Malaysia’s Modern Muslims – Leave Your Stereotypes At Home

When we aired the possibility that we were considering visiting Malaysia rather than our initial choice, Thailand, we encountered the same stern objection from several well-meaning friends: “The Muslims”. We were warned that Aussies don’t go to Malaysia any more because “The Muslims” hate the West and are inhospitable and rude to travellers from Western countries. Since most of the folk who offered us this advice acknowledged that it derived from hearsay rather than personal experience, we decided to take our chances. Continue reading Malaysia’s Modern Muslims – Leave Your Stereotypes At Home

Spellbound in Melaka

I always seem to have astonishing “event luck” when travelling. During my European travels I happened upon Siena, Italy on the day of the famous palio (a bareback no-rules horserace around the village square in which half the field typically comes to grief in the first circuit, the manic, rearing horses doped to the eyeballs with amphetamines…people travel from everywhere to witness this chaotic event, which I had never heard of, my dumb luck dropping me right on the hearth of the city early on the morning of the race). Hitching in England, I was set down in Stratford-upon-Avon on Shakespeare’s birthday, initially clueless as to the significance of the day, and ended up scoring one of the last tickets – student price – to a magical performance that evening of Twelfth Night by the Royal Shakespeare Company. From Paris, I got a lift straight to Munich for the Oktoberfest and was put up by a friend of the driver who lived a short walk away from the Oktoberfest grounds. And there are many etceteras. Continue reading Spellbound in Melaka

Malaysia! Why Malaysia?

I’ve been back from Malaysia a week, and Perth has cast its usual amnesic spell – feels already as if I haven’t been away. It had been so long since I had been overseas that friends were actually congratulating me on taking the plunge and getting away!

In fact, I am probably more widely travelled than anyone I know, having spent two years on the road backpacking and doing it rough back in my late 20s, hitchhiking around the UK and Europe, sleeping in youth hostels and cheap hotels, on the beach in Crete for a grubby feral week and even in parks in France – a miserable experience that permanently dispelled the romantic notions of the bum life that Orwell had nurtured in me in his compelling work, Down and Out In Paris and London. Continue reading Malaysia! Why Malaysia?

movie reviews + occasional other musings