Lakshmipriya was born and raised in Perak, Malaysia and currently lives in London. Previously a Human Capital Consultant, she has worked in Malaysia and Dubai. She recently completed her PhD in Cognitive and Organizational Psychology in the UK. She has co-authored a book on talent management and is currently working on a paper that investigates the influence of sex differences when perceiving people. When not absorbed in academic research, Lakshmipriya enjoys Netflixing and cooking.
Plain curiosity or racial microaggression?
The Atlanta Spa shootings last month that took the lives of six women of Asian descent caused a stir among those in “Malaysians outside of Malaysia” Facebook group that I am a part of.
Debates went on a lot of issues, namely the fact that six of the eight victims were Asians. It was unsettling to say the least, but there was some comfort knowing we were miles away from Atlanta. But many were also aware it could happen anywhere, anytime with some unsettled person with a gun in the hand. And an imagined cause to fight for or rather take it out on the innocent.
One of the members also pointed out that he often gets annoyed when people ask him where he is from and asked how others in the FB group felt about it.
The replies were many and wildly polarized. Some people were okay to be asked while some others thought that it was rude and a form of racial microaggression. I was not so sure and wondered if it could be just plain curiosity.
Having lived in London for close to 5 years now, I have been asked this question numerous times. When I say that I am a Malaysian, they often look confused owing to my South Asian looks. If the time and place permits, I usually explain to them how my maternal grandfather moved to a small town in Perak, Malaysia from Tamil Nadu, India to work as a clerk/accountant in a relative’s estate during the British colonial time.
I take great pride in saying how he was only 15 but went on to start a new and relatively successful life in Malaysia.
I also tell them that Malaysia is a multiracial country comprising people from various races including Malay, Indian, Chinese, Iban, Eurasian and so on and how we all looked different to a certain degree.
What I don’t tell them is that while we may all look different, whether Malaysian or English, we most certainly all have one definite goal – to be happy.
The views expressed here are that solely of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect that of Weekly-Echo’s.