You’d think that with all the awareness that’s being raised in recent weeks, business would be scurrying to make sure that all their policies and SOPs aren’t racist. Well, I guess not everyone’s been keeping up with the news.
Reggae Mansion, a two star hostel in KL situated in the Masjid Jamek area has been thrusted back into the spotlight for allegedly still being racist, even though they were called out on it nine years ago. The general consensus is that the establishment, which also houses a bar on the rooftop only gives a shit about white people.
I know, that’s a strong statement, but take a look at this picture I found on the Reggae Mansion website:
There seems to be a theme here. I’m not even going to point it out but it does kind of look like a shoot for Lim Kok Wing University. Backpackers hostels like this generally attract foreigners from all over the world, but to outright deny entry to people based on the colour of their skin is going way overboard.
Could this be the byproduct of all those years of colonisation? Even the hostels tagline is a blatant rip off of Danish brewery giants Carlsberg.
To be fair to Reggae Mansion, the hostel does enjoy high ratings on both Booking.com and TripAdvisor. But look through the reviews and you will find some troubling accusations.
As you can see, incidents of racism at the hostel are not isolated. If you’re wondering how on earth they’ve remained in operation for all these years, I’m at a loss for words as well. Perhaps the accusations are baseless? Perhaps back then, people just didn’t seem to care? Of course, the hostel has come out and responded to some of these complaints. Check em out below:
It’s hard to side the hostel in this situation given the fact that their Trip Advisor profile still states that they do not accept bookings from Malaysia, India and Middle Eastern countries. If you’re from any of these countries, you’re going to have to walk in to make a booking. That doesn’t even make sense.
It’s 2020! The fact that Reggae Mansion is still happily operating in spite of their racist policy just goes to show how ingrained racism is in our society. The recent reinvigoration of the Black Lives Matter Movement has got Malaysians asking all the right questions, and that’s a start.
However, more action needs to be taken in educating the public on this matters if we’re going to make strides in the right direction. The fact that this whole issue was only brought to light because of a tweet speaks volumes. The tweet read:
Which reminds me. Is Reggae Mansion in Kuala Lumpur still racist? https://t.co/ETiqwBe6TM
— M (@MuniraMustaffa) June 13, 2020
This in turn got conversations flowing and soon enough, people started coming forward with their experiences.
Happened to me back in 2013. I was not allowed into their premises because I am a Malaysian. Was showing some tourist friends around the city and came back to get some drinks at the bar but was stopped. Next day, I tried again and only got in because I said I was a Singaporean.
— Benjamin Chong (@BenjmnC) June 13, 2020
Call out culture may not be everyones cup of tea, but it’s led to some genuine questions being asked of the standard to which we hold ourselves, and when used to call out companies/organisations, raises necessary awareness on the hypocrisy behind the marketing they’re force feeding members of the public.
If these allegations against Reggae Mansion turn out to be true, the management best take a good look at itself and rethink what they want the hostel to stand for. If you want to discriminate based on race, why be all hush hush about it?
State that clearly on the front door of your Hostel and on the main banner of your website and see if that’s the type of accommodation that people want to have anything to do with or not.