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Kuala Lumpur Archives - St. Stephen's University

My Own Experience

By | 2012, Asia | No Comments

As our group of stressed, overtired, and hungry students piled into a tour bus about to head to Hong Kong, it finally hit me — the feeling of not knowing what to expect. Along with the not knowing came the fear that I might get “the full experience,” the experience that past SSU students have had and come back to tell tales of, great moments that I could only hope to have. But why must I compare my experience with theirs?

While walking through the canopy of a rain forest near Kuala Lumpur I was struck by the thought that this is one crazy and insane trip I am on; that no matter what, it will be the best for me. It was as if my thoughts turned from comparing my time in Southeast Asia with other students’ trips to where I really started to experience Southeast Asia for myself.

Simply put, I can never relive the moment that I am now in. My experience in Southeast Asia is special to me and only to me, no matter how much I explain how great it is to others. From the concert night at Northwestern University to the conversations I have with my homestay family, others will never grasp the full reality of the trip that I am currently partaking in.

In conclusion, my trip so far has been amazing. Every time I open my eyes I am greeted by the warm hearts of the people that I am living with. I stand in amazement every time I see the sun rise as it means another day in Paradise. To each his own and may the other trips following mine be even greater.

Villicationis et amor

By | 2012, Asia | No Comments

Kuala Lumpur is a city rich with culture and people groups. The campaign “1 Malaysia” encourages these groups to live in harmony and unity throughout the city. One group that I find to be particularly beautiful in the way they care for each other is the blind community.

Much of this community is centralized in Brickfields, now known as Little India. One might miss out on this group if they don’t spend much time in Brickfields. Home to a school for the blind, one can expect to see people wandering the area with walking sticks, and some with friends who lovingly guide them. Crossing the street in KL can be dangerous even for those with perfect vision. Graded sidewalks act as a guide for the blind, letting them know where there are steps up and down, and where there are crosswalks. Local traffic also seems to keep watchful of them. Though these are simple actions to ensure their safety, they speak loudly to me.

The Brickfields area provides employment for the blind as well, with dozens of blind massage. Employment extends to the deaf community as well, with a deaf-mute laundrette just near the local YMCA. These communities are made up of Indians, Chinese, Malays, and I even noticed albinos on a couple of occasions.

parloursĀ A moment that particularly touched me in regard to these communities occurred when I did a favour for a staff member at the YMCA. When he thanked me verbally – most beautifully, I might add – he also said it in sign language. I can only assume that because of the deaf community in the area, he learned at least some sign language to communicate with them. The fact that it was such a natural reaction for him to sign to me shows that this is a common occurrence.

This kind of stewardship and caring for those with ‘disabilities’ is a beautiful example for all of us. These intentional actions keep groups from feeling marginalized or neglected. While no culture is perfect, each does something right. I believe the care for the blind and deaf in Brickfields to be a grand example of something done right.

Reflections

By | 2010, Asia | No Comments

A week ago I was bicylcing around a temple, gazing into the reflective pools of water and contemplating the history of that ancient place. I now gaze into a Maine stream as it flows beside snow covered banks. I wonder how time moves on so quickly.
Yet, time will move on and as this travel term comes to a close I gather the gems of this trip together for one final look. The Paoay children’s playful spirit as they ran around the church courtyard before their choir practice, skyscrapers without end in Kuala Lumpur and intricately woven family ties in Chiang Mai.

This is where I, we, have been.
And now, where are we going?
We have all been shaped by this journey. I hope that we will all let it change us and continue to, and that we will grow.
Time moves fast, we must take time to reflect, there is a season for everything, everyone is a part of someone else’s movement through this life, let us never forget to grow and change and move together, wherever the waters of time may have us float.

Chelsea