Introducing various cultures of Malaysia

Malaysian If you read a recent online report, “Man claims Malaysia doesn’t have a culture for tourists to explore,” you’d be quick to disagree. That’s because our country has long been known as multiracial and multicultural, with three major races and numerous indigenous peoples.

The report is based on the tweets of a street photographer based in Selangor. Unlike Indonesia or Thailand, you can see the culture from the moment you step inside. ”

He seems to have made a very bold statement that there is nothing in Malaysia for tourists to experience or explore.

But he is far from naive or ignorant and may be far more knowledgeable than most Malaysians.

In fact, he has visited many places in Malaysia, talked to the locals and taken photos showcasing the culture around Malaysia.

He tweeted to raise awareness of appreciation for his own culture.

Moreover, “You don’t have to go that far. Pay close attention to your surroundings, see how the locals live and talk to different people, and you’ll finally begin to understand the culture.” When it comes to traditional culture, we need to entrust the government with the funds to preserve and promote it.”

When I was driving a budget taxi in 2004, Middle Eastern passengers wanted to get up close and personal with the locals.

The best way to do that was to go where they lived. But would people who live in properties or apartments open their doors and allow two strangers to enter?

So I suggested a trip to Koh Ketam, drove to Klang Port and took a ferry from there. There, all the buildings and sidewalks are built on stilts on a muddy island, and residents and visitors can walk past the house with the front door open when occupied. It’s done. at home.

We were able to meet many of the residents and they were really warm and hospitable. Many people invited us into their homes to show us. These included latrines that were simply openings in the floor for dropping human waste onto the mud at low tide or dropping excrement into the seawater. high tide.

Similarly, if I visited Saudi Arabia 65 years ago, I would expect the locals to be riding camels and living in Bedouin tents.

Where did they get their food and water from? Or are the toilets just holes in the sand that they cover after use?

While driving a luxury taxi in 2003, I met a Thai woman in Bangkok who was a senior airline executive.

She had heard about Malay stilt houses and wanted to see them in person, but they were not easy to find in the city.

Fortunately, Kuala Lumpur’s Jalan Gombak is home to Rumah Pak Ali, a grand Minangkabau mansion built in 1876 and opened to visitors in 1989. Looking at the original building, which was also used as a residence by the descendants who lived there, it was completely authentic.

I wrote “Tourism: Why we need a “Malaysian Village”” ten years ago and it was published on February 14, 2013.

I am repeating this call now because nothing has been done since and I don’t want to waste another decade waiting.

Tourists may be satisfied with all the comforts and conveniences we provide, but we can do more to enhance the quality of their experience.

An effective approach is to establish a “Malaysian Village” that showcases our rich heritage, culture, traditions, handicrafts and food.

Proclaiming that we are a multi-ethnic nation is meaningless to visitors who cannot distinguish between foreigners and locals.

Many Malaysians only know about the three main races and the indigenous peoples of Sabah and Sarawak. But our population is much more diverse.

For example, the country is home to 500,000 Mandailing people from northern Sumatra who have contributed to the rich Malay race and culture.

The Tall Tall dance and Gordang Sambilan that they brought with them are officially recognized as one of our national heritage sites.

We are effectively sitting on a huge pool of untapped wealth, which will be fully released when our entire heritage is harnessed and embraced, rather than on a selective basis. Probably.

Cultural dance performances should not be limited to performances by our country’s theater companies.

There is so much variety that we have been able to perform a different dance every day for several years in a row.

Experiential tourism is the focus, and visitors are not just spectators; they want to learn local dances, learn how to tie a sarong, cook local food, and play the role of bride and groom in a bell sanding ceremony. You might think so.

Domestic travelers will become more enlightened about their roots and ancestry and look beyond narrowly defined races. When we learn and appreciate the trials and tribulations of our ancestors, we will care more for our descendants and future generations of Malaysians.

We need to become more professional in our pursuit of excellence.

Sadly, many Malaysians know very little about themselves, the people around them, and the foreigners among us, resulting in a severe lack of curiosity.

Malaysia Village can also be a place to exchange ideas and information, as as much as we like to showcase what we have, our visitors are equally keen to share.

This will be an ideal platform to promote our souvenirs and allow visitors to observe how our handicrafts are made.

That way the effort and skill required to make them will be better appreciated and give visitors a chance to try them out.

You can also indulge in a wide variety of Malaysian food and fruits, so it’s sure to become the most popular destination for both expats and locals alike.

This effort to establish a Malaysian Village needs to be government-led by providing space, but commercially run for creativity and sustainability.

It will be the ideal setting to encapsulate and showcase our rich Malaysian heritage, which has evolved through centuries of assimilation of the people who once lived or visited our land. .

YS Chan He is a Master Trainer for Mesra Malaysia and Travel & Tour Enrichment Courses and is also an ASEAN Tourism Master Trainer. He is a transportation and training consultant and author. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

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