A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about malaysia

Multicultural Malaysia: Impressions

Thoughts and experiences of the thriving, yet some-way-to-go multiculturalism culture in Malaysia.

sunny 34 °C
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Religious melting pot

When the judgment comes to find the world in shame
When the trumpet blows won't you call my name?
- Peter, Paul and Mary

As I left Kota Kinabalu for the last time, boarding a flight for Kuching, I saw a man struggling with a box up the stairs to the plane.
I offered to help and he graciously accepted. He spoke good English and was very interested in my travels. It turns out that I was seated next to him and his colleague.
I asked what they were doing in Kota Kinabalu, and they replied "The international Gideon convention. Do you know who we are?"

I do.
Famously, the late comedian Bill Hicks had funny bit about them - wondering how they sneak around distributing bibles like the easter bunny - to hotels and anywhere else for that matter around the world. Spreading the good word of Jesus and warning of the perils of not heeding the good word"

I had to ask, "how do you fight the good fight in a Muslim majority country, that is sectarian, despite claiming not to be?"
Sensitivity and care of others' pre-existing beliefs is the answer.
In other words, they only try to convert atheists and agnostics.

In truth, Malaysia is a very tolerant and mixed country.
Conservative, even by Asian standards, but open nonetheless with some wonderful cross pollination of foods and interesting beautiful faces.
From a religious perspective stats are something like 60% practice Islam, 20% Buddhism, 10% Christian, with the remainder practicing Taoism, Confucianism and other Chinese religions.
Interestingly, by law, all ethnic Malays must practice Islam, and I am told there are breaks and incentives to be Muslim in Malaysia, despite the open status.
So, on the surface it does seem very harmonious, however through the fairly limited-tourist engagement with my new Chinese and Indian non-Muslim pals in Malaysia, I understand that there is favoritism, which does create a strain for non ethnic Malays.

I was lucky enough to be in Kuala Lumpur for Malaysia Day - commemorating 48 years of union with the Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak. The dialog of the day, was "we are a great multicultural nation, but we have some way to go before we are a completely integrated society.

Posted by SkinnyFists 21:49 Archived in Malaysia Tagged religion malaysia Comments (0)

Malaysia: Perhentian Islands

Super chilled, like Gilligan's Island with cabins on the beach, great food, wonderful warm personalities. Beach party at night.


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Perhentians

I flew from KL to Kota Bharu (near Thai border), and then took the very eventful (see: rainy, bumpy, getting soaked) trip across to Pulau Kecil - a gorgeous, stunning oasis.

Long Beach, Perhentians
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Lodgings

Checked in to Mohsin, on the coast which had a gorgeous view of the sea from it's elevated point.
Food there was terrific, but it's right next to the beach party (goes until 5am), and being an elder gent, I decided to check out in the morning and move to Coral Bay around the corner.
CB is worlds apart, so quiet and not many people around. I checked into Maya and got my own cabin with bathroom and fan for about $10 a night. So nice!

Diving

Did two dives on the Perhentians. The first was D'Lagoon, where we saw a lot of turtles, and other interesting fish. It was a nice easy dive.
The second was Sugar Wreck - a sunken ship way off the coast. Conditions were POOR! Super strong current and almost no visibility. We went down anyway, but a few minutes in we lost one of the group!
Protocol says to ascend after 1 minute to find them, our dive master indicated for us to stay put whilst he looked around.
Upon returning without our friend, he indicated to then just continue the dive(!!).
I freaked out, but did what the diver master asked. Eventually we found our lost friend, but the dive was a bit of a waste

Snorkelling

I decided to join the Maya snorkelling trip the next day.
Totally awesome!!!
The group was about 30 people on two boats and we went to 6 sites around the island. The water was crystal clear, and there were black tip sharks, turtles, barracuda, and bump heads everywhere!
Was a great trip and good group.
I met a couple from Germany who gave me a lot of insights into traveling India and South America, and a couple on their way to Sydney to work. Everyone on the trip (internationals) said they would like Melbourne better, I think the poor souls were disappointed.

Me with a new friend
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Perhentian_turtle.jpg

Long Beach is the place to party at night. There are two beach bars set up, and the nights I was there, a fire twirling (for want of a better word) group were performing. It was absolutely amazing. Put the Confest hippies to shame. Really spectacular.

The Perhentians are really nice, and worth the trip!

Sunset at the Perhentians:
Perhentian_Sunset.jpg

Posted by SkinnyFists 05:09 Archived in Malaysia Tagged beaches snorkelling diving malaysia coral_bay perhentian_islands Comments (0)

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