Friday, November 25, 2005

Malaysians Don't Know What They Are Missing Until It Has Been Taken Away From Them...

"Hello...Where are you from?"

"I'm from the Sultanate of Oman."


"I'm from Oman..."

"Ohhh...I know where is that. Muscat is your capital right?"

"Allah is great! Finally someone knows where my country is!"

That was the conversation I had with my new found friend from Oman. Her name is Mohza and she worked for 3 years in Oman before coming to Nottingham under a government scholarship. Excuse my ignorance for I would think that the Omani government would be biased against women when it comes to education. However, to my very surprise, Mohza told me that 28 candidates were selected for the scholarship and only one of them is a male!

Anyway...we had quite an interesting conversation on the bus back from class. She said she wants to visit Malaysia as her friends spend their honeymoon there. Things are cheap, the people are friendly, our culture is almost identical and the food is safe for them to eat. She made me laugh so hard when she said this...

"When I find my man, I'm going to Malaysia!"

Mohza does know quite a bit of our country. She said she read that we are a multiracial, multicultural and multi-religious society. Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Hindus live in harmony in the same neighbourhood without any quarrels or arguments. And I agreed with her. She added that it will be really nice if her country is as diversified as ours. She said that we are so lucky to be able to experience different cultures without even stepping out of our country to witness it.

For Christmas, Mohza will be visiting a Christian family in Cardiff. She said she wants to experience what Christians do during Christmas and how they observe this religous occasion in church. Again, pardon my ignorance but the Muslim friends from Malaysia that I know will frown upon such practices. But Mohza who hails from the Middle East (where the religion came about) is so open minded about it!

She came all the way from Oman to England to experience a different culture from hers. She came to see the world and absorb the good and bad of it.

What about us Malaysians? We have a melting pot of cultures sitting nicely at our backyard, yet we choose to close our doors to it...Why?