Thursday, June 22, 2006

Stay Home

(Laura practising her harem girl dance steps.)










When I visit U.K. I try to experience the English lifestyle. Warm beer, pub grub. I also try to see as much of the cultural and historical sites I can. Buckingham Palace, the Changing of the Guards, Stonehenge, the moors etc. etc. When I get the chance to visit the USA I will also want to try the American way of life. "Have a nice day", real beef burgers, giant milkshakes, popcorn by the ton etc. etc. In either place, the last thing I want to do is go look for nasi lemak or teh tarik or dim sum or any of the other things that I can get at home at a fraction of the price.

Well, apparently the Arabs are a little different from me when they travel. Or so it would appear looking at some of our efforts to attract more Middle Eastern tourists. Right in the heart of KL's Bukit Bintang area is Arab Square, a little square of land which used to be a children's playground for the residents in the area. It has been transformed into a piece of little Arabia.

Ain Arabia (meaning ‘source of water’) has a gazebo, park benches, feature wall, kiosks and pedestrian and street lights. It features works by Uzbek carvers and Syrian painters, a welcome archway AND an Arabian teapot-water fountain as a welcome symbol ...

(didn't someone say tea pots were really bad things when they raided that Sky Kingdom commune?)

The ex-member of the Yemen Parliament, Dr. Saadaldeen Talib even said that, "It’s very relaxing for both mind and soul and makes an ideal meeting place for the Arabs," says Saadaldeen who was among guests at the recent official launching ceremony by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.

Tourism Minister, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said that with these and other efforts at Arab-ising "...we foresee a good increase of tourists from those regions..."

In efforts to further woo Middle East tourists to Malaysia, Adnan said a designated area called "Ain Arabia", or the Arab street, located inBukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, was introduced to showcase various Middle Eastern restaurants and shops.

So instead of building on the history and the color and the cultures that are inherrent in the Bukit Bintang area we are on an all out effort to create something alien and totally out of place. Sound familiar?

We are told that pre-9/11 the Middle Eastern flers loved to visit Europe and the USA. Do you think that the Europeans and the Americans tried to change their cities or their cultures to tap the Middle Eastern tourists $$$? Of course not. They knew that tourists come to experience the American or European lifestyle. And if they, the Arabs, couldn't do that they wouldn't go, would they?

I am told that according to ministry figures Singaporeans make up the largest group of visitors (8.79 million) to Bolehland. So how come we don't set up shops selling Bak Chor Mee and other uniquely Singaporean delicacies? How come we don't dedicate a section of the city to them? Let's say, Jalan Alor. Managed with typical Singaporean efficiency? With all the eating stalls housed in ultra-clean hawker centres with clean toilets. The Thais make up the second largest group, 1.73 million. So, let's build lots of big, golden Buddhist temples somewhere.

Sigh. I guess Bukit Bintang is going to undergo a transformation whether we like it or not. Wait...I've got a slogan for the Tourism Ministry's marketing efforts in the Middle East...

VISIT MALAYSIA!!!
IT'S LIKE YOU NEVER LEFT HOME.

87 comments:

Mohd Noor said...

aisey you forgot to add our friends from Indonesia and Africa lah. Magic Black money and cheap labour, we should set up a memorial or something to these fellars. Man talking about Africa, I hope Ghana kick USA ass tonight!!
(half time as I typed this!)

Lime said...

I'm actually rooting for the undergdog, USA!!

Calvin's Girl said...

I don't really like Arabians... no offence, but, they are kinda rude (to those I've seen and experienced before at BKT Bintang). They think they own the place here, I do not know what our Pm told their PM privately "Make yourself really at home" kot.

Calvin's Girl said...

Eh... King, not PM... *ROFL* - so 'sputid' of me... must be the brunette colored i dyed on my hair.

jasiminne*anorexic penguin said...

the idea of tourists coming to your country to taste a piece of their country is a oxymoron in fact.

oxymoron=ox and a moron,which would explain the minds behind the pink teapot.

I have another slogan!

Theres no place like home except Malaysia!

first time commenting here after hours of reading tokkok :)
KEEP IT UP PATRICK , your teohlogy and tokkok is my proverbial kuih and teh for intelligent morning reading. and far more entertaining than the papers.

Trashed said...

What more to say, lah, Patrick ? Those baargers in the Tourism ministry have only short term plans for Malaysia. At one stage, I think they were encouraging Europeans to go to Langkawi but I think being only once to Langkawi is cukup for me.

These Middle Eastern types tend to stick in the the cities but I think the beauty of Malaysia is outside the cities - the beaches on the East Coast, Taman Negara, Kinabalu, Sepilok,Mulu Caves, Rantau Abang, Kg Kuantan, Perlis/Kedah, jungle trails, diving, eating local cuisine ... not shopping !!!

Soon, Dubai will be a favoured tourist spot for the Middle Easterners with their innovative attractions like the ski slope. Then the Ain Arabia will have to make way for a hawker center.

mob1900 said...
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boyplunger said...
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patrickteoh said...

Folks please remember that we are discussing Arab-isation here NOT Islamisation. So keep religion out of the discussion, please. Thank you.

Mohd Noor said...

aiyo I'm biased lah. I have so many good experience with the arabs. One, an arab man helped me, nurtured me back to health when I was seriously ill last time, he was like a father that I never had. Two, an arab family took me in when I was down and out. I stayed in one of their apartment for 8 months without paying rent!
And you know, I was a nobody, its not like they know me or I come from a famous family or anything. They just helped me when NO ONE not even my own family was willing to help me.
So of course lah I am biased:) From then on, I love the arabs.

Julius Bean Laden said...

Next..... Burga Fashion Parade in BB...Sponsored by Arab-Malaysian Bank in Arab Street, more Arabian Coffee and Kebab eating contest and also every Friday after 8.00pm .... ARABIAN NIGHTS.... and belly dancing all night long....

Sheikh Al Patrick, you got to be there lah... happening Man !!! They never left home but we see the world man. Cheers 2020.....

Mohd Noor said...

Man, I want more arabs to come here and stay here!!

Anonymous said...

patrick, that bit about the teapot and sky kingdom was really sweet la. brazil should have had you in attack against australia. i bet you'd have managed more than 2 measly goals.

Manny said...

"Making oneself at home"...maybe thats one thing the tourism industry could live without. Echoing Pat's post, no one wants to travel thousands of miles to experience the same things they could in their own backyard. Of course it could just as well be another obtuse excuse to sell things more expensively, I remember when i was in England and the Malaysian tourisme council there held a sale of "Malaysian Goods", everything from Batik to Durian was there. And EVERYTHING was HIGHLY priced, I mean, imagine eating a durian that costs you 18 pounds sterling. 18 POUNDS!!! Thats like RM120.00 here!!! With that kinda dosh at my disposal, I can buy the whole damn durian shop here!! Of course, I'd be lying if i didn't say that it as nice to see a small piece of home there but I wouldn't want to spend my time buying the crap they sell there coz' I know I can get it cheaper and in better quality down here in Malaysia. I guess thats what the Malaysian tourisme SHOULD be aiming for, to show the Arabs and or other nationals a SMALL( key word here is SMALL) piece of their home. To make them feel COMFORTABLE, but not at home. I don't want to feel at home when i go travelling foreign lands, and i would assume it were the same with others as well.

DeLiRiuM said...

The Tourism Board should spend more time promoting bits of Malaysia in other countries and building 'little Malaysias' overseas rather than spending all the time courting this minority (but admittedly wealthy).

Hell, I'd love for a mamak corner I can visit in the middle of winter...

Having said that, Malaysia is in danger of being more Arabic than the Arabs themselves. I think there's a mistaken tendency to confuse the Islamic religion with the Arabic culture, which is also probably why the comments above were deleted. We should thread carefully, 'cause the Arabic culture leaves much to be desired of.

Manny said...
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Manny said...

Furthermore, do we really need a "Little (insert country name)".
It's not doing any good to the tourists that come here by promoting every other country except ours. We're just saying that "Hey look!!! that country over there has better things to offer, thats why we've got a piece of it here...". It's not doing us any good in the long run, it will just draw away toursist to the other countries... its like Tampax having its own website in Hotmail, "..gee whizz..My cramps are killing me surfin these e-mails. I'd better head over to the maxi-pad chat room on www.tampax@hotmail.com..."...

nazir said...

yeah, i agree with some of the comment made here. you didn't go to a faraway places just to feel like you're home.

but there're something that i don't understand. most part of KL has been westernized, and suddenly you're pi**ed off with this little 'arab street'.

what about the proposed disneyland in johor? isn't that a thing to be considered as well?

Mohd Noor said...

ya lah, i agree with Nazir's observation that why for some westernised is okay but arab not ok? Why?

aisey

Manny said...

We're not talking about a single country/nation/people we're talking tourism in general and why does our tourism borad see it imperitive to give the tourists a taste of thier own homeland. Don't turn a healthy debate about tourism in a religious issues, vent your frusttrations elsewhere. And in response to the "westernizing KL" bit.. What on earth is westernized in KL. you mean the skyscrappers, lrt, shopping malls..?? or the food-ah... KFC, Pizza...??? wait i know, the clothing isit..???!. c'mon-lah weh KL has always been KL, multicultural..everywhere you look theres a chinese, mamak, indian, malay store/restaurant... what westernization are you talking about..? and the Disneyland is NOT going to be built in Johor, the officials have long cleared that rumour, get yourself updated!!! and stop venting your psuedo-religious frustrations here...

Calvin's Girl said...

Uhh... why wanna bring up the "R" topic? We're just expressing on what we think of the international visitors we have here. Well, too bad currently we have too much Arabians, and being the citizen of MAlaysia, we just want to share out what we've seen or expereienced with the Arabians. Does that have anything got to do with "R" topic here??

We used to have too many Bangladeshies (and we still do now), and we did express our thoughts on them, thinking how many crimes have been happening since their arrival. How "hamsap" looking these guys are.. yada yada... that kind of thing...

And also if you think of fairness, we have loads of American tourists here... I don't see anything being "American street-ed" here... same goes to Brazillians... so, we built the "Arabian street" so that the Arabians will come back for more... then whatabout the rest? Beach Club at Bkt Bintang ah?? Understand what I'm trying to point out??

My point here is, Malaysia should not show favor on anyone. Arabians ker, Italian ker, American ker, they should all be welcomed warmly and treated fairly... no pilih kasih-ing.

Oh and another thing. How do you define westernized?? To support Manny's comment, in Arab not considered westernized meh?? They use the latest oil refinery and stuff, that's not westernized? They use the technology of computers, is that not being invented in the west? I think that's westernized.

Do not simply close an "absent minded" conclusion without realising what's been discussed. No one is saying which "R" is better. That's sooooo out of topic right now.

Julius Bean Laden said...

There is no problem here lah. I don't mind if there is a little India, Little Kyoto, Liittle Arab or China town here and there as long as the authority keep it clean, orderly and efficiently. In todays world there is no borders in how humanity should live. We have come a long way and civilised enough in every thing we do.

Only some "brainy fools" who chose to go back in time and seem reject mordernisation that is supressing our progress and vision.

I am sure every Malaysian wants the best for the country be it the Govmen, opposition or general public. We sometimes just merely cannot tahan some silly comments by the menteri or how you have been treated by others in the society

Beside the slow paced mentality in Malaysian Govmen and most Malaysian I am glad I am different and don't belong to the Tidak Apa conmmunity.

I really would like Malaysia to achieve vision 2020. If Malaysia can't ....at least one Malasian can .... ME!!( and my family of course! )Cheers 2020........

Anonymous said...

I think nazir has a strong point here. We should be more open minded in this issue and accept globalisation is knocking our door.
KL should be more metropolitan by injecting more diversified racial ingredients. Remember, we have a small China town in Petaling street, little India nearby Hongkong Bank, western culture pub and Bistro in Bukit Bintang and colonial buildings along Jalan Sultan Samad.
The addition of Arab Street in KL map will only make the city more culturally attractive.
Only the Islam phobia Malayisians will oppose the project by linking the Arab culture into Islamisation.

Mohd Noor said...

Dude I love arabs man. I want more of them here. Its not an R issue. Its economic also. They are rich!

zee kin said...

Tourism is about attracting foreigner to spend money here..

and i think the government took the wrong measure

i GUESS

the arabians chose malaysia as their holiday destination because of several reasons.

1.) we are a muslim country, serve halal food, so is convenient

2.) the weather is warm, not dynamic like others..

3.) THE ARE HAVING A DAMN DAMN HOT SUMMER and they can't stand it so there is a large crowd of them choose to have vacations during the 'summer' period.. i think is june or september.. is not really summer but is a perios where is damn hot ..

SO what the government should do is treat them with the usual hospitality.. don't need to do so many things...

they wont' be affected by all these tiny changes...

BUT HONESTLY
i will be glad to visit china town in other countrym, just because when you spend to much time being a "foreigner" in other country, boredom emerge.. not boredom la, some kind of "sian" feel.. so best is, go to china town, and order some "sui kao" or "wan tna mee" to eat...


rgards
zee kin

nazir said...

sorry if some of you think that i'm bringing my 'psuedo-religious frustrations' and 'absent minded' conclusion in this discussion. i didn't conclude anything, i'm bringing up an issue.

as far as i can see, i didn't mention anything about islam or muslim. i'm mentioning arabs. so, as far as i'm being sorry, i also would like my point to be heard loud and clear. i didn't raise any 'R' topic. i'm far from being 'religiously-correct'.

maybe my term 'westernization' is wrong here. and maybe that's why you're saying that i'm bringing the 'R' topic. sorry again.

i didn't meant westernization in term of clothing or oil-refinery technology. i'm pointing out westernization in term of what we're discussing. you want a clearer picture? check out planet hollywood and hard rock cafe.

again, please note that i'm not raising the 'R' topic. i'm not condemning those who went to planet hollywood or hard rock cafe or any pubs or disco as well. i've been to pubs as well (but i don't drink).

the way i see it, if you're raising the issue of fairness among tourist, maybe this arab street is an issue to be considered. but if it's an issue, then for me, the planet hollywood thing is an issue as well, isn't it? maybe i'm wrong, so please don't hesitate to correct me.

and again, it's my mistake for mentioning disneyland in johor. thanks to manny for updating me.

Sugarfree said...

Julius Bean Laden said...
did you say belly dancing? Ya, ya..love them Arabs! More, more!

;-- )

Sugarfree said...

Manny, you're right. If I wanted to feel at home, I'd urmm..stay at home!! Why travel thousands of miles just to feel at home!? That'd be quite moronic,methinks...hehehe

;-- )

mob1900 said...

Recent global events has significantly resulted influx of tourists from certain countries and yes, it's good to take advantage of these events but are they spending their holidays here because of running out of options or was it because of our much tauted, 'Malaysia, Truly Asia'?

'Asia' used to be unique but it has now being diluted with more 'powerful' cultures. Things which are uniques to us Malaysians are becoming 'To-Be-Ban' proposals by politicians with hidden agendas. Take for instance: Mak Yong, Kuda Kepang, burning fireworks during CNY and even KongsiRaya has became an issue. Are these culture clashes? I don't think so, mention culture and we Malaysians embraced it totally, but when 'R' is involved, it becomes something else.

We're not allowed to question nor talk about it because we're consider 'not-in-know', hence the cycle repeats itself. I rather the tourist came because of our culture diversity compare to other reasons like 'we're-friendly-to-certain-R'.=P

Maxforce said...

To me, I am not too concerned with the buidling of Arab Square.
I am baffled with the purpose of the Arab Square.
Another prove that the govt is run by idiots. What more can I say?

Sugarfree said...

so many white elephants oredi what, what's one more?

moo_t said...
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Anonymous said...

eh elo why la issue like this you all jadi gila?
They come here with their money and want to spend it here. So whats your problem?
Your father's money is it? go to hell la all of you racist bigots.

So what if the gomen want to create some nice landmarks? Its their money lah.

You all onli pandai cakap saja. Tapi all of you dont have the balls to act.

Im proud to be a bumi and enjoy the free things I get. Yahooooo!

Cuddly Family said...

interesting discussion.. having an middle eastern "street" is ok I guess.. although Im not too sure reg: the teapot... lol

They spend more money lor, whateverlah..

sigh, alot of these discussion always end up being "R/R" centric, hmmm, why ah? lol

I just wonder whether it would be better to have more green parks/playgrounds, oh wait, how about a place for showcasing all our cultures? Or do we have anything? All the historical buildings gone mah, the old BBGS demolished (rather than refurbishing it etc).. it's just b/c "soul-less" in some ways.. but I guess cities are like that?

Muhibbah... :D

Manny said...

Wah-lah weh...a mere 24 hours or so since Pat posted this and already things have skewed into R/R or something vaguely resembling that. Anyways, firstly i'd like to apologize to nazir for what i commented on earlier, I'm NOT sorry for what i said rather the way i said it. I know i was being harsh and i apologize for it. Second, switching gears for a second... whats up with some folks-lah..?? Just a harmless debate about tourism and all of a sudden everything is being blown out of proportions. And whose the fler here that says its the goverments money to spend.?? Taxes weh...TAXES!!! My money, your money becomes goverments money. Of course-lah i gotta be wary of what the government chooses to spend all that dosh on. I mean, look at the Bakun Dam project for instance here. Its a perfect example of how massively funded goverment projects can run amok if not closely watched. I still remember when the gov. hatched the idea for it, i was still in high school then. So much media coverage for it, "..ohh, it's going to be the biggest dam blah blah blah...". Years later and what do they have to show for themselves, just a very large hole in the ground and an even larger hole in the goverment's pocket. Getting back on topic, I honestly can't see the benefits of having a "Little India/China/???". Sure as a Malaysian I love to go places to such as Little India/China but thats only because I don't exactly earn so much to enable me to go travelling overseas always. But I'm speaking from a tourist point of view now. C'mon-lah be honest with yourself, would you spend thousand of ringgit of your own hard earn money to travel thousands of miles away to a foreign land only to spend all that money on something you can get back at your homeland. We're all economists in our own right, we all want to get the best things with the cheapest possible price. That said, someone here also mentioned that the arabs are "very rich", I'm sure they wouldn't be rich if they can't even see the blatant sales gimmick here of having a small piece of their own homeland in another country, thats selling their very own products back to them..except this time more expensive. Culturally, yes it does look nice having "Little India/China/etc" but economically we're not doing ourselves any good promoting another country. We're trying to get tourist to come back to malaysia to experience our amazing Malaysia again and again...NOT show them how 'fantastic' is the other countries. Thats just going to make them want to go there and not return to us...

Calvin's Girl said...

Weh.... not my father's money being used meh for the govenrmnet projects?? Ello... tax tu aper plak?? I'm paying tax also leh... of course i have the right to sound out what is the government is doing with the money our people has contributed... These government people sometimes no bren... Simply use money for silly reasons... And just look at our roads.. doe wan mend road but want to build something that is not essentially important.. Adussss

mob1900 said...

Let not 'setitik nila merosakkan susu sebelanga', let's continue our discussion with constructive suggestions like we have always been.

I think 'anonymous' is just trying to stir things up rather than contributing constructively in this good blog.

Trashed said...

All over the world, there are places such as Chinatowns, Little Saigon, KoreaTown, Little India, Arab Town, Armenian corner, Little Manila, etc. Some of these are official names, others are names given by the locals.

Most of these places are areas where the ethnic community lives and plies their business.

In the case of Ain Arabia in the midst of Bukit Bintang, I am not aware that there is a large Arab community living or conducting business there. As Patrick points out in his blog, some one from the Tourism Ministry decided to put it there and so it is, for the sole purpose of pandering to a group of tourists from a certain part of the world.

As a taxpayer, I think this is not necessary and a waste. Nothing to do with religion, westernisation, the Arab people, etc. Just another misguided project using your hard earned tax Ringgit. Not as bad as the Bakun Dam project but add them all up .... ?

Calvin's Girl said...

I TOTALLY agree with Trashed. Other than that, no comments.

Anonymous said...

sudahlah all of you racist bigots. you all hate arabs because they are muslim. if the gomen heaven forbid create something for the tourists from China, you all keep quiet saja.

So what if you dont like to visit little china or little india when you go overseas? so what?
the arabs like to go to little arabs so what?

you are mad because they are arabs thats it.

look at those chinese tourists, they come here blend in you dont know who is what and then go to ktv become hoes. when problem come up our gomen send some minister to calm down their gomen! wah send people to apologize is also my money tau. some more its not even "their" people!
how come you dont komplen? oooo its my people la so not big deal.
but come arabs you all attack them.

you are all racist bigots.

nazir said...

i don't know if this anonymous is the same as the one posted earlier, but sure they're out of topic. and i'm assuming that both of them are the same person.

watch what you say 'anynymous' (if that what you want to call yourself). coz you're the racist bigots. your post are made of racial prejudice.

who are you to call all the chinese tourist as 'hoes'? and why suddenly when they send people to apologize, it's your money? not when the government are building nice landmark as you put it before? and what's the point of mentioning that you're a bumi and you're proud of all the free things, other than creating a racial statement.

i may have a different view on this 'arab street' discussion, but i do agree that some of the taxpayers money had gone to waste. i don't need to elaborate more. some of the contributors had mentioned it.

don't look down on people lah. we all humans what?

Maxforce said...

Anonymous missed the point.
Racism is irrelevant here.
Point is - to build Arab Square to lure Arabs here is a tupid idea.
To build Chinatown to lure Chinese tourist is stupid. Hence, there are more Westerners who visit Chinatown. Ehem, kindly exclude locals - as it cannot be considered as a tourist attraction.
So, like I said, I am not concerned with the building of an Arab Square.
I am concerned that the government is so stupid that it does not understand the basics of marketing. If the govt wants to build an Arab Square to lure other tourists, fine. But to lure Arab tourists? Does not make any cow sense!!!
P/S: We all have the right to criticise the govt cos as Abe Lincoln said, the govt is of the people, for the people and by the people. Hence, the govt is ANSWERABLE to the people. And whats more, my money is there.
Darn, could have bought a new car with that!!!

Anonymous said...
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Manny said...

Obviously this "Anonymous" has failed geografy 101 horribly, Pyramids are not of Arabic culture but Egyption muttonhead! GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT!!! Next, you must have really lived in a very hate-filled enviroment to label to other races as 'hoes' and make such condecendingly racist remarks such as "...Im proud to be a Bumi because of all the free things i get..." thats not only indicating the shallow level of intellect you possess furthermore it also displays how much of a BIGOT you really are. I and along with a few others could label you and or people just like you a hypocrite for that but what good would it do then to just fuel your purblind rage and hate even more towards other races. You have a problem my friend, and I can only hope and pray that you realise that what you said can really hurt people. You are frustrated about something, I can see that, however this niether the place nor the forum to vent your anger in. This is a discussion about tourism, NOT religous issues. I could go on but I refuse to stoop down to your garden slug level of understanding. So i'll just sum up what i just said, firstly, you're an arsehole. Second, read up on some geografy. Third, GET HELP for managing all that hate and anger you have built up in you, coz' if you don't sooner or later at one point in your life all that hate and anger will consume you and destroy your life. and finally last but certainly not least, don't be such a coward, give yourself a name...any name... say something in the line off " crusty-specked turdsniffer" or "knucklehead-with-genital-herpes".

Calvin's Girl said...

Geez... this freak is getting more bolder and bolder! What shit you've just said there could have provoked civil war! Can't you just make sure that the words you're going to say processed in your bren first ah??

Mohd Noor said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
[ s o o n h o ] said...

I'm currently working in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and most of my arab colleauges here loved Malaysia. Some have even been to Malaysia for 3 or 4 times during the past few years. They like it so much is because of the lifestyle, environment and such. Its very different from here. So i would say its a waste of money to build a special arab place when the arabs wanna be in malaysia for the way of life. Not to meet other arabs at somewhere not suffering from summer heat.

patrickteoh said...

I am sending this post from Singapore where I am for a job until Monday. Got to type fast leh. Connnection in this hotel is SGD20 for 24 hours. That's like half my streamyx monthly fee la:-)

When I posted Stay Home I meant it purely as a discussion on tourism but I noticed that all sorts of stuff started coming in. It was a little worrying for me cos I knew I was going to be out of town and may not be able to check the blog comments as often as I'd like. But I am so glad to know that common sense is very common among visitors to Tokkok. Thank you all for showing all those flers in tha garment that young people are not wild,irrespoonsible or need constant "mothering" as they always like to portray.

Thanks again people. Keep it clean. Keep it intelligent. Keep it productive. Keep it fun.

Maxforce said...

No worries, PT.
We are all mature bloggers.
But there will be idiots around.
We are surrounded by them! Haha!
Keep up the good work and come back to Msia soon!

Concerned wife and mother said...

I think some points raised by Patrick has been missed here. There isn't anything wrong with having Little This-place-or-that-place in another country. We have Masjid India which is like Little India, we have Petaling Street aka Chinatown (which is now totally fucked) and opposite De Palma Hotel is Korea town. These places were not "manufactured". These places evolved over years when people from these countries settled down and started introducing their culture and way of life there. To put in a square, big teapot and actually hire craftsmen to build a place and then say it's a piece of Arab is a joke!

What worries me is what makes us unique (the natural evolution of different cultures intercrossing, eg, Peranakan culture, mamak stalls, etc) is slowly destroyed or diluted and a "Malaysian" culture which feels foreign to most Malaysians is being manufactured.

Manny said...

"Malaysian" culture which feels foreign to most Malaysians is being manufactured. Now there's a thought to ponder on raised by 'concerned wife and mother'. Will there be a point in time where Malaysia becomes more distant to the locals but more like home for the foreigners?! I know it's paranoid thinking, but hey stranger things have happened.

bongkersz said...

In the first place why the tourists come here? To feel at home? Or to experience something new, which they can't get back home? Think about that.. C'mon, it's not like you go to China, they you expect there are stalls selling Penang Laksa, roti canai or teh tarik so you feel at home, What's the point visiting then? Stay home lah!

[ s o o n h o ] said...

i agree with bongkersz. Most of my colleagues here ask me what places should they go when they are in malaysia. Just imagine how it would be if i told them "You can go to Ain Arabia, its JUST LIKE HOME! You will feel like you have never left JEDDAH" ...

Manny said...

Haiz... I think we may have just struck rock botom with this topic. We've been going in cirlces here about this... Maybe it's just me, but I'm beginning to think that the 'half-assed-decission-making' system in the goverment does actually have a function. "When a solid ground for a decission can't be made, flip a coin and stick to it"....lol

kat said...

Perhaps it would've been better if the tourism people had publicised this Little Arab as a little piece of the middle east for those who don't have a means to visit the real thing??
Cuti-Cuti Malaysia promo campaign - 'Visit KL, See The World in 3 Days'!!

kat said...

I wonder if you can get away with a podcast ala Jon Stewart style...probably not...after you get banned from performing...

Sugarfree said...

Yeah, do a Malaysian version of The Daily Show! That'd a fab. Yeahhhh....
Anyone brave to venture in that direction? Very easy. All you need is a video cam. Shoot it and post it in youtube!

;- )

sympozium said...

Loooove Arab tourists!!!! They really know how to treat and protect their women at local hotels - the men have to suffer very much by the swimming poolside by having to get wet in the pool, but they make sure their women are safe from UV rays by ensuring they don't get into the chlorine-filled pool and to sit and watch while all wrapped up from head to toe - and face - in black, and not splashing about in the water under the harmful sun. Viva Arabic feminism!

And Africans - there's a Thai restaurant at the Jalan Alor/Changkat Bukit Bintang junction (closer to BB Plaza) which serves excellent Thai food and the place is FULL of Nigerian drug dealers man. Has anyone ever checked to see if they have valid permits to be in the country? Eating in that restaurant is like being in "Gorillas in The Mist"!

And let's not start on these obnoxious Mainland Chinese tourists with the manners of pigs...

Manny said...

I'm not sure if whether 'sympozium' here is trying to be sarcastic with his condescending example of 'Arabic Feminism', but those two statements; "And Africans - there's a Thai restaurant at the Jalan Alor/Changkat Bukit Bintang...the place is FULL of Nigerian drug dealers man." and "...these obnoxious Mainland Chinese tourists with the manners of pigs..." sure sounds very racist to me.

Keropok said...

Its the Malaysian culture, I guess... make people feel at home as possible even though they come to experience something different.

I never did 'get' it.

When I was young and some masalehs came to visit from England, out come the nice Pyrex cups and saucers and the benda to hold sugar and milk in matching jar blah blah...

And we all had to drink. tea. like. this.

When relatives come from India, out come the standard ever-silver tumblers, and tea was all mixed in a large 'kole', and tarik-ed nicely.

And when we had Chinese friends over, Amma just HAD to cook meehoon and phong tay. Out come the forks and chop-sticks. What gives?

Thank god we didn't know anyone from Zambia. Apa benda to they eat there?

bongkersz said...

they eat keropok I guess :D

naeboo~ said...

as alw, msian myopic plans to fit in their grand schemes of useless crap.


like, putrajaya.

Cuddly Family said...

wow.... To anon- err.. being Arab doesnt always equal muslim does it? There are christian arabs and so on, no? Besides, like the others have said, if the powers-they-think-they-be simply build a place, dunno... if theplace has evolved over time (as settlers come there tc, like Little india etc), I think ok mah.. It all depends.. However I still maintain that teapot just looks.. wrong LOL

agreed with some fellow commentors (is that a word?) that it's b/c "soul-less".. our colonial/historic buildings getting demolished etc, streets re-named, etc.. soon, we WILL look like ANY other city in the world, no? or we prob will have the most number of shopping malls! hehe

discussion boleh close tak?

nazir said...

i agree with manny. what sympozium said is somewhat racist. and i belive that he/she is trying to be sarcastic with the 'Arab feminisme' thing.

Ummi said...

wow! it is indeed hot in here. and i have to say this to some of the brainless people (that anon fler, for example): GROW UP & MAKE SURE U GROW A BRAIN AS WELL. haiyya... i'm so embarassed la to read that kind of comment coming from a bumi. tolongla weh, buat malu kaum je lah ngko nih! obviously, he/she is racsist.i'm studying tourism management actually and currently doing my training at a travel agency. i honestly think that the govt is going out of their way to promote the tourism industry, all in the while neglecting the uniqueness of malaysia itself. yes, of course it will be nice to find a piece of home wherever you go, but you don't spend money just to see or experience your own backyard rite? this is malaysia kan. we still have loads of thing to promote to the tourists. our culture, for example, they are unique, one of a kind. japanese, taiwanese and korean tourists come to our country and opt for the homestay program because they want to experience the culture and the lifestyle of malaysian. why go and promote other's culture, lifestyle etc. etc. if we have the ultimate goldmine here in our own country? bazir duit rakyat dah satu hal. no creativity is another thing.when will this people start using their brain?

Sugarfree said...

use brain ah? got can use la but what if dun have?

Manny said...

The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see. That basically translates to; the tourist, having travelled thousands of miles are coming to see a new place to venture and experience, NOT something they've already seen before. When a tourist feels exactly like home when he/she is abroad then I believe that, that country has lost it's charm in captivating it's visitors.

lloydcheam said...

shit lar you, PT, it's so funny... your visit malaysia slogan... haha...

Ummi said...

ya lorr sugarfree...can use only if they have it (brain). apparently, they only got air in their cranium. *sigh*

Joy said...

SORRY OUT OF TOPIC BUT I was wondering whether this happens in other countries...after the much outcry about the illegal billboards mushrooming and MPPJ doing nothing about it....they actually are...

there is a billboard near my house which has been there for years and i presume has been an illegal one for years, suddenly this morning i saw two men fixing a licence number at the bottom right hand corner.

Illegal all these years and overnight it becomes legal...so the residents of the petaling jaya, the new city cannot complaint anymore as i reckon they are turning all illegal billboards to legal ones and not tearing them down. How innovative of our new mayor!

Isn't this great.. things like this i reckon only happens in Malaysia!! only wished i had my camera with me then.

Manny said...

whats that got to do with tourism...focus people!!!lol

patrickteoh said...

Hey Manny, I know it is not relevant to the topic but I got a big laugh when I read what Joy wrote. It is so funny how the new City deals with illegal billboards. Just send people out to affix some numbers on them. Kao Tim! Way to go, Dato Bandar, PJ!

patrickteoh said...

Lloyd,you find the slogan funny ah? Okay lah. Let's build a list of funny Malaysian slogans, everybody...

1. Visit Malaysia. It's Like You Never Left Home.
2. Malaysia. Truly Asia.
3. Bersih. Cekap. Amanah.
4. Berkhidmat Untuk Negara.
5. Keranamu Malaysia.
6.

Anonymous said...

6.Cinta IT,Sayang IT

Manny said...

7. Sekolahku, Rumahku...
8. Malaysia Boleh!!! (can't believe you guys forgot this one..lol)

Ummi said...

9. Budi bahasa budaya kita

The Unladen Swallow said...

10. Efisyen Efektif (and two other E's that I've seen on a Khir Toyo billboard, can't remember though)

Cuddly Family said...

11. Guna Tanpa Was-Was

(sorry, not quite malaysiana slogan but dang funny whenever I see it!)

Ummi said...

12. Negara bersih, rakyat sihat

(did I get that one right?)

Ummi said...

oh, and another one...

12. Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang

(again, did I get that one right?)

bongkersz said...

Bekerja Bersama Saya (Work With Me) - bet you guys know who said this

"Satu Lagi Projek Dari Kerajaan Barisan Nasional"

Sugarfree said...

"Bekerja Bersama Saya"? Yeah, bet the Jasin fella and Ms AP are doing a good job of that...that's why until now, nothing's happening to them...and you can bet your bottom ringgit, the Jasin fella is still happily 'timber-ing' away...by the way, what the fuck is the outcome of the investigations? what's happening?

;-- )

Keropok said...

"Pandu Cermat, Jiwa Selamat".

"Jauhi diri anda dari dadah... (dadah... dadah... dadah...)"

We not only came up with that slogan, we even got Gary Linekar and Bryan Robson to mouth it on Malaysian TV during the '90 Wulkap.

Remember or not?

patrickteoh said...

Hey keropok I do remember those football players mouthing those slogans in their bad BM. Thanks.
Hey Sugarfree, that Jasin fler is now accusing the Customs fler of 'selling' luxury cars cheap to his friends and cronies. Actually, it would be fun to find out just how thick the Jasin fler's skin really is.
Bongkerz, although that Satu lagi project one is good it isn't really a slogan. Or is it? I'll put it up anyway.

bongkersz said...

eheh, not really a slogan.. but it's funny hahaha!

Grengo01 said...

That Jasin fler stance is, if I dont get it so wont you.

Funny the VVIP gets to drive cheap confiscated cars.. while we rakyat have to stomach the substandard Proton. The news is getting funnier by the day, but instead of laffing I am puking.

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