familiar surroundings, with our family and friends all around as a support network etc. Making a living and surviving on someone else’s land is indeed a life changing experience. Think it makes you look at life differently from someone else’s angle.
    Honestly, it’s quite disturbing sometimes to see the way the Police and other government departments treat them.

  8. Sometimes just a small gift to them means a lot. I worked with a bunch and took photos of them and developed a few pics so that they could send them back when they sent mails home, and they appreciated it so much, their vocab became only terima kasih until i left…

  9. without them…most construction will not complete so fast,nt many Msians dare to climb buildings…sad to say sum are exploited, tricked by their agencies…

  10. ferker: hehe yeah man, i got loads of those posters at home already ekke
    Low: yup! would be even better if we throw a little bit of generousity innit
    efly: yeah, those should be hung and shot.
    niq: well said!
    jaz: err..abit out of topic right?
    puhyah: rEspekta!
    david: yeah, esp news on how rela members abuse the foreign workers
    darren: eyah man
    karheng: aww thats sweet man. i think we should appoint a day to declare “be nice to foreign workers day”
    abu: yup poor beings

  11. yes… there are still human and they have their dignity. They are only a menace when they commit crimes. I was thinking of blogging about this…. of something i saw the other day in Kiasu Land.

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