Disclaimer: In Real Life is a platform for everyday people to share their experiences and voices. All articles are personal stories and do not necessarily echo In Real Life\u2019s sentiments. *Dave, (*not real name) is a Sri Lankan business student who moved to Malaysia in January of 2018 to further his studies.\u00a0 \u201cBefore moving here, I have visited Malaysia a few times and did all the tourist things like visit the twin towers. I really liked the diversity and thought it would be harmonious to live here.\u201d Dave said.\u00a0 However, Dave shares how his whole perspective changed when he became a student resident.\u00a0 \u201cBeing a foreign resident in Malaysia is significantly different than being a tourist. They immediately make assumptions about your skin colour and act differently based on how you look.\u201d\u00a0\u00a0 Dave says that because of the unfair connotations, renting apartments is a challenge since most listings specify how they don\u2019t want a certain race with a darker complexion. This has been echoed by other reports in the past.\u00a0 \u201cI wanted to rent an apartment near my university. Everytime you contact the landlord, one of the first questions would be \u201cWhat race are you?\u201d Dave shares.\u00a0 \u201cIn the beginning, I didn\u2019t understand why they were asking me this,\u201d he continued. As he got more questions and more rejections due to his race, he realised that there is a racial bias involved. \u201cOnce, I was talking to the agent and he agreed to meet me to show a house. We met up, we saw the house, everything was fine until I got back home. I received a message from the agent who said that the landlord is uncomfortable with someone who has dark skin to stay in his house.\u201d\u00a0 \u201cI was floored. Why does my skin tone dictate whether I will take care of the house or pay for rent? How about looking at my finances first?\u201d \u201cWhen you are a tourist, you get respect because you are seen as helping the economy. But if you\u2019re living here as a foreigner, you\u2019re more likely seen as a criminal especially if your skin colour is dark.\u201d \u201cThey don\u2019t understand that we are contributing with our tuition fees too. Especially since they charge the international student more than a local,\u201d he emphasised.\u00a0 Dave says he doesn\u2019t want to complain to the authorities, because he doesn\u2019t want to cause trouble.\u00a0 \u201cI have learned that it is the culture here, and I don\u2019t want to call it out. Foreigners should just expect things like unfairness, culture shock, and rental problems. And, of course, the overly-sweet chili sauce,\u201d he said with a wry grin. Once, Dave used a Malaysian accent to get out of trouble with the police. Dave has a heavy Sri Lankan accent. But when he goes to bars, he adopts a Malaysian accent to blend in with the locals.\u00a0 \u201cSounding more local also makes you less likely to get in trouble when it involves the authorities,\u201d Dave confided. \u201cWhen the police conduct raids, they usually target the foreigners first and give them a hard time, before turning to the locals,\u201d Dave told me.\u00a0 \u201cOnce during a raid, I just casually talked to them while faking a Malaysian accent. They didn't even bother asking to see an IC or any kind of identity, since they just assumed I was an Indian from Malaysia,\u201d he explained. Dave has started to use Manglish in his day-to-day while living in Malaysia Despite growing up in an English-speaking household, everyone\u2019s first impression upon meeting him is that he speaks broken English, because of his heavy Sri Lankan accent. \u201cBecause of my thick accent, people excluded me from their friend groups, and I was avoided by my classmates,\u201d he opened up honestly. \u201cIn order for me to fit in and make new friends, I\u2019ve made the word \u2018lah\u2019 a part of my vocabulary, \u201d Dave said.\u00a0 \u201cMy first breakthrough was learning how to say numbers in Malay. It really helped me order food in Mamak. I can just say \u2018boss, dua roti canai\u2019 and they would understand with ease. Now he has learned phrases like \u2018terima kasih\u2019 and \u2018selamat pagi.\u2019\u00a0 Dave has noticed it's not necessarily a must to learn Malay to be accepted by his Malaysian friends.\u00a0 \u201cPeople do speak English well here, so I\u2019d say it's not about whether you speak the National language, it's about the accent.\u201d\u00a0 \u201cIf you have a Malaysian accent, you\u2019re pretty alright, if you have a \u201cwhite\u201d accent, even better! But if your accent is foreign-sounding, you would be made fun of.\u201d\u00a0 However, he believes if you are able to speak Malay, you would be respected more, especially by the Malay community.\u00a0 Dave hopes that Malaysians can learn to accept that most darker skinned foreigners aren\u2019t criminals \u201cI\u2019d like all Malaysians to know that we foreign students contribute so much to the economy, and we shouldn\u2019t be treated by criminals for living here,\u201d he said earnestly. Dave thinks people need to be more educated on racism. \u201cWhen you are exposed to more cultures, and have more diverse groups, you tend to be more accepting and open minded to new cultures,\u201d he states.\u00a0 He believes everyone, no matter where you are from, what your skin colour is or your accent, should get equal opportunities. \u201cHaving a preference for a certain race is just racism behind a mask.\u201d\u00a0 Dave continues, \u201cAfter all, Malaysia is a diverse and multicultural country. It\u2019s why I chose to move here in the first place. It\u2019s beneficial to be more accepting to new cultures and backgrounds.\u201d\u00a0 For more stories like this, read: The Racism I Experienced Dating In Malaysia and I\u2019ve Been a Foreigner in Malaysia for a Decade \u2014 Here\u2019s Why I'm Leaving. If you like what you read, follow us on Facebook & Instagram.