Esther Chia shares about her experience of fear and prejudice towards migrants and her realisation after that.
I used to think that the news was not very helpful. It focused a lot on the bad news and only on the bad things that migrants do.
But what about me?
I found myself generally prejudiced towards migrant workers and to those who are different from me.
I used to avoid them. The migrants were invisible to me and I did not acknowledge their existence.
It had been a long while since I have taken the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), and I was really upset when I found the migrants that I encountered on the MRT to be loud, rude and uncouth.
I held on to these thoughts about them for many years and chose to be closed off.
Opening her eyes and seeing things clearly.
But 6 years later I found myself at ACMI. I struggled initially as I was afraid and struggled with my prejudices and indifference towards migrants.
Being with ACMI over these years, and in my many encounters with them, I have learnt to love and open my heart to them.
Learning to appreciate their presence.
I initially appreciated them just for economic reasons, because they were building the infrastructure and helping us to grow as a country. Even at home, I give thanks to God for my helper. Her presence in my home allows me to come out and work. To be free from worrying about my parents back home.
But today, I see them even more than just an economic reason.
I am reminded that they are just like you and me. We are all God’s creation, created in His image.
So why should any of us be different from the other? Why should I love them less over the others?
God loved me first and made us all equal. God never made anybody above the other.
I pray that we will begin to recognise the fears and prejudices that we have towards one another.
I pray that we may be free from our fears.
Let us open our hearts to welcome our brothers and sisters, for we are all human persons with dignity, loved by God and made in His image.
Esther Chia is Executive Director of ACMI. Her experience was first shared to colleagues and other member organisations at Agape Village on 9 September 2019. Her sharing was inspired by the 1st point raised by the Holy Father “It’s Not Just About Migrants: It is Also About Our Fears”
This is the first of a series of reflections on the 10 points raised by Pope Francis in his 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees Message.
Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks!