Home > Awareness, College, Holidays, Life, Opinion, Travel > Sam’s Take On Malaysia

Sam’s Take On Malaysia

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this joint and you can pick any guess as to what kept me from writing anything. Being in Malaysia for two months now…I’ve been busy doing everything but sight seeing; pretty ironic huh…

Aside from entering a university and renting a house, I’ve had to do a lot of traveling between KLIA, KL, Cyberjaya, Putrajaya, and Melaka (a somewhat historic city). Although cheap if your consider a couple of trips, taxis can make a huge dent in your wallet if your require several trips a day, so I had to rent a car for most of my stay here. Some might ask why not use the metro, but all this traveling is for newcomers, both family and friends, who are also applying for universities or want to start businesss here, or simply to enjoy a two week vacation; who want someone tey know to help them out. So the metro isn’t the best way to go about in such cases.

KL isn’t as good as others have told me; due to a couple of factors. One; it requires deep pockets if you want to venture out into the center. Some taxi drivers can be plain assholes by refusing to use the meter and charge exorbitant prices if they think you’re a tourist. Some even feed on people’s desperation at rush hour times or simply depending on how much of a hurry the person is in; painting a pretty bad picture for the majority of the nice taxi drivers who strike me as some of the best in the world.

Another thing that seriously annoys me is the toll plazas we face every few miles between cities. I’m glad my trips aren’t daily and don’t have to commute through tolls to the university every morning, as that by itself can amount to a fortune.

The third thing…although not everyone shares this opinion with me, are the organizers of the Visit Malaysia 2007 who continue to exhibit extravagant fireworks displays for tourists at night time while over a hundred thousand victims of the recent floods have nowhere to call home and sleep at makeshift camps at schools or underground car parks. This strikes me as hypocritical…seeing how the Malaysian government says it cares for its people while the organizers of these tourist events are going overboard with entertaining foreigners. Why not donate that money to help those who have lost their whole houses and means of earning money? I’d say that…at times like this, as a foreigner and part tourist, I wouldn’t expect to be entertained by the tourist industry. Why…what would a tourist think when they see all these extravagant displays of fireworks and the next moring see in the front pages of local papers pictures of flood ridden towns and people swimming through dirty waters trying to salvage whatever is left of their homes?

On a lighter note…Malaysia’s pros outdo its cons greatly. One thing I like about the locals here is that as a foreigner, when I try to speak Malay, they’ll go out on a limb to make me feel closer. Oh…the food! I love food…and the variety here is great. One can never get lost here; because there are loads of street signs and boards guiding you every few miles; although each district and town has several ways to get to, making it somewhat confusing. The people here drive safely, and unlike KSA, the folks here make good use of their turn indicators.

I’ve been told I’m missin one of the coldest winters in KSA and neighboring countries. Just my luck…my favorite season is winter and here I am in tropical Malaysia…

  1. January 16, 2007 at 11:42 PM

    The Visit Malaysia thing is definitely hypocritical. That’s a terrible waste of resources that could clearly be better used by people who need to eat and sleep than on fireworks.

  2. January 17, 2007 at 7:10 AM

    I’m glad you’re enjoying your time. Pleasedo try to blog more. I do enjoy your writting and comments on other blogs.

    Salaam alaikum


  3. Jamal
    January 17, 2007 at 7:34 AM

    I see you still can’t resist driving where ever you go. I bet you’re driving without a license too.

  4. Rima
    January 17, 2007 at 8:11 AM

    You have a point about the weather. It must have been one of the coldest winters in Saudi history. You should see neighbors starting up their cars and going back in for another 20 minutes while they wait for the car engines to heat up. Every morning it’s a ritual all my neighbors do at around the same time. The thing about the flood victims and the tourist attractions is sad though. I can’t imagine myself entertaining tourists while my people suffer like that. I hope they do something about it.

  5. January 17, 2007 at 9:10 AM

    You sure did miss out on a cold winter. It’s not that cold this morning though. The part where you spoke about the flood victims really got to me. I can’t understand how that could happen and as a tourist I would somehow feel guilty if I were relaxing on a nice beach front while in a distant area this was happening. But I’m sure other organizations and the government have allocated money to those who suffered the floods.

  6. Danny
    January 17, 2007 at 9:23 AM

    I undertsand what you mean when you say toll plazas are a pain. I’ve been to Malaysia before and at first I thought the money they take is insignificant but when I added all my trips, it turned out too much. Imagine how it is for those who have to drive through them every day! I also enjoyed the variety of food there and had a few arguments with the taxis since they can get real fussy sometimes.

  7. Latifah
    January 17, 2007 at 11:31 AM

    I like how candid you are with your views on Malaysia. Even though Malaysia might be a role model for other countries, it’s not perfect and incidents like the flood scenario you described show it. I am glad you are enjoying your stay here.

    Selamat Datang

  8. Sook
    January 17, 2007 at 3:38 PM

    Selamat datang Sam! I hope you enjoy studying here. I understand the problem with some taxi drivers here but the government has already laid down strict regulations and those bad taxi drivers can have their permits cancelled if they are found to be practising such behavior.

    It also made me feel awful when I read about the flood victims everyday while tourist attractions go on. You forgot one more bad point about KL which are those dangerous bike riders who put everyone’s life at risk.
    Enjoy your stay and try visiting the other regions if you have time

  9. NM
    January 18, 2007 at 8:50 AM

    I havn’t had time to read through your blog to discover as to why your in malaysia, but as someone who will soon be leaving home to live in a foreign country any tips on how to settle in?

  10. Sam
    January 21, 2007 at 2:05 PM

    Agent KGB: I know…and the tourist atractions are on ful swing. The good thing is that the flood waters have receded and people are now slowly trying to get back to living normally…

    Hijab Is Overrated: Thanks for the compliments and I’m glad you enjoy the writing.

    Jamal: Shhhh bro…the cops haven’t caught me yet. But someone’s bringing my license on his way from KSA.

    Rima: Yea, that’s one of the things about winter; all the neighbors firing up their cars in symphony.

    Brook: Yes…other organizations and many prominent individuals have come forward to help those affected by the floods but the tourist attraction money could have been spent better than firing up rockets into the sky.

    Danny: One or a few more trips is nothing…but any more and you’d feel your wallet getting lighter. I understand the need to pay for all the facilities the public enjoy, but I thought the peple already paid for those in their taxes.

    Latifah: Selamat Datang! Thanks for stopping by…

    Sook: I forgot to mention the part about the ‘mat rempit’, which is what I think the locals call those dangerous bikers here. I’ll also try and visit the other regions when possible.

    NM: Honestly…settling in a place would be pretty easy especially if you have someone waiting for your arrival.

  11. lightcontrast
    January 22, 2007 at 3:05 AM

    I like the idea of travelling and meeting new people, but I know I’d hate to spend so much. But there are tradeoffs for things we do.

    I hope you’re enjoying your time over there. Do you have pictures?

  12. Sam
    January 22, 2007 at 5:10 AM

    lightcontrast: I know…spending is one of the things that can get out of control when abroad. I’m enjoying my time here, although signs of being homesick are starting to show. I’ve got tons of pics, but never get the chance to upload them; I think it’s about time I got a flickr account.

  13. Arabian Princess
    January 23, 2007 at 3:53 AM

    I know how money can easily slip from you when you are abroad and I have suffered a few cases myself and thats when I began making sure my purse is always full in case I need to do a little extra shopping. I remember once I did so much shopping I forgot to buy suitcases for the goods I bought.

  14. Yim Lin
    January 30, 2007 at 1:10 PM

    Hey Sam welcome to Malaysia. I found your blog through a Malaysian friend and enjoyed reading your posts. I hope you have a great time here. I agree some people are bad and ruin it for the rest but don’t mind them.

  15. Sareen
    January 31, 2007 at 3:54 AM

    A very warm welcome to Malaysia Sam. I hope your experiences here have been nice and continue to enjoy what Malaysia has to offer. However, try visiting other states if you can because those coming from abroad usually tend to stay in KL and never see the natural beautiful life and experiences offered by the many other states. Wishing you a joyous stay.

  16. Sam
    January 31, 2007 at 6:18 AM

    Arabian Princess: I’m not much of a shopper and would shop perhaps only at gunpoint so I don’t need to worry about the money part.

    Yim Lin: Thanks and welcome to my humble abode. Don’t worry about those ‘bad’ people; I never give them attention anyways.

    Sareen: I sure have enjoyed my experience here and yet have many places to go visit. I plan on visiting at least 2 states this semester since I’m not much of a KL fan anyways.

  17. zam
    January 31, 2007 at 10:40 AM

    hello sam.. selamat datang. your comment about the flood attract me the most. i’m one of the flood victim and i think you got it wrong when you said that the goverment should spent the money on us rather than entertain the tourist. they’d spent on you but then they will get more in return (so they can help us more). they do help us by giving us money and food supplies which my entire family says that we can’t finish them until the end of the year. you’re right that many things are still doing wrong here… but enjoy yourself and have a great experience being here.

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