Country, race, and cultural trinkets

Ahhhh, the National Museum.

Two years ago, when I was doing SAM, Esther, Paige, Catherine and I decided on a whim to go to KL after class (actually, no wait, I think we skipped LAN class lol), and somehow ended up in the National Museum.

It felt a little weird, that it was exactly the same as when I used to visit it so often as a kid. Ten years, and it hadn’t changed a bit.

The same blue tiles, same two staircases, even the same exhibitions. That wayang kulit show, the different cultural wedding chamber displays, the preserved crocodile, that mini rumah melayu model. Same, same, same, same.

Actually, not exactly the same lah. The difference was that it was more run-down loh. I remember someone pointing out water marks on the ceiling.

SIGH, so sad. And then someone also mentioned that instead of charging us only RM2, they could charge us a little higher, and use the money to update-update a bit lah.

All I wanna say now is —

Esther! Paige! Catherine! You guys must visit the museum again!


I went there again yesterday, and it is a huge, huge, huge, HUGE improvement from two years ago!

Now it actually looks REALLY GOOD.

Back then, when you walked up the stairs, it feels like you’re in a normal government building. You know what I mean lah. Like you’re walking in a basement stairs like that. Now, it’s proper, prim and proud. Big improvement.

They even changed pretty much all the exhibits. Now they have an interesting system. You walk through 4 different galleries, and it’s like a walk through time. Natural history of our land. Ancient Malay empires. Colonial Malaya. Independent Malaysia.

Plus the galleries look damn nice. I think there’s a good dose of irony in the fact that the natural history gallery has dimly lit downlights, is completely black from ceiling to floor, very nicely air-conditioned, and has expensive-looking glass casings all over. In other words, it looks CRAZILY sci-fi, like it could be the inside of a spaceship. But natural history gallery wor!

Zaman Paleolitik, Neolitik dan Gangsa Besi artifacts, all displayed in casings and chambers from Zaman Futuristik. Or Zaman Spes-syip.

Now there aren’t anymore wayang kulits and wedding chambers and various songkets on display. (Or maybe they moved them to a new building that we didn’t see.)

I’m so going to miss those man! I used to visit the museum so often as a kid, that those mannequins (museum dolls?) in their traditional clothing, precariously perched on their chairs in their respective chambers, have, in my mind, become the things that represent Muzium Negara.

Oh, but it’s still RM2 per person, so no worries there XD

It does look damn good now, but frankly I am not too happy with the gallery on Malaysian Independence. It gives a somewhat biased account of Malaysian history. It doesn’t cover events like the May 13 race riots, and that leaves a gaping hole there, like something’s missing. And plus they paint such a rosy picture of the Now-Malaysia, with all that three-races-united stuff, it feels ridiculously cheesy.

We were studying race in sociology class, and during a discussion I described how institutionalized racism is in Malaysia. My friends were surprised. Like, actually surprised.

Some how, it feels as though these Americans are a step ahead of us when it comes to social ideas and theories. While we patriotic Malaysians believe in the idea that all races are equal, that there is no one superior race, my sociology mates are a step ahead. They believe that “race” is NOT biological. It is, in fact, merely social and geographical.

Long story short, people who live around the same geographical location would have similar physical characteristics (Darwin’s theory, bla bla bla), and racial categories like “Indian” and “Chinese” were created to label groups of people who look similar. It’s not like we are born with “Indian genes” or “Chinese DNA”. In many cases, what a person’s race is, is defined by the laws of the country the person is in. Which means, a person can actually change races from one country to another leh!

In other words, race is not real lah.

When we began our very first classes, it felt as though all my classmates already had that understanding. But I’d never heard of it before, it was COMPLETELY new to me, and it was such a shock. It opened my eyes so much, I couldn’t see the world the same anymore. I tell you, sociology is amazing, it gives you ideas and makes you understand the world in a way that it seriously changes the way you live your life. If nothing else, it makes you see the world as it really is, and makes you damn semangated in wanting to change it.

Oh anyway, as I was saying. I told them about how racism is institutionalized by the government, and because in class we had already established that race is not real (when I use the word “race” in my papers, I had to put it in quotation marks somemore), suddenly you feel so embarrassed, like your country is doing something very stupid. Bad analogy: It’s like your old man going out into sea everyday to try to catch a mermaid, and you feel silly telling people because everyone knows mermaids are not real.

And as my group mates discussed further about racism in government laws, racism that happens when people pretend there is no racism (of which Malaysia is also guilty, I realized then), I could feel one thing – that my group mates were glad they aren’t Malaysians, that even though they have many criticisms about the US government, they are glad that racism is not as bad there as it is in Chooi Yen’s country.

I then felt the need to say good things about my country to make up for that SIGH.

*Okay back to present*

After our museum visit, we went to Central Market so that I could buy “Malaysian stuff” for my host parents and my college friends.

And the thing is this – even though the Malaysian government will always recognize race, even though there will always be laws and citizen rights that differ for different races, the Malaysian people, for the most part, do not see race as an issue.

There were such a good mix of races in Central Market, all selling exciting culturally-influenced trinkets, that for a moment there, when you see something that is essentially Malay or Indian or Chinese in nature, you just go, “WAH, so Malaysian!”

And I love that. In college, in the beginning I was the ONLY person who ISN’T from South Asia who could understand the Indians very well when they speak in their Indian accents, and who knew what briyani and naan are. I was so proud okay! Then eventually people got used to their accents (or they got used to speaking in less-accented English?), and I wasn’t special anymore =(

Anyway, I got a damn nice wayang kulit puppet for my host parents, and some other trinkets for my friends. Now I feel so much more lega, ’cause I was always worrying about what to buy back to college, and time was running out, I have to go back to college in two weeks.

Fwuah. The topic of this post is all over the place!

Okay I shall go now bye bye!

Browser rant

After many, MANY hours staring at CSS codes in TextWrangler, saving my documents every 5 minutes after every small change I make to them, I think I am allowed to say this —

The whole world should use Fire-freaking-Fox!


At the very least, people who are using IE 6 should update to IE 7 lah!

People who are using IE 7 should just go ahead and download the best browser in the world, Firefox.

People who are using IE 5, IE 4 and all that crap, WEI YOU SERIOUS OR NOT??

Did you know that, other than for obvious reasons like better security, a newer browser version means showing web pages the proper way!

I dunno why every time you read about a CSS code and you think it’s useful for your page layout, you always find a paragraph that goes “This does not work on Internet Explorer, you need to carry out a hack blablabla…”

I find it a pain in the ass to switch from Firefox to Safari on my Mac, then again to Internet Explorer on the desktop. Just to see if a certain code works.

How I know that there are people still using very old versions of browsers leh?

Because my visitor stats thingie tell me so.

(There’s also a single Opera user, which I find sort of adorable. I don’t know anyone else who browses the net with Opera LOL. Eh shout-out a bit in my chatbox, can ah?)

Okay yea, go update your browser okay?

(I’m not kidding, there are a lot of things that IE 6 would read incorrectly. And web designers don’t have to go, “Now, what can I do to make IE 6 show this correctly?”)

Better yet, go download Firefox okay?

If nothing else, at least the gazillion add-ons take you a huge leap closer to internet-browsing heaven.



Lately I’ve been ridiculously tempted to pay for web hosting service. I hate being so tempted to spend money unnecessarily.

Yahoo! GeoCities have sent us an email saying that they are terminating their free hosting service.

… after October 26, your GeoCities files will be deleted from our servers, and will not be recoverable.

What do I do with my old website now?

My nine-year-old baby leh!

I am damn sad lah, I have pages created in 2001, now they’re just going to delete them. Wanna download them onto my computer means losing the “2001” date stamp, that one is what’s valuable wor! Shows that I made my first site when I was 12 wor!


I miss having a website. A real internet home, you know?

Not just a blog, but a site with an index page and internal links leading to many odd corners and various crannies within my site. Like an actual 3-dimensional world, as opposed to the very flat, 1-dimensional blog that I have now.

There are SO many possibilities to an online home, you don’t have to be limited to your daily rants typed into that tiny text area under Blogger’s “Edit Posts” tab.

I think I kind of want that again.

SIGH I miss the times when there was no Plurk or Twitter and tagboards were still very obscure, and the only way for visitors to leave comments were through the guestbook.

HAIH I used to always remind people to sign my guestbook.

I am super tempted to create my little home again.

But at the cost of at least RM150/year? PLUS the cost of my own domain name?

I dunno man.

RM150 per year can be used to buy a lot of stuff.

Paid hosting or not?


Coff coff

So in the papers today, there was a report on the first locally transmitted A(H1N1) death. And they quoted an official telling us that we “must” go to a hospital if we exhibit flu-like symptoms and if tested positive for A(H1N1), we hafta take some sort of medicine, I dunno lost interest by then.

Like damn big thing right, must go hospital if you have the flu.

Well, a couple of days ago I had the flu. High fever, severe, throbbing headache, horribly scratchy, ridiculously sore throat. Standing made my head throb like crazy, so basically I slept the entire day because that was the only state in which I wasn’t crazy uncomfortable.

I went to a clinic, ’cause I didn’t know so big deal must go to a hospital la.

My mom was with me, and when she asked if I needed to test for The Flu, the doc asked if I had been in direct contact with anyone who’d had the A(H1N1) flu, or been quarantined, or if I’d visited a severely infected country.

I said no. He said then no need test loh.

But I’ve been to very public places for the past 3 days wor, I said.

It’s okay, I’ll give you medicine for your fever and sore throat, don’t worry, he said.

And so I took my meds, went home, slept and slept some more.

Now I’m a lot better la, just a bit of sore throat left. I miss my sexy sultry voice when I had a full-blown sore throat maaaan.

This post actually has no point.

Ironed hair make life good, you say no?


I haven’t been blogging much, and now people have started visiting this garlicky site less and less.

Did you realize it has gotten so bad, that I only had one post in the month of June? One post!

This thing’s like a step-daughter – neglected;
like an attic – no one really goes there;
like the corners of a ceiling – all cob-webby and hardly cleaned;
like the seat belts in the backseat of a Malaysian car before the seat belt ruling was enforced – totally unused and forgotten about;
like the skin of a halved lime after having the lime juice squeezed into your laksa bowl – put aside and left there by its lonesome self.

My blogging mood/inspiration left me for a bit, I just need to wait for it to return.

But in its absence, I will leave you with a very uninspired, unoriginal, this-is-my-day-here-is-what-happened post!

* * * * *

Okay today my sister and I went to get our hair done.

The girl who was washing my hair saw my nose piercing and my sister’s tattoo, and went, “Wah, your mom must be very liberal! How come your high school let wan?”

Shot number 1! I am a rising college sophomore! How can I look like a high school kid when I graduated from high school THREE years ago!

So after that she began talking about silly high school rules, rules on things like earrings and socks and hairbands. And the compulsory attendance of school events like Sports Days.

Then she went, “You must be an athlete in high school hor. I see your legs so strong and ber-muscle. You run very fast right?”

WAH shot number 2!

I have thunder thighs and fat calves. I know they are not muscles because while they are big-sized, they are as flabby as the next person who eats and doesn’t bother to workout!

I shouldn’t have worn shorts. Even then, no need to comment on my big legs mahhhh. I mean, if you see a woman with a larger-than-average belly, do you just go and say, “Wah, so how many months already ah?” What if the woman just has an unusually bloated tummy?

Then she also kept commenting on what a thick head of hair I have, and made it sound like it’s a an unfortunate predicament to be in. Sigh, I went to have my hair fixed, and ended up having to pretend to laugh at the numerous, numerous unfunny jokes about my heavy hair.

I always get that when I go for haircuts. The “Wah so much hair ah!” ‘s and the “You really got a lot of hair hor?” ‘s. But frankly, I think having thick hair is much better than having thin hair loh. The obvious con of thick hair is having to put up with chatty hairdressers who tell you that you have thick hair. As if you don’t already know.

Anyway, I got my hair straightened again. And now it looks super flat.

I really hope it grows out of the flat stage before I go back to college loh. ‘Cause otherwise they’d realize it’s not natural, which is bad ’cause I have managed to dupe everyone there into thinking that I have naturally straight, silky thick hair. (And managed to get a few highly undeserved compliments along the way!) I have no intentions of letting everyone know they are as fake as the ridiculous “Indian thosai” that the college sometimes serve on international foods night.

I suspect this must be how celebrities feel when they refuse to admit to having had plastic surgery.

Alrighty. Next time you see me I will most likely look very odd with my flat hair. Just be nice and don’t comment on it, thank you.