Context: Set in 1950s, Malacca. 14 year old Meifen is to be wedded with a man 20 years her senior, and she is repulsed by this. When she finds evidence that she might have been sold into the family as a baby, she runs away from home. But her expedition is soon cut short, as she is kidnapped by abductors and gets shipped to the straits of Johor. There, a separate group of youths - a notorious but eccentric gang called Riak - break into the area, and free all the victims. Meifen looks to the group for help in finding her real family, but they are not at all interested in taking her in - as shown in the conversation between her and Huojin above. #riot3oc
※ "What's Meifen talking about in the first panel?"
↳ It was unheard of for people of different races to be chummy with each other at the time. (Unless you were like, next door village neighbours or something.) Huojin (the one wearing blue) is Chinese, Zulfikah (the one wearing orange) is Malay, and Khan (the one wearing purple) is Indian.
※ 'Samsui women': A group of labourers who moved from Sanshui province in China to Malaya and Singapore in the early 19th century. They are famously known for their striking red scarves they would wear around their heads, as well as being hard workers with very traditional values. Think of Chinese coolies but more independent.
my hiatus ended earlier than expected