Ah, Facebook, where people occasionally unite under a post to comment on things they know nothing about and without any idea on how offensive their words can be.
Recently, an officer at the Department of Orang Asli Development (JAKOA) came under fire from netizens after he posted about getting an Orang Asli maid.
In the post, the officer, Azlan Mohamed Al-Fahim shared about an Orang Asli’s traditional wear competition. Unrelated to the post, he said that his wife asked him to hire an Orang Asli maid, claiming that Indonesian maids always run away.
A bunch of people in the comments, who we can assume are acquainted with Azlan, requested the same thing, including some who commented on the beauty and appearance of Orang Asli women.
Twitter user @jasli_jamil, who’s an Orang Asli himself, screenshot the officer’s post saying that it’s rude and offensive since JAKOA is responsible for them as they are the government body’s clients.
“He [Azlan] is a JAKOA officer but he can casually post something like hiring Orang Asli as a maid? If you think the comments are not rude, please ignore. Remember, we are your client. You serve us, so you insult your own clients?”
Many shared the same sentiment as Jasli, that the post is rude and offensive, with creepy undertones in Azlan’s post and the comments that followed.
“The way he says it is like treating maids as sex slaves. Don’t defend something that is clearly wrong,” a Twitter user commented.
To readers who are unfamiliar with the occasional bigotry and using of Orang Asli tribe-names as slurs that happens on social media, there are those who argue that there’s nothing wrong with the post, claiming that Azlan and his friends are merely “admiring” the beauty of Orang Asli women.
Once he deleted the post, Azlan issued an apology on Facebook, claiming that people misinterpreted his words and he was simply admiring Orang Asli’s loyalty, honesty and sincerity and that the model in his original post was a symbol of beauty… Whatever that means.
While his half-butt apology may work for others, a number of Orang Asli themselves felt it was offensive and that Azlan should be removed from his position.
I don’t buy it myself. A married guy who wants to hire a young, beautiful maid for household chores reads like a synopsis from one of those cringy romance novels.