Wednesday, June 20, 2007

a virtual visit to cyberjaya*

It’s 11:32 in Malaysia right now. I know that because I recently discovered sentraal station, which, as far as I can tell, is a compendium of blogs (plus a little online clock) by Malaysians in Malaysia and the diaspora (I love saying, “and in the diaspora”—it’s such a great word). Now that I’ve finally finished A History of Malaysia, I’m all about living in the now.

Reading this book has made me realize that, as much as I love history, I could never be a historian, because they’re all about original sources, and I’m all about well-written narratives. I don’t want to be a detective; I want to read a good mystery. But because blogs are original sources that often contain well-written narratives, I can get into them.

One day while clicking “next blog,” I stumbled across a Malaysian blog with a historical bent called Kecek-Kecek. It appears to be written by a guy living in the UK who’s a bit homesick for his native Trengannu, about which he relays lots of interesting facts and anecdotes. Just yesterday I clicked on his “Gare du Blog” link and found sentraal station, which I’m slowly clicking my way through. I have yet to find a Kuching or Sarawak blog, but I’m hoping someone from sentraal will come across this post and give me a heads-up.

Isn’t technology amazing?

Of course, there are downsides to this universal culture. One is that I’m researching rural life in Sarawak, and most English-language Malaysian bloggers are going to be middle-class urbanites. Another is that it’s too damn universal: I can tell you all about what one blogger thinks about Johnny Depp. (Which, of course, does tell me something about Malaysian culture, just not the thing I need to know.)

*-jaya can be found at the end of ancient kingdom names like Srivijaya, so perhaps it’s appropriate that Malaysia named the new tech corridor near Kuala Lumpur Cyberjaya.

4 comments:

thelastnoel said...

I read an interesting news bit in Asian Week. Malaysian women are protesting recruiting Chinese women to work as maids. Apparently, these Chinese women are seductresses who will fool around with their husbands. The article went onto discuss how Malaysia is experiencing a shortage of domestic workers. Workers from Indonesia and The Philippines don't want to work there anymore because conditions for domestic help is so bad. Um, maybe I went on too long abou this.

Cheryl said...

No, that's really interesting. When I was in Singapore, I read this article in a women's magazine that was all "horror stories about the help"--things like, "My Filipina maid slept with a knife under her pillow," and I couldn't help but think, "Maybe she needed to. Do you know what your husband's up to?"

Awang Goneng said...

Hi Cheryl,

Thanks for visiting my site.
I enjoyed your Faux Snow Rabbit so much I've got it copied and pasted in my treasury of wonderful things.

Cheryl said...

Wow, thanks!