Tags: Malaysia
November 27, 2014
by Melissa Lin

Parts of a Whole: Malaysia as an Islamic State

By: Melissa Lin


Malaysia is one of the few examples of an Islamic state fused with a modern capitalist system. To discuss the role that Islam plays in Malaysia, and the extent to which it permeates all aspects of life, from law and politics to culture, is a complex, sometimes sensitive but certainly interesting.


Parts of a whole, Islam in Malaysia and coexisting communities

In the Malaysian constitution, Islam is considered to be the religion of the federation. The Malay rulers, our ‘sultans’ in the system of monarchy are to be the heads of religion in the states of the country. But Malaysia is not only home to the Malay, but also to a large Chinese and Hindu community.

It is written in the law that to be born Malay in Malaysia is to be Muslim, and to convert to Islam from another religion also automatically qualifies one to become Malay. Here, ethnic and religious identity is intertwined.


November 22, 2014
by Melissa Lin

Introduction to Malaysia

By: Melissa Lin

One of the most well known and celebrated facts about Malaysia is it's multiculturalism. Chinese, Indian, Malay and indigenous cultures all contribute to Malaysia's rich and colorful heritage. Also geographically diverse, Malaysia has some of the oldest rainforests in the world. Pristine paradise Island beaches in Malaysia have also been touted as being some of the most beautiful diving sites in world. Exploring the heart of Malaysia means examining her history, and looking at the foreign influences that have played a role in shaping the country.


Lush, tropical and diverse Malaysia is composed of two regions. Peninsular Malaysia, in the West is separated with East Malaysia (Borneo) by the South China Sea. The most well known and celebrated fact about Malaysia is perhaps its multiculturalism. Cultures, religions and lifestyles co-exist in balance. Outside of Malaysia's primate city capital, life and realities take on a different shape and form. Visiting these other regions will put one in contact with the life, rich heritage and culture of Malaysia.

November 17, 2014
by Melissa Lin

Introduction to Kuala Lumpur

By: Melissa Lin


Kuala Lumpur is a city with a unique character. The architectural styles, food, flavors and people in KL reflect her many different facets and faces. As one of the strongest economies in the South East Asia region, KL is fiercely cosmopolitan. At the same time, KL integrates old cultures and traditions with the new. Introducing Kuala Lumpur explores the qualities that make KL a fascinating destination.


The key to truly understanding and experiencing the essence of Kuala Lumpur, affectionately known as KL, lie in its multiculturalism and history. Once a sleepy but thriving mining town, KL attracted traders and merchants who settled in the land and set up trade. Slowly, the town transitioned to a city.


From humble beginnings, Kuala Lumpur today has become a sprawling and bustling metropolis. Bustling with life and teeming with energy, KL is today considered one of South East Asia’s strongest economic forces. The jewel in modern KL’s crown, and symbol of Malaysia’s spirit of progress, are the Petronas Twin Towers, the highest in South East Asia.


November 12, 2014
by Melissa Lin

Introduction to Johor Bahru, Malaysia

By: Melissa Lin


Johor Bahru, capital of Johor in the South of West Malaysia, is the second most densly populated city after Kuala Lumpur. The gateway to Singapore, both cities are linked by a bridge slightly over 2 km in length. This bustling city has numerous shopping and entertainment centres. Although there is little in Johor Bahru to attract tourists, this regional transportation hub is an excellent stop for travelers making their way to Singapore, or to the natural attractions of Endau Rompin National Park, Tioman Island or Kukup.

 


The capital city of Johor province, Johor Bahru is a regional transportation and industrial hub. Besides being the gateway to neighboring Singapore, and a starting point from which to explore the rich natural attractions of Johor, there is little in Johor Bahru to attract the adventurous tourist.

July 5, 2014
by Syazana Nur

Ramadhan & Idul Fitri: A Personal Journey

By: Syazana Nur


Ramadhan is not only a community binding ritual, it is also a personal journey. In this article Syazana from Malaysia shares her childhood memories about this special month.


Ramadhan Memories

Since I was a child, the coming of Ramadhan marks the most exciting time of the year. Ramadhan brings a month of fasting for Muslims all around the world. I have always enjoyed Ramadhan because I feel that this is the time where I can cleanse my body and allow my body to take a rest from all the food that I’ve consumed throughout that year.


I can still remember that when I was a child, fasting was never a problem for me. The only trouble for me would have to be the sahur. Sahur is the time right before sunrise or dawn that we are allowed to eat so as to give us enough energy to get through the day of fasting. Since I was never an early riser, sahur has always been a struggle, but as I grow up, it’s not as much trouble as it was when I was small.

June 22, 2014
by Melissa Lin

Ramadan Recipes: Dry Beef Rendang

By: Melissa Lin


Beef Rendang is a dish that is usually served during Malay celebrations and weddings. It is also eaten traditionally during the holy fasting month of Ramadan. The beef is cooked in a spicy paste with coconut and served with steamed white rice or Briyani.


Some people believe this dish was introduced to Malaysia from the Sumatran matrilineal Minangkabau settlers in Malaysia. This recipie is the dry Beef Rendang variation and whilst the steps necessary to create this dish are somewhat more complex, the delicious end result is well worth it.

April 23, 2014
by Diana van Oort

Get rich quickly in Malaysia with a Toyol!

By: Diana van Oort


During lunch at work we share stories about our cultures. Ghost stories were the most recent topic. Many ghost stories revolve around the Japanese occupation of Malaysia during WWII and the many, many atrocities the Japanese committed. Some places are ‘off limits’ because the ghost of the victims are still wandering around and could cause harm.


Another Malay story revolves around the so called Toyol (or Tuyul), my colleague Abu enthusiastically explained. It’s a greenish looking toddler with big reddish eyes, a big, bald head, pointy ears and sharp teeth that is kept and raised by its owner to steal money and valuables. If jewellery and money suddenly go missing from your home, a Toyol can be at work.

April 20, 2014
by Diana van Oort

Village of a thousand homes, Kampung Cempaka near Kuala Lumpur

By: Diana van Oort


It’s not easy for my taxi driver to find Kampung Cempaka, even with my map and the directions of numerous people. Driving through spaghetti type highways and many newly build neighborhoods, there is no sign of any planning in the area. After we follow another taxi driver, we finally arrive.


Kampung Cempaka is a Chinese shanty town close to upscale Petaling Jaya in Kuala Lumpur. It’s surrounded by modern development. The original settlers were relocated here soon after the 13 May 1969 race riots. They lost loved ones and were given land to resettle. It was the new home for exactly 1000 families.  The early settlers were mostly from the Sai Vooi clan and formed an association. The roads are narrow and houses are built haphazardly. The town houses many little factories, where the business practices of some are cause for concern regarding safety and the environment. Kampung Cempaka still feels like a small town where people know each other. It has kept it roots and identity, amidst a city with impersonal, huge apartment buildings where most people don’t know their neighbors. It makes the city feel impersonal, distant and cool. Here there is a sense of community with just a single karaoke club and a well visited temple.

December 1, 2013
by Erna Dyanty

A Malaysian Christmas Spread: Green Apple Chutney

By: Erna Dyanty

Ready for some Christmas feeling? Latitudes gives you the best tips for your holidays cooking, Christmas presents and trips!

Every year in December, the streets will be covered with shades of red, green and white. Everything seems warmer even when you’re in the cold. Kids come up with a wish list, dad’s figuring out the wiring for the lights and mom is listing out her shopping list for the kitchen. Christmas is that time of the year where everyone comes together under the tree for presents and at the dining table for a major end of the year feast.


While some of you may sit at home, dreaming of a white Christmas and a huge Turkey, we Malaysians wait for a sunny holiday and a feast with a spread of local goodness. Christmas in Malaysia, like any other festive season is celebrated by everyone! Whether you’re a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or Atheist, we come together and just celebrate the year with thanks, a feast and of course the presents.

November 22, 2012
by Latitudes

Malaysian Activists Walk 300 KM to Demand Environmental Justice

A group of Malaysian activists has embarked on a 300 km walk from Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur to demand for an end to various environment grievances afflicting their communities. The walk, which began on 13th of November, will take them across 14 towns over 14 days and will culminate in a handling over of memorandum at Dataran Merdeka, or Independence Square, on the 26th of November.


The starting point of Kuantan is of particular significance because it is where the recent surge in environmental activism began. The community there is fighting the largest rare earth plant in the world owned by Lynas from commencing operation. They are joined by activists opposing the Murum and Baram dams in Sarawak, Raub activists opposing the use of cyanide in gold mining, Pengerang activists opposing the RAPID petrochemical complex as well as Teluk Rubiah activists opposing the Vale iron ore distribution hub.