It’s funny how you learn more about yourself only by being away from your family or your culture. You learn more about your home country by being away from it, as was the case for me. Well it still is, being more than 10,000 km away from my home, the beautiful land called Malaysia.
Two and a half years have passed, since I first set foot on this cheese-obsessed and clog-clad country. As cliché as it may sound, I didn’t know how else to perceive this country other than in comparison to my own. I didn’t know how else to perceive the Dutch people without first taking an introspective look into my own people and my culture. It’s underrated just how fascinating and very different, yet similar we all are!
But this article is not about the how different my culture is compared with the Dutch. In fact, this article takes a step further. It is about the things I enjoy about being here, and things which I am still shocked at, based on my own culture and country. After all, I have been away, haven’t I?
Before I begin, here are some perspectives/expectations of what I am comparing the Dutch with (my introduction). I was born and raised a Malaysian. Even though we are bilingual (Malay and English), our culture is very much infused with the multi-ethnic cultural background of the country. Out culture is formed of Malay, Chinese, Indian (think of interesting mix of languages and diversity in food) and of course British colonial influence, which only recently ended half a century ago. I grew up in the big city, the capital, Kuala Lumpur. So naturally I would incline to describe myself to be more “western” than Asian. But then again, there is some Asian-ness in me which is hard to shed …even with time.
So here it goes…