Walk Like A Malaysian
These gals spotted me in their local market and asked if they could snap a shot with me.
People genuinely wanted to help me find the perfect place to stay, or wanted to have dinner with me, or wanted to know what Cuban culture is like. Malaysia is one of the easiest places in Asia to meet and truly bond with the locals. Generally, there's no agenda or scam. They're just genuinely curious.When I needed to get to an ATM that was 40 KM away (I was in a tiny fisherman village), one of the local girls offered to drive me to it, instead of me paying for a taxi. After giving her a million thanks and secretly slipping some money in her dashboard, she drove me and we had one of the best conversations. I was asking her about Islamic culture (she was Muslim) and about life in Malaysia. There's so much I didn't know:
- Dogs are considered filthy. Muslims aren't allowed to touch them, but cats are OK.
- It's completely legal, socially accepted, and popular for a Muslim man to have many wives.
- In Malaysia, the police follow Muslim law. They will arrest a Muslim if they are drinking or eating pork, both of which are strictly prohibited.
- At the mall, movie theater, and other public places, lines are seperated by gender: one cashier is for men, and the other for women.
- Malaysians have pet monkeys to climb their palm trees and collect coconuts.
On the islands, one of the many locals I bonded with was a 22 year-old guy who loved to play me his guitar. Even though he knew how bad of a singer I was, he still made me sing along with him. That was the catch. He played, I sang. A few Jack Johnsons, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tracy Champman's later, and we were laughing like we knew each other for years. It was one of those warm fuzzy Hallmark card/Lifetime movie moments.
Me and Wan, a local from the islands was always sweet with me by having dinner together and giving extra chocolate on my pancakes. (*^_^)