One Malaysia

By November 7, 20102010, Asia

Incense.

percussion of Indian drums.

and the not so melodic chants from market vendors

fills the foreground of my mind.

We have arrived in Bricksfield KL, Malaysia. Bricksfield has just been labelled “Little India” and we have arrived just in time for its grand opening. I note the mixture of Indian, Chinese, Malaysian, Black and White citizens, as people run across streets on their way to their destinations. A woman stands outside an Indian restaurant advertising their food. I note that this place seems to be the metropolis of Little India, the patio is full of men drinking the local beer Jaz and smoking cloves and cigarettes. As I smile at the woman, she ushers me to a table inside. I ask her if there are any vegetarian choices, she smiles and directs me to the back of the menu where a plethora of vegetarian dishes are listed. I am slightly amused, as my stay in the Philippines wholly rested on my ability to eat meat breakfast, lunch and dinner. As I browse the menu I order a milk tea. My eyes begin to wander and I recognize the role religion plays in Malaysian culture.  Malaysia is not only a country diverse in race, but also in religion. Most restaurants have the option of pork free meals, for Muslims, and beef free dishes for Hindus. As I have learned throughout my stay here in Malaysia, the concept of ONE MALAYSIA is a statement integrating into society. The Malaysian government has established housing for all Malaysians, where there is no distinguishing between rich owners and poor ones, Indian owners or Christian owners. I do not know if the government has succeed in creating ONE MALAYSIA, but they are on the right path. Although Malaysia is an Islamic country, they do allow for religious freedom.

As I walk the streets of Malaysia I see women in hijab’s, men in Armani suits, children in uniforms, and others with the bindi on their foreheads. Today I see ONE MALAYSIA.

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