Everyone has a right to an opinion. But it is not necessary that a particular opinion may be right. In this case, we are talking about foreign workers. Most times, they are shunned and scorned upon by the locals in most countries whose citizens forget to ask who would then carry out 3D jobs, defined as dirty, dangerous and demeaning work.

Work on a farm may not have been categorized as a 3D job, but that was then. Nowadays, as Malaysians “work” their way towards attaining “high income nation” status, jobs that require hard labour are frowned upon and those in such occupations are looked down on – sadly.

A majority of farm workers in Malaysia are foreigners. Some work-permit holders and some without. Since working on a farm owned by the Ministry of Agriculture, I’ve come to know many farmers and their workers, and have been blessed with opportunities to listen to “their stories”.

Perhaps I will find the time to write and share these – their life experiences. It is through them that my belief is reinforced, that we are inherently all the same. Here are some of the questions I asked to satisfy my fit of curiosity in which the answers I got left me convinced that we are the same in human nature.

  1. How long have you lived and worked in Malaysia?
  2. What jobs have you held since arriving here?
  3. Why and how did you come to work in Malaysia – how did you enter the country? Did it cost you much?
  4. Why did you leave your family and come to a foreign country to work?
  5. What is your salary like and how much do you have to send back to your country?
  6. When was the last you saw your family/wife/children?
  7. Do you like what you do (as in work)?
  8. How much time off do you get and how do you spend this time?
  9. Is life here as you expected it? Are you happy; if not do you have other alternatives to earn a living?
  10. What are the best and worst things about Malaysia and Malaysians?

I wish I could share the replies as each person I spoke with have their reasons their own stories to tell. At the end of the day, we all have the same wants and needs; responsibilities to our spouses, children and/or families. But not all have the same opportunities and abilities to attain these wants and needs.