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Malaysia Merdeka Day

Malaysia has grown from an undeveloped backwater to a vibrant modern country. I say this with no disrespect to our New Zealand hosts, but Malaysia has surpassed NZ in terms of economic, physical and infrastructural development. This development has come with environmental degradation but I think people are starting to realise that a pragmatic balance between human needs and environmental conservation must be struck if we want our country to continue to prosper. We still lack behind NZ in terms of social development and mindset, but we are getting there.

Malaysia is a unique country. 52 years ago, our founding fathers of all races were bonded together in a marriage of convenience in order to gain freedom from our colonial masters. I would go so far as to say that it was a shotgun wedding. Naturally, there had been, and will continue to be disagreements, arguments and pain. Think about it. When we were younger, I am sure that we have had fights with our siblings. I never failed to get into fistfights everyday with my younger brother. This was between our own flesh and blood, not even other people from different races and cultures. Yet, at the end of the day, we are brothers, sailors of the same ship.

Having said that, we must also remember the fragile nature of our country’s socio-political climate. Our continued economic development depends on a stable environment and this must be preserved with utmost effort. I do not subscribe to the principle of “absolute freedom of speech” that many Western countries like to claim they practice. From what I have seen, the West, like on many other issues are “cakap tak bikin serupa” when it comes to this. 

There are many irresponsible Malaysians who are stoking the fires of hatred, conveniently ignoring the Social Contract that our founding fathers agreed to. Sensitive issues like religion and race must be approached with caution and tact.  Malaysia is not Britain or America or Europe. We have our own historical, cultural and political mold and should not mindlessly ape whatever the West purportedly claim to be. I am also dismayed that some who are my fellow Muslims, have taken to insulting the Prophet Muhammad and Islam in general, just to advance their political views. One high-profile person of somewhat royal-lineage, whom I shall not name, has taken this route and thus, in my opinion, Muslims should view him with extreme suspicion.

We must always be mindful of what we say in public. It is one thing to have personal views on something; it is another to say it out loud. We must weigh the consequences of our actions before acting. There is a Malay proverb that goes: terlajak perahu boleh diundur, terlajak kata badan binasa. The last phrase refers to “badan”, meaning human body. I would extend this concept of body to the social body, the people of Malaysia too. I apologize for the political nature of this post. Yet, when dealing with Merdeka, I can not help but to be political.

Padi at Malaysia

Padi grains when ripe for harvesting is golden brownish in color. The padi farmers, would cut the stalks and bunched them up into bundles.

To remove the grains from its stalk, the padi farmers would "swipe" a bundle against a slated platform with a grain receiver below.

The grains collected are sent to a winnowing machine to remove the husk/chaff. The brownish rice is further processed to get the white, polished rice grain.

A Malay village is never completed without the scenery of a padi field. The field is also known as "bendang" or "sawah".

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Batu Feringgi

De hoofdstraat.....
Batu Ferringhi

Batu Ferringhi has a several large resort, like Rasa Sayang, Golden Sands, Park Royal, Bayview etc. It looks like a new village, but it's very old. It used to be a kampong with a little fishing village. If you want to see a part of this old village you have to turn right when you have passed the Park Royal. Here you'll find the backpackers guesthouses of Ah BengBaba's, and the best place, Ali's, which has a relaxing open-air cafe and garden, and better rooms than the other ones. The guesthouses are facing the sea.

The main road runs more or less straight along the coast for 3km, on which all the hotels, tourist shop, internet cafe's, motorcycle rental offices and restaurants (House of Kampong, Deep Sea or The Last Drop e.o.), are lined up side by side. In the centre you'll find the Telekom office, post office, police station and clinic.
You can get to Batu Ferringhi by taxi, car or bus. It takes a thirty-minute bus ride west of Georgetown on Transitlink #202 or Transitlink air-con #93.
There is a bus from the airport (Bayan Lepas) to Batu Ferringhi. The journey takes approx. 1 hour and 10 minutes. The fare is RM.4.00  The 102 bus departs from the outside of Departure Hall at Level 1. The bus leaves the airport hourly at 7am, 8am, 9am, 10am.......
A taxi ride will cost you RM60.- You'll have to buy a coupon for the taxi when leave the arrival hall after collecting your luggage.

The beach itself is quite good, thought not up there with Malaysia's best and the water is not of the tropically clear variety you might expect. The beach is kept clean, even on weekends when hordes of day-trippers visit.
Bathing areas are often cordoned off by floating buoys to protect swimmers from speeding jet-skis and water-skiers. Jellyfish, particularly at rainy times, can be a problem.
Batu Ferringhi can be crowded and much of the greenery has been replaced by concrete, but also the advantages (plenty of restaurants, watering holes and recreation facilities). It has quite a lively resort feel, and there is a good night markets on the main road selling trinkets.
The big hotels offer good deals at times and cheaper accommodation is available if you want a few days by the beach.
At the corner: Nando
Restaurants, shops and KFC...
Batu Ferringhi has a few small shops selling souvenirs and beach necessities, in addition to several money changers and pushy Indian tailors. Stalls selling a variety of goods set up along the road at night. If you're looking for cheap clothes, fabrics, souvenirs, electronic items, watches, DVDs, CDs and more? Then the Pasar Malam along the road is the place for you.
A wider selection of articles and some sophistication at several air-conditioned shopping complexes in George Town. A taxi ride to the centre (Komtar, Pranging Mall - shopping complexes in George Town) will cost you RM25.-. A ticket for the local bus will cost you RM2.-

Guesthouse  "Ali"  has an open air bar
The rate of the hotels in Batu Ferringhi are expensive. There are some hawker centres in Batu Ferringhi, like Global Bay. This is a noisy Hawker centre with a big screen tv. It has a roof, but it's very noisy.
The cheap hotels are in Tanjong Bungah: Tanjong Bungah (Flamingo on the Beach, Copthorne Orchid, Paradise Sandy Bay, Tanjong Bunga Beach). These hotels have great offers (RM 100.- per room), but for night life you'll have to go to Batu Ferringhi of George Town.

The Rasa Sayang Garden *****
The Bayview Beach Hotel is the last one in Batu Ferringhi. If you're going out at night, you'll have to walk a while (quarter of an hour) before you're in the centre of the village: the pasar malam. Perhaps that's the reason, why this hotel has great offers!
Close to the Bayview is the Hard Rock Hotel. A very nice hotel with a Hard Rock Café and a Hard Rock Shop.
Golden Sands
The Golden Sands*****
The Golden Sands is a family hotel. It has a social activity program and several swimming pools. They have a wonderful restaurant ""Sigi's at the sea", but if you don't like a hotel restaurant, there's a hawker centre opposite of the hotel (Global Bay). Beside the hotel is a narrow street, where you can lunch or let yourself a suit fit by a tailor.
The sister hotel Rasa Sayang is under renovation at the moment.