Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas in Malaysia

Christmas at Bukit Tinggi, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

The previous Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohammed called Malaysia an Islamic state and indeed the majority of the people here are Muslims, but this does not stop them celebrating Christmas. Not althogether in a Christian way with the Virgin Mary, Baby Jesus and the Seven Dwarves, oops!, I mean the Three Wise Men, but in an American way with Santa Claus, Snowmen, Christmas trees and an assortment of other characters, accompanies by various versions of well-known Christmas songs and carols. only exception was a poster advertising 'Tenors for Christ', a concert sponsored by a Chinese fundamentalist Christian who seems to own most of teh best rteal estate in downtown KL.

Christmas is everywhere.

Yesterday in Colmar Tropicale in Bukit Tinggi, the reconstructed French town in the mountains, where we took this photo. Later in the hell of Genting Highlands (4,250 feet above sea-level) at the New World Hotel, which at 6,000 rooms (all seemingly occupied) is the largest hotel in the world, where Santa Claus was dressed in blue!

And again today in all tghe various shopping centres we visited where Santa Claus had even turned into a woman with shapely legs and a mini skirt. In the centre at Bukit Bintang (s)/he was still in traditional red, but by the time we made it to The Curve, she was now dressed in green and had a double!

We had snow falling from six stories high into the lobby of the Marriott, where we had a delicious Italian lunch ay Shooks!. Real snow it was too, falling between all the white Christmas trees which were hanging from the ceiling, sometimes coming down in large flakes, at other times, small powdery flakes, while the sun shone through the roof. It was quite a surprise later to step out into the bright sunshine and heat on the streets of Kuala Lumpur.

Our last evening here, Aunty Nina cooked us a delicious dinner of prawns in a yellow cocounut sauce, petai beans in sambal, a mixture of herbs and greens from the garden, ikan bilis, some more prawns in another sauce, followed by durian and honey jack-fruit. Delicious!

Tomorro wa trip down to teh coast for lunch at a seafood restaurant, where we hope to be served by nice friendly Burmese (or Nepalese), followed by a trip to Port Dickson and then the airport for our flight to Bangkok. Richard's over-weight baggage charge will have increased somewhat from Wednesday due to his purchases, while I will struggle to keep below the 15 kg allowance, despite taking two full rucksacks on board... and then there is all the stuff we had left behind in Bangkok!

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