Tag Archives: religion

(Gay) Trouble in (Malaysia) Town

12 May
The many flavours of Malaysia

The many flavours of Malaysia

Malaysia prides itself in being a great multi-cultural society in which different communities live peacefully together – and when walking around in KL the mix of different languages, religions and cultures seems to be harmonious. But when talking to different people, not everybody is as tolerant as the government might want to see it.

A Malay friend took me to a curry house, and when I asked if it would be Thai style curry (green, red, in claypot) or Indian style (the spicy stew you scoop on your rice), he was almost offended and said it was Malay curry (so that was my first faux pas). So there are some ethnic sensitivities in Malaysia (sounds like Belgium – hehe). The Chinese don’t like the Malays with their mosques and conservative attitude. And a Malay friend of mine said that the Chinese have poor hygiene and smell. So there seem to be quite some stereotypes around – and at the same time it gave me a chance to explore my own prejudice. Continue reading

Happy Wesak 2052 – Buddha’s birth

9 May
Burning my little lotus candle for Buddha

Burning my little lotus candle for Buddha

Yep – Happy New Year again! (for the 4th time this year, I know) This time the New Year took my by surprise. I was walking around town and on the spur of the moment, I thought to do something cultural, instead of only lying at the beach, reading, blogging and gazing at the beautiful sunset every night.

So I went to visit the lying Buddha in the Thai temple, and the Burmese Buddhist temple (in the same street). There were many many people around, and I only realized what was going on when I saw a little paper on the wall explaining that today is Wesak – Buddhist religious new year 2052. It was 2052 years ago that Buddha was born. So I decided to join in and get my blessing from the monks and light a flower candle for Buddha. Continue reading

Punny Philippines

26 Dec

1707 Pilipino Islands

1707 Pilipino Islands

There’s no F sound in Tagalog, the main Pilipino language (they pronounce F like a P) so that will be pun ;-) And the nickname for the people there are ‘PinoY’ (like the big bird in Sesame street – at least in the Dutch version of it – or is Sesame Street globalised?) – apparently with Y at the end (someone pointed out to me – lol)

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The guidebook says that “the Philippines have Asian roots, but have spent 300 years in church (Spanish domination) and 50 years in Hollywood (American influence)”.

A Pino friend of mine told me that indeed, you can still notice this mix of influences. The Pilipino core is definitely (South-East) Asian (e.g. rice, harmony, face, hierarchy, family, tan,…) but did get a Spanish coating (e.g. Catholicism, machismo, fiesta, mañana,…) and a little touch of American influence (e.g. freedom of speech, expressing themselves, English, shopping,…).

It’s intriguing to find behind Continue reading

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