I live in Malaysia. 68 years ago, it was Malaya. Well, it’s a small country that decades ago not many knew but today, I’m seeing a lot of attention globally. I like growing up here – weather’s fine, food’s good plus the locals are kind. Here, summer is all-year long that sometimes, I hate it and wonder how does snow feel. When the sun is up, I’ve got to control myself from sweating. I bet everyone here does. And pretty much sums up why I don’t like to wear make-ups. Heh.
Throughout my entire life, I’m always in Seremban. Since birth, I was raised here in Seremban: where traffic jams only last for 30 minutes maximum and there’s a KFC in my neighbourhood area still operating since I was 5. Seremban is very precious, I must say. It’s not a small state but I feel easily connected to everywhere. KL? An hour away. Melaka? 90 minutes. KLIA? 40 mins. Obviously, time is precious to me, that’s why I hate being on the road for such a long time. I’m so used to taking only 20 minutes to go to the city.
I grew up watching small, empty lands turning into shophouses which then become unoccupied. Business’s tough, my dad says. Frequent trips I’ve made to the grocery store with the hope of buying so many things but I ended up buying none. I knew something was out but I ditched all those doubts. I guess it’s me being thrifty, maybe. Things are getting more expensive each day. But, one thing I’d never fail to bring home – faces of the workers. Life works so wonderful for me that I could easily recognize faces around me. And every time I decided not to sleep, I’d always caught the sound of newspapers vendor doing his job around 4:30 am. Never a single miss, he’s always on his job. My neighbourhood mainly consists of Chinese, and I learnt a lot about their culture and beliefs. It’s easy to know that it’s Hungry Ghost Month looking at bowls of food served outside the house. Every time Chinese New Year arrives, I’d hear those loud fireworks and my family and I would quickly go out to witness the sky. Fireworks do unite us, don’t they? Launch some and you’ll see many faces looking above happily.
I remember being invited for a dinner with my student’s family at her house. Since my class with her was about to end, it was hard to say no. The family is very warm, I must say. It definitely feels great to gain an insight to traditional Indian household – how most of them have dogs, the interior is furnished at its simplest and to understand their obsession with curry. It was my first time tasting the real Indian curry – not as thick as my mother’s and they prefer their curry to be slightly yellow, not brown. I like their curry that it tastes mild, not spicy. It blends well with idli which is their favourite rice substitute. Idli is also South India’s favourite dish in case you’re wondering. They don’t eat on plates, but instead they use metal plates. I had a nice time listening to the grandmother explaining the recipes and the mother sharing some dos and don’ts in Indian household.
So today, Malaysia celebrates its 59th year of independence. Mainly because I don’t often go out, so I’m not feeling that patriotic feeling, yet. I still haven’t walk down the main road, admiring those colourful lights and watching the flags waving. I don’t even go to watch national parades, trust me, many haven’t. Well, as long as there’s still some love for the country, that’ll do. And as much as I want the country to be in peace, I’m only hoping for one thing – justice.
Happy Independence Day, Malaysia ❤