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PostThailand/Malaysia Report (Massoud Malek, US; ex-Iran) (John Eipper, USA, 10/08/07 4:12 pm)
Massoud Malek writes:
A few days ago, I came to Malaysia from beautiful Southern
Thailand. Most people in the south are Muslims; to respect the Muslim
population, many restaurants owned by Buddhists don't serve pork.
Thai people love their King and Queen; many of them wear yellow shirts
(the royal color) with the royal emblem. Monday is the "King Day," so
you see yellow shirts all over the country. Baby blue is the color of
the Queen, so yellow and blue are what you see most of the time. There
are yellow royal flags everywhere in Thailand; huge posters of the
King and the Queen are in every city and town. I visited several
Buddhist and Muslim families; in every single house, I saw big
pictures of the royal family on the walls. By the way, the future King
is not liked and is not "same" as the King; but the oldest
daughter who was married once to an American, is loved by everyone.
Although I visited Malaysia 6 years ago for a few days, I don't know
much about the country yet. This time, at the Thai-Malay border, the
Immigration agent saw my American passport and told me to give him
$200 if I wanted to be let in; he said: "You are rich and
$200 is not much to you." After 5 minutes of tension and explaining
that I use my debit card and don't carry cash, I got the stamp on my
passport and I entered the country free of charge.
Malaysia is also a monarchy, the position of the head of the monarchy,
known to us as the King, is rotated every five years between the nine
Rulers of the Malay states. I guess Malaysians don't mind taking
care of nine royal families at once!
There is a Tibetan Buddhist temple close to my hotel. Last night, a
monk from that temple told me: "Bush needs to work on his karma; there
are many signs that his karma is not so good."
JE comments: Massoud Malek's post has inspired me to pose a question for the speculation of WAISdom: Given our rapidly declining dollar, how much longer before the international 'rich American' stereotype is no more? General perceptions do change over time; I am old enough (though just barely) to recall when 'made in Japan' was a synonym for shoddiness. Europeans already flock in droves to the US in search of travel and shopping bargains. Will they (as well as Asians), with a patronizing air, start seeing us very differently?
-- For information about the World Association of International Studies
(WAIS), and its online publication, the World Affairs Report, read its
homepage by simply double-clicking on: http://wais.stanford.edu/
John Eipper, Editor-in-Chief, Adrian College, MI 49221 USA