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  • Aashya Khanduja

From My Point of View: Li’s Malaysia

It is time for yet another installment of From My Point of View. To coincide with Malaysia reopening the borders after two years Aashya interviewed our resident Malaysian Li. Join us as Ashya recounts Li’s answers in her own words. Make sure to check out his restaurant recommendations and start planning that trip to Kuala Lumpur already!

Selamat Pagi (Good Morning, pronounced salaamat paagi) from Li! Today, he talks about his country, Malaysia.

He says that the country has diversity in people and geographically. It’s a country with lots of greenery and forests, but what matters most to Li is the sense of belonging. He introduces us to the culture through food, saying that you can access foods from different cultures just across the street. On a side note, he finds it extremely practical that the restaurants are most often in a line, and he can taste multiple dishes at once.

While he has not been able to visit many places in Malaysia, he says he would certainly like to visit Penang(pronounced as pineng) one day. It is famous for its street foods, hawker stalls, and very cheap thrift shopping. I sense a feeling of slight jealousy that his friends have been able to visit it :P. He has visited Sabah and Sarawak and would like to revisit them, as he feels that the people there are open-minded and respect each other beliefs and cultures. Back at home, he lives in Kuala Lumpur, so he has, of course, explored that as well!

Malaysia’s traditional culture is a mix of multiple south-east Asian cultures. Being majorly Muslim dominated, people celebrate “Hari Raya” (also called Eid-ul-Fitr) at a massive scale. Everyone, irrespective of the ethnic group they belong to, Malay, Chinese-Malay and Indian-Malay, joins in. The smaller ethnic groups organise and celebrate their cultural festivals at a large scale as well. Li too celebrates both Hari Raya and Chinese New Year.

Li feels these cultural activities are a gentle but great reminder of where we come from and how far we have reached in accepting diversity. As all ethnic groups celebrate festivals collectively, people come together, forgetting past conflicts. While our generation (GenZ) would often pursue university outside Malaysia, provided affordability, Li feels they have their roots in their culture. They travel abroad and understand different thought processes. They take the best of various cultures while continuing to support and nurture their own. In Li’s belief, these people will transfer the traditional aspects from generation to generation.

About travelling! Malaysia, as a tourist, isn’t that easy. The most common way for people who can afford it would be to drive. Otherwise, you will have to take buses and trains which aren’t as efficient. This troubles Li and he would like to boost the efficiency and connectivity of the system. On the bright side, most people understand some level of English, so there’s a low possibility of entirely getting lost, provided you know English. Another challenge could be to navigate using English with people from the older generation who don’t understand it. In that case, Li recommends trying out more commonplace words and synonyms to get your point or question across. He highly recommends eating nasi lemak(pronounced as naasi lamaak), which includes fried chicken, at Village Park. He also recommends a whole range of restaurants to go to, which you can find as a list at the end, cos sooooo many!! We all highly appreciate Li for taking the effort to give us these names :)

Li has a love-hate relationship with the weather in Malaysia. He says it’s always in extremes! It’s either so hot that you’re sweating like a pig or raining so much that trees can grow from a seed in that time. I think we all understand why he hates the summer, but why he loves the monsoons, it is so that he can sleep in to his heart’s desire.

Most of you won’t face this when travelling to Malaysia, but for Li, a story that he remembers goes back to when he travelled to his parents’ hometown. His relatives held a massive gathering, and Li, who hadn’t visited in years, was approached by random strangers(who were relatives). He was told all kinds of stuff, like how he had grown up so much. Well, dear uncles and aunts, sadly, we can’t stop the growth process!

Internet connectivity not being a problem in the hotspots; you can access any online streaming platform. Although, if there is a lack of internet availability, you could look at ASTRO, a television channel. It shows random series playing at random times in Malay, Chinese and English.

Food recommendations:

1. Soong Kee Beef Noodles in Kaula Lumpur (the best Li has ever tried in Kaula Lumpur)

2. Padang Kota and Kayu (Mamak stalls that has unique Indian-Muslim cuisine)

3. Ramlee Burger (Roadside burger better than some in restaurants)

4. Uncle Soon Fried Rice (classic fried rice)

5. Chilli Pan Mee at SS15 (SS15 is a commercial district in Subang Jaya)

6. O and S Hawker Center at Paramount

7. Ben’s by BIG (they provide top-tier pasta)

8. Anuar FIsh Head Curry at Bangsar

9. Restoran Yu Kee Bak Kut Teh at SS15, Subang Jaya (pork rib dish in a broth infused with herbs)

10. Tenmaya Japanese Cuisine at Bangsar South

11. Foong Hing Dim Sum at Puchong

12. Foong Foong Yong Tau Foo at Ampang

13. Fei Fan Hotpot

14. Inside Scoop (Desert place)

15. Tapestry (Aesthetic cafe/restaurant to get your Instagrams up and going)

16. Garage 51 at Sunway

17. Common Man Coffee Roasters

18. Garlic Roasted Chicken Rice at Sunway

19. Rotiboy (just try the bread)

20. BBQ Ma Eul at Damansara Utama (Korean BBQ)

21. Sushi Zamai

22. Tokyo Kitchen Lot10

23. Cendol at SS15 (SS15 is a commercial district in Subang Jaya)

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