Letters - East meets west

I CAME here as a visitor three weeks ago, with my schoolboy view of Malaysia. A land of tin and rubber trees. We were pleasantly surprised and amazed at the changes since those times. Like Aotearoa, New Zealand; Malaysia has grown with the times, and retained it's best.

Putting aside the SEA games: Dianne Chan came up tops on Masterchef, and no wonder. At every turn Malaysia has a fine array of world class cuisine. From the Nyonya kitchens of Malacca to the pavement entrepreneur, everywhere Malaysia offers rich treats. A great way to soak up that surplus capacity.

The hospitality and generosity here has to be seen to be believed. We spent time here among friends and we have been deeply rewarded, and enriched.

From the slopes of Mount Kinabalu to the Cheng Ho museum in Malacca we were impressed and fascinated. The whole of the centre of Malacca is a living museum.

It illustrates a culture, and a community that still exists and shall always be there. This is the foundation of a trading culture with a reputation for honesty and fairness. We found this to be true right across the country.

I took a train ride to Kajang Station. What a great place! Stopped in the nearby town for a bite to eat. We are awakened and aroused to the rich tapestry of culture, which is still practiced today. A shared meal is a way into conversation, and an exchange of experience. This is the way to have a relaxing holiday.

Like Malaysia, New Zealand has moved past its colonial roots. Both countries have a lot in common. The Borneo Garden at the Death March Memorial reminds us, no matter where we are, we are never alone. Never forsaken. We live in a world today where everyone has a voice.

We try to practice a brand of tourism that brings strength to local culture and to family. And it is a strength that Malaysian tourists bring to our country. We are FITS, free independent travellers, and we gravitate towards free independent traders. What a rich vibrant trading culture Malaysia has.

Rudyard Kipling said: "East is east, and west is west, and never the twain shall meet." Not so today. We should meet, sometimes, swap yarns, trade, and laugh.

True to your deep living, spiritual and cultural roots we Kiwi respond with gratitude and appreciation. I know we have all come a long way. There is much to celebrate.
Thank you Malaysia.

David George
New Zealand