Thursday, September 15, 2011

That Would Be Cool

The most polite travellers I've met during my travels have been the Americans.

While everybody else keeps showering praises on their homelands, Americans seem almost apologetic when saying "I come from The United States." As if they knew how the world sees them so it is each citizen's duty to apologize for the stupidity of their government whenever they go abroad.

Come to think of it, no, they never say "I come from The United States." They'll directly tell you which state/city they come from as if people know where it is (and people do know). Like these girls I met in Galway, Ireland, when asked where they came from, they answered "California" because they assumed people knew they were Americans. Just last week I met a cute elderly couple who got lost in Paris, and they said they came from "San Fran."

Ah, the beauty of being the American traveller. You don't even have to say you come from America. Heck you don't even need to say San Francisco. San Fran would suffice. Sometimes people will even ask "Where exactly in San Fran?", because American cities are just too well-known like that.

I'm not complaining about Malaysia, though. I don't want to be American, otherwise I'd be fat and miserable ("But you already are fat and miserable?" Yeah, shut up and go play in traffic.) I don't want my country to be so well-known that people the world over know more about my country's politics than I do. I remember talking to this Kansas girl about the American economy and she was like, "Really? They do that?". It was cute but also disturbing at the same time.

However, it would actually be great if my saying "I'm from Malaysia" wasn't met with confused reaction, prompting people to ask the following questions, "Where exactly is it?" "Is it part of Indonesia?" "Oh, that country wedged between Singapore and Thailand?" (How can Malaysia be wedged by Singapore and Thailand when Singapore is not even a tenth of its size, not to mention both countries are separated by sea? That's like saying an elephant is wedged between a tree and a gravel stone across the river.)

But the best question I've gotten in the past is, "You're Malaysian? I'm sorry if this sounds racist but... you don't look African at all?" I guess she confused Malaysia with Mali or Malawi. A couple of years ago a French friend of mine asked me "So, how poor is Malaysia?". I told him in an obviously sarcastic manner, "Very poor. The most recent technology we got was the curtain." He actually believed it. It is disturbing to know that your country is so obscure that people would believe it if you say you still live in the jungle with the chimps and the gorillas.

I dream of the day when Malaysia is known all over the world and I don't have to tell people that we, too, have TV and the Internet, and no, we don't live on trees. Would it be great if I could just skip the whole "okay here's the map of the world and Malaysia is right over here" thing and just tell people I come from Cheras? No, not even Kuala Lumpur, not even KL, but Cheras, and everyone would recognize it.

And if I'm lucky enough, people will ask me "Where in Cheras, exactly?"

That would be really cool.


WP said...

Thumbs up for this!

niezamkawaii said...

Two thumbs up ;)

I'm always read your blog.

Anonymous said...

i feel u man..back when i studied overseas, i always got the same questions asking where Malaysia is..sigh~~


maqmellow said...

my english lecturer in iut told us he was from LA when he introduced true kahuna!i've been following your blog since late 2007/2008 and this is the first time i commented.XD