“Wait, I don’t understand! Your father and mother are both Chinese. You’re 100 percent Chinese but you’re Malaysian?”
Happy Malaysia Day everyone! 🇲🇾🇲🇾🇲🇾
Being involved in many international activities here, it’s always fun to meet new people and foster new friendships along the way. And so, I always get the chance to introduce Malaysian culture to the people I meet. At times, it’s almost as if we (Malaysian students studying in Japan) are the duta kecil Malaysia (mini ambassadors of Malaysia). I’d always start off by asking them, do you know where Malaysia is? About half of them would say yes, and to the ones who said no, I’d pull out my trusty phone and point out the cute さつまいも🍠(sweet potato) shaped cape hanging off Thailand, right above Singapore, Peninsular Malaysia, and the dog-headed shaped island next to it, Borneo, point out that Malaysia is part of the half of that giant island, and then tell them where our neighbouring countries are situated at.
I’ll then tell them that we’re made up of many races and everyone speaks many languages(that’s usually the hard part because it confuses people) and sometimes it’ll lead to conversations seperti dirujukkan tadi (as referenced above).
It’s fun to explain all these to people, and in exchange, learn about their culture in return. When I first came to Japan to study, I’d always thought that I was going to be totally immersed in the Japanese culture, because I thought that every single new friendship formed would be limited to my schoolmates and the international students in the college. How shallow I was. Instead, being given all these chances, putting aside all the challenges I’ve faced so far, my whole studying-abroad experience has been enhanced with so much more than I had expected!
Back to the topic, what is Malaysia Day?
“Malaysia Day is held on 16 September every year to commemorate the establishment of the Malaysian federation on the same date in 1963. It marked the joining together of Malaya, North Borneo, Singapore and Sarawak to form Malaysia.
The formation of Malaysia was made possible with the signing of the International Treaty the Malaysia Agreement 1963 between the United Kingdom, the Federation of Malaya (constituted by 11 states created under the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957 ; as one component); Sarawak, North Borneo (renamed Sabah) and Singapore of the remaining component States.”
^ copied and pasted from Wikipedia
As you have read, or as you have already known (if you’re Malaysian), this holiday is an important one to us Sarawakians and Sabahans 🙂 No, I’m not going to comment on stuff like those lengthy popcorn-worthy Twitter replies/Facebook comments where people criticize each other for being unappreciative/making them feel left out. Nope, I’m not into that kinda shit because I have friends from all parts of Malaysia and I vouch for them. No doubt that it’s human nature to be defensive but the small percentage of “keyboard warriors” who starts up those pointless fights doesn’t represent the whole Malaysian community.
This holiday is important to me because why not, it adds up as another holiday to the long list of holidays we have in total!
Just look at how rich we are with public holidays!!
Okay lah it’s not entirely all about holidays (I just wanted to brag about our public holidays) but, for it being a special day, it was the day that commemorated the start of Sarawak being a part of Malaysia, and naturally, it made me Malaysian!
I’m a proud of the rich culture we have, the friendly Malaysian spirit everyone has in their hearts, of the variety of food we have, of the convenient 24-hour food stalls at every corner (mostly in West Malaysia), that we speak many languages (inclusive of bahasa rojak – a very Malaysian language of mixing all the different languages together), that the almost near to free medical treatment at government clinics, of having the privilege to borrow books from the school (instead of buying them like most people do here), to be offered this scholarship, and last but not least, proud to be a Malaysian. (so patriotic ah)
Personally, I feel that studying abroad really made me understand and appreciate my culture more, even though I’m not physically in Malaysia. I really miss the cincai-anything-also-can-lah (simple?) culture we all have because I cannot just cincai my way through everything here. Things here are more detailed in general, and I think it’s something we should learn from them in return. As compared to Japan, we have a cheap cost of living and I think we should be proud of it! My friend, Yusuke, who had just returned from a 2-week-long trip to Malaysia with a bunch of students from different National Colleges in Japan, mentioned to me that he was really surprised with the prices of canned drinks from the vending machines in Malaysia that he’d be glad to move the Malaysian vending machines to Japan 😂 An average can of canned/bottled drink here is about 130¥ (RM5.20) while in Malaysia it only costs at most about 50¥ (RM2.00), and if you’re lucky, you can even find vending machines that sell canned drinks for 25¥ (RM1.00)! My Japanese tutor (one of my classmates appointed to assist me throughout my first 2 years in school) told me a few days ago that she watched a tv program on Japanese expats living in Malaysia (most probably in Subang Jaya), and was shocked to see how beautiful the condominiums were in Malaysia with an affordable price. She said that she’d voluntarily live there one day!
Reminiscing those camp days (a compulsory 5-day-long camp for all national scholars to boost our patriotism level before studying abroad) before everyone from KTJ (Kumpulan Teknikal Jepun) came to Japan, I remember how the issue of naming the term ‘Malaysian Chinese’ or ‘Chinese Malaysian’ was brought up to us. I can distinct the differences between them both but after being here for 5 months, I can say that it’s only a small issue and I don’t think it was worth it to bury our heads into it. Now to think of it, it’s considered a small issue to the real problems we have in the present. It’s natural for me to say that I was shocked to read about the recent hiccups during the Sea Games 2017 and the hooliganism in Osaka that happened during my stay in Japan, but it doesn’t define us all as such.
Instead, I feel that we should focus on the positive side of our country as nothing will happen if only the negative stuff is given attention, right? Malaysia has so much to offer and so much potential to grow in many aspects, and I hope to be part of that growth after I finish my studies here in Japan!
Here’s an extra bonus for this post: ✨✨✨
In conjunction with Malaysia Day, I sort of ‘interviewed’ Yusuke through LINE, to get an idea on how he views Malaysia from his perspective. (because I was curious as well) He went to Penang, Malaysia for a good 2 weeks for a summer school educational trip.
1. 行く前と行った後、マレーシアに対しての印象は何？What was your impression of Malaysia, before and after the trip?
Before: 食べ物があまり美味しくないと思ってた。I thought that the food wasn’t going to be delicious.
After:すごく美味しい。とくに福建麺が美味しい😋 Found out that it was really delicious instead. Especially Hokkien Mee 🙂
2. 二週間の留学に1番いい思い出すは何？What’s the most memorable event you’ve had during your 2 week-long trip to Malaysia?
Chung Ling High School の学生と楽器を引いたこと。二胡が好きで前から弾きたいなぁと思ってたから弾けてよかった。Having the chance to join the Chung Ling High School band (as one of the activities). I’ve always wanted to try playing the Er Hu and I finally had the chance to!
3. この留学によって、マレーシアのいい所とあまり良くない所をちょっと説明してください。What’s the pros and cons of Malaysia based on your trip?
Pros:いい所は物価が安い。タクシーも安い。The cheap cost of living. Even taxis there are cheap. ((the price of taxis in Japan are notoriously expensive btw))
Cons:悪いところは電車がない。(タクシーは電話で呼ぶしかなかったけど、電話持ってなかったから先生にお願いするしかなかった。) There are no trains around. ((public transport isn’t as convenient)) (We called taxis with phones but as I didn’t have a local number, I had to keep borrowing the teacher’s phone to do so.)
Happy Malaysia Day to all Malaysians out there!!!! 🇲🇾🇲🇾🇲🇾🇲🇾🇲🇾
Thank you for reading my dedicated post if you got till here! Please leave comments and let me know on what I should improve on 😊