Friday, 18 July 2008

The impression we give to the world

I've tried very hard to only write about what this blog is really about - knitting and food. But sometimes, I realise, I need to look outside into the real world and take in what's going on.

Don't get me wrong. It's not like I dont read the papers or check the online news sites daily (it's part of my job). But it's just that when I get home, I prefer to just not think of these things for a moment and indulge in some knitting or baking or even just watching AFC. So when I decide to blog in the middle of the night, I'm always much more relaxed and dont have a care for the world.

And yet... of late so much has happened here, especially on the political front. So much that it's hard not to ignore it. The front page of all papers are splashed with all things political. Almost everyone I know was caught in the big traffic jams caused by road blocks around the city centre. (I myself am rarely a victim of morning traffic jams since I go to work super early in the morning.) My father calls me often nowadays, checking on the situation in the city and also to constantly remind me to be alert on the streets (albeit, my dad does take things to the extreme and can be really paranoid at times.).

It is not a good impression that we give to the outside world.. Sadly, we have become a laughing stock to the world with the recent antics. Many people may not have been to Malaysia and so many opinions are based on what they read in the news.

During our trip to Lourdes last month, we met an American from Connecticut. He approached us after one of the morning English Masses as he noticed that we could recite the whole Mass in perfect English and we knew the songs fairly well.

(Imagine, a Chinese family with an unrecognizable accent who spoke only English to each other. Nothing too surprising to most of us in Malaysia and Singapore but to someone who's never been to our part of the world, it's weird.)

So anyway, upon finding out that we're from Malaysia, he promptly asked, are there many Christians in Malaysia? It seems there are people in the world who assume everyone in Malaysia is Muslim and that all women have to be covered up. We explained that no, although we are in a majority-Muslim country, we are free to practise our own religion. No, we do not need to be covered or follow their customs.

Then what about the fact that we all speak English? Yes I know that the standard of English in our country has fallen dramatically in recent decades but there are still quite a number of us who do speak decent English, or in some cases (like mine and a number of my friends), English is our first language.

It's amazing how we have this image of other countries based on what we see and read on the news. For me, I'd always imagined that Israel was this war-torn land with derelict buildings and poor, homeless kids running around. Yes there are parts of Israel where this is evident and a sorry sight they were. But I found a beautiful country, steeped in religious history during my pilgrimage there in 2000. I would most definitely go back there if I could.

So anyway, what sort of impression does the world have of Malaysia, especially with the events of the past few months?


Anonymous said...

if dun have your parents
u think u can have this kind of lifestyle

Petrina said...

Sorry you got it all wrong.

Without my parents, I would not have been able to gain the education I have today.

The lifestyle, on the other hand, is a matter of choice. I choose to indulge myself with great food and great holidays, at the expense of perhaps a fancier car or some pricey jewelry but that's my choice.

Perhaps it was your choice to wallow in jealousy and self pity instead of channelling that energy to make your life more productive/meaningful.

Tisya said...

I agree with you Petrina. There are many misconceptions about life in Malaysia regarding all the races (including Malays). People think that because we're (Malays) Muslim we have to be like the Muslims they see in the news all the time. Everyone is getting labeled by the majority that is shown in the news worldwide, regardless of what race or religion they are or where they come from.

Tisya said...

oops I meant minority that is shown in the news :)