Upon arriving in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I shifted mental gears to approach the different modes of cultural diversity revealed to me. I am now in a different place than I was before, apart from the fond and cherished memory of the Philippines. The citizens of the Philippines, as a people, seemed to share more similar distinctions. I noticed that there was a certain distinction within the flavors of ethnic history that brought them together (the Spanish influence seemed especially evident on their appearance, for example). Most people I encountered there seemed to also follow either a Protestant or Catholic tradition.
Our home-stay experience gave us a specific perspective on Philippine culture, for which the location of our hotel being in ‘Little India’ also gives us a unique perspective on the culture here in Malaysia. However, here it seems there is an even greater mix of people and perspective.
A basic example of this is when I was waiting in line for Burger King (at this point, I was admittedly craving Western Food). Behind me, two completely different people – an Arab and a Chinese Malay – were communicating in badly spoken, substandard English. I quickly realized that English was not their primary language. They were evidently speaking in English because they could not, in fact, speak each others first language. This is an interesting account of people who have chosen to overcome social, ethnic, or otherwise communicative barriers in a very culturally mixed nation so that they can unite (the pair, though speaking badly, were speaking with enthusiasm).
I am at a place where there is an undeniable influence of many things, whether it be the ever pervasive Western Influence, along with the Muslim, Arab, Indian, and Chinese aspects, among others – including religious distinctions. From my point of view, I could not actually tell you or bring a clear picture as to what a stereotypical Malaysian citizen actually is. In any case, it is undeniable that I benefiting greatly from experiencing a great multitude of influences. I look forward to what other mysteries lie ahead in Thailand! Again I will enter as the minority, this Canadian-German. Out.