Adventures in East Asia

Visiting Singapore and Malaysia

I was curious to experience Singapore and Malaysia - as with most countries so far - but with these two in particular because their multi-ethnic populations consist of distinct but cohabiting cultures such as those of the Malay, Chinese and Indian.


I expected to see each culture holding its own, but collectively, to add their histories, influences, cultural vibes and most visibly, their cuisines to the Singapore and Malaysia melting pot of daily life.


We experienced some facets of culture that were distinctly India. We visited a Malay village and of course, recognised Chinese culture anywhere it appeared, which seemed to be almost everywhere in both countries. Sometimes we experienced all three at the same time in the form of a meal, or we'd see independent landmarks of their faiths all happily beside each other on the same street.


Besides the cultures, we spent three weeks split between the two neighbouring countries, crossing over the border five times and went through different kinds of experiences. We covered the usual urban excursions to see the markets and museums, galleries and shopping malls. But we also did our time in a rainforest neck-deep in a culture rich with a head hunter's heritage.


We relaxed on a perfectly-timed getaway to a South China Sea resort and snorkeled with the locals.


We explored cities and ports, both old and new and simply enjoyed the tropical climate all round and the resulting landscapes of lush vegetation, even in the cities.


The best thing of all? We were in countries that not just spoke English, making our lives easier, but the multi-ethnic people did so as a common ground between themselves and with such an entertaining lilt.


Our experiences in Singapore and Malaysia (during three weeks in September 2009) are documented in the forthcoming posts - over eighty of them!

This entry posted in : Culture. Malaysia. Singapore.

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