August 10, 2011

works best when opened.

New Zealand, 2006
“The mind is like a parachute, it works best when opened” Robert Dewar

I’m thankful for all the travels I have been blessed with. I appreciate the fact that I’ve had the opportunity to explore this world and its many wonders. Because it is true when people say that travelling opens our minds. It opens our minds to a myriad of wonderful things.

Like great weather and great sceneries. Like well-established systems and efficient public transportation. Like friendly smiles from strangers and well-mannered and well-cultured societies. Like wonderful shops that sell wonderful things and excellent customer service. And of course, great food, what else.

I hate to admit this, but I will. Every time I come back from my travels, I am more often than not... disappointed with my own country. I am disappointed with the public transportation, or shall I say... the lack of good buses, in particular. I am disappointed at how our officials don’t take their jobs seriously at our borders. I am disappointed at how lackadaisical we are about providing good infrastructure to the people. Like how we lack in proper walkways by the roadside or how we fail to provide proper public toilets and how we don’t have enough seats at waiting areas.

And mostly (believe it or not), I am disappointed at the Malay culture on so many different levels, I don’t think you even want to know. Because believe you me, even in countries where the main religion is Christianity, you’d be surprised to see how “Islamic” their culture is.

Yes, when you travel, you learn to demarcate between what is religion and what is culture. And you learn that most of the time, you could be the most pious person but be a disgrace to your religion because of your unsavoury culture.

But of course, there are times when I come back from my travels feeling absolutely lucky to be part of Malaysia. To have such a peaceful country where people can co-exist peacefully. Where people of different cultures and religions can blend and be friends. Where food is abundant and relatively cheaper than anywhere else in the world. And of course, for having one of the most envied climates as it is a mild summer all year long.

It’s just that sometimes, I just wished we could assimilate others’ good culture. Like saying hello to strangers without being looked at as strange and queer. Like not being too “curious” (or in a more familiar term “busy body”) when something is happening in your vicinity. Like not minding when a stranger shares your bench in the mall. Like not being so ignorant about our own country, say for example, when being asked about directions to a particular landmark or being asked about facts like who is the Football Team Captain or where you could get souvenirs at a cheaper price.

These are things/knowledge that we should all be equipped with as Malaysians. Because, most of the people I’ve met during my travels, even if they wear a Mohawk or pink or green hair or super short, short skirts, know these things. They are so acutely aware of their country and their jobs, that I sometimes cringe thinking about the girl at Customer Service/Information Counters I’ve encountered in Malaysia who don’t even know the mall or shop she’s in charge of at the back of her hand.

So you see. There is a lot to improve on. Each time people say budaya Barat adalah budaya “kuning”, I just smirk. Because all they have seen are the things shown on TV. Though to a certain extent I admit that there are cultures which leaves little to be desired, there are very good cultures which are commendable and deserve the right to be considered.

We should compare our country to those countries, which are less fortunate, yes. But only so that we don’t become ungrateful. But to me, the only way forward is to compare ourselves with those developed nations and think about how we could be like them.

If they have succeeded in becoming what they are, I don’t see why we can’t be better.








Shy to comment? Well, never mind! Your reactions mean the world to me! Make me smile today :)

6 comments:

shueyshoelove said...

Nisa, tak tau nak ckp camne lg. Its freaky to think that our parents raised us similar. I feel the same about travelling. I marvel at their culture and social ethics. When I went for a trip in US, simple gesture like holding the door for a muslim girl like me made me smile. Pakai tudung lagi. Thank yous and have a good day we hear abundance. At hong kong recently, this dude tried hardest giving direction in chinese. Gila amazing kan? We lack civility and manners in so many ways when that should be the basic and core foundation of one's personality. Oh well, we have our children to teach and culture them like how our parents did. So yeah, all is still good. :) raised us similar. I feel the same about travelling. I marvel at their culture and social ethics. When I went for a trip in US, simple gesture like holding the door for a muslim girl like me made me smile. Pakai tudung lagi. Thank yous and have a good day we hear abundance. At hong kong recently, this dude tried hardest giving direction in chinese. Gila amazing kan? We lack civility and manners in so many ways when that should be the basic and core foundation of one's personality. Oh well, we have our children to teach and culture them like how our parents did. So yeah, all is still good. :)

Anonymous said...

Well done.

Excellent post, kakak.

The Spasmodic Scribbler said...

A well written post. I have so many frustration with Malaysia too. There was also a point in time where I have felt like I wanted to just become an immigrant and move out of the country.

Ungrateful lot, I am. I know. Will Malaysia change? No, I don't think so. Sorry to say that.

But as long as my family is here, I'll consider Malaysia a home for me.

Haneesa said...

shuey: yes, i get what you mean about mere strangers being nice to us. we encountered that many times. esp masa tgh lost kat train station and some random stranger akan just walk up to us and ask, "can i help you with anything there love?" kalau kat sini mesti takda harapan. plus kalau ada pun takut je dengan orang tu. hopefully we will pass on our good vibes kepada anak cucu, insyaAllah.

anonymous: well, thank you very much. i appreciate that compliment.

TSS: Somehow, I have to agree with you that Malaysia is not going to change much. I mean, well, mmg sedikit sebanyak dah start changing, but the attitude is still too lackadaisical. Orang lain at the age of 54 dah successful, kita baru nak bertatih. I think if it weren't for family, mmg ramai je nak pindah for good.

shueyshoelove said...

Kejap, nak excited. TSS pun baca blog nisa. Nisa pun baca blog TSS. Blog korang best kut lol. We all think alike. I like! *like cara face book*

Haneesa said...

hahahaha shueyshoelove and haneesahssh likes this! thumbs up Facebook dua kali :)