Jan 30, 2009
Here’s the thing about Malaysia. I love it. Here’s the reason why. Malaysia is subtle enough to escape stereotype but unique enough to be unparalleled. The end result is that when I’m in Malaysia I feel like I’m seeing something new for the very first time. And that, my friend, is not always easy to achieve. Consider the following: many of us have never been to Greece, but most of us have a vision of beautiful white houses with blue roofs stacked on cliff sides overlooking the Mediterranean. Likewise, you may not have been to Peru but you’ve probably seen a picture of Machu Picchu. And I am absolutely certain that if I say “Australia” someone is going to think of either a koala or kangaroo. But if I say “Malaysia” what is the first thing that comes to mind? Probably not much. Because while other locales have come to be defined by a single image (eg. Caribbean islands = white sand beaches, Thailand = Pad Thai, New York = Times Square, Antarctica = ice) Malaysia has escaped pre-definition. Consequently my experiences here are fresh, without expectations and without prejudice. When I walk through the ferry terminal (as I did yesterday) there are no stereotypes limiting my observations. And that is a very good thing. Because the problem with stereotyping a destination (as is the problem with any stereotype) is that more often than not it prevents us from seeing beyond the surface, and the more I stay on Argo the more I realize that anything worth seeing is probably going to be at depth.