Aunt Sariah

I first met aunt Sariah on the second day – it was a strange encounter. Since I couldn’t bike, I had to stayed behind at the hut to wait for everyone else. Because I was bored, I was folding origami flowers when aunt Sariah approached me. “ Do you want to see my cats?” I was taken surprised by the question as I was fixate onto the paper. Looking up, I saw her gazing and smiling cheerfully at me. She told me to refers to her as Auntie – she was very friendly and talkative. It was unanticipated how fluent aunt Sariah was in English; aunt Sariah is very eager to speak to tourists so she can improve her English – sadly her children were not as brave – she told me jokingly. She was an elderly woman at the age of 60 yet she was as energetic as a child. She told me she would spend most of her free time biking along the narrow path of the paddy fields; her love for biking was the reason she decided to started this bike tour: “ The views along the bike tracks are magnificent. The  ivory of the sun complement with greenness of the rice plants. Truly a beautiful scenery.”

I was able to learn a variety of cultural customs and daily activities of a typical Malaysian family from aunt Sariah. Aunt has three children, two sons that were around my ages and one daughter who is currently studying in a university at Kuala Lumpur. Her husband and sons were currently accompanying the others on their biking tour.

Aunt Sariah is very fond of cats. Currently, she has ten cats, five of which are kitties – they are all stray cats that wandered into her house. Not only her adores cat but her daughter also love cats. That’s why none of her family members were object to aunt Sariah taking care of so many cats. She told me she had much more cats before, but they either died of old ages or left on their own – she doesn’t put a chain on them so they are free to go wherever they like. Nonetheless, aunt Sariah treasures one cat very dearly: he was an old black cat with an bandaged leg. When I commented on his ebony black fur, aunt Sariah laughed gently as she explained her believes cheerfully: “ It’s because he was black that he often got beaten severely by his previous owner. I believe in superstitious things but that’s a lame excuse to treat an animal inhumanely.” Although the old cat’s injured leg costs aunt Sariah a lot of money, she wanted to relieve the cat of his misfortune. Aunt Sariah was the first person I made friend with during the trip, and she was older than my mom.

Week Without Walls’ Reflection

The trip to Malaysia is my first and last WWW trip. I didn’t expect much fun from the trip at first as its purposes were educations, but my expectations were soon proven wrong. The trip is exceptional in term of cultural and historical exchange. Instead of learning through simple guides, we were force to discover the information ourselves from the places assigned. The tasks encourage individuals to take initiatives in leadership, resourcefulness and teamwork. The trip was meaningful, to me personally, as I unexpectedly found fun in meeting new people.

Upon my arrival to the city of Malacca, I was not as impressed as I had hoped. Malacca city was bucolic; it gave me the impression of the rural cities in Vietnam; in particular, Hoi An. And to me, these beautiful spectacles were boring. However, I surprisingly found singular things in the simplicity likeness of Malacca city and Vietnam’s rustic city.

The first thing that stunned me was the language. Unlike the Vietnamese, most of the Malaysians, ranging from small children to elderly, know how to speak English fluently without any difficulties.

Secondly, the visibility of the historical values of the city. Everywhere, there were numerous monuments, honoring the history of the country, such as the Dutch Square of Malacca. Truthfully speaking, Hoi An is no different from Malacca city. This is most evident in the Old Town of Malacca we visited on the third day; nevertheless, Malacca historical imprints on the current lives of the people were astonishing. People live along their ancestors’ history, such as the weariness of the narrow streets  – some of the tarmacs were even falling apart, creating cracks and small holes – embedded the footprints of countless people.  Many of the local houses and shops, archaic with an old fashioned western style, were remains of hundred years old constructions by the past colonizers. History was being made and recorded at the same time in small city of Malacca.

The thing that impressed me the most was the genial nature of the locals. During our activities in the city and the old town, the locals were gladly offering their help and explaining to us the stories behind the places we visited. In addition, the people were eager to make friends with us. The students in the Indian school and Malaysian school were more than happy to chat and play with us – we even traded facebook and skype with each others. Not only from people in my age group but I also found the amiability in older people. The people from our inn showered us with unquestionable hospitality, and tried their best to make us feel comfortable.
Overall, the trip was an interesting experience. We were taught another meaning of fun in a completely distinct perspective – and, indeed, it was fun.