After statues of slave traders and colonisers around the world were defaced as part of the Black Lives Matters protests, it seems like the practice has arrived here in Malaysia.
A burner-Twitter account that goes by the handle @AntifaM3, shared photos of a famous statue of the explorer and founder of the British colony of Penang and its capital George Town – Francis Light, that was vandalised with red paint. The statue is one of Penang’s historical landmarks located at Fort Cornwallis, George Town.
The Twitter account only has one post on it and was just created this month. The account’s name – AntifaM points to it being related to the Antifa (anti-facist) movement – which is also a supporting faction of #BlackLivesMatter. Among those tagged in the post are mainstream media like The Star and Malay Mail, activists like Fahmi Reza, politicians, and even comedian Dr Jason Leong and local indie musician Takahara Suiko. Apart from the media, it is a very odd list of people to spread the message to.
While we’re unsure if these images are real, they look pretty legit. So far, the post has received more than 500 retweets with more than 600 likes. The caption states, “Finally in 2020, the statue of colonialist and slave owner Francis Light in Penang, Malaysia meets the same fate as other statues like it around the world”.
Take a look:
Akhirnya pada tahun 2020, tugu penjajah dan pemilik hamba bernama Francis Light di Pulau Pinang, Malaysia menemui nasib yang sama dengan tugu-tugu lain seumpamanya di seluruh dunia. pic.twitter.com/vRkleKpLI5
— AntifaM (@AntifaM3) July 1, 2020
The statue was erected way back in 1936, in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of George Town.
According to The Star, it used to stand in front of the Penang Museum for 38 years but in 2003, the bronze statue was moved back to its original spot at Fort Cornwallis.
In case you’re in the dark regarding why people are defacing statues around the world, BBC reported that #BlackLivesMatter protesters in America are demanding that authorities take down statues of Confederate slave owners that glorify figures whose reputations (and fortunes) were built on the suffering of African-Americans and the stifling of indigenous cultures.
Racist monuments around the world, especially in Europe, are also being defaced and removed as more voices start to question the shady colonial pasts of their own countries.
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