Thursday, January 29, 2004

Life in KL - a continuing experience 

I've been in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia almost three months now (since 16 November). Even though this is the third time I've been here, there are a lot of adjustments relative to anyplace else I've ever lived. My closest comparison is Singapore (which, after all, used to be part of Malaysia). Like Singapore, Malaysia is heavily commercialized and cosmopolitan (which some naively mistake for being "Westernized"). Malaysia is a very multiracial society. Unlike, say, the former United States, the differences are open and structural. It's not uncommion to see job announcements in the newspaper seeking, for instance, a Malay male between 20 and 30 years of age. This would "of course" be illegal in some places - which merely means that the filtering would be done after the applicant sent in his or her papers.

Even with all that, people (mostly) manage to get along. One reason for that is that, more than most other places I've been, racial groups (and income-level groups) tend to be very exclusive. I've yet to see, say, an Indian man with a Chinese wife/girlfriend. And this is in the capital - what is ordinarily the most "open" city in any country; out in the hinterlands, the differences are even more pronounced.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?