Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Malaysia Is Not All That Bad

Of late, there's been a lot of dissent and dissatisfaction among Malaysians, as evidenced by more and more blogs talking about the state of affairs here in Malaysia. Could the Law of Attraction as acknowledged in The Secret manifesting itself? The more you fear something, the more there will be? Why not instead visualize a better Malaysia where there is peace, harmony and prosperity.

I don't blog about politics so this is not a political post. A short article in the papers today caught my attention. It says Jeff Ooi was questioned by the cops for being interviewed by Al Jazeera last month. The report alleged that Ooi, a journalist and blogger, tarnished the country’s image and caused racial tension with his statements in the Nov 10 interview pertaining to a protest organised by Bersih, a coalition of opposition parties and non-governmental organisations.

I haven't seen that video clip and was wondering as to what transpired. So, I looked it up. I've included the clip here in case, like me, you too are curious.

In an earlier post, Furkids asked that I comment on his Monday post. So I checked it out.

Furkids, I read the entire list of comments, including yours. Some of the bloggers are more mature and realistic in their approach. What I can add is that the average Malaysian does not encounter the incidents brought up. There are very pleasant experiences too. It's just that, they are not being blogged. No, when you come to Malaysia, Deb will not be groped anywhere. That's really 'kua cheong' (exaggerated) to presume that. lol So, don't worry a thing. It's absolutely safe here. Like being anywhere else in the world, one has to take the usual precautions like any other tourist or even local for that matter, like be careful when crossing the street or hang on to your handbag, things like that.

For more reassurance, you won't be ripped off by airport taxis as the taxi fare is regulated and there's only a licensed government-approved taxi counter there where you'll have to buy a ticket to get on. Everything is above board and no hanky-panky.

The current state of affairs may leave much to be desired (which country is perfect anyway?!), but it's not as if it's so bad that you can't walk down the street on your own. You can still go out for a hot "pulled tea" (teh tarik) or a McD burger at two in the morning and we do have 7 Eleven stores that are open 24 hours should your party run out of ice at three in the morning. We have 24-hour gas stations and some of us do our banking late at night. Pssst! I do.

Come to think of it, Malaysia is still a young nation, just turned 50 - just a fraction of how old United States is. I believe the country will improve in time. Change for the better is inevitable as people become more aware and more educated. There would be more fairness all around - politically, economically and culturally. Every adult (Malaysian (above 21) has a voice. We just need to learn how to exercise that voice for the better by registering to vote.


  1. I agree with you. It's always greener on the other side, but we don't stop to think how lucky we are deep down. Malaysia could be better, yes, but it could have been much worse too.. Common sense.

  2. Anonymous4:58 PM

    Agreed that Malaysia is not that bad. While we can't compare to say, Western European societies, Malaysia is still a better country than Myanmar, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

    But then I don't really know how this country can improve. Many say the government has an Ace card - the ISA. But really their best tool is NEP. So long as Bumis want to hold on to NEP, they will support the government. And unlike former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir, current administration keeps telling them that they need NEP.

  3. Anonymous3:46 PM

    It is so funny that you mentioned it. I was in KL last week for one night only (to pick up a sparepart for machine). The trip was as pleasant as always. However, I did get ripped off by taxi driver! I couldn't believe it happened.

    A guy gave walked me to a counter, and actually gave me a taxi voucher of RM 160 to go to the hotel. Then later that night I found out from my friend that it only costs RM 80.

    I learned my lesson though. I always have someone picking me up so I never paid any attention.

    I was upset but it's my fault I guess.

  4. Thank you happysurfer for sharing your personal view on the current situation of your homeland.

    It is refreshing to hear a more positive side to help balance things out. Confusion was the first thing that I experienced after reading her and the commenters views, who almost all shared similarly unfortunate experiences. I had never heard anything remotely similar prior to this, either from the media or from my blog friends from Malaysia such as yourself. Though now, after having read all your comments, I am now understanding why things like this have not been mentioned.

    Again, it's good to hear from you that you feel groping should not be expected and is actually 'kwa jeung'. As you'd mentioned that you too have read all the comments, you may recall 'heartless-unagi's' (17th) comment, where he mentioned that a friend was nearly molested during the lodging of a report, and another friend who was nearly 'touched'. There were several other comments where the ladies mentioned about being 'flirted' with and/or followed. Everybody agreed that the majority (not all) of the police were corrupt. All this gave cause to my 'presumption', of which I'm sure you will find unsurprising now. :D

    I know I will be going to Malaysia in 2008 for a long holiday, regardless of the situation, before I decide on whether I settle down back in Australia, Canada or here in HK. I feel safer knowing Malaysians such as yourself where I can depend on for good advice, and hopefully arrange a get-together! - which comes to the question, how can I tell which taxis have rigged metres and which do not? Also, if I am stopped by the police and asked to pay 'angpow', what would you recommend I do?

    Thanks again for writing this all up for my (and others) benefit!

  5. LB, I'm glad you feel the same. Yes, it could have been much worse.

    Hi Anon, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Good or bad, nothing stays the same forever. If we want to see change, we must be the ones to effect the change. Are you old enough to vote yet? Thanks for visiting and for sharing what you shared.

  6. Andie, aww... so sorry to hear that. I've heard of this scam. He usually promises two-way transfers but doesn't show up for the outbound transfer, i.e., he doesn't pick up the traveller for the return journey.

    If you still have the taxi ticket stub with you, you may (on your next trip), go see him and make a claim. It's a long shot but at least let him know that he's got an unhappy customer.

    The thing to remember is not to respond to any offer but instead, just proceed to the taxi counter. Yes, the regular rate is RM80.00 only.

    Don't feel bad. Take it as an experience.

  7. Furkids, you are welcome and glad that what little info there is is helpful.

    Be rest-assured that Malaysia is a safe place to visit and the average Malaysian doesn't go through any of the harrowing experiences as the ones you have read.

    As to your query about meter-rigging, I have no knowhow as to tell when a meter is rigged but I do know that I wouldn't be paranoid about it. The percentage is negligible really. Also, people fail to realise that there's a 50% surcharge on the actual fare from midnight to 6am, I think.

    About angpow, there's no chance a man on the street would be asked for one. Most times, the angpow come about because the person has broken the law. It's either a formal summons or to be left off with a small angpow, a bribe if you will. This is actually a supply and demand situation - one is willing to give, the other willing to take so much so that the one willing to take now assumes the one asking. Anyway, this is not the norm, however. A law-breaker can sometimes be chided for offering.

    Sorry, I may be complicating you but I think you get the picture.

    Feel free to ask away if you need more info before you take that daring step of coming to Malaysia. lol