MALAYSIA: Close Encounters of the Cultural Kind

Kuala Lumpur — I went out exploring KL’s Chinatown, Central Market, Kasturi Walk, Merdeka Square and Central Market yesterday….and found does generic viagra work more than sites or sights.

Monk on Merdeka Square

Monk on Merdeka Square

Encounter #1: The Historian Fahad, the winsome manager at the Panggung Bandaraya Theatre, where “Mud,” Malaysia’s longest running musical is being performed. While I gratefully sat in the air conditioned lobby of this former Town

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Hall, built in 1902, and waited for my friend Art to reply to my text about which night he’d like me to get tickets, Fahad took advantage of his captive audience to offer a most engaging history lesson. In the “old” days, people floated down the two rivers of Kuala Lumpur until the rivers’ convergence, where they were grounded by mud. “’Lumpur’ means ‘mud,’” Fahad explained. “It’s why the city grew from this point.” …Which explains why the Town Hall was located at this central point and why Merdeka Square (where the Union Jack was lowered and the new Malaysian flag raised in 1957) developed here. Fahad went on to explain the area’s early multiculturalism: Malays were the farmers, Chinese were the merchants and Indians were the day laborers working the ovens to make bricks from the mud. “That’s why today’s ‘Little India’ is called ‘Brickfields,’” he said. It was exciting to see someone so enthusiastic about his country, and I said so. “I was born here. I want to share my country.” Encounter #2: The Tourists While walking across Merdeka Square, I waited for a group of men to finish their group photos, then jumped into the background, cialis tadalafil buy online mugging for them. The photographer laughed. Then, his companions beckoned me over to be in a picture with them. First a photo with one, then the other, then the third. They are from Pakistan. A nearby group of women called me over to be photographed with them. First one, then the other, then both. They’re from Malaysia. So if you see my sweaty mug showing up on foreign Facebook pages, you’ll know the backstory! Encounter #3: The Protester As generic viagra I wandered toward a mosque to hit my religious trifecta (visiting a temple, church and mosque in one afternoon), I stumbled on a small protest march down a main business street.

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I stopped a woman and asked what they were demonstrating about. Totally composed, she told me they were protesting a high court decision that favored a man who “stuck his finger into a 13-year-old girl’s vagina. He had semen on his finger and it impregnated her. The court said this is not rape, that rape is only when a man sticks his penis into the vagina.” I asked why a slow-moving police car and ambulance were accompanying them. She said: “Protest marches in Malaysia are illegal. People don’t want to cialis hypotension hear about such things. Sometimes people with water guns line this street.” Turns out, she’s the president of AWAM, the All Women’s Action Society, an NGO that fights for women’s rights. I hope to interview her this week for my column! Encounter #4: The Scammer I arrived at the mosque too late for visitors; it was prayer time and closed for the day to non-Muslims. But the kind guard at the gate directed me to another mosque. I wandered through what appeared to be a Muslim quarter, through another covered shopping market with stalls selling hijabs and bootleg DVDs, to find the newer mosque. As I stood outside listening to the forlorn call to prayer, I caught the eye of a woman looking out a top-floor window. She waved. I waved. She signaled for me to wait for her, and I glimpsed her through the window at each level as she descended. Bright, cheerful, friendly, she kissed each of my sweaty cheeks and asked me in perfect English if I wanted to go into the mosque with her. I brightened and pulled out the shawl I always carry with me. Ah, but it wasn’t enough to cover my head and arms. I use with viagra needed a bigger shawl. Instead, we walked about and chatted. She’s an English teacher on break who came from Penang. “Penang! I’ll be there next month for 3 weeks!” “You should come to my home,” she invited enthusiastically. I was enthralled by the idea of finding a new friend on an island I haven’t yet visited. Then she told me a story of how she was pickpocketed yesterday and her wallet and cellphone were stolen. I clucked sympathetically – especially because my friend Art was pickpocketed the day we went to the Aquarium together and he lost his cellphone. She said Otc cialis she’s trying to get money to get home. Damn! I was being scammed, not spammed! I couldn’t resist, though. I reached into my purse and dug out a 10-ringgit note (about $2.80). That’s enough for 1/4th of a plane ticket back to Penang, if her story was true. And, you know, I didn’t

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care. She made me smile. Encounter #5: The Commuter Weary, hot, dripping with sweat, daily use cialis legs and feet throbbing from 7 hours of sightseeing, I fought my way onto the metro. Immediately, a man caught my eye safe canadian pharmacy reviews and jumped up, offering his seat. I gratefully slunk into it, acknowledging his kindness with a nod and a smile. I had noticed that men and children do not relinquish their seats, preferring to engage with their smart phones, so this gesture really touched me. When the even younger man next to me got off a few stops later, the polite Samaritan sat in his seat and struck up a conversation. “I believe what I give out comes back to me,” he prophesized. At first I thought he might be Buddhist, with his round face and shaven head. Later, he said something is viagra bad for you that made me think he might be Muslim. I’m not sure if it’s polite to ask – or even important to know. He asked me the same questions I get in any typical greeting: “What country you from?” “What state?” “Where you stay?” “Are you alone?” This last query is usually asked with a bewildered look around for some unseen companion and is then followed by a sorrowful shake of the head. My seatmate stopped quizzing me at “California” to tell me about his nephew who will be going to Wisconsin in August to study medicine, how he had won a scholarship from the Malaysian government. “Will you be going with him to visit?” I asked. “No! We are not a rich family.” Once we had exhausted conversation about his brilliant and lucky nephew, I asked what he did for a job. He’s a wedding planner who works with his brother-in-law, who just suffered a massive stroke. He was coming from the hospital after spending the afternoon comforting his sister. If anyone deserved a seat after a draining day, it was this man. # # # # #