Malaysian Indians are an ethnic minority group who make up 6.8% of Malaysia’s total population (2021). Most of current Malaysian Indians are descendants of migrants who were brought to the country by the British in late 19th century. After British colonisation ended in 1957, some Indian migrants returned to India while the majority opted to stay in Malaya as it had become their home. Decades of oppressive colonial systems, affirmative actions and systemic racism has a direct impact on this community’s economic, social, and political disadvantage. These factors play a vital role in determining sense of belonging for the Malaysian Indians who have toed the line for generations in a country that still treats them as guests.
‘Don’t Rock the Boat’ is a documentary film that visually explores and questions the sense of belonging and feeling at home among Malaysian Indian community in 21st century Malaysia. It depicts the reality and lived experience of this minority group through history, memory and identity. ‘Don’t Rock the Boat’ serves as a visual art medium that intends to document and represent the voices of contemporary Malaysian Indians in order to illustrate a social portrait of this under represented community. ‘Don’t Rock the Boat’ is an independent documentary film project by Mogan Selvakannu and has been featured in The Malaysian Insight, MalaysiaKini and FMT News.
Mogan Selvakannu is a Malaysian contemporary documentary photographer and film maker who communicates ideas around history, social science and human conditions. A graduate in BA (Hons) Documentary Photography from University of South Wales, Mogan's work is an ongoing exploration into visualising the lived experience of the past and its outcome in the 21st century. His work has been featured in various exhibitions and publications such as the BBC Creative Photography exhibition (London 2019), Source Magazine's Graduate Photography Online (UK 2019), Wellcome Photography Prize (UK 2019), Truffle Pig exhibition (London 2019), Banana Leaf Art Exhibition (Kuala Lumpur 2019), BFM 89.9, The Star, Varnam MY and MalaysiaKini.
Mogan has been the curator for photography exhibitions such as Pictures of Life Photography Exhibition (Kuala Lumpur, 2020) and Of Inertia and Solidarity (Kuala Lumpur, 2020). He has also conducted online workshops (Banana Leaf 2020).