Asian Immigrant Speaks Up Against Exploitation

Asian Immigrant Speaks Up Against Exploitation

Published July 29, 2014

Photo by
Julia Staples

An Indonesian woman living in Iceland had some candid words to share about the experience many Asian women endure when they move here.

RÚV reports that Cynthia Trililani, originally from Indonesia, has been living in Iceland for the past ten years now. She has two university degrees, and is working on two master’s degrees while working in a playschool. Despite her background, Cynthia told attendees at SlutWalk last Saturday, herself and Asian women in general are subjected to some ugly stereotypes from some of the locals.

Cynthia said that many Asian women are regarded as “uneducated sex toys” who are by nature submissive and come from impoverished backgrounds.

“When I was applying for work, I was advised to get a job as a masseuse, which is actually not my area of expertise,” she told attendees. “There are many well-educated Asian women in this country, who unfortunately cannot get jobs in accordance with their education, presumably because of language difficulties.”

Going downtown on a weekend night can also bring its share of ugliness, she said, saying that some night clubs refuse Asian women entry “saying they have an image to protect”. This is underscored by the comments she has received from Icelandic men, many of whom have presumed she is a prostitute and have asked her what she charges for such a service.

Cynthia says that she believes prejudice is present in all societies. Rather than being regarded as a foreigner, she says, she would encourage Icelanders to see her instead as a friend, a neighbour, and another resident of this country.

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