Kuala Lumpur was the immediate second destination from Singapore. Upon arrival, purely observationally speaking, the vibe and hospitality seems to be lacking a bit in contrast to Singapore. Moreover, the city setting is more dirty and vandalism is also increasingly predominant here. The context seems more dangerous in comparison also, as our local hotel shuttle driver commented, “Malaysia is flexible (with respects to Singapore), but we still need to develop more in other aspects.” Admittedly, every country has it’s pros and cons, nevertheless, my own personal dispositions and biases from growing up in the United States is probably the cause.
On a more positive note, Malaysia has quite delicious and affordable eats. A local food court nesting over a multi-transportation station just a walk away from my hotel yielded great breakfast selections (Malay, Chinese, Indian, and other South-Asian styles) , and I got a beverage, side dish, and a main dish all for an impressive grand total of 10 RM.
The major religion, speculatively, has to be Islamic in origins. In order to accommodate for the Muslims residing here, the majority of major malls, stores, and restaurants offer prayer facilities to help practicing Muslims observe their religious rituals. The second predominant religion seems to be Hinduism. This is no surprise since the Indian population also tends to be towards the majority based on my observation in respects to Asians. The Batu Cave is a major tourist site and also a hotspot for practicing Hindus. Moreover, the Muslims at the National Mosque were quite optimistic on sharing their faith. They provided me with a simple introduction (and brochures) on Islam and compared notes with me when discussing the similarities with Christianity.
The tourist attractions are quite impressive here, in one day, my friend and I were able to visit up to 10 tourist sites walking distance from the Central Market. These places include: KL Bird Park, Petaling Street, Chinatown, Central Market (Annexe), National Mosque, National Museum, National Planetarium, Deer Park, and Perdana Botanical Garden. Needless to say, that was quite a packed morning and afternoon! Other tourist sites that we visited include: Batu Cave, KL Tower, KLCC (Petronas Twin Tower), Aquaria, Golden Triangle, and Fashion Mall (maybe?). I really enjoyed the Aquaria and the Bird Park here. The Aquaria was situated beneath a towering building, which I thought was quite odd (and impressive at the same time) and inside was a spacious and visually satisfying array of aquatic creatures (shark, manta rays, sea turtles, etc)
Thoughts and Experiences
Again, as with Singapore, the population density here is much higher than that of America, hence, politeness and general expected decencies found in the United States and probably in the United Kingdom are absent. Arguably not by choice perhaps. Competition and survival are both correlating factors, that with little doubt, contributes to the cultural milieu that the natives are accustomed to. Again, for this reason, its understandable (although not welcomed) to have these disparities in social politeness and courtesy.What also caught my eye was the social discrepancies in areas where the surroundings were mostly run down apartment buildings and then an odd huge modern shopping mall is erected in the midst.
The living conditions for the general populist is not pleasant, furthermore, it wasn’t uncommon to see religious pious followers and homeless situated in corners seeking donations, but almost invisible to the eyes of the majority who are engaged in the game of life. In one sense, the commitment of those religious practitioners does allude to and perhaps witness to the meaninglessness of living in the rat race that we call existence. While I judge their practices as wrong, since their worship from a Christian worldview, is aimed at a god of fiction; but I believe it speaks volume to the heart and need of the human soul: liberation, redemption, and grace.
*These experiences were made possible by the Gilman Scholarship