Me and Malaysia are just not getting along. Pretty much everything about this place irritates me and I’m pretty sure it’s because Malaysia and I, have the same issue. A travel friend described it best the other day, “I feel like Malaysia is having an identity crisis. She can’t seem to figure out who she wants to be.” Thanks for pointing out the elephant in the room, excuse me while I stuff my skeleton back in the closet.
Malaysia is trying desperately to be seen as a ‘place to be’in Asia and is largely succeeding. A block from my hotel here in Kuala Lumpur (KL) is what I can only describe as Rodeo Drive meets Times Square… in Asia. In Johor Bahru (JB) we stayed in a 3 star hotel and here in KL, we are in a 4 star hotel. They look beautiful. I am presently sitting on the toilet in the bathroom with my laptop propped up on the sink because it is this outlets turn to decide to grace me with power. I will move outlets 4 times while writing this. When one gives up, I move about until I find another willing to work. I have had one hot shower since I left Hawaii. The shower in JB had a Rave inside the shower head and the moment you moved the faucet control past the midline point you had face of the sun, hot water. 2 minutes later, dark side of the moon, cold. Here in KL, mostly lukewarm water with chances of scattered ice cold, sprinkled with scalding hot. I can’t get a steady internet connection ANYWHERE. But there is a TON of cash flowing through this place.
Malaysia is on her way, she just doesn’t know to where.
I help people for a living. Well, rather, helped. I have taught Yoga for 12 years, wellness for 6, rehab of varying degrees for 2. Time and time again my students and clients come to me and ask, “What is your secret? Please help me. Your life is completely together.”
I stopped looking behind and around me when this question is asked because it just confuses everyone even more. Instead I smile and listen to their issue and offer suggestions based upon their current situation. I’m talking divorce, dis-ease, death, adultery, eating disorders, sex changes… the list goes on. But always the same plea, “Please tell me how to fix my life, you have yours together.”
Inside, my response went something like this…
Staring at my feet
Smug look followed by gesturing in the general direction of my face…
“Oh this? This hot mess? Luck. Puuuuuure Luck.”
I mean this is the kid that unlatched the safety gate and took her bouncy walker down the stairs into a wall, cried, and then did it again.
People pay me to fix their lives and their bodies. Can you believe that? I have a 5 star rating on Yelp and students that still, years after they took my last class, email me to thank me for touching their life.
Me and Malaysia. Rolling at a 5 star rating. Duck taped together.
We have another thing in common as well. Malaysia is a melting pot. Only something like 40% of the people here are Malaysian. The rest come from China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines and India. Kuala Lumpur is a massive city with millions of people and a billion dollar cash flow but feels empty. Like, in its Soul kind of empty.
New York is a melting pot. Paris is a melting pot. Vancouver is a melting pot. But you can describe what those cities FEEL like. Kuala Lumpur feels like confusion. People aren’t Kuala Lumpurians, they are simply people from *insert country of origin* living in Kuala Lumpur. There is no identity as a city or as a nation.
When I graduated High School, I joined a touring theater group called Up With People. The show consisted of 4 groups (Africa, Europe, Asia and America) who get into conflict and then find a way to peacefully resolve their issues. One of my cast mates asked me what I was. My response, “Human?” She meant Racially. I had to call my Mom and ask.
The group I was mostly placed in was Africa, then Asia, then Europe, with only one appearance, for one show, in America when they mistakingly attempted to cast me in a swing number. It turns out that the Charleston is my nemesis. If you are a swing dancer and we ever meet at a Swing event, please, for your own safety, do not throw in a Charleston.
My point is that I am a Chameleon. I can blend in, for the most part, to any place I am in. When I’m in India people think I’m Indian; when I’m in Spanish Harlem, I’m Puerto Rican; when I’m in Brooklyn, I’m “the light skinned girl”. I have found a way to disappear into what ever culture I’m in, or person for that matter. Spend enough time with me and I can imitate your walk, your talk and your mannerisms.
Sometimes I feel like I’m pieces of everyone and everything around me, but not a whole Me.
When I got divorced, a friend of mine asked me what the hardest part was. I told him it was being a part of something, a family, a community, and then not. I had spent 6 years as a member of an Asian family, with all its boundaries, expectations and roles and then all that ceased to exist. I was left without the identity I had taken on, been adopted into. I had this culture that had become a piece of me, that was now a part of my history, but I felt much like 2 virgins on prom night who never got the birds and bees talk from their parents. I was all elbows and knees in my own Being. I didn’t feel like me, like anyone.
Likewise, in my professional life, I’m a jack-of-all-trades. I can yoga you, massage you (Thai, Ayurvedic, Lymphatic, Deep Tissue, Swedish, Trigger Point), rehab you, feed you, organize you, herb you, balance you, teach you to cook, eat, think, move for your constitution. I read pulse, I’m a Clairvoyant, I do Structural Movement Therapy, Reiki, Craniosacral…
Yeah, try putting that in a website and not overwhelming someone, let alone answering the gem of a question, “So what do you do?”
Baby, what don’t I do?
Plus, there is no place on this planet I would rather bethan India. Drop me in the dirtiest, busiest, armpit of India, with no running water, toilets, change of clothes, nothing no nada. I’ll look around and go, “Yeah, this looks good. Ill pitch a tent right over there.”
Any yet I love to get all gussied up and go out to the Ballet. Fanciness delights me.
Are you confused yet, cause I am.
I don’t really know where I’m going with this. Obviously. I have been hating Malaysia for a week now. With her Ritz Carlton and Marriott Hotels and her ghettos. How dare she be beautiful and ugly. Rich and poor. Damn her and all her many aspects still trying to figure out how they can come together as a whole.
Who the fuck does she think she is?!?!?!
Maybe that’s why, while I have a 5 star rating, I don’t have clients lining up to receive my services. Not because I don’t have all the answers, but because I still believe I need to.