Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Made In Malaysia

Fifteen students, accompanied by five lecturers from Nagaoka National College of Technology, the place where I am currently studying came down to Malaysia for an international school trip for one week beginning on the weekend. A few of us and me volunteered to take them around during their time here considering that it would be tough for them to communicate with the locals as the majority of them do not speak good English. I did not volunteered just because there are some kawaii young Japanese girls who are in this trip, but because it is some sort of a gesture of appreciation to the lecturers and school who have been very nice to us by taking us to places in Japan.
Besides, I have heard enough stories of ignorant Japanese who know where is Singapore, but not Malaysia on the world map. Although I have never experienced having Japanese asking me questions like "whether we have mechanical pencil here", or for some worse cases, "whether we still live on the tree", I am very well aware that most Japanese have no idea what kind of country Malaysia is. Blame it on the Malaysian Board of Tourism. I personally think that they should portray more of the developed side of our country, and not just pictures and descriptions on orang asli standing on a tree or catching fish in the river in the postcards. Hence, this trip is the best opportunity for us to showcase the outsiders what we are made of, and what a wonderful country we have here.
First stop was the National Monument.
Tugu Negara.
We were at KL Sentral when I tried to get four taxis for them. One young taxi driver gave me a huge surprise when he told that he had no idea where the National Monument is situated. Not even when I said Tugu Negara. I was not asking him to get us to my grandfather's house, but a famous tourist site in the city and he could tell me that. He might as well just sit at home or go fly a kite.
The first of the many group photos taken at every place we went.
The last and only time I was here was more than ten years ago. If my memory serves me correctly, it was during a school trip when I was in Standard Five but I can hardly recall about those times already. The monument looked much bigger than what I thought when I saw it there. Most of the people there were tourist, some came by themselves, some came by tour in groups.
I never know that Japanese can really camwhore too. The guy sitting down is actually a Civil Engineering lecturer in my college. Damn sporting.
I saw a group of little Indian girls wearing some traditional attire there with some shooting sets just in front of the monument. We approached them and I had a short chat with one of the lady. Apparently, they were doing a shot of a song for a TV show to be aired on Deepavali next month.
"Wahh, you're selling our country to them. Good lah," was one of her line which I could still recall..
Yes, this is just a small contribution from me to our country, showing the beauty and diverse culture to the Japanese. Although it was just a short line, somehow it made me feel proud and also my contribution is a worthwhile one.
They were later brought to the Islamic Museum of Arts, situated just next to the National Mosque after walking through the Perdana Lake, crossing by quite a number of parks like KL Bird Park, Hibiscus Park, Orchid Park and Mousedeer Park, as well as memorials like Tun Abdul Razak Memorial. My two other friends and me did not enter the museum, instead we just waited for them outside. They took almost two hours touring the museum plus the souvenir shop, and that forced us to made some changes to our plan.
Masjid Negara.
It was already past noon by the time we arrived at the National Mosque and it would only be open to non-Muslim visitors at three. We only settled with taking pictures from the compound and later headed to have our lunch at Restoran Insaf along Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman. One of my friend suggested that place, because apparently the restaurant is famous for its nasi briyani.
The verdict?
The taste was just okay, to be honest.
Nasi briyani is hot and spicy, according to them. If like that, how to take them eat nasi lemak lah? I would have to prepared one whole box of tissue. Nevertheless, I think they enjoyed the meal very much and since there were sixteen of us there, the restaurant mamak was kind enough to serve us with three plates of Indian mango for free of charge. I heart this uncle very much.
This does not mean that I am doing a free advertisement for this restaurant.
I finally got a shot on this famous building.
Merdeka Square and Sultan Abdul Samad Building was the next destination as both of them are just within walking distance from the place we had our lunch. We did not spend much time there, simply because the sun was shinning brightly and I could tell that they have almost worn-out already. It was just a week ago that the Merdeka parade was held there, and the stages and flags could still be seen.
Just like other tourist spots in Kuala Lumpur, the people there were mostly foreigners.
My two other Malaysian friends who accompanied the group. No prize for guessing which are both of them.
Another group picture at Dataran Square Merdeka.
One of the last stop of the day was Central Market and since my friend and me were already quite tired, we let them to wander around the place and later gather at a certain place after some time. They stopped to have a break at the food court upstairs and that was the time they saw for the first time what ais kacang is. The colourful toppings impressed them and it was good, according to them.
It is still the Ramadhan month now and we decided to take them to experience the Bazar Ramadhan near Masjid Jamek area. The food were tempting, not to the Japanese but me. It was the first time for them to see such a variety of food on offer and the atmosphere was indeed something new to them, which they would never get to see in Japan.
We returned to Central Market to have our dinner at Secret Recipe. That was the time the suffered the most, for those who wanted to challenge them self. They have been longing to try the Thai Tom Yam Kung and although I have warned them that it is really spicy, they still insisted of having a taste on it. It was funny to see how they reacted when they took a first spoon of the gravy.
First table.
Second table.

"もう食べないですね". (I will not eat this anymore.)
They said that while having their eyes opened so big and round, until it looked like they were going to dropped out. Some guys however, wanted to control their macho-ness that they said it was not that spicy and they could still take it. In the end, they gave up and cried like cats and dogs. Some of them even had their face turned red when they had finished with their bowl of noodles. Tissue and plain water were the two most sought-after thing at that moment for them. That must be one of the most torturing moment in their life.
Nah, show you the prove!
Trying to close his face out of shyness.
Anyway, I did not order anything there because I preferred to have local food from the mamak stall. Roti tisu with teh tarik.
Simply heaven :)


K3ViN said...

sooo poor.. look at them sooo suffer2 eat tat curry mee......

Endoru said...

Mechanical pencils, I had a good laugh. Tell them Pilot produces most of their products in our Bolehland lar. *hehe*

Anyway, taxi drivers so cham ar ? Tugu Negara also don't know. Hmm, maybe they know lorong-lorong of Chow Kit kut. *sigh*

Good thing to see your effort in promoting but sometimes I find it effortless for people who does not how to appreciate differences in other countries because they love their Samurai-land and miso soup so much.

About Singapore, sigh, cannot deny that they are a small island filled with smart people who knows how to promote their country lor. Malaysia always show the forests and caves, as you said.

Anonymous said...

wow, how many days do those from ninja-island will be there? maybe u can show them some places where their grandfathers beheaded ours, or those places where they suicided :P (if it is kuantan, i know where la)

anyway nice effort in promoting. next stop should be batu caves, show them that there is a cave in the middle of the city :D

calvin said...

@ k3vin:
let them know what is called hot and spicy food xD

calvin said...

@ endoru:
if i tell them that, they could have a second stage heart attack =P

to be honest, i was really surprised to have him telling me that he doesn't know where tugu negara is. i even asked him a few times, but he still had no idea where that place is. as for lorong chow kit, it is almost certain that they know those places >.<

so far after three days, i think they have enjoyed the trip. perhaps there are a few things which are new to them and that gave them a huge cultural shock ;)

i used to have a friend who told me that although singapore is such a small country with minimal resources, they have the brains to make full use of what they have. still, most of their tourist spots are not natural, i.e. man-made locations. sentosa island being an example.

if more efforts and commitment are put together by the authorities, malaysia would be a real paradise :)

calvin said...

@ bao cong:
haha, it seems that you have a special name to call the japanese. i do not think that will be the best idea to take them to such spots. we know the facts, which i think i do not have to mention them here ;)

batu caves is a little bit far from kuala lumpur and it would be inconvenient to take them there. you will see more after this ;)

mg said...

u mean dataran merdeka/merdeka square, not dataran square. lol

calvin said...

@ michelleg:
oppsss, technical error. it must had happened because i was sleepy when i was blogging then xD

Endoru said...

On cultural shock, never actually understood it. Other country, different culture is a sure thing what. Japanese usually make it into such a big fuss always. *hehe*

K3ViN said...

wah like tat really suffer lor...... by the way the roti tisu really look tasty nia... make me wanna have it tmr when i came back from nilai to home :P

calvin said...

@ endoru:
perhaps they just do not know how to adapt themselves in a new environment, unlike us ;)

calvin said...

@ k3vin:
they asked for it, they got it =)

Kae Vin said...

Too bad I couldn't join the tour with u guys. If not I'll swallow the whole bowl of tomyam mee and chew the chili padi like nobody's business and freak them to hell. lol. U should do that. hahahah

By the way, Tugu Negara is nearby to Tasik Perdana. I think the cab driver they don't usually do tourist's business in KL central. Hmmm...if i m jobless perhaps i can go be a cab driver already lol.

calvin said...

@ specialhuman:
yea, it would be so much fun if you could join us together. swallowing the whole bowl of tomyam is still okay, but chewing the cili padi might prove to be something too much for me. i cannot take too spicy food =P

as a taxi drivers, i thought they are supposed to know most of the places around the city. otherwise, like i have suggested, they might as well just sit at home and go fly kite =\

p/s: you are too handsome to be a taxi driver lol xD