Anyway, there's a blog post today on the CNN website called 'Connect the World', where readers are asked to talk about how they think the two countries are connected. Today, it was Sweden and Malaysia. It was extremely interesting for me, as mentions of Malaysia in the international media have been for me lately. I've been curious to see how we are portrayed in other countries. Certainly not too well over here considering I'm constantly told that I speak good English. But then again, can you really blame them for that impression? Especially after watching the hilarious video of the Teoh Beng Hock inquest? I think even I could win a case against Razak; he's just horrible at articulating himself in English.
TIME magazine also had an article about Malaysia. Reading that article made me realise what I like most about the Western media- their articles do not have any of the so called uniqueness of Malaysia that we're advertised to be.
Malaysia is that rare country with an unequivocal national narrative. It goes something like this: Malaysia's 28 million people, comprising mainly Malays, Chinese and Indians, make up a moderate and modern emerging democracy. Unlike members of other multiethnic countries, they respect one another's beliefs and values and share a commitment to achieving prosperity. The official religion is Islam, but other faiths are freely allowed and celebrated. This is one harmonious place.
Much of that narrative is true — but not all of it. Malaysia's economic miracle has stalled, and while the nation is, indeed, somewhat pluralistic, it is no melting pot. Indeed, it is a society where people define themselves first and foremost by race.
That pretty much sums us up, doesn't it? I definitely feel much more loyal to our country now that I'm abroad, but at the same time I also am much more critical. So it's like a double edged sword, clichéd though it is.
And I realise that back home, it's holiday season again because of Hari Raya, isn't it? I don't get that here, only Labour Day on October 4th. Yes Labour Day's in October, not May, in Australia. So life goes on for me- I have assignments to do, classes to attend, responsibilities to fulfil. To the point that I'm actually feeling busy! But don't get me wrong. I do not mean that I'm always out and about.
I recently read something in a friend's blog that I completely agree with: Just because you are at home doesn't mean you have a lot of spare time. Here's what she has to say:
When somebody else says she's busy and subsequently posts 20398423 pictures of herself in parties or shopping malls, then she's vindicated. But somehow, when i say i'm busy, i don't quite qualify.
People think that each second spent indoors is like a gallon of wasted youth. But each minute i spend doing little things like ironing the clothes or folding somebody else's underwear, is another minute that my mother doesn't have to do it.
Each minute i spend talking to my brother is another that he doesn't feel alone.
Each word i write in this entry is another that you don't spend reading smut. (I hope.)
So really. Who is really wasting their time?
Some people can be supposedly "catching up with friends", but in actuality, they're just sitting across them at a lunch table, busy tweeting or typing "is catching up with long lost friends" on their facebook statuses.
So yes, I've been, busy. Because guess what? On a rainy and windy Sunday like tomorrow, I get to do my laundry, hopefully clean the apartment and get started on my assignment!
And here's two funny ads for you to enjoy until the next post (I highly recommend the first one):