The Rohingyas On Land – Thankful Is The Man Locked Out Of His Own Country

It wasn’t a surprise to hear “Alhamdulillah” or “Praise God” when I spoke to many of the settled Rohingyas today. They do know about the plight of the boat people and feel for them. At the same time, they feel thankful they are in comparatively safe harbour.

On land, all is not as rosy as the smile, as I was to find out. Myanmar’s ethnic groupings are as complex as the nation’s history. Because of persecution, discrimination and inter-communal violence, many Rohingyas won’t admit readily they are one, even here.

When me the stranger asked; many prefer to identify themselves as a Muslim from Myanmar. That is a reasonable reply, considering there are many other Muslim groups in Myanmar, outside the Arakan State.

Picture is of Abdul Rahman, a Rohingya vegetable seller. Wearing the traditional Burmese longyi, he told me I won’t be able to tell ethnicity with certainty, just by looks alone .

According to him, the best way is to make them talk and then discern the dialect. So, that’s how this man was appointed as my personal Rohingya spotter for this part of the neighbourhood.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 1250, f4, 1/200 sec.

Vesak

Vesak or Wesak Day is celebrated today (3rd May) here in Malaysia and also in Sri Lanka, Laos, Cambodia and a few other countries.

Other Asian countries such as Thailand and Singapore celebrate on 1st June 2015. India, Nepal, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan and China observe the festival on a different day.

The variation is due to the different lunar, lunisolar and Gregorian calendars used.

Buddha Day, as it is also known, commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha.

Golden statues photographed at the Thai Chetawan Temple in Petaling Jaya.

Follow me on Instagram too, also at @tvsmithmy

Happy Vesak.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 1250, f4, 1/160 sec.

Good Wishes

Wonderful that today is an alignment of Asian festivals. Happy Tamil New Year, Happy Thai New Year or Songkran and Happy Vaisakhi (or Baisakhi), the important holy day for Sikhs.

Saw these statues of a family at a Hindu temple in Rawang, a town on Federal Route 1. Will see if I can also drop by at a Sikh temple that is on-route later.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 400, f7.1, 1/400 sec.

Evolution Of Malaysian Words

Some (previously) widely used Malaysian words that have gone hipster, ‘atas’ or politically correct.

Parang – Machete
Brinjal – Eggplant or Aubergine
Massage Parlour – Spa
Sungai Buloh – Kota Damansara
Segambut Dalam – Mont Kiara
Buka Puasa – Iftar
SMS You – Text You
Pew Jiot – Peugeot [pøʒo]
Tissue – Serviette
Car Jockey – Valet
Van – MPV
Ladies’ Fingers – Okra
Psycho – Bipolar
Homo – Gay
Handphone – Cell Phone
Chow – Ciao
Barang – Weed
Brader, Rilex Lah – Chill, Dude
Shopping Complex – Mall
Play Backside – Sodomy
Hawker/Lorry – Food Truck
Public Toilet – Washroom/Rest Room
Servant/Maid – Domestic Helper
Make rat sounds and shout Bill – Waiter, check please (but only in atas places)
Pariah Dog – Mongrel
‘Outstation Dog’ – German Shepherd (Alsatian)
Rumah Tumpangan – Budget Hotel
Kong Hee Fatt Choy – Gong Xi Fa Cai
Tudung – Hijab**
Batang Berjuntai (the town, not the male body part) – Bestari Jaya
Mak Andam – Make-Up Artist**

**Contributed in comments section of original post in my FB

Beware Of Geeks Bearing Gifts

After reading the article about post-wedding financial ruin, I am thinking non-Chinese couples may want to study the Chinese “system”. The system is simple, well-refined and brutally honest. Don’t invite people who give RM20 ang pows or bring a crowd-sourced rice cooker.

What’s the point of spending RM50k on a wedding banquet and you end with 50 recycled (re-wrapped) gifts. Of course, bankrupt lah.

Everything must be recouped and the P&L bottom line is the most important at the end of the wedding night. Not sex. Well, a loss can ruin the sex. Many couples just open up the red packets after the guests leave, count the cash and settle the restaurant bill with it there and then.

It is very practical as it reduces the risk of robbery on the way home. Some restaurants now provide a strong room to count the cash as robbers have struck at the source before.

To understand the psyche, one must understand why the Chinese refer to a wedding invitation as a “summons’. You pay what you eat. Plus pay a little extra so the couple can make a profit, after deducting the F&B bills.

There is an unwritten code of ethics; where you mentally work out the ang pow value base on the dinner venue. If you estimate the restaurant is charging RM 800 nett per table, you give RM 100 (minimum). There is a formula published in a 2000-year-old Chinese almanac somewhere, I think.

What the couple fear most is a bunch of raging alcoholic friends showing up and emptying the brandy bottles. The other type of guests they hate are those that pay for one pax but bring along a family with 5 kids.

If you go with a giant gift box thinking you look hipster or smart geeky, you are wrong. Every one else regard you as a cheapskate idiot. Nobody cares if you are long-time friend who has special knowledge of the couple’s aspired brand of air fryer. We all know you found the cheapest deal on Groupon.

Think you can get away with under-paying? Think again. There is always a reception table and someone from the groom’s side manning an accounts book. A relative from the bride’s side will be appointed auditor. I think the vote-counting system of many democratic countries copied this practice. Non-monetary gifts are hated because they screw up the system.

Every red packet will be opened on the spot, and the name and amount jotted down. It is important you write your name on the packet or it is considered a spoiled gift. I asked one couple why? They said it is to know how much to pay should they get invited by the guest in future.

For Chinese couples, a wedding reception is serious business and every guest knows that. Remember to add 10% to cover the 6% GST next year on.