30 August 2007

Happy Independence Day Malaysia

Zhu tagged me a couple of days ago with a "home made" meme. I have to write a post about my best experience in this country/province/city. For a lazy blogger like me, I feel like I was given a homework assignment by a French teacher. For the past few days, I had a bad cough and headache that I didn't spend any time to think about what I should write for this meme, and now I'm sitting in front of the computer, wondering what to write.

I gazed out of the window....hmmm...best experience in this place. It was raining outside, and the temperature was quite cold. Malaysia is a country situated just above the equator. It has two seasons - dry and rainy. The climate is warm and humid throughout the year. It is difficult to generalize the country's climate, as rainfall differs on the east and west coasts (of Peninsular Malaysia) according to the prevailing monsoon winds. August is the wettest period on the west coast, where I live, and the rainy seasons on the east is between November and February.

No, this is Geography.

I continued to look out of the window. The rain reminds me of the flood. This country is not directly affected by serious disasters like earthquake, hurricanes, tornadoes and volcanic eruptions, but flood is the most significant natural hazard here and had caused casualties and extensive damages to properties and crops in the past. The place I'm living in now is not much affected, except for some occasional flash floods, but we used to have serious floods back in my hometown. Fortunately, my parent's house is located in quite a high area away from the usual flood zone. When I was a small kid, I used to enjoy the flood season (bad boy). Schools would be closed and made as relief centres to accommodate the flood victims. I used to walk around with friends to view the flood situation from high points. I also used to play in the flood water, quite scary when I think about it now.

Another annual disaster is the haze, which is caused by the annual dry-season forest fire in Sumatra Island. Usually, only certain parts of the country is badly affected. Sometimes, the haze used to be so bad that visibility would be reduced so much and driving becomes very dangerous. During this period, almost everyone would be wearing a mask (respirator) for outdoor activities. So, everyone would feel very unpleasant during such period except the mask suppliers.
A satellite image of a past haze situation can be viewed at Intute.

No, those are not pleasant experiences...
Still sitting beside the window, searching for better experiences.

Far across the road, I could see a construction site which has been polluting my apartment unit everyday with dust. They are building houses. This is a city which is the capital of the most developed state in Malaysia, but I live quite far away from the city center, a new area which is still going through developments, sacrificing the greenness and increasing the pollution. The most common type of affordable housing are terrace houses and apartments. The cost of living in this country is said to be the lowest in Asia, but I'm not sure, I'm not satisfied with the current living cost.

To enjoy nice fresh air, I have to travel out of this place. Like in other countries, there are so many nice places to go for a vacation - theme parks, jungle trails, highlands, but my favourites are always the beaches and the islands on the east coast. More information can be found at All Malaysia and Geographia.

Its getting better now...
I continued to look out of the window, letting my mind wandering, to find more things to write for this meme, I must finish it tonight.

There's a lot of vehicles travelling on the road a few metres away from my apartment building. Yesterday, there was an MPV lying on its side in the middle of the road. A lot of people here are "champions" on the road. A nice, polite person could easily turn into a nasty, reckless driver when he's behind the wheel. You have to have a lot of patience to drive in this place.

Traffic jams are common in almost all the cities and towns, and half of the people would overtake queues and do all sort of traffic offences to get to their destinations fast. I really hate driving in this place. People don't die in wars, but a lot of them die in road accidents. Recently, 20 people died in a bus crash. According to a report, there were 6287 deaths due to road accidents in the year 2006. A lot of people ride motorbikes to avoid the traffic jams. I used to ride one but I quit after I broke my collar bone in an accident 2 years ago.

Malaysia has a multi-racial population that practises various religions. The population consists of Malays (about 60%), Chinese, Indians, Sikhs and other ethnic groups and indigenous races. There are also people from other countries like Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and many more who are earning their living here. Islam is the official religion but there is a vast freedom of worship. All these differing religions live alongside each other in harmony and peace. Malay Language is the national language but everyone is free to use their mother tongue and other languages. The country is also rich with cultural heritage due to its multi-racial society.I think that the ability of this country to maintain an inter-ethnic peace, with tolerance and compromise among the different races, is a great achievement.

Tomorrow is the country's 50th Annivesary Independence Day celebration. Every year, the government would start a fly-the-national-flag campaign in the month of August. In the past, there were overwhelming responses from the citizens, almost every car on the road would carry a miniature flag, and many houses and almost all business premises flew the national flag, but I didn't see a good response in this year's campaign.

The present government has been ruling the country since independence in 1957. It is the longest serving freely elected Government in the world. It is a Government that represent all the races in this country. I always hear complains from people about the flaws in the Government, but it seems like some people are only good at talking, and are too scared to vote for the oppositions during the elections. I think that they are scared to face changes, or may be they think that the oppositions are still weak to run a country.

The country also has something called The Malaysia Book of Records, which compiles the achievements of the people and the country. It is a good way to acknowledge and recognise the success of the people, although some of the things recorded in the book are not really something to be called as great achievements.

I must admit that this is a great country, but the place I'm living in now is quite unpleasant. I wish someday, I could move out from here to a greener place with cleaner environment, fresh air and blue skies.

However, Praise to God for giving me a place that I can live and shelter in peace, no wars.

I think I've completed the post, and can now cough happily, but I wonder if it satisfies Zhu's meme !?!

Anyway, Happy Independence Day, Malaysia !


  1. 20/20 !

    "Zunnur might be a dreamer but he completes his assignment on time and writes beautifully.
    Although he may think that he has nothing interesting to say, he manage to put up a post very originally and made me discover his country."

    Please, have your parents sign this note by next Monday ;)

  2. We are very good at creating records for the longest, thickest, shortest, and what-nots, aren't we?

  3. Zhu,

    "Dear Teacher, thanks for giving me full marks, but my parent refused to sign it since she thought that I bribed you to get such a result. However, I got my son to sign it instead, hope its okay with you." :-)

    Thank you very much, Zhu.

  4. Pelf,
    I personally think that the MBR is a good thing because it compiles and recognizes the achievements of our country and the citizens, but, like you said, some people get over excited and come up with silly ideas - longest, thickest, shortest of this and that, and they call it record breaking, which to me is a waste of time and money, but unfortunately, some of them are recorded in the MBR.

  5. I learned a lot about your country in this post, so you did a real good thing. I hope you get over your cold soon. I like your blog a lot, tomorrow I am going to award you with a "I Luv Your blog award"!

  6. Happy Indepedence Day Malaysia! This is a very informative post about your country. :)

  7. Wow! To my shame, I must admit I didn't know much about Malaysia but after reading your post now I do know a lot I would say about your country. I found it peculiar that the weather is somehow similar to that of my country: rainy and dry season.

    Hope you are feeling better now and that you will enjoy the Independence Day party tomorrow!


  8. Happy Indepedence Day "Neighbour"!

    Zunnur, I must say your country is sooo much better than my own. Yours has accomplished so much whereas mine is ....

    Sorry about the fire in Sumatra - and the SMOKE. I do hope the Indonesian govt has learned something from their past mistake. Though I dont reside in Indonesia but somehow I feel embarrassed by tht incident :(

    Btw, I hope you're already feeling better from the cold.

    Have a pleasant weekend my friend!

  9. I loved reading about your country, Zunnur. You are so creative and informative. I hope you keep writing and posting. I can’t wait to learn more.

    Those flood photos are so sad. It pains me to think of all the people that lose their homes in natural disasters.

    I have never heard of the “Haze.” It sounds dreadful.

    I hope you are feeling better now. I’m sorry you’ve been sick.

  10. I really enjoyed reading your article Zunner! I knew nothing in way of facts and such with regard to Malaysia, but now I do thanks to your taking the time to share. Those photos are a stark example of nature's wrath.

    I've placed a link on my blog to an information page on Malaysia, but I will be following the links that you've provide here...


  11. Bob Johnson,
    Thank you very much for giving me the award, I appreciate it very much!

    Thank you very much for your encouraging words!

    There are too many things that each one of doesn't know, Wen. Even general knowledge is too wide to be covered with the limited time that we have. I only knew that Malta is a European country when I was doing my EASA (Europeon Aviation Safety Agency) course a couple of months ago. Too many places in the world, and we're learning from each other while blogging, great!

  12. Annita,
    You don't have to feel that way, I'm sure that the Indonesian Government is working on a solution to curb the problem in the future, and I'm sure that its difficult to manage a country which consists of many islands and having such a large population.
    Take away that frown and give me a smile :-)

    The haze was dreadful, we had to keep our doors and windows closed at all time. There would be a very strong smoke smell outside, and a lot of people would fell sick.
    Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, you've inspired me so much lately.

    I'm very glad that the links have been useful to you, and thank you very much for your visit. Its a pleasure to see you here.

  13. The British Isles had the wettest summer since 1776. Raining everyday..probably got something to do with global warming..

    Yes, this is geography ;)

    *Merdeka!* Rindu nak sambut Merdeka, Ramadhan dan Syawal kat Malaysia.

  14. Tawel,
    "Raining everyday" - sounds to me more like a rainy season than summer :-)
    Thank you very much for paying me a visit and "geographically" sharing the information :-)
    "Dan kat sini pun pastinya ramai yang rindu menunggu kepulangan Tawel Sensei.."

  15. My fellow countryman Zunnur,

    Nice entry you put here but let us not forget that Malaysia did not gain its independence 50 years ago. The Federation of Malaya was independent from Britain on August 31, 1957 BUT Malaysia - comprising Malaya, Sarawak, Sabah & Singapore - was formed on September 16, 1963. It is always good to remember these historical facts.


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