So this past Monday, 2 days ago, I went for a job interview at a well-known halal bakery for the position of a cake decorator. As some of you may know, I’ve been baking for the past couple of years, doing wedding cakes and deserts. I thought that this interview was a really great opportunity for me to continue pursuing what I love.
The interview with HR went well. We had a great chat, talked about the baking industry, and discussed the role that was being offered so on and so forth. After looking at my portfolio she was keen to move things forward, and so was I. She shuffled up and down the office, making phone calls to coordinate a last minute meeting with the head of the baking department, who was 5 floors above the HR office.
So the head of the department arrived with one of his colleagues. I introduced myself to the both of them and we sat down to talk.
He looked through my portfolio, flipping through the pages very haphazardly. After a few moments, he proceeded to asked me, “Can you coat a cake?”, to which I answered “Yes I can.”.
Silence… Then he then said we could go up to the bakery so that I could do a demonstration. We stood to got up to proceed upstairs, but then he turned to me, gesturing his hands at me from head to toe and said, “From what I see, and the way you look, and not trying to be racist ah, but you Malay, I think you cannot la”
I was stunned and I just froze. I felt my ears getting a little hot, but I didn’t want to lose my cool. I was taken aback and didn’t quite know how to respond anyway. I just kept quiet because I was shocked. He continued, “You know ah, Malays ah they over promise, promise I can do this I can do that, in the end, cannot make it, after 2 days disappear.”
The point I’m trying to make is that nobody wants to be generalised or defined by racial stereotypes. Racial profiling is unfair and unjust. We are more than our skin. We are actions. We are people. We are human beings with original thought and different experiences that have shaped us to become unique individuals with so much potential to offer society and the world. And yet I find myself, for the first time, discriminated against and not given a real chance for something I’m confident at, for something that I know sets me apart. Nobody should ever be told that they can’t do something based on the colour of their skin, but the sad reality is that this is real, and this is really happening.
Needless to say , I probably will never buy flour, cakes, pastes or anything from these people ever again. But I do wish them the best of luck maintaining their halal certification, and I do wonder how they will maintain their minimum Muslim employment quota.
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