Kuala Lumpur (Chindwin): Amid Malaysian authority’s constant hostility towards refugees, a new opportunity has glimmered for refugees from Myanmar, starring in the international film produced by the Malaysian Chinese filmmaker.
The film titled “Barbarian Invasion” is produced by the Da Huang Pictures, established in 2005 by a group of filmmakers who have successfully produced multiple award-winning films since then.
Mr James Bawi Thang Bik and Doris Par, both are Chin refugees from Myanmar, were invited to perform in the film. The two refugees performed as brother and sister in the film rescuing a single mother thrown into the sea after beating to death by gang members who kidnapped her.
The inclusion of refugees in the film is sporadic. It is the first of a kind in the Malaysian film industry, choosing to include refugee’s story of how Myanmar refugees came into Malaysia and positively contribute to the local society.
The main character actress in the film is Tan Chui Mui, who told Mr Bawi Thang Bik that she wanted refugees to be part of the film, which paved the way for the inclusion of Myanmar refugees’ journey into Malaysia.
Doris Par and Mr Bawi Thang Bik are acting to support the main character in the film – Tan Chui Mui. Many local fans of Miss Tan Chui are excited for the movie’s official release in Malaysia as it is learned that the film is the jury award-winning in Shanghai, China.
Malaysia is not a signatory country to the 1951 Refugee Convention nor its Protocol; thus, it does not have an asylum system regulating the status and rights of refugees.
As a result, the Malaysian government is constantly hostile against refugees raiding frequent crackdowns on asylum seekers and registered refugees with the office of UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee) because refugees are seen as illegal entrants into the country.
Mr. James said that the film featuring refugees from Myanmar and portraying the current reality of refugees’ situation in Malaysia might send a strong voice to a broader public in Malaysia educating them about the plights of refugees as this is part of the targeted spotlight by the picture.
Mr Bawi Thang Bik is a well-known figure right activist among Myanmar refugee communities for his tireless advocacy efforts for refugees in Malaysia, successfully connecting with Malaysian Parliamentary members and many other local networks to support Myanmar’s refugees who have nowhere to go.
“As of the end of August 2021, more than 179,000 refugees live in Malaysia from 51 countries of which 86% are from Myanmar, including more than 100,000 Rohingya refugees, according to UNHCR.