The Southeast Asian country of Malaysia is home to hundreds of thousands of foreign workers. They take up a variety of jobs ranging from construction workers to household helpers but have largely negative stereotypes attached to them.
Here is the story of one such worker named Abu Bakar whose life serves as a reminder to not judge another person until you have walked a mile in their shoes. The 70-year-old from Bangladesh migrated to Malaysia nearly 3 decades ago and has been working as a cleaner in a mall situated in the capital city.
His bittersweet story was picked up by Humans of Kuala Lumpur and shared on their Facebook page.
Abu Bakar said, “I left Bangladesh for the past 27 years when my fifth child was 6 months old. Since then, I no longer return there. I miss my family and they miss me too. But this is all for them. All of this is for their future. ”
He moved to Malaysia in order to look for employment opportunities and was willing to take on low-level jobs that people regularly stay away from. He has not taken a day off despite being sick and sends most of what he earns back home.
“My needs here are simple. I send most of my earnings back to my family. I wake up, I bathe, I have my breakfast, I go to work, I come back, I talk to my family back home over the phone, I rest and it’s the same thing the next day, and the day after that. I have made some good friends here, too.”
His hard work and sacrifice paid off since his children have bright futures ahead of them. He says “One of my daughters is now a judge, another is a doctor and my son is an engineer.”
He is extremely proud of what they have accomplished. After 27 years of living and working in Malaysia, he thinks it’s about time to go back home, reunite with his family and retire.
He says, “This December I will be going home for good and finally see my family again. It will be the first time I’ll see my two grandchildren too. I can hardly wait.”
Humans of Kuala Lumpur was established to “photograph the people of KL, documenting the transformation, changes and diversity of [our] people with portraits that present a personal glimpse of the humans living in KL photo by photo.”
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"I left my homeland Bangladesh 27 years ago when my fifth child was just 6 months old. I haven't returned since. I miss…
Credit: Humans of Kuala Lumpur