“As of end June 2017, there are some 149,200 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR in Malaysia…There are some 37,000 children below the age of 18.” – UNHCR.org.my

Worldwide, these numbers are 22.5 million, with nearly 50% below 18.

How do we make sense of this?

While statistics provoke a quicker and wider emotional impact, they may, to a certain extent, end up dehumanising the people who make up those numbers.

Over the two courses of 13 sessions in late 2016 and early 2017, PopDigital in partnership with Think City and sponsored by Citi Foundation conducted a series of audiovisual literacy workshops for secondary school students. Half of the class was made up of students from Myanmar, Pakistan, and Somalia, whose families fled to Malaysia in hopes of finding a better life. Their assignment? To produce a short film about Kuala Lumpur after being taught by industry professionals in photography, videography, audio production, and post-production.

It’s tempting to assume that as underprivileged kids, they worry about different things, enjoy different things, think about different things. But they exude a passion that belies their backstories. And at the end of the course, the films they made were nothing short of amazing. Here are some of our picks.

 

A tear-jerking story of a dying business in Petaling Street:

 

Mrs. Ranjit, the Punjabi caretaker of a Buddhist temple:

 

An Indonesian lady who runs a kuih stall at Kasturi Walk:

 

A feature on the artist behind the popular Komik Ronyok:

 

View all the students’ works here.

Refugees, pendatang, migrants – whatever label we put on them, we are all ultimately from the same community, and we all deserve to be heard. For a chance to really immerse yourself into the melting pot that is Malaysia, The Cooler Lumpur Festival in collaboration with Picha Project is hosting a one-night only dinner.

 

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Riding on our collective love of food to bring both Malaysians and ‘outsiders’ together, No Outside Food Allowed celebrates the cuisines of some of the most hardworking people in Malaysia. The diner will be prepared by refugees – featuring cuisines that will one day weave itself into the rich tapestry of Malaysian life. Come for the food, stay for their stories.

Details:

Dinner starts at 7:30PM
RM80 per head
Floor-seating
Bookings required: http://bit.ly/2v6KUk8