Metaphorically speaking, it required a bathing suit.
Traveling to Malaysia to work on Hope In Action was another experience of being immersed in a totally different world. I saw first hand with new eyes the complexity and simplicity of the issues people face when they come to the nation legally and illegally for work, and are exploited in the process.
And by exploited I mean drowning.
To help the individual, we need to look at the whole. To overwork the metaphor, we need to throw people a life vest, but to bring lasting change, we need to turn the tides.
Policy matters. Just laws and effective enforcement matter. Engaged communities matter. And that’s where you may stop reading this post (if you even made it this far). Say the word “policy”, cue the yawn.
But before your nap, consider this: In Malaysia, which isn’t a signatory of the UN 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the government and citizens want foreigners to come into the country as cheap labour to do the work no one else wants to do. This government policy creates a perfect environment for corruption and exploitation to flourish, while human rights can be trampled.
Similar things happen via the Southern border in the United States. Not enforcing certain laws or muddying official policy creates an opening for exploitation. Rich elites work the system and leverage the influx of cheap labour while the average person, whether legal or illegal is left to deal with the complicated consequences of a broken system, human misery included.
Canada continues to wrestle with the reality of exploitation with our Temporary Foreign Worker program (here’s a recent example). Clearly, abuse of foreign workers is a global problem. It’s here and it’s there.
If you are connected to a group of people who talk over coffee about systemic problems with how foreigners are treated in your nation, or you look at global or local issues and scratch you head at the enormity of strife, then Hope In Action can help you shape your conversation and your approach to action. To move beyond just talk.
While the book focuses on issues within Malaysia, even if you’re not in South East Asia, it can serve as an excellent template for engaging the pressing social issues that concern you in your own part of the world.
Jump in the deep end of the issues together and find a way to swim, you don’t even need to give yourself 30 minutes after reading before you do.
About Hope In Action
Shocking stories of human rights abuses in South East Asia have now been heard around the world. Hope in Action gives an up-close look at the lives of migrants and refugees as they come to Malaysia. It portrays an honest and eye-opening account of their experiences.
Through stories, photographs, reflections and extensive research, Hope in Action shines a light on what many migrant workers and refugees currently endure in Malaysia. It will refresh compassion for people who are in desperate situations and equip readers to help those in need.
Join the thousands of readers throughout Malaysia and around the world who are compelled to become true hope in action!
Want to order print copies for your study group, youth group, book club or church? Order print copies here.
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