Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Forlorn But Still Standing and Rambling (TAKE 2)

Below is the very first blog I wrote about KL. I composed it during my first two weeks here. As I was depressed, and horny, when I made this blog, my observations were quite speculative and skewed.

Now, after 1 year and 10 months, and after surviving through desolation and getting much hornier, it is about time for me to set the record straight.

To be fair to affected Malaysians (as if millions read it and cared), to correct my 3 readers' impression of KL, and to preempt in misleading the other 2 persons (my grandpa and grandma) who haven't read this blog, I am willingly putting corrective and explanatory notes.

On a serious note, something hit me while I was finishing this blog. I have been brainwashed all my life by the powerful Western culture that I lost my true identity as a Filipino. This has led me to mock and belittle my own heritage, as well as disrespect other cultures. I should be proud of my own culture. I should respect the other cultures.


Forlorn (and Randy) but Still Standing and Rambling (Part1: Does Religion Dilute Humor?) Actually, the correct title should have been: Does Drinking Water (in particular Evian) Instead of Beer/Alcohol Dilute One's Humor? I dont know why I associated alcohol drinking with humor. This is a silly question indeed. I was out of my lucid interval when I made the blog.

Nevertheless, after seeing all the Mat Rempits, the Lepak-ers, Rajah Lawak Astro and Cicak Man, the apparent answer to the original question is NO.

My friend, please, permit me to ramble--- because to me, one of the best ways to lessen my desolation is by rambling.

KL is a beautiful and interesting city only if you're a tourist. (Now, as a full-fledged expat, I can say that KL is a good city to live in. In fact, it's generally a lot better here as compared to Manila. Although Manila is more interesting and has a wilder nightlife, KL is safer, peaceful, cleaner, greener and more peaceful.) It's a sweeping statement of course, but since you've unconsciously given me the green light to babble by continuing to read this, then I guess all you can do is affirm.

As I said, working in KL is not like lying on a hammock in Boracay while sipping buko juice. (Yes, because KL (in parts) is a cosmopolitan city and Boracay is an island paradise. There's no comparison! I was really babbling senselessly! )


First of all, Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country. I have nothing against Muslims, (I even have a close Muslim friend - btw, this friend of mine is my classmate for 6 years. Now he is a CPA-Lawyer! Lucky bastard!) but they have a restrictive culture and religion, which to some extent supresses the party animal in you. (I qualify this because the restrictiveness of a culture or religion is relative. I was wrongfully using the liberated Western culture as the benchmark in determining how restrictive a culture can be. It was my colonial mentality at work.)

Merrymaking is regulated by Islam. On top of the no-no list is boozing. This means that if a Muslim would ever hang-out in a bar, he would be the one tugging a cup of hot tea. (most probably a bottle of mineral water or a glass of soda. But I have Malay friends who drink jugs and jugs of beer and alcohol!)

Nevertheless, as I go around bar hopping, the ones I always see are foreigners and the Chinese Malays. (Clarification: I haven't gone inside a KL bar yet. The farthest I've gone is only at the bars' outskirts because most of the bars I've seen in KL are open (I was referring to Beach CLub, Thai CLub and Uno Bar. You can see and hear the haggling from the sidewalks.) and you can see what's happening from the outside - I stayed at the Concorde in my first month here and most of the bars I saw are the ones along P. Ramlee. These bars are mostly frequented by caucasians, especially Beach Club).

I don't how whether "San Miguel" is the one mainly responsible for instilling Filipinos gallons of humor, but he and his relatives' absence may be the reason why Muslims lack the sense of humor we Filipinos possess. (I stand corrected. There's no correlation between humor and alcohol drinking, for if this is true, then the top beer consumers like the Czechs, Germans, and the Irish would be the most humorous people on earth. Come to think of it, it also depends on how you define humor.
But if we are going to define humor as the quality that makes something laughable or amusing, then I think Malay humor is more or less similar to Filipinos. Based on what I've observed, Filipinos and Malays share in general the same attitudes of being contented, complacent and happy-go-lucky. Their humor sprouts from these underlying attitudes. )
I guess the more plausible explanation is that Muslims thoroughly follow their strict religion. But don't get me wrong. I don't mean that the Muslims I work with here are all poker-faced, ill-humored and stiff. (The friendliest people in my office are the Malays. ) I'd also shared some laughters with them, but they're not exactly the same ones I've shared with my countrymen. Oh, how I miss my friends' green jokes! (What's generally lacking in Malay humor is the naughtiness. In a way, this affects the titillating factor of their humor. Censorship here is so strict and consistent that many Filipino show hosts, artists and song writers would be caned for indecency. There's nothing wrong with this. But sometimes unreasonable or excessive censorship backfires--it can scandalize a matter more or cause an adverse manifestation of sexual repression.
I have received green jokes though, but these don't circulate thru SMS or email as prevalent as in the Philippines.)

Laughter in the workplace relieves me from the stress which makes me prone to making the wrong decisions. But since the Muslims here are too religious and straight for me to invite in a night of revelry, now I'm left with the company of the Chinese and Indians.

Well, if I can't fit in with 50% of the Malaysians, (60%)I bet the best thing for me to do is to interact with the remaining 50%. (40%) Unfortunately, I think the latter is much more complicated! (Yes yes yo!)
One of the main reasons why I have more Chinese friends than Malay friends is because I love Ba Kut Teh!
Oh God please help me! :-D


Clare said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Clare said...

Yep,Filipinos are indeed humorous,especially my Filipino puppy :)

Faiez Idrus said...

Oeh! I Malay what :D Come come drink drink... hahahaha! Don't eat porky only lah!

Anyway on a serious note, as a Malaysian, we should indeed be more liberated while maintaining the culture. Being too traditional is a no no at this day of age. One do not have to loose the culture to be liberated, right? Only the dumb and dumber think so!

But you know why Malaysians are less humorous than Filipinos? Since when British are known to be REALLY funny? *eyes rolling*

See ya around sometime! You don't see me because I'm broke not because I'm busy with a new beau, hahaha!

cristob tosnas said...

bakuteh nice mah. try lah! hehehe just kidding.

hmmm liberated but still traditional...that's you wearing a tudong and a micro-mini? :)