‘Sorry’ he says, ‘Thank You’ he means: Some Japanese Manners I’ll Never Understand

Tell you something – I actually went to Japan ten years ago. And at that time I was very, very Malaysian. I am one obviously, but the point here is I’d never lived abroad.

And if you’re wondering why I’m emphasising my nationality, let me answer you by giving a brief intro on how we Malaysians carry ourselves in our daily lives. See for yourself, the boorish and selfish ways that Malaysians so fondly indulge in on an everyday basis.

If you’re from a more pleasant and polite part of the globe, reaffirm to yourself that the grass is not greener on the other side.

Malaysian style

Malaysia littering fine sign buang sampah denda

The sign says,”No littering, RM500 fine.”

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Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan night panorama

Bruneian Streets, Bruneian Life

23 – 25 Feb 2013

Exploring the streets of Bandar Seri Begawan and Jerudong in Brunei, to me, was a trip back to of a life long gone, a life I once had.

I grew up in a small and close-knit town in Malaysia, see. Those days were filled with simple joys like genuine friendship, relaxing over the weekend and doing what I wanted to without worrying what lay ahead. This life as I knew it is now just a memory as I’m currently residing in soulless Singapore.

You could say that my three days in Brunei brought me back to where I was more than ten years ago. And I loved it.
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Ambuyat is the Blandest Thing I’ve Ever Eaten

25 Feb 2013

You know, there are some foods which totally lack culinary merit but are widely popular because they come under the convenient-yet-attractive label of being a territory’s unique dish. Hakone’s eggs boiled in sulphuric vapours (which ta-dah!, taste like boiled eggs) and pig testicle sashimi (no kidding) are premium examples. Mediocrity is okay as long as it’s one of a kind, it seems.

And now, adding on to this list is Ambuyat, a Bruneian delicacy, which yes, is very authentic and unique – I don’t recall seeing it in neighbouring Malaysia or Indonesia. However, calling Ambuyat mediocre would be extremely flattering and I’m not being biased here because technically, Ambuyat is tasteless

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Bruneians: Nicer than Malaysians/Singaporeans?

Well that’s the impression I got from my three days in Brunei. Bruneians generally aren’t very chatty; they won’t make the first move to talk to you, but Malaysians/Singaporeans aren’t any different right (though the former is slightly warmer). And I did find that Bruneians are generally pleasant, well-mannered and helpful when approached. Malaysians/Singaporeans…let’s just say that we’re a lot more ‘diverse’ in the way we treat others.

And oh, if you think three days isn’t enough to judge a people, you should know that Brunei is a very small country and I’ve had a shit-filled trip in Kuala Lumpur for four days in a row.

And if you’re Malaysian, don’t get all defensive – I’m from the same country as you. We know how rude and obnoxious we can be and we openly proclaim it. Ironically we don’t like other countries proclaiming what we ourselves proclaim, but when they do, it only shows how right we are.

If you’re Singaporean, do as I said to the hypothetical Malaysian. You bash us, we bash you. In the end we still make up and get married.

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He’s a taxi driver who picks people up from the airport, and he was the first Bruneian whom I talked to on arrival. Taxis are cutthroat expensive there, so I wouldn’t have met him were it not for the public buses which never seemed to appear. It’s takdir, as they call fate in Malay.

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