I love that I’m African. If that wasn’t good enough, I’m Nigerian. And black. But there are some things that are just not so great about being a black African man from Nigeria living in a foreign country.
Some of these things will jump up and attack me anywhere in the world (even at home) and some others, only when you’re in a country that has a non-black majority.
1. My passport has almost zero power. You know how the Singaporean passport is the second most powerful in the world? Yeah, mine is closer to the other end.
2. That means travelling is limited. To anywhere that requires that I show my passport and have a visa in it.
3. If I get past those two, it’ll be because I have a whole lot of money (which I don’t). For visa fees and to prove that I’m not going to “run away” as soon as I get there. This emphasises the two earlier points.
4. We have a reputation. Or reputations. Our artistry in scamming people from around the world and in “black money” is legendary and extremely embarrassing. Oh, we’re also known for being loud and aggressive. Not that there’s anything wrong with being able to command attention when necessary, our reputation just precedes us most times.
5. It’s significantly more difficult than normal to get a job. Getting a job is not easy for most people, but my Nigerian reputation makes it more so.
6. I don’t get the girl. There’s nothing in this list that screams I’m your best choice in the world. Ladies, no hard feelings. I understand.
7. I’m a cop magnet. I get stopped by the cops for ‘random/routine’ checks. All the time. Whether I’m in a car, or just walking down the street.
8. I am the aggressive one. It is expected that I can throw punches as and when necessary, sometimes with little to no provocation.
9. I get followed around the store by the security guard. Or the retail assistants. The extreme scenarios; they either think I can afford everything in the store or they assume I’m going to steal some candy for dinner.
10. Nobody wants to sit next to me on public transport.
Why I love being a Nigerian in Malaysia
1. Nobody sits next to me on public transport. So much more personal space for me!
2. See point 8. Most people assume I can throw effective punches as and when necessary, making me less attractive for the muggers and criminally inclined.
3. I’m automatically considered cool. Mostly. Although, I’m not sure if it’s because I’m Nigerian or it’s just a “me” thing.
4. I’m also considered tall-ish. Which is not something anyone back home would use to describe me. Here, I’m probably considered of average height, even leaning more towards the ‘tall’ end. UPDATE: I’ve started to doubt this point.
That’s not a lot of things that I love about being Nigerian in Malaysia, I know. Maybe it’s just me but I very much enjoy living here.
How about you? What do you enjoy or not about being where you’re from and living in Malaysia? Light up the comment section! Go!