Gong Xi Fa Cai

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mini lanterns in front of a Chinese temple on Jonker Street, Malacca

One of the perks of living in a multicultural country such as Malaysia is the numerous public holidays that we get to enjoy throughout the year. We recently celebrated Maulidur Rasul, Thaipusam and now we can add Chinese New Year to the list. 

Gong Xi Fa Cai! ("Happy Chinese New Year" or "Have a prosperous New Year" in Mandarin) 

Cultural festivities usually mean an influx of tourists from around the country and world will visit major cities like Kuala Lumpur and Malacca. Over the weekend I had the pleasure of welcoming my friend Susan and her husband, Andrew who were transiting in Malaysia before heading back to New Zealand after a 2-month trip in Uganda.


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
My family and I took Susan and Andrew to Malacca. As a social anthropologist I knew Susan would appreciate the historical city. The trishaws were an amusing sight. At times it felt like I was in a show called "Pimp My Trishaw"! The river cruise at night was a nice ending to our first day in Malacca.


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
When you are in Malacca city centre you feel like you're in a different era, especially around Jonker Street and The Stadthuys (Red Square). The fusion of Chinese, Malay, Dutch and Portuguese influence makes Malacca a very charming place with much to observe and learn.

I forgot to mention that Susan was my classmate and good friend in Otago University. She was one of the smartest students in my class and not surprisingly, she was able to skip doing her Masters last year and dive straight into a PhD degree which she is working on right now. I wish I was in her shoes! Her topic is an interesting one. It's about the role of spirituality and a phenomenon called "compassion fatigue" among Christian youth workers in Kampala, Uganda and Christchurch, New Zealand. 


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
We also took them to St. Paul's Church (or what's remaining of it at least) and to a museum which is a replica of a traditional Malacca Sultanate (1456-1477) palace. I think they really enjoyed their time in Malacca because there's so much to see and do. Unfortunately, their schedule was a little tight so we couldn't do everything.

On Tuesday, Andrew and Susan went to the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) which is like a mini park with outdoor activities for nature lovers. It's not too far outside of Kuala Lumpur but the last time I went there I was probably 13 years old so we got lost on our way there! Thankfully two policemen guided us to FRIM and we bumped into Susan while Andrew hiked up the hill to the canopy walkway


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
My sister and I went to the canopy walkway too. It was definitely challenging for us to hike up that hill but totally an adventure! As my sister rested before continuing the climb I proceeded by myself even though I was so nervous about walking across that walkway (you can see it in my eyes!). The trick is to NOT look down but that's kind of impossible. After a while I got used to the height and enjoyed every moment up there. 


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Gorgeous view! SubhanaAllah.


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
To add to the fun it rained heavily for a couple of minutes as I walked through the forest towards the waterfall area where I chilled out while waiting for my sister. We both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and can't wait to do it again!


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
While capturing this moment with my camera I was reminded of the quote: Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. - Nathaniel Hawthorne

I cannot agree more. I have found peace and happiness in stillness and silence in a world that is too "noisy" for me sometimes. And happy perfectly describes how I feel after a Chinese New Year holiday with family, friends and fun adventures. After living abroad for many years there's so much for me to discover about Malaysia. 

2 comments:

Arezu In Wonderland said...

Wow the pictures are amazing.
Really beautiful culture and nature.

XO Arezu

LaiLa said...

MashaAllah that journey looks great, the pictures, and the places look really beautiful, wish I can go there someday!