Wednesday January 25th, 12:36pm MYT, 3:36pm AEDST
Yesterday was a productive day! The main reason we’re here is to design and build a website for the Shepherd’s Centre Foundation, and it’s going fairly excellently. Jas mocked up a potential design on Tuesday night, which I set about creating; we’ve got the structure and design of the site down now, but we’ve no content except what we pulled off the current website which is about three years old. We’re meeting with Pastor Moses today to talk about what he’d like, so hopefully we’ll be almost done by tomorrow.
Yesterday morning we were informed that Pastor Jacop and Pastor Bridget were going to take us out for a Malaysian breakfast, and to be ready in half an hour. We were, and we waited. For a while. Around three hours. Turns out that we weren’t being picked up as we’d originally thought, and so each party was waiting for the other; around lunch time we were brought some food from the kitchen, which we hastily ate and went to make our apologies. The beauty of multi-language communities… Instead we spent the morning getting the design of the website up to scratch (and eating sugary things), so it wasn’t all bad.
Despite our suspicions that the thunder and the blue-black clouds filling the sky didn’t herald dry weather, that afternoon we did a bit of exploring around Semenyih. Unsurprisingly we cut it short to avoid drowning in the tropical storm. We wandered down the main road (a mildly adrenaline-filled adventure — the nonchalance of the other residents strolling through the cars was a bemusing sight, but I think my favourite part is the distaste for lane markers) and looked through a few of the shops. Unfortunately due to Chinese New Year almost everything is closed, except for a few food stalls and the occasional convenience store. We came across a giant warehouse full of second-hand clothes; I’d post a photo of Holly in lurid pink high heels but I promised I wouldn’t. We also found bottles of grape Fanta for RM 2 (about 60c), which isn’t officially sold in Australia anymore. Score.
We did a loop and walked back through ‘suburbia’. We saw many Chinese families celebrating the Year of the Dragon, and everyone asked us where we were from; Austrahlya! It’s really cool being the ones with the interesting accent. The warmth and friendliness of the surrounding neighbourhoods is so different to home, for the most part. We were advised against talking to anyone who looked like a local drug addict, although we kind of had that down already. As we arrived home we came across a guy on a motorbike selling ice blocks! Of course we couldn’t not buy them in the humidity.
After we got back we chilled out for an hour or so (at least the ludicrous humidity means that everywhere is well air-conditioned) before being picked up by Bridget and Jacop. We drove into town and found a Malaysian restaurant (one of the few open during the New Year) — if I’m going to miss anything about Malaysia, it’s the food. I don’t even. Pastor Jacop told us that given the choice, they’d go out for Western food; I guess that’s basically what we do in Australia — why go out for something you can eat at home? Malays are apparently big fans of the whole breakfast-for-dinner thing, so Holly and I are right at home.
It makes a difference having ‘locals’ show you around; Bridget and Jacop talked to us about everything, local traditions, politics (Bridget said that their government works so hard to do what’s best because the opposition ‘keeps them on their toes’ — we couldn’t help but marvel at how differently Australia treats the government), their childhoods, the orphanage, their visits to Australia… It was fascinating. The segregation of Indians, Chinese and Malays is so defined, very different to home; any support you might get from the government is dependent upon your race.
I think we’re going to explore Kuala Lumpur tomorrow, possibly with Jacop & Bridget’s daughter Jaime. At the end of the week we’ll probably spend a day or two in KL, and then catch a train up to Penang, Phuket, and then maybe head up the coast… We’re not sure yet. It’s bound to be a little bit interesting.
Jas is also blogging! http://jasmineparer.wordpress.com/