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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oh Malaysia, you’re lovely.

Hello everyone,
Today is Malaysia’s National day, so today’s post is a little different. It’s going to be a little bit…patriotic. No, I’m not homesick. 

Now, you must all be puzzled and wondering: Hakim? Patriotic? What?! 

Relax. Take a deep breath. Give your brain cells a rest. All will be revealed. 

No, I have not been brainwashed by jingoistic nationalists. It’s just that ever since I’ve been in France, I’ve begun to appreciate Malaysia more for what an awesome country it is. Leaving your country for a while to live in a foreign place really makes you realize so many things about your country.
Maybe you might go to a better place, and then you realize “Sweet mother of horny goat weed, I’ve been missing out on all this all my life?!” 

Or maybe you come to the realization that “Ohmygod I miss my country! Maybe I shouldn’t have given up my nationality,” at which point it’s too late, and then you’re just screwed.
In my case, I’ve been sent by the Malaysian government to study abroad, and I’m obliged to return to Malaysia to serve the government for a certain period (If I’m not mistaken, it’s somewhere in the neighbourhood of eight to ten years). At first, before leaving to France I thought, “Oh snap. I have to come back to Malaysia, and work?” My main worry there being the working part of course, but then the idea of coming back wasn’t entirely appealing either. Well, I wasn’t decided yet, but still, I was leaning towards settling down in France, or perhaps Europe. After all, Europe’s supposed to be a good place to live right? I mean, it’s overseas!
Oh silly, silly adorable younger me. Coming up with ideas like settling down in a foreign land before even stepping foot outside of the country I was born and raised in for 18 years.
I have to write this, because I’m sure many young scholars leaving Malaysia to study overseas might have similar thoughts, of leaving and never returning, possibly to lead a better life. Silly, silly, adorable people.
Firstly, overseas is overrated. Secondly, Malaysia, in the eyes of many young Malaysians, is underrated, especially by those who have never known anything other than Malaysia. It’s amusing how we can disdain something that we have and covet something foreign even when we don’t know squat about that foreign thing. And by amusing, I mean silly. And by silly, I’m actually saying retarded.
Now, after that preamble, let me tell you exactly why Malaysia is awesome:
Food. Buzz off if you think this is superficial. This is my blog. And I tell you, food is quintessential!
-          Now, everyone’s insisted that France is the gastronomic centre of the whole blinking universe, but I beg to differ. The spaghetti is France is generally horrid, unless it’s Italian (in which case it’s delicious) and in general, you can find more diversity and variety in Malaysia. Granted, I haven’t seen all of France yet, but this is my observation so far based on my experiences in Nice for four months.
-          I have to admit though; the French patisseries are the best I’ve ever had. Ever.

Customer Service. I used to think that Malaysian customer service is terrible. But I have to thank France for opening my eyes to what is truly horrendous customer service. First of all, they don’t have enough shop assistants at all. And to make matters worse, they completely ignore you until it’s your turn. It’s definitely great that there’s a turn based system and that you have to wait in line to be served, but I mean, sometimes all I want to do is ask if they have a particular product in stock or not. Why can’t you just give me a short reply instead of telling me to wait 20 minutes while you explain to the old man in front of me the benefits of a top loading washing machine over a front loading one! Why?!

Toilets with water! In the country I hail from, people actually have water at their disposal in toilets to perform anal cleansing after defecating! I actually read several Wikipedia articles yesterday all about toilets, and I learned that even though the bidet was invented in France, it’s not particularly popular here. As a side note, did you know there’s a Wikipedia article about toilets in Japan?

 Natural landscape and beauty. Nice is supposed to have really beautiful beaches, and there’s supposed to be all sorts of beautiful landscapes here in France. Well, it’s true, there are nice beaches, and I’ve seen some nice mountainous landscapes, but coming from Malaysia, these things fail to impress me. The beaches in Nice don’t even have sand. Sure, it’s a personal preference, but then again, billions of tourists from all around the world visit Malaysia every year for its lovely beaches, islands and nature, and that definitely says something, right?

There are hundreds of other things that make Malaysia really awesome, like the temperate climate, no catastrophic natural disasters, and durian, but I have a bowl of chocolate ice cream that’s waiting to be eaten before it melts, so I cannot list them all. The point I’m trying to get across here is, appreciate our country! And if you think it needs improving, well then, improve it. Simply migrating away won’t make Malaysia a better place. It’s up to the clever people of our generation to build on Malaysia’s immense potential to make it a country the whole world can be proud of.

And that is why I’m definitely going back to Malaysia at the end of my studies, and with me I’ll bring all the things I’ve learned through my experiences away from home, like queuing up, and greeting the neighbours (which is sadly being forgotten back home), and how the public transport systems can work better (tip: it’s related to queuing up). And, as an added bonus, maybe I’ll learn how to make really tasty pastry and then we can have Pandan Brioches. OMG.


Joanne Ting said...

Happy Merdeka day to you too!!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! and your sense of humour is simply awesome!
I hope you don't mind if I link this post to my blog =) thanks!

Hakim Bin Luqman said...

Thank you, thank you! I would be most honoured! =)

Anthea said...

Haha, but you haven't seen the whole of europe. So ur basis of judgment is only between nice and malaysia la? haha. hmm. Besides, malaysians usually migrate to australia and new zealand. not so much to europe. lolzz. but i do agree that when you go overseas you do learn to appreciate your country :) I've seen many people like that.. they go overseas, swear they don't wana come back to malaysia but in the end all they wanna do is just come back to malaysia.. haha..

drifter said...

Wa.. that was actually pretty inspiring. Thanks for this post, Hakim^^

Fadhil Luqman said...

I'm a Malaysian citizen and I approve this message.

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