The Unspoken Bond A Malaysian Can't Deny Even When Overseas
Once a Malaysian, always a Malaysian.
Did you know the Malaysian passport is eighth best in the world? Together with our abundance of public holidays, it's no wonder we have such an insatiable thirst for travelling.
Malaysian passport was ranked the eighth best in the world for travellers in a recent survey, based on the number of visa-free countries its holders can travel to out of 174 destinations.themalaymailonline.com
According to the 2014 Visa Restrictions Index, holders of Malaysian passports can travel to 166 countries without visas; compared to Finland, Germany, Sweden, USA and the United Kingdom passports which can access all 174 destinations visa-free.themalaymailonline.com
With 14 national holidays covering 16 days, Malaysia is in the global top 10 in terms of number of public holidays, with one survey ranking us at seventh.thestar.com.my
If anything, the fact that AirAsia has flown over 300 million guests (!!!) alone is able to prove that point. Everyone can fly, indeed.
AirAsia, the world’s “best low-cost airline” for seven consecutive years, reached another milestone with 300 million guests flown. AirAsia reached its 100-millionth milestone in October 2010, and celebrated the 200-millionth mark three years later in September 2013. In a little less than two years, the number of guests flown across the group has grown to 300 million.mb.com.ph
It's hard to resist the temptation to jet off either for a quick trip or a nice, long travel when there are promos happening all year round to countless destinations
It's also a reality that many would choose to travel, study and live abroad. In 2010, it was reported that there are 700,000 Malaysians living abroad.
However, whether it's been years or months overseas, there is still an unspoken bond that unites Malaysians even when we're in foreign lands - even when we could be complete strangers
You know when you see an Asian you're dying to hear the person say a "lah" or speak in that familiar Malaysian accent! There is a certain ease that comes naturally when meeting another Malaysian. The familiarity means that there isn't a need to explain things to each other and being amongst them always feels like being at home.
You face instantly brightens up when someone says, "Hey, you're from Malaysia? I'm from KL!"
We may be far away from our homeland, but we can easily find comfort in the Malaysian communities in other countries
We just can't help but stick together! Many choose to become a part of a Malaysian society or association in university or the community they live in. It's comforting to know that you can easily identify and connect with your fellow compatriots.
But really, it's so that you have people to celebrate Malaysian occasions and festive seasons with, so you don't feel like a sad, lonely person.
“There are Malaysian associations – be it for social or business purposes – in many parts of the world. These are effective platforms that bring fellow countrymen together for common purposes,” explains Lim [the wife of High Commissioner of Malaysia to Ghana].thestar.com.my
When the homesickness hits, we cure it the best way we know how - recreating our favourite Malaysian dishes
It's no secret that Malaysians love food and eating. This relationship that we have with our culinary haven is so ingrained in our daily lives and our way of life, it's hard to part with even when we're abroad. It's almost an impossible task to find a person who doesn't miss Malaysian food while they are away. We also can't help ourselves but to introduce and share our delicious and unique cuisine with foreigners.
When there's good food, the best to throw into the mix is to have good company to share those delicious noms with. When Malaysians host get-togethers, you know that there's gonna be lots of eating, laughing, sharing of stories and reminiscing the good times. Also, did we mention lots of eating, yet?
Suddenly the things that annoyed you about Malaysia makes you miss it more, and you also realise the things you have been taking for granted
The thought of your mum's nagging and how she would have overreacted brings a smile to your face. That special brand of sense of humour only Malaysians will get doesn't seem so lame and embarrassing anymore. After seeing the malls in other countries, maybe the ones back home aren't so bad after all. Suddenly the smallest and most trivial things about home are able to pull at your heartstrings.
You'll start to grow attached to that Malaysian restaurant in town or that Asian grocer that sells your favourite pack of instant noodles or just about anything that reminds you of home
However, what really hits home is when there's a big celebration or festive season back home, and there you are, in a different timezone
You miss birthdays, anniversaries, special traditions back home. When it's Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya or any other festivity, your Facebook timeline gets flooded with photos of friends and families back home celebrating together, while you're miles away.
When it's holiday time where you are and you see locals returning home to their families also makes you miss that warm, fuzzy feeling of celebrating the holiday with your loved ones back home.
There's no denying the pride you feel when you spot Malaysian products or establishments in foreign countries, and especially seeing the locals in the country enjoying our food
Never have you found yourself exclaiming, "It's Malaysian!" with that much pride when you spot Malaysian things in foreign countries or seeing people from all over the world trying and enjoying Malaysian dishes. The first time you spot a Proton car overseas probably had you stunned, followed by an intense photo-snapping session to show it to everyone back home or other fellow Malaysians.
Being abroad has given you the chance to meet new people, experience a different culture, but also equips you with a newfound appreciation for the beauty of Malaysia
It makes you realise how lucky we have it with our diversity and unique culture. Living in a multiracial nation with acquaintances and interaction with people of various ethnicity and all walks of life prepared us for an open mind. We are able to adapt and be understanding of other culture, societies and lifestyle.
You have a better understanding that sometimes the phrase "the grass is always greener on the other side" is just a mindset - one that can be found anywhere
At the end of the day, you know that Malaysia will always be in your heart
Because there's a certain sense of calm and peace when you hear the pilot say, “And to all Malaysians, selamat pulang, ke tanah air”
You can take a Malaysian out of Malaysia, but you can't take Malaysia out of a Malaysian. ;)
The constant longing to fly back home is a periodic feat of looking for the most affordable flights and coordinating calendars among loved ones, across continents.
Whether you're setting off on new adventures, reuniting with families, going on business trips, or whatever it is, you can count on AirAsia to be there for you now and many more years to come.