Feeling Rich in Culture

By Eli Chan

culture

[kuhl-cher] ˈkəl-chər
: the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time
: a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc.
: a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business)

 

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In the short two weeks we were in Malaysia and Singapore, it wasn’t the weather that got us to realize we had left Canada. It was the vastly different culture that existed among the people in both countries. In our journey, we found ourselves fully embracing these differences and adapting to this unique culture as if it were our own.

 

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Ways of Hospitality
In Canada, we show hospitality to a guest by providing them with whatever they need and giving them the liberty to plan out their own schedule and do their own activities.

In Malaysia/Singapore, they showed hospitality to us by

  • Driving our sick members to almost all the local hospitals with their own vehicle
  • Planning out our itinerary and treating us to good food every single night
  • Showing up at our hostel with breakfast in their hands
  • Helping us push heavy cases of water uphill to our lodges
  • Hosted a warm welcome for us at the airport, completed with a cultural dance and an indigenous gift to each one of us

 

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Doing Everything Together
In Canada, we enjoy doing activities in smaller groups and allow the combination of our individual differences to be our strength.

In Malaysia/Singapore, they collectively do everything together by

  • Having multiple clubs and extra-curricular activities, such as Scouts, all co-existing in their school program
  • Standing in a big, big circle and singing awesome cheers, chants, and songs (and claps!)
  • Sitting around big round tables that fit 10+ people to eat dinner together
  • Working together with us on a big community service project by planting a total of 350+ mangrove trees in an hour
  • Teaching multiple versions of dance exercises to a massive group of 500+ people in a sweaty, hot gymnasium

 

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A Rich, Colourful Culture
In Canada, we are blessed with multiculturalism and the fortune to walk around a street corner to find and try different types of cuisine and flavours from around the world.

In Malaysia/Singapore, they also have a rich culture that is a mixture of different ethnic groups (Chinese, Malay, Indian). As a whole:

  • They see no defined line between their different ethnic groups; they see each other as the same people!
  • Their food is so rich, hot, spicy. And they cook it so well
  • If you ask for tea, you will be amazed by their pulled milk tea
  • Their cultural dances are colorful, bright, and spiritual
  • They know how to speak English well, but wait- surprise! They also know fluent Malay, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, and many other languages spoken at home.

Although we didn’t get the chance to stay longer, we were fortunate to be able to enjoy the many traditions and customs that make the Malaysian and Singaporean culture so exciting and inspiring. All of us wanted to bring a piece of Malaysia/Singapore back home by purchasing some milk tea bags. Unfortunately, it just was not the same and we are even more persuaded to return soon to not only eat some more delicious food, but also to visit our brothers and sisters in Scouting and do more clapping and chanting with them.

Cheryl Kwan

One Response to “Feeling Rich in Culture

  • Patrick
    3 years ago

    You guys are always welcome back again at any time 😀

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