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Old 24th August 2009, 17:51   #1
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Default Malaysian Blog from a Common Man

I wrote this blog when I was in Malaysia for close to two years. True to being a traveloholic, I made the most of this time visiting almost entire Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. More on places I visited like Taman Negara, Pangkor Island and few more travel destinations - Langkawi, Penang, Melacca etc later on.
So here it is.

Blog from Malaysia – Truly Asia

The author does not guarantee that this blog shall portray all colours of the Truly Asia or a rainbow or “Modern Art” – easy to draw, hard to decipher.

This is perfectly fair, for he is the “Common Man”. Placing this Disclaimer in the beginning of the blog makes a lot of sense (to the author). This absolves the author of content ownership and sets readers free to interpret. The reason for choosing to write this article in blog format is plain and simple. One doesn’t have to be clear, concise, consistent, articulate and methodical in blog. The ownership of making sense out of what is being read solely lies with the blog goer. This writing is with due respect to one of my friend who wrote similar blog for South Africa (not on this blog spot), which inspired me to write this blog on Malaysia.

The author doesn’t know which seven colours constitute the rainbow. Hence chose to deliberate on seven facets of Malaysia instead. So what’s the big deal about it? The big deal is that this is coming from the common man. Yes, the same common man of R.K. Laxman who mesmerises us everyday. This common man sharply contrasts with most of the honourable readers who are Java Programmers, Oracle DBAs, SAP consultants, System Analysts, Business Analysts (and what not?); in short the God’s greatest gifts to humankind. Hence these Chosen brains may find this blog quite amusing or may I say, rubbish to the n-th degree.

This common man attempts to share his perceptions on seven mundane (read non-techie/non-business) areas of the Malaysian life namely people, culture, food, traffic, language, civic sense and schooling. These perceptions don’t necessarily every time give observations and opinions but also pose some naive questions.


People
Who is a Malaysian? Is he a Bumiputera, Indian (Tamil, Punjabi…), Chinese, Indonesian, or European? How must be Malaysians recognising their fellow countrymen elsewhere in the world?

How can the poorest of poor Malaysians always laugh and enjoy? How can they find joys in simple things? And what is wrong with us? Why are we always blocking our bandwidth (here comes techno-jargon) thinking about next increment not leaving sufficient width to have fun. The answer lies in the easy-going lifestyle that a “common man” has in Malaysia, no shouting and no exchange of heat even in tense moment, perhaps.


Office
Who is boss in the office? Nobody seems to be throwing around weight here. And where are those oblong and square faces? Everybody seems to be at ease. No hustle-bustle at all, and for the first few months the author could not digest it, as familiar with Mumbai’s systematic chaos. Bosses immediately recognise and acknowledge good work. People leave office at right time. There has to be something terribly wrong here.


Food
The Malaysian cuisine seems to be the global melting pot in real sense. One can start the day with bacon with cheese, have, Italian Lasagne for lunch, Japanese sushi before leaving office and a range of dining experiences from white wine with fish in Starhill Gallery to Adai Avial in Brieckfields to Tiger Prawns with rice in China Town or Malaysian Nasi Lemak with Teh Tarik (pulled tea) which is available everywhere. Entire Malaysia seems to be indulging in gastronomic pleasure. And how could I forget the Cincau (read chinchau) drink that this country just loves. Being a foodie myself, I really have to make effort to stop myself here. More on food in separate blog.


Traffic
The hardcore Indian the author is he never could comprehend why the Malaysian traffic should be called traffic at all. The similarity of Malaysian and Indian traffic scene is, in both countries we don’t find policemen on traffic lights or cross-roads, and even if there is one, he is sitting on the bike or in shade. And that’s where difference starts.

Oxford Indian Dictionary of English defines the traffic as phenomenon where everything except vehicle moves. What makes traffic here move the way it moves? We all have seen all variants of traffic like jam traffic, deadlocked traffic, erratic traffic and so on and so forth. But what is this streamlined traffic? And what are those white line on the roads are for? Why vehicles always move on the patch between these lines? Why they stop when red lamp lights up? Why do drivers stop for pedestrians to cross the roads rather than making “way” for themselves?


Language
We Indians (I mean Indian Citizens) are in the company of Malaysian Bumiputeras (read Bhumiputras, native Malaysians as they are called) ethnic groups. Living up to our image as friendly IT lot, we should be using appropriate words depending upon the person we interact with.

This is the first time I have read the English words in phonetics. Yes, you read it correctly, English words using phonetics, here are a few examples…
  • Bas – for Bus
  • Stesen – for Station
  • Sentral – for Central
  • Kaunter – for Counter
  • Sains – for Science
And yes, there are quite a few Sanskrit / Hindi words in Bahasa Melayu. Here are some…
  • Bahasa – from Sanskrit “Bhasha” for language
  • Putera / Puteri – From Sanskrit for Putra / Putri for “Son / Daughter”
  • Sabun – from Hindi “Sabun” for soap
  • Kepala – from Sanskrit “Kapala” for Head
  • Utara – from Sanskrit “Uttara” for North
Here is ready reference for novices
· Lah ! – every sentence in Malay (sorry Bahasa Melayu) has to end with Lah…
· Apa Khabar – common greeting, means how are you?
· Almost every greeting starts with Semalat – e.g. Selamat Datang (welcome) or Selamat Pagi (good morning) or Selamat Tinggal (Good Bye)
· Terima Kasih – Thank you (pronounced as Tremakaseh)

With these armaments at disposal one can quickly get acceptance in mainstream Malaysian crowd.


Civic Sense
Remember this word? Does this exist in real world? Most of us have forgotten this word long ago. Last time we read this word in school civics book not understanding the meaning and wrote it last time in our matriculation exams and buried it for ever.

Apparently, the author got to know the meaning of this word when he was party to one of the road accidents. Few days ago while on his way to the Airport, the Author’s cab was bumped from behind by 4 x 4. The cab driver (of size 1 x1) parked the car on the side of road. To the author’s surprise, 4 x 4 followed them and stopped behind the cab. Driver of 4 x 4 who himself was 6 x 6 size got down from the vehicle and admitting his fault gave all necessary details for police complaint and insurance processing.

What is this? What kind of accident is this? No arguments, no name calling, no shouting, no finger pointing and last but not the least no crowd around? In the hindsight, the Author really suspects what 4 x 4 driver showed can be called as civic sense.


Schooling
Remember your school days. What kind of images you see. Class of 60 students, heavy schoolbags, loads of homework, punishment, mugging up answers, distribution of class in vital few scholars like you and trivial many like the Author. The happiest time in the school would be last hour after which bell rang.

Have we all not seen kids of 3 or 4 years going to school and cramming the nursery rhymes, and A for Apple B for Banana stuff? The university factory (?) churns out graduates at the age of 21?

And what is the picture here. Smiling kids going to school, class teachers giving welcome hug, no/modest homework and what not. The normal age the kid starts going to school is 5 or 6 years. The average age of fresh graduate would be about 25.

The Author is confused here. What makes the brightest lot like readers of this article? Is it boot camp schools back home or holiday homelike schools here?

Your additions/opinions/criticisms on this blog are most welcome.

About the Author:
The Author of this blog is a member of ZQ. ZQ is an elite outfit of good Samaritans having zero IQ. And IQ being inversely proportional to EQ (Emotional Quotient), the author thinks he is one with infinite EQ and therefore renders yeoman service of emotional counseling to humanity for free by means of this blog.

Last edited by Technocrat : 24th August 2009 at 18:03. Reason: Removed FOnt/Color/size tags. Do not copy paste content from external sites/word editors. Thanks
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Old 24th August 2009, 18:03   #2
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Dude, use this to remove the tags.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/announ...your-post.html (Removing [FONT] [SIZE] and [COLOR] tags from your post)
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Old 25th August 2009, 11:31   #3
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Advaitlele, interesting write-up. Anything to add on your travel experiences in Malaysia?
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Old 27th August 2009, 09:54   #4
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Well, is this the way in Malaysia, I would love to see it.
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Old 27th August 2009, 12:42   #5
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Good one dude. I think once we Resident Indians go out we notice such minor things that we keep forgetting in our own country.

It would be great to have some pics and more about cars from Malaysia More on Sepang please by the common man. Cheers!
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Old 18th October 2009, 21:34   #6
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Penang is biker heaven. There are more bikes than cars.

Every year there is a Motorcycle Show.

Also, this is one of the few places you can rent a superbike . Not more than 650 cc though.

The BMW showroom was fun. Is that a multi link front suspension? Hahaha!
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Old 18th November 2009, 10:54   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proton View Post
Penang is biker heaven. There are more bikes than cars.

Every year there is a Motorcycle Show.

Also, this is one of the few places you can rent a superbike . Not more than 650 cc though.

The BMW showroom was fun. Is that a multi link front suspension? Hahaha!
what do you need to rent a superbike and where can u rent one from?
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Old 18th November 2009, 14:04   #8
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@ Advaitlele, I have several friends in Malayasia....I am not posting anything more because our forum is not the place to discuss hatred...

FYI, this is my fav Malayasian website:
Anwar Ibrahim - The voice of Democracy in Malaysia.
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Old 20th November 2009, 16:46   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkh View Post
what do you need to rent a superbike and where can u rent one from?
Here you go:

Quote
You need to produce a valid driver's license that is endorsed for riding motorbikes over 500cc. If you do not have one, then we can take you as a pillion passenger on one of our bikes with one of our experienced riders.

Motorbike Tours Malaysia

For more details read the other sections. Hope this helped.
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Old 24th November 2009, 15:19   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proton View Post
Penang is biker heaven. There are more bikes than cars.
I disagree. I live in Penang and clearly, there are more cars here than bikes. Also, most of the bikes here are 125 to 150 cc ones, very similar to Hero Honda Street. They call them Semi Automatic here & one can change the gears without a clutch.
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Old 25th November 2009, 10:06   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dud_Dodo View Post
I disagree. I live in Penang and clearly, there are more cars here than bikes. Also, most of the bikes here are 125 to 150 cc ones, very similar to Hero Honda Street. They call them Semi Automatic here & one can change the gears without a clutch.
Hi Dud_Dodo,

I should have qualified my statement. It's biker heaven for tourists, because there's no other way to get around. The taxi drivers are worse than those in KL, the bus service is pathetic and car rentals are expensive.

Next time, I'll take the advice of the travel forums and rent a bike instead of depending on cabs!
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Old 25th November 2009, 15:21   #12
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@sandeepmdas - I heard you right; and got where you are pointing. You are absolutely right. And for that matter; as they say in Gujarati (translated here) crows are black everywhere in the world. I guess you are getting the drift. Nothing more to say on that.

So I tried to see (and write) positives that I noticed there. We all know positives and negatives in India. So nothing more to say on that either.

@Proton - you are right. You can get decent bikes (150cc) that you can drive in Penang; and being tourist it is better than renting taxis there.
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Old 26th November 2009, 15:29   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proton View Post
Hi Dud_Dodo,

I should have qualified my statement. It's biker heaven for tourists, because there's no other way to get around. The taxi drivers are worse than those in KL, the bus service is pathetic and car rentals are expensive.

Next time, I'll take the advice of the travel forums and rent a bike instead of depending on cabs!
To this I agree

Taking a taxi can be crazy in Penang, no metered taxis & works out very expensive. I rented a bike myself when I moved here (two months back), then bought a used BMW 730
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Old 5th December 2009, 22:53   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dud_Dodo View Post
To this I agree

Taking a taxi can be crazy in Penang, no metered taxis & works out very expensive. I rented a bike myself when I moved here (two months back), then bought a used BMW 730
Just came back from a very satisfactory meal at Benjoraang, the Thai dining place.

As Sam would have told everybody, Bangalore has some great fine dining places. And as Sam pointed out, a meal at Harima costs about 1500/- a head and is great value, because the same meal in Mumbai costs aboput 5-6K . And don’t even ask about NY and London: Nobu’s at either of theses cities would require you to sell a kidney for a modest sit downer, and Nobu’s is nothing but a glorified chain.

After hitting all the street food joints in Jalan Alor, KL, we decided to go fine dining in Penang, after getting some taste of it at Crystal Jade, Pavilion mall.

My logic and reasoning was that as Penang is the King of Street Food Dining (No 1 world wide) the fine dining guys there would have to try really hard to survive.

Googling “fine dining Penang” threw up the following site:

Lingzie Tummy Treats

We did the Gurney Hotel Japanese, Tarbush Lebanese, QE2 Conti food, and the Maa Roy Thai Food and many more! Today, I can vouch for the fact that the Penang versions of the respective cuisines were the top dogs in all the categories except for QE2. Our own Bangy’s Giancarlo’s beats them by a huge margin!

But these places are a treat for us, and we tend to space out our visits a bit.

In fact, some disappear before our second visit on account of the recession. I hope that the Penang places are holding up their side of things, or has the recession affected them as well?

Dud-Dodo, congrats on your “new” used Beemer. Good strategy, letting the first owner take a hit in absorbing all the depreciatiation. You must be feeling like the cat that got the cream. But there’s a sting in that cat’s tail, right? You’ll find out why the owners sell after a coupla years: the parts replacement costs are crippling!

Lesson
Foreign wheels: own new.
Local wheels: own used.
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Old 9th December 2009, 17:41   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proton View Post
Just came back from a very satisfactory meal at Benjoraang, the Thai dining place.



Lesson
Foreign wheels: own new.
Local wheels: own used.
hey proton /dudo, i'm planning a trip to Langhavi..(duty free heaven)is it a worth to spend a week there or cut short to 2days and visit peenang or other places
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