#6 from South East Asia — Kuala Lumpur, Bidets, and Islamic culture and architecture, where the US jobs have gone, and more food

#6 from South East Asia  — Kuala Lumpur, Bidets, and food food food  architecture
January 6th, 2001
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

We had to fly out of Thailand in order to renew our visas.  Our cheapest choice was to Kuala Lumpur.  It turned out NOT to be our best choice.

The Koplex Dayabumi tower of Kuala Lumpur

arches within arches at komplex Dayabumi

wild, attention-getting archtectural designs in Kuala Lumpur

the cental broadcasting tower

The Petronas Towers

But what happens when you do not have central air...

The architecture of Kuala Lumpur is stunning. There seems to be no central theme.  Like Los Angles, one needs a car to get around.  It was not designed for humans walking.

The difference between Buddhist Thailand and Islamic fundamentalist Malaysia was startling.  The smiles were gone.  The people carried themselves with a gravity of seriousness.  Most of the Malaysian women were covered.  Some of them so that only their eyes were visible.  At night, one rarely saw a woman at night unless she was accompanied by her husband.  The price of beer was $3-4 per small can.
Having said that, the people were friendly and honest.  Again, I myself have never felt threatened or endangered in an Islamic country.  But it may be very different in some Islamic countries, now that we have invaded them and killed hundreds of thousands.

I saw an interesting article in an English paper, I believe it was called THE STAR, in Kuala Lumpur.  It stated that in the state HISTORY BOOK used in the schools, over 100 pages are devoted to the history of Islam and the life of Mohammed, but only 460 WORDS are used to describe ALL the other religions in the world.  Locals had appealed for the Koran and Islamic studies to be talk as part of the publicly funded Religious Studies instead.  But no, ALL students in Malaysia MUST study the Koran.   Do the blasphemy laws come next?
This is what Richard Dawkins describes as severe early child abuse and brainwashing.   Fundamentalists of all persuasions know well that that if you can get to the children young enough, you can brainwash them for life.  Much like the cigarette industry knew that if you could get a kid to smoke 100 cigarettes before their 16th birthday, there was a 50% chance that they would smoke until their death.
And this is my objection and revulsion to all fundamentalisms across the board.  The kids never have a free chance to develop their minds.

The GSM phone system here in South East Asia is superb.  For $20 I bought a functioning phone.  For each country I go to, I buy a $3 SIMM card.  it generally costs me about 10 cents US a minute, and I appear to be able to call anyplace in the world.  Is the US missing something here?

a vegetarian soya chicken with a 'bamboo' chicken bone!

The best vegetarian buffet I have ever had

I ate at perhaps the best vegetarian buffet in my life, with 25 courses, for $3.  I had never seen vegetarian food done so well.

The delicious, rare, and expensive mangosteen. Maybe my favorite tropical fruit

One eats the whitish pulp surrounding the central seed.  It has an exquisite mix of aromatic, tart, and sweet.  It is said that Queen Victoria offered a 100 pounds sterling to anyone who could deliver a fresh one to her.  No one ever collected, because the fruit just lasts at most a few days, and only grows in extremely tropical weather.  What does it taste like?  I cannot describe it.  It only tastes like a mangosteen.  To taste a mangosteen, you MUST simply go to where they grow.  And yes, they are that fine.

South East Asia is booming, with high industrial growth rates and appreciating currencies.

If you wonder where the US jobs have gone, look no further.  Within a 100 miles of Bangkok in all directions factories are sprouting up all over.  And what are they producing?  Steel, glass, auto parts, electronics.  All the things that the US used to make.  The same is true in Malaysia.  These are rapidly rising economies.  Kuala Lumpur is a boom city.  Does anyone still remember Ross Perot talking about all the jobs being sucked out of the US?  The UAW, the Steelworkers Union, and the rest of the unions were right about one thing:  There goes the high-paying manufacturing jobs.  Almost all economic research shows that the #1 cause of government deficits is NOT increased government spending but LOSS OF TAXABLE BASE.  And this is exactly what has happened within the US.

Recently I have had a few good-paying teaching job offers here in SE Asia.  I must state that I have thought about taking one of them, just to see…

Note the nozzle next to the toilet. The 'poor woman's' bidet.

You may file this under the ‘too much information please’ column, but… Almost all guest houses and hotels here have what I call the ‘poor person’s bidet’.  It consists of a flexible spray nozzle that one uses after ones toilette.  It is a most sanitary feature.  I do like bidets.  But they are expensive and take up a lot of bathroom space.  I will be installing one of these nozzles in my home when I return, right next to my toilet.

The Katu cave above Kuala Lumpur

Tamil flower vendors. They create these ephemeral works of art, daily, by hand. Wow.

And will someone please explain this green pigeon to me???

One Response to #6 from South East Asia — Kuala Lumpur, Bidets, and Islamic culture and architecture, where the US jobs have gone, and more food

  1. Yes, Susan, I do think it was dyed. But the dye job looked so authentic. No blotching or anything.

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