Home > Travel > Malaysia
Saturday September 21, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday September 21, 2013 MYT 8:56:21 AM
by kala rasiah
Rush to travel: Visitors thronged PWTC for the MATTA Fair in March. — Filepic
A reader shares a lighthearted piece about Malaysians’ attitude, mindset and habits when travelling abroad.
MALAYSIANS love to travel. Yes, we do seem to love being on the move, be it our weekly, monthly or annual balik kampung trip. Malaysians seem to have travelled to the furthest corners of the earth, even on the seasickness-inducing Antarctic cruise!
We have embraced budget airline Air Asia’s mantra – “Everyone can travel” – with enthusiasm. One has only to visit the LCCT, day or night, to observe the unbelievable sea of passengers flowing through the terminal.
We love our food – and it is Malaysian food we want when we are overseas. There must be a meal with rice at least once a day, even better if served with cili (or cili padi). Many people pack cili padi or bottles of chilli paste when they travel, and will bring it out at the dining table and everyone else will happily help themselves to some.
By day two of a full-buffet breakfast, you will start hearing comments such as: “Hai-yah, I miss nasi lemak.” We miss our Milo and coffee (kopi kau kau), especially our three-in-ones and teh tarik, so we never forget to pack some of that as well.
Towards the end of a trip, what you will hear as we prepare to board the plane is the particular food we’ll be eating once we touchdown in Kuala Lumpur.
Are we savvy shoppers or the world’s greatest shoppers? While the guide earnestly describes the history or importance of a place, Malaysian tourists will be itching to hit the shops that line the street. Before you can say abracadabra, some would have slinked away to browse at souvenirs or haggle with vendors, trying to push a hard bargain. At every possible moment, someone is likely to ask: “What can you buy there, ah (sic)?” or “When can go shopping? (sic)”.
We’ll shop till we drop, for everything ranging from the cheap fridge magnets to expensive carpets and LV handbags. Seasoned travellers are a formidable lot. They come armed with lists of what one should buy, where exactly and how much it will cost. We are experts on what to buy for the folks back home.
Most Malaysians are not terribly adventurous. Most want every detail planned for them, so there is no need to fear any “surprises” in a new place. A Malaysian tour guide usually accompanies the group to smooth out any potential problems. One guide I know even brought bottles of sambal to help ease homesickness by serving it on the last few days of a tour!
We are also shy, so afraid to “lose face”, so we seldom volunteer to participate in any entertainment provided, be it dancing or a quiz or even assisting the main performer.
We love photography .... or do we really? The most important point of travelling, for most Malaysians, is being photographed in front of an icon. Some have been “here, there and everywhere” like the Scarlet Pimpernel but can never remember the name of the icon they posed in front of.
The digital camera is our fondest accessory. So cheap, and we can take thousands of photos with it, all the photos of us in various poses, worldwide. We point the camera at everything, sometimes even at places we should not – and get shouted at! Back home, our seven to eight albums are handy in entertaining our visitors, whether they wish to see them or not.
Malaysians’ favourite destinations are China, Indonesia, Thailand and India. Most Malaysians have visited these destinations more than once. Why do we go there so often? Is it the interesting culture, riveting history or a burning desire to get to know another country well? Perhaps the answer lies in three factors: cost (cheap airfare, good exchange rate), food (almost like Malaysia but cheaper and sometimes better) and last but not least – shopping, shopping and more shopping!
We anxiously wait for MATTA fairs, and we log on in the wee hours of the morning to grab Air Asia offers. We want to travel. Yet, to us history is boring, architecture and scenery are merely a backdrop for photographs, food is bland, creamy and not pedas (spicy) enough.
So, why do Malaysians travel? I believe most Malaysians travel because we want a change of routine, to get away from work, home and the mundane life we live. For a while, we are taken out of our “cocoons” and we emerge to experience change – that itself is enough to make me want to take off ... now, anywhere!
Tags / Keywords:
Travel, reader, opinion, views, travel, Malaysians, overseas, behaviour
Copyright © 1995-2013 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)