Malaysia 101

I've been making a lot of lists lately. My way of ordering my scattered thoughts, I suppose. On that note, I put together a couple of interesting facts that I have gathered about Malaysia:

History: Colonized by the British. It was occupied by Japan for several years during WWII. Independence came in 1957.

Sport: One of Malaysia's proudest moments was earning a silver medal in the 2008 Olympics in badminton (the first medal I think they've ever won). Badminton is a seriously competitive sport here!

Industry: Major exports are rubber (at least used to be) and palm oil. In fact, much of Malaysia's forests have been cut down to grow palm plantations. IT is also a growing industry here. In Penang, we have Intel, Dell, Motorola and Sony factories which make & assemble electronics parts like microchips. And yet...electronics aren't any cheaper here!

Politics: Malaysia is technically a democratic parliamentary system, but the locals are always complaining about politics and that democracy actually takes place. The British handed over their authority to the Malays, and the Malays have ruled ever since. There are elections this year, and there's talk of them being voted out for the first time. It's illegal to speak against the ruling party, so there's not much the opposition party can do in terms of campaigning against them. (Sidenote: This is a quote from the prime minister last week when someone suggested that the electoral candidates hold a public debate: "Malaysians are far too sentimental and emotional to appreciate arguments that are presented rationally. The Malaysian public is not yet that mature. This is not America. And even in America, the debates all expose how stupid the candidates are, that’s all." Wow, definitely not America, indeed!)

Justice system: Drug trafficking is punishable by the death penalty. Even foreigners! Death is by hanging. They also utilize corporal punishment by caning.

Shoe Designers: Jimmy Choo is from Malaysia.

In the news: Just read this on BBC this afternoon.

Entertainment: A movie ticket costs $3-4 dollars, depending on the day. I've been seeing commercials for the movie "SeeFood" for a few months now, and I assumed it was a Pixar film. Turns out it is Malaysia's first animated feature film!

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