Thursday, October 25, 2012

"Outward-looking" Holiday vs "Inward-looking" Holiday

Consistent with Muslim traditions, Malaysia is again at a three-day weekend, celebrating the second Eid of the year to mark the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael to God (as detailed in the holy books of both Christianity and Islam).  Much as the first Eid of the year celebrated not that long ago, the occasion, for the Muslims, marks a time to travel to home villages/towns, get together with family, and have nice meals over nice stories.  Many, as in our company, took extended vacations before and after the actual three-day break to have more substantial trips.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Is Confucianism Democratic?

That is the central question posed by the interviewer, picking off where the examination left off, as our conversation continued on the topic of Oriental ideologies in modern-day world affairs.  The interviewer's argument was not that Confucianism can be revised to be compatible with democratic values, but that it is fundamentally democratic from the day of its very inception...it is simply not conceived as so by anyone with excess "Western bias" because the idea of what is considered democratic under Confucian socio-economic system is completely different from the Western sense.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

When the Rain Brings Back Past Memories...

Finally, a day of endless sunshine sizzles the city after a week of endless monsoon rain turned its streets into rivers and ponds.  The countless puddles formed on the streets quickly evaporate into the air and the streets, so devoid of life during the rain quickly regains life, with families crowding into cars and outdoor shopping streets to enjoy a Sunday morning at its fullest tropical glory, thanks to the rain, feels freshly devoid of the smog that regularly blankets the city with just a few too many cars and jammed highways to facilitate (?) their use.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

What is the English Language to Malaysia?

There are simply too many times living here in KL that I feel that "I cannot believe I am actually in Malaysia" moment.  The familiarity of certain events and situations would make any Western expat feel that there simply is not anything foreign at all in that moment in time.  Today, as I was sitting in the 16th floor of modern office building, shielded by comfy sofas and high-powered from the hustle and bustle of regular Chinatown activities a stone's throw away, I just entered another one of those "Malaysia feels so Western" moments.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tiger Mom-Style Strict Parenting is Leading to End of "the Asian Family"

My Malaysian Chinese girlfriend frequently speak of how pushy her parents can be.  Not only run errands for the house, force her to go to university to study what they dictate, and compel her to help out with the family business on a more permanent basis.  She tells me that she just want to get away from her family and move far far away to become independent  just like what I am currently doing by living and working in Malaysia.  While such complaints are common among Asians growing up in the West with its strong individualistic values, it is rather interesting to observe similar mentality in collectivist Asia.