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It took me a moment there to realize that I was suddenly involved in an dialogue. My friend, Michelle and I were invited by our lecturer/friend to be volunteers in the 7th Melakan International Youth Dialogue (MIYD) held in Melakan International Trade Centre (MITC) Ancasa Hotel from the 25th to the 27th of June 2007 by World Assembly of Youth (WAY). The topic at hand was Youth Tourism; and I had no idea about the whole concept of this event and the background of the organization holding this event. Delegates from various countries were involved were namely from; Hong Kong, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, South Africa, Yemen, Libya, Bosnia and Hezergovina, Gambia, Namibia, Kenya etc.


As they say, the rest is history and I would very much conclude that it wasn't a wasted effort spending and slogging 3 days in a sub par "international" hotel. Mind you, MITC is supposed to be an international hub for Melaka, located in the "Cyberjaya of Melaka". Okay, perhaps this isn't a very good start to this entry, seeing me give cynical comments on the hotel; but indeed it was rather shabby and did not potray a good image for such an international event. The organization was a bit, as I would say, disorientated; but everything took a rather cool and calm, friendly approach to people.

Skipping the sequence of events, there are a few things that I actually managed to realize during these 3 days. I would like to firstly state how grateful I am that I have Malaysian tastebuds. Throughout this event, I got to know African people and observed that during lunches and dinner, they could not eat much because their tastebuds were not accustomed to many types of different food. They did serve foreign food and we Malaysians merrily had our very own share. Asking them, they told me that the food was too salty, too spicy, too sour, too sweet. You may have never realized this, but we have the upperhand when going for international events. We just take whatever food thats comes by to us (not the Fear Factor kind though) and we don't have much of a problem adapting to eating different things.

Another one thing I realized was the importance of Sejarah or History, that we studied for many many years in high school. Gosh, you have no idea how all that studies came in handy during the 3 days there. Questions ranging from, "Why is Malaysian so diverse?" or "How did Malaysia come about?" or "What is the significance of the Red Square in the middle of Melaka?" to "Why was A Famosa built?" And it didn't stop there, at every question, there were little branches. It was a constant pop quiz. I was hyper, so I knew more people and more people knew me, I put myself in the spot vulnerable to questions, but I was okay. I loved it. I loved showing the uniqueness of my country, I loved telling them about the historical sites and our nature reserves. There was so much to say and too little time.

The event's objective itself was to come out with a declaration for the role of Youth in the field of tourism. I was volunteer as well as participant at the same time. During the discussions, I really loved the fact that there foreign delegates were people representing their countries. Not any random people who you pick from high schools or youth organizations, but leaders, and members who had eloquence and stood out. Every foreign delegate had pride in their country. They spoke with confidence and assertiveness and that brought me to question whether I would be a person worthy of representing my country in more international events.

I think it was great, the whole experience I mean. Being able to step forward as a Malaysian and tell people what Malaysia is all about and our culture and history. When in the moment, the urge to say, "my country is beautiful and unique" will just definitely come by. Also, you feel very proud when you clad yourself in traditional attire. I know I felt very Malaysian on the last night's dinner. The whole event wasn't "very much" international, but enough to give me a taste of how things can be in such an event, and I like it.

I feel like taking this one step further. I don't just want to volunteer in these events, I want to represent my country in international events. The pressure is high on you when in the moment because your country's reputation falls on your shoulders, your English, your manners, your dressing, your ethics are all under scrutiny, but in the end friendship is built, knowledge on various countries increase and finally it is all worth it.


Here are some pictures :



Mini Malaysia, Ayer Keroh, Melaka



A hand at dancing



From Bosnia, discussion about Cultural Tourism.



Ms. Memory from Zimbabwe.



At the Chief Minister of Melaka's house.



South Africa and Gambia representative.



Batik Designing.



From Hong Kong, Yemen, Korea and Malaysia.



They got too hyper.



:)

7 mad rant(s):



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  1. kuffar lime said...

    Your country only celebrates diversity superficially unfortunately. All these tourism mumbo-jumbo and hocus-pocus is used to shield the hard facts. What a shame!  

  2. Arbitary Juggernaut said...

    Maybe, but can you really blame the people for the faults of politics? Yes maybe our government is sugar coating the truth, but which government doesn't? We Malaysians still BELIEVE in that our country is a multi-racial one. Can you say the same for your people? ;)

    ~Homo sum, Humani nil a me alienum puto~
    -I am human, and nothing human is alien to me-  

  3. thwen said...

    It's sad to say that our History textbooks are biased... Some of the truth are not covered, facts are removed and what's left might be the 'suitable' version for students to study for the exams, and not to question more about anything else (particularly on sensitive issues).  

  4. Eries said...

    lets take them as two entities. tourism and politics.

    every country has its own probs and nobody is perfect. i may complain about the politics, but i may also be greatful that i have a roof over my head and a life to look forward to instead of a war ridden territory where everyone is equal... in the sense that you may be shot in the head and killed at any second.

    its a matter of perspective...

    let this event that unites be a joyous occasion.  

  5. kuffar lime said...

    It's easy to lump your rights and freedoms as politics while you see it slowly being eroded. You may not be shot at but don't tell you want to deal with racism by just doing nothing. If people like you have given up the "fight", how will the little ones fare? The truth I'm just a little one with only a more powerful voice on the internet.

    The event can be a joyous occasion but remember that the unity is just a facade, a charade.

    Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason. - Abraham Joshua Heschel  

  6. Arbitary Juggernaut said...

    Well said kuffar! I concede. ;)  

  7. jasmine said...

    oh wow... that must have been fun huh? meeting people and getting to talk about stuff... wuuu...  


 

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