This guy explains what it’s like being a black guy in Malaysia

Image Source:
Apparently there’s a condominium somewhere here in Kuala Lumpur that has a ban on African people. It’s true. There was a general meeting and the owners all agreed to stop renting out to African tenants. Really. They gave all the Africans three months to move out; there’s a memo and everything — you can Google it.

The bigger question is, how do you define “African” in that context? I mean, does the ban apply to white South Africans? What about Arab men from Egypt? Or a Mauritian Indian. A Kenyan Chinese. If we’re being completely honest, this ban, it’s just a ban on black people. Period.

I love Malaysia very dearly. I really do. I moved here when I was only 17. I mean, I grew up here for fuck’s sake. Everything I am now, I was not before moving here. Whether or not I like it, my identity and this country are forever bound, but this thing about skin colour…

I don’t know, man.

I mean, I used to say that I didn’t know I was black till I came to Malaysia, which was sort of an in-joke with my friends, but it was also very true. It’s always been true, and these days, it feels truer than ever, and getting truer every passing day.

Did I mention that just a few days ago I was chased by two cops for no other reason than because I was walking alone at night and they wanted to see my I.D?

I’ve been stopped and asked for my passport 100% of the time when I’m walking alone. One hundred percent. Doesn’t matter if it’s in the morning, at night or in the good part of town; whenever I’m alone and there’s a policeman in sight, he always asks to see I.D.


When I’m with a local friend, the percentage is about 50-50; sometimes they stop us, sometimes they don’t, but if the friend is a woman, that percentage jumps up to 80%. And they always ask if we’re dating.

ALWAYS. 100%.

I’ve been stopped exactly ZERO times when I’m hanging out with my white friends. 0%. This one time, we were in a dark alley in a shady part of Telawi at three in the morning with a camera (shooting a film), and two cop cars came; both stopped for about a minute or so and then carried on. They didn’t even ask what we were doing.

Now of course I’m not implying that this is in anyway scientific; I didn’t record every single encounter I had with the police and I certainly did not have a control group to compare, but…


I don’t know, man. Can we just talk about Miley Cyrus instead, or some other shit grown ass men shouldn’t be talking about?

Al Ibrahim is a writer, photographer and filmmaker based in KL. He blogs regularly at Failed Imitator, where this post was first published.

Written by FunnyMalaysia

The leading media company in Malaysia for the social age, intensely focused on delivering high quality original reporting, insights and viral contents.