Wednesday, November 21, 2007

How to Change Your Life

Egypt gave me an ulcer, cured it; taught me the secrets of patience; which i forgot on my return trip and scarred me for life. But its the kind of scar that you look down at from time to time and cherish every stitch that got you there.

That's a quote I gathered for 3.0 that I never used. I happened upon it tonight and re-realized how well it sums up what Egypt was for me.

The thing with a place as hard to adapt to as Egypt is that every minute is worth it. Every second of pain and personal anguish, from hating how often people just wanted to say something in English to me to always being assumed rich to seriously different cultural norms.. the shift in mentality, outlook on life, and realization of what I could persevere through was immense.

What I've realized here is that Malaysia isn't that different from back home, at least on a broad, macro human interaction level. Language isn't an issue as so many speak English. There are plenty of bars and clubs, although they are crazy expensive - sin tax. There is a fairly sizable Western (and international in general) crowd. Plus, the culture on the streets just isn't that different.

My experience here will pale in terms of cultural learning when compared to Egypt, but this was fairly well known up front. However, there are some interesting undercurrents that I will be exploring and commenting on further.

They are much more hidden than a lot of the Egyptian differences, which were always fairly obvious to even the casual observer.

I'll comment on them once I explore more and wrap my head around it. A preview of the topics include ghosts and spirituality, the results of mixing large populations of Chinese, Indians, and Malay, and one other I just forgot.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Burbs said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Burbs said...

I was just reading a few nights ago that Malaysia has what is essentially an "anti-affirmative action" policy when it comes to medical school. The medical field is so incredibly dominated by Chinese and Indian minorities that admissions allows lower test scores for ethnic Malays.

It'll be interesting to hear your view of other relations between the groups.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Danny said...

Always wondered: is Malaysia is SE Asia or Oceania?

2:49 PM  

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