Tuesday, November 01, 2011
PERTH - and why they all stayed and stayed....
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting last week , ended Sunday.
The flags and banners are still up everywhere in and around the city. Everyone knows about CHOGM.
Foreign journalists and delegates were going around the city with their tags on them.
Security was tight but not as, say, in the US, where the President would be staying or be going to. They're paranoid, these Americans. Can't quite blame them. But so over and over cautious and, yep, paranoid.
And their (American) security guys and gals, very FBI-like (maybe they are FBI), look fierce and unfriendly.
They look at you like you're going to, er, blow up their buildings or, er...you know do some mischief to their president.
Over here, well, at least in Perth, don't know about the other Oz cities -- the policemen and women, those uniformed security guys -- they are nice when keeping the peace during CHOGM. They are friendly. And they talk nice to you.
Actually, come to think of it -- most people in Perth are nice. never met a not-nice person in Perth.
I tell you, if you have no commitment in Malaysia, or you have nolove for your tanah tumpah darah and you have great skills and talents (don't know whether this is a requirement), you'd want to come here and stay.
In my short stay here, I've met so many Malaysians -- of all races, and surprisingly a lot of Malays who are permanent residents here or who are Oz citizens.
Unlike most Malaysians I've met in the US, the UK and some European countries, (so many of) the Malays (I'll touch on them because I spoke to many of them) here, have been living in Western Australia for decades..
"I've lived here for 40 years," said one.
"30 tahun dah", said another.
They've got families here.
"It's a good place to live", they seemed to echo.
Also there are quite a number of Malaysian eating places including Malay restaurants. There's Insan's Cafe run by a guy from Shah Alam, Makan-Makan Cafe (run by a guy from Terengganu) that's hugely popular with Malaysian and foreign students because it closes at 11pm, and several others.
A new one, Makan-Makan Bistro just opened about a week ago. It is run by the Makan-Makan Cafe guy and his partners, one of whom is a lady from Shah Alam.
Back to the the Malays here -- The Malays who've been here the longest, originated from Singapore and Malacca who were working in the phosphate mines in Christmas Island.
They came to Perth -- some after the Japanese occupation of Christmas Island, or following some dispute with their employers -- and were given an option -- to return to Malaya or to come and reside in Australia. That was decades ago.
Some were working as divers and after they retired, they stayed on.
So I was told.
Then there are former students of Australian institutes of higher learning who continued staying here, found good jobs, married Australians, had families etc. But many Malaysians married Malaysians they met here as well.
And, of course, the immigrants (from Malaysia) who came to this part of Australia looking for greener pasture and found it.
I was told that there are some 20,000 Malaysians in Western Australia, out of whom around 10,000 are Malays.
And I believe that this is the biggest number of Malays, and Malaysians (diaspora) in one single place, living off Malaysian soil and shores.
I do not wonder at all why they like or love this western Australian city.
I've always liked Australia the first time I visited the cities. Then, when I went to Canada, I liked it, a little bit more than Australia. So, if I were compelled to make a choice of residing abroad, it would be either a Canadian or Australian city.
The downside about Canada, is that it is so far away....
I've lived in the US, visited several major European cities including the UK several times. But, never felt like I'd want to stay longer than I should. Maybe London because of familiarity and people I know.
Or Boston (where I went to study) maybe. Or New York -- love the energy, the vibrance...
Not even Paris or Rome (great places to visit).
Certainly not in the way I'd speak of Canada or Australia.
Canada (well, at least, in Ontario) and Australia are nice places to live, to raise your kids. Great public transport, education, traffic...so many good things. The people are nice. Well, the ones I've met and come across with, anyway. And there are many.
Now, PERTH -- it is a really good, decent city. You get the feeling that the local government and authorities are doing so much for the people.
Public transport (bus) in the city is free. No traffic jam in the city.
Ok...so most shops and businesses are closed by 5 or 6pm. You'd get used to that. Only visiting Malaysians complain about this.
Anyway, going home when you should means that you know how to work and live your life.
Man, the Aussies (in Perth) sure do.
(I bet they live longer than us here in KL)
You can see them working out in the mornings and evenings -- running or cycling around or in their great public parks.
People are not rude. Motorists are not rude.
They don't look stressed. They look happy. Always smiling. Always polite....
Haven't met a rude Australian, though I'm sure there are some not nice things (and people). Just haven't come across any..
Oh..maybe that news report about a certain daughter of a certain PM who was said to have spent $60,000 shopping?
And she wasn't even in Perth. The newspaper got that wrong. Hate to think that they didn't check their facts first.....
Anyway....I know why these Malaysians (and others) decided to stay on in this lovely city.
But one thing is a bummer -- rising property prices....
(By the way...Sheila Majid was performing here for two nights - one was for a Malaysian businessmen's dinner...)
(And also -- the Al-Aqram outfit -- Club of Obedient Wives (Cow)? They got a restaurant here -- "Love and Care" right in the centre of the city...I'll ask them to change the name to "Love, Care and Share".)
Perth is getting more and more prosperous. I wonder whether the city will one day pay the price of "progress", if it hasn't already.
Or it will be wise in dealing with "progress".