One of the many reasons why I keep going back to Malaysia after living there for nearly ten years is for the mouth-watering food, diverse cultures, the lush green nature, enchanting islands, the beaches and the retail therapy.
It is now an accepted fact that if you want to visit Asia, all you have to do is visit Malaysia. Apart from its geographical location, right smack in the centre of Asia, strong economic base and stable political situation, Malaysia is an attraction for the tourist who wants to taste Asia but do not have the luxury of time and money.
Below are the top 10 reasons why Malaysia is truly Asia.
- THE PEOPLE:
Asian people or the term Asiatic people has multiple meanings that refers to people who descend from a portion of Asia’s population. And quite a number of them are found in Malaysia. The most common are the Malays, Chinese, Indians, Punjabis and the Dayak tribes or the aboriginals.
- THE CULTURE:
Having a multiple mixed races in Malaysia makes for an interesting potpourri of culture. The Malays will have their colourful weddings and celebrations full of refinement, the Chinese have exciting festivals that are steeped in tradition, the Indians have classical presentations that are as colourful as their sarees, while the aboroginal tribes will have their natural heritage largely encircling their practice of paying tribute to nature. These are all endemic to most Asian countries, with just some slight variations.
- THE MANY RELIGIONS:
I learnt more about religious practices in Malaysia in 9 yeras than in my entire lifetime. The main religions in Asia, ie Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism play a major part in shaping the beliefs of Asians and are found in Malaysia as well.
- THE FOOD:
Food is what makes Asia, and definitely Malaysia, so delectable. Once you have tasted the food of Malaysia, you have tasted most Asian cuisine. There is something to suit all tastes and for the Muslims, halal cuisine available everywhere.
- THE CLOTHES:
The standard traditional garb among the main cultures is the Malay baju, Chinese cheongsam and Indian saree. Occasionally you see the Vietnamese ao dai or the Korean hanbok as Malaysians do wear similar outfits during special events.
- THE LANGUAGE:
Malay is the most common of all languages in Asia as it is spoken in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines and even Cambodia while Chinese and Tamil are equally well-spoken in certain Asian countries. In Malaysia, English is spoken vastly and I never had any problems in even the remote destinations in the country.
- THE CLIMATE:
Like most countries in Asia, there are only two seasons in Malaysia: rainy and sunny. You either carry an umbrella or wear your sun-shades, depending on the weather.
- THE HISTORY:
The history of the Asian countries is intertwined with Malaysia’s history, thanks in great part to the traders of days of yore. As such you can read about Asian history in the annals of Malaysian history.
- THE FESTIVALS:
There are lots of common festivals between most Asian countries and those found in Malaysia and makes for an interesting feast for the senses. It was a delight to sometimes have up to three festivals for different cultures in one week.
- THE TRADITIONAL PASTIMES:
The best things in life are free, like sunshine, fresh air and love, and these are prevalent in the hobbies of Malaysians, as it is with Asians. People enjoy going to the parks, movies, exploring shopping malls, indulging in sporting activities and in my case, I just enjoyed people watching in the local teahouses and coffee shops.
With such common denominators, Malaysia can rightfully claim to be truly Asia and a good reason to visit the country.