I remember my very first blog - my only blog in 2007 - was about what the driver said when I was in Xinjiang, China. A couple of weeks ago, I also wrote about what the driver said during our trip to Pattaya. Today I am writing about what the driver said on my way from the airport to Kuala Lumpur. Drivers always gives an interesting perspective of the place you are visiting.
This driver, on hearing that we spoke Cantonese, asked in perfect Cantonese that I was soon to learn he picked up through watching films in Cantonese: "Are you from Hong Kong?" And he went on to give us an interesting unofficial account of Malaysia from the eyes of a local Chinese. It is a country dominated by the Muslims, who seek to maintain their domination by importing Muslims from neighbouring countries such as Indonesia. While these immigrants serve to guarantee that the Muslims get the majority of votes in elections and to provide cheap labour in some industries such as construction, they also lead to more crimes. Another kind of imported 'labour' is women from China and they are engaged in what some people say is 'the oldest profession in human history'. The reason why these women are imported from China, is that as a Muslim country, Malaysia does not want its women to be engaged in prostitution, a sort of dealing which should lead to severe punishment according to the Muslim law.
Asked how common it is that the Chinese men here marry Muslim girls, he said that it is not so common as there are numerous commitments the man has to make, such as converting to Muslim, undergoing circumcision, and losing his family name in the next generation as his children will have to use his wife's family name, etc. Were it not for these various challenges, many Chinese men would have gone for Muslim girls, as they are more numerous (due to Muslim families typically having more children than Chinese families), more innocent and less materialistic than Chinese girls. "The Chinese girls here, like the Chinese girls in Hong Kong, look at how much money you make, whether you have a flat and a car," he whined.
He was spot on about Hong Kong girls, I have to say. Obviously, those Cantonese films he has watched has taught him more than just the dialect.