Thursday, March 31, 2005

Malaysia and I

I just got back from my short trip to KLCC. Haven't been there for ages. Not since August 2004.

During the whole journey from/to my home town to/from KLCC, I started jotting down what I really thought about Malaysia through the eyes of a Malaysian in exile. These were what I wrote on my PDA in no particular order:

Note: Some of it are not really through my eyes but informations gathered from friends, relatives, 'newspapers' and my family.

1. Malaysians loves to stare. I took a photograph of a man at the coach station and he kept on starring at me. I had to slip away before he tore my digital camera into pieces.

2. The Karak Highway resurfacing program has been going on since July 2004. Wow! All these thanks to Datuk Sami.

3. Same issue with the highway around the Duta area.

4. Malaysians can't queue. Sorry. Malaysians won't queue.

5. The ladies here are really skinny. I mean really really skinny. They eat loads but they are still skinny. And they are not all sexy.

6. Malay ladies are hot! I never realised it but the ever changing society is bringing in liberal values to our Malay friends. Hurray!

7. The ladies here are very very fashionable.

8. Knowing our government I thought that they would attempt to ban 'FCUK' from French Connection billboards. But they did not. Which is a good thing.

9. The aunty-aunties here love high fashion. Spot the fake Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry, Dior, Prada handbags etc among them.

10. They also (still) love to gossip. LOUDLY! Really really gets on my nerve.

11. The transport system in KL is not integrated. I blogged on this once many months ago on why KL needed to implement an integrated transport system like London's Underground or Paris's Metro. Sadly, the only thing integrated about the light railway system in KL is you have an option to purchase monthly tickets that allow full use on KL's separate tube lines.

12. The carriages on STAR lines are fitted with metal seats. Which are so smooth you could slide from one end to the other.

13. STAR and PUTRA, the two lines I took today was s-l-o-w.

14. Most expats tend to stick together. I have to mention that my observation was only limited to two meals at the KLCC food court.

15. Total lack of disability access in many public areas. A disgrace for a modern city and one this government should really take an issue in drafting a proper building regulation and making it a law for fairness to our crippled friends.

16. The proliferation of American style cafes. This has been going on for many years but I am still not so pleased about it. But KLites are lucky. You should see the number of Starbucks in London. Soon they be serving Starbucks 'beverages' in strip clubs.

17. KLites do not let people off the trains first. They just rush in like hamsters.

18. Shops here open at 9am, especially the ones selling books (for kids going to school) and mobile phones, and close at 7pm. Big shopping centers closes at 9.30pm.

19. Speaking of mobile phones, there are about one gazillion mobile phone stands/shops/mini-shops/cafe-like shops in KL. I am a gadget freak but even I couldn't stand the sights of them.

20. Prices of apartments around KLCC are probably equalvalent to prices of apartments in Canary Wharf, London.

21. People do not chat to strangers on public transport. This is actually a normal 'etiquette' in many countries transport system.

22. The area where my parents reside had power cuts FIVE times during my less than two weeks here. I was told that there had been no blackouts for a couple of month until I came by.

23. The issue of sexuality is still taboo in this country at least among the media.

24. Drugs are still illegal.

25. Businessmens and businesswomens constantly wear their full uniform (suit, ties etc) even on lunch breaks and in the sun.

26. I think roti boy is damn overrated.

27. Not many iPod show-offs seen today.

28. Beers are still (mostly) sold in coke cans. What light weights!

29. My former favourite fast food, A&W, is still operating.

30. Dance music CDs are confined in a separate room in Towers Record as though it were a deadly disease.

31. Malaysia politics is laughable. No wonder people here do not care.

PS: Observations are merely my own and are not indicative of the rest of the Malaysian population.


Kervin said...

1. Yeah its true but I think you go anywhere with a digicam and start shooting away you'll get the same treatment, here in Malaysia they're probably saying, "wah orang gila sedang ambil gamber dalam tempat membeli belah, tiada kerja pulak"

2. Maintenance is always being carried out to the bother of motorists.

4. Another unfailing trait in Malaysian, don't harap this will change.

5. Must be all those fashion ads and slim center promotions.

6. Try the east coast, we still all ulu one, man they just passed the dress code for women in Kelantan.

7. Another attribute to commercialism and our globalism.

8. They still tried to ban sepet

9. Check out whether its the real deal or Petaling Street original.

10. Biasa lah hehe, they're sharing their story with everyone in earshot whether we like it or not.

11. Another thing that you should not hold your breath for, unlike transport systems in Singapore, England or whereever, the transport system in Kl is a mess, multiple ticketing system, lousy integration, late schedules and no conectivity.

12. :D agree with you there.

13. Better than waiting for the non existant busses that are perpetually late or a no show at times.

14. Dunno

15. Not much political will there yet, though at some place they're quite ok.

16. I'd like to think we have a healthy mix of locals as well, still like the street mamak stalls hehe.

17. Survival of the fittest, getting on a train is like an American football game anyday.

18. ? Is that not the norm elsewhere, sorry not a world traveller :D

19. mobile phone shops, computer stalls, all too common here.

20. No denying that, real estate nightmare here seems only expats can afford.

21. We are all a little private lot, it would be considered rude to chat up a stranger in the LRT, you might even be perceived to be some kind of freak that is thinking of no good.

22. haha some kind of jixk? XD

23. yeah we have people questioning the use of the word vagina as being crude and tasteless when vagina monologues were being shone, don't get started that the people in the play potrayed lesbians.

24. As it should be, can't imagine maruana being sold in the open like some European countried.

25. Easier than changing clothes I surmise though I figure t shirts and shorts are more cosher attire in our swealtering weather.

26. Second that.

27. Check the PC fairs, apple usually have a booth.

28. Coffeeshops and nightclubs do sell them in bottles.

29. Hanging by a thread I'd say, smaller portions and higher price does not justify my craving for a coney dog and a large mug of frosted rootbeer.

30. Hehe didn't know that.

31. It's politics.

Jon said...

Thanks for the detailed reply! Wow!

8. I did not know Sepet was almost banned. But now you mentioned it I am not surprised at all.

11. And that is the sad thing. KL had the chance to start from scratch. With no legacy inner city train system to deal with, you would have thought they make the best out of it but they did not.

18. Well shops in Britain mostly start their business days at 10am and close at 5.30pm (Thursday at 8pm). Sundays are the worst 12pm-5pm.


24. Cannabis cafes exists around Amsterdam. (pls note I am not condoning the sale of drugs at least not in Malaysia)

25. Wouldn't it be simple, just to leave the jacket in the office when it's time for lunch?

Kenny Sia said...

Welcome to Malaysia, again. Going through exactly the same mentality right now, comparing Perth with Kuching. Heh!

Anonymous said...

yeah yeah..skinny like me :(

thin in a not perfect shape. no curve.

are you a designer?

implosion said...

Totally agree with #5 & #6.
Your observations are spot on.

Jon said...

Kenny, yalor...everytime I return on break always have to go through this whole stage...

Anonymous, get some curve babe!

BTW, not designer but pretend one at that! The only designing I do is on IKEA's website!

Implosion, ;) must visit Sydney one day

Anonymous said...

you dress like a 'designer'

Jon said...

Serious?! Well thanks. It is good to know that my clothings are still alright, I won't have to spend so much money getting new ones.


ps: I wish I was a designer.

sabre23t said...

Hi Jon, I just like to comment on your LRT points ...

"11. The transport system in KL is not integrated."
You missed the fact that Touch'n Go (TnG) stored value cards can be used on both Putra and Star LRT. I understand RapidKL internal staff did the necessary System Integration (SI) to get TnG working on Star LRT gates. I believe RapidKL is specifically setup as one operator of most KL LRT and bus systems to ensure the transport integration happens. ;-)

"12. The carriages on STAR lines are fitted with metal seats."
Yes, but those metal seats on Star LRT are very much easier to clean and maintain than those plastic inserts seats on Putra LRT. I'd guess original designers of Star, erred on site of lower maintenance cost.

"13. STAR and PUTRA, the two lines I took today was s-l-o-w."
Was there any incidents/stoppages? If not it's just the nature of both LRT system with stops every 1km or so, even an operating top speed of 80km/hr results in average speed of 30-40km/hr. Only way to get higher average speed for long distance LRT travel is to include "express" service in the LRT, but that would require higher complexity and local loops at stations or express tracks.

regards, sabre23t =^.^=

Jon said...

Sabre, thanks for the long reply. Obviously my stay in Malaysia was so short my experience on the LRT system might be a little short.

On the subject of integration, while I appluad RapidKL for issuing tickets that could be used on both networks, this should not be an option. Touch N' Go cards sound similar to what we use in London (Oyster) which is a RIFD based card. From my understanding though, the TNG cards are only available in weekly/monthly/yearly options.

Are there any single tickets that enables usage of both lines (ie. the line I took Pekeliling to KLCC requires me to disembark at Masjid Jamek and purchase another single ticket)?

I have to agree metal seats are easier to clean (and so are plastics one to some extent) but on long journeys I would prefer cushioned seats. Even buses have cushions, why can't the trains?

The slowness wasn't an issue. It was just an observation. It may be I am spoilt by London's Underground, Paris's Metro and Singapore's MRT speed, I just wish it was a tad bit faster. :)

On the other hand, I should add that I found it pleasing that both Putra and Star lines has airconditioning. My summer in London is one sweaty one especially when travelling on the fan-less tube! ;)


sabre23t said...

"tickets that could be used on both networks, this should not be an option"
Unfortunately, just like London Transport tubes, the two lines (Putra and Star) were designed, built and originally operated by two separate companies. Some things like tickets, are possibly purposely different. :-/

"the TNG cards are only available in weekly/monthly/yearly options"
No, you're thinking of season passes. TnG cards are not season pass, they're stored value tickets. You pay a deposit of about RM10 ringgit, then you can top up values in increment of about RM20 or RM50. The ticket value of your particular journey will be deducted from that stored in the TnG when you exit the LRT.

"Are there any single tickets that enables usage of both lines (ie. the line I took Pekeliling to KLCC requires me to disembark at Masjid Jamek and purchase another single ticket)?"
That'll be TnG ticket. Though you'll have to disembark at Masjid Jamek (MJD) because there is no common paid area between the Putra and Star portion of MJD. When (as planned) there's a common paid area, you can actually touch once at a Star station and next just touch out at a Putra station. The TnG ticket integration between Star and Putra for that had been done, so I understand. ;-)

regards, sabre23t =^.^=

Jon said...

Did not know that. Evidently I have not been in KL long enough. Cheers for clearing it up.

Anonymous said...

hi there,

you in west london? me in north london. just drop in to tell u this inane thing. muahahaha. cheers.

Schweeney said...

Stumbled upon your blog quite accidentally and I must say you have got very good observation skills! I have met Malaysians who don't even realize half the things you did in your short stay here. Must have had lotsa carrots as a kid eh? :P