In April, my parents and I went to Malaysia for a week. Flights had come up on sale about 8 months earlier so Mum and I decided we were going to go for a visit, and Dad, being retired now, decided to come too.
I love Malaysia. I actually lived there for a year when I was 18 as part of a student exchange program with AFS. I lived with a Malay family, went to school, and generally immersed myself in the culture. I've been back several times over the years since, including once with Mum for my host sister's wedding. This was Dad's first trip though, so we spent the week showing him the sights of Kuala Lumpur, meeting up with my host family and eating more food than you can imagine.
|Seeing the sights: i-City, KL Tower, Central Markets, Merdeka Square, the Palace|
and the Twin Towers. The photo in the middle is the machine that cleans the
windows of KL Tower - Dad was fascinated by it.
|My dads, my mums, and two of my sisters. I call my host parents Mak and Ayah|
which is Malay for Mum and Dad. Look at the difference in heights of my mums!
|Hanging out with my host family. Bottom right is my youngest host brother, born|
since I lived there. One of my parent's restaurants has karaoke and he loves it!
|Dad discussing relativity with Einstein and meeting the Terminator.|
Mum met the rather disturbing Queen of England.
|We met Bill Gates, Barak Obama, Elton John, Elvis, and Mr Bean|
Did I mention that we ate? A lot? Food is very cultural and very social in Malaysia. Most gatherings involve food. Someone comes to visit, you offer them food. At least, that's what my family did, but then they do own a restaurant... They are also a very generous culture so like to give you a lot of food. It's all very yummy and I can eat so much of it, but we were all bursting at the seams by the end of the week! If you go to Malaysia (particulalry if you are fortunate enough to meet my host family) there are 3 words you need to learn:
- "makan" which means "food" or "eat"
- "sudah" which means "already" as in "sudah makan" "I've already eaten" (when someone asks you if you want to eat, you say "sudah" not "no" - "no" means you never want to eat and isn't a phrase you should use), and
- "Cukup" which means "enough". I can never remember the word for "full" so just say "cukup, cukup!" "I can't eat another thing!"
|The food is soooooo good. Malay, Chinese, and Indian are the three main styles.|
Bottom right - this was Dad and I with I think our 4th meal of the day (it was 4pm) -
we were so full, hence our rather concerned expressions! :)
Because I'd lived in Malaysia, and Mum had been there once before so had done most of the standard attractions, we decided to do some different things this visit. We visited the Royal Selangor pewter factory and tried our hands at making our own pewter bowls - so much fun banging out metal. We also tried batik painting. I'd done this a couple of times before (both in high school in Australia, and when I lived in Malaysia), however it was mum and dad's first time. Batik painting is where you use hot wax on silk to draw a design, and then use water colours to fill in the spaces. We each had a dedicated teacher/assistant. Mine was very hands-off and left me to my own devices (which I loved), Dad's was hands off but gave him a lot of help/suggestions with choosing colours. Mum's was the most over-the-top - he didn't have great (ie any) English, so instead of giving mum instructions, would just take the tool away from her, and disregarded her choice of colours entirely. Oh well, she still had a lot of fun.
|Being artistic and creative in Malaysia|
|We had a fish foot spa, toured the pewter factors, rode betcas (rickshaws) in Melaka|
climbed the Twin Towers and KL Tower, and visited the National Museum
which was having a tea display. The red teapot is actually a walk-through display.