Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Starting The Second Phase

As you know, I've already finished my degree last May. In 2 and a half months time will be my convocation. After resting for a month at home, it is finally the time for the kick start of my second phase- my master degree.

I'll be returning Kampar soon and be an RA (Research Assistant) while waiting for the application of my masters program.

Many of my friends went different paths. Some have already started working, some choose the same path as me while some are still trying to figure out what they want to do. I'll missed them, especially when I return to lab.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Visit to Guang Xi, China.

I just came back from the Guang Xi province not long ago. My family members and I went for an 8 days tour and we visited Guilin, Hezhou, Yangshuo, Lipu and Xingan. This time, instead of summarizing what I experience each day, I'll tell you the interesting facts I discovered in Guang Xi. Facts different from what we see in our country.

1. Road.
I don't know if I should comment that Chinese are very terrible or good drivers. They are very scary drivers. They turn when they feel like turning and stop in the middle of the road even if there are cars behind. There are a lot, really A LOT of motorcyclist and cyclists on the road to make the matter worse. Not only car drivers need to avoid other cars, they need to keep an eye on the motorcyclist and pedestrians whom go in random directions. There is no one minute that I cannot hear honks. And I mean honkS. However, they are good drivers because despite the complicated and busy road, there are very little road accidents.

The Chinese driving on the left already confused me, having a very busy and complicated road system did not help much. There are very little traffic lights on the road.

The motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians are not afraid of bigger vehicles, even buses and lorries. They will not budge an inch even when the vehicle is just one foot behind.

When I mention motorcyclists, I do not really mean the petrol-driven motorbikes. Majority of the motorbikes (like 95%) are electrical bikes. They are as big as the usual motorbikes and are allowed to cruise on main roads and even highways like the normal bikes. But, electric motorcyclists do not need to wear helmets, like they are not prone to accidents as the petrol-driven motorcyclists. In fact, only motorbike taxi drivers need to wear helmets. Maybe helmets are part of their uniform. Helmets do not serve the purpose of protection.

Also, the fare to use highways are very costly. Approximately 250km in Malaysia, like from Klang to Kampar costs RM 25. Over in Guang Xi, the same distance cost up to 220RMB, that is about RM 110!

2. People.
There are 56 ethnics in China as opposed to the 3 main ones in Malaysia. In China, the majority are the Hans (I am a Han as well!). Other ethnics whom village I've visited are the Yao, Zhuang, and Hakka among others which name I do not remember. Each tribe lives in an area and speak their own dialect. Unlike how majority of (Malaysian) Chinese in Klang speak Hok'kien even though they are not Hok'kien people, the (China) Chinese only speak their tribe dialect and Mandarin. They do not understand other dialects. As oppose to this, due to media influences, many (Malaysian) Chinese can speak Cantonese as an additional dialect.

Each ethnic also have their own culture. For instance, one of the tribes which name I've forgotten, measure beauty by the darkness of the skin. Also, the man with the darkest skin gets to become the village leader. Although there are also Hakkas in Malaysia, they are not sensitive towards words like "xiao jie" (miss). However, Hakkas in the Hakka village (in Yangshuo), are very, very sensitive towards the word "xiao jie". "Xiao jie" should not be addressed to girls as this word is only used for prostitutes. The Hakka houses are also easily recognized by the display of their family name on the door.

The Chinese are very talented. I can confidently say that they are the only race in the world that can perform amazing acrobatic shows. Amazing! Small girls bend like they are boneless and small boys have the strength that could fight a bull. Imagine the discipline they have to train since they were toddlers.

One of the best acrobatic show ever!

How did they even thought of using ducks to fish?

Also, I've noticed that compared to Malaysia, there are lesser, who do I put this? Let's just say fleshy girls. No, I'm not saying that Malaysian girls are fat. Certainly no. I've seen supermodel slim figures. But I've noticed that in Guang Xi, only 1 out of 200 girls are fat. Even old ladies are thin. Besides, unlike how there are a handful of guys who have their ears pierced, I've never seen even just one guy with pierced ear in Guang Xi. Why?

3. Food.
If you think you like Chinese food in Malaysia, you might not have the same thought when you try real Chinese food. They are so very different from our Chinese food. They do not have 'bah kut teh' or 'char kueh teow' or 'laksa'. People in Guang Xi likes sour and spicy. They have a local specialty which smells, excuse me, but it smells like unwashed toilet. Their breakfast are porridge, mantou, their local 'mee hoon' (which, I swear are noodles!), noodles (which are 'kueh teow' ==), dumplings, pau with 'mee hoon' inside, soya bean milk and some weird kuih-muih. I've never been to Shanghai but according to my mom, she said in Shanghai people likes eating sweet stuff. Every dish is added with sugar. How weird... but similarly, if the Chinese came over to Malaysia, they might feel our food is weird. Lol.


So-called 'mee hoon'.


While I was having a stroll in Hezhou one night, just to experience their night life. My dad discovered something, which to me is horrifying. Apparently, there were hawker stalls which sells exotic animal flesh. These stalls provide the service of slaughtering and cooking any type of animal meat you want to have that night. Snakes, dogs, you name it. Cruelty!

Guang Xi have their locally made beer. With alcohol level of only 3%, there's no problem drinking the whole bottle yourself.

There are also plenty restaurants I saw in Guang Xi which tables are no higher than 2 feet and instead of chairs, customers sit on short stools. Feels like China, yes. Lol.

4. Environment.
Well, I would say the government spent a lot and made an effort to preserve the natural and beautiful environment. It is indeed, the best place for photo-taking. Parks looked like ancient China, like those we see in TVB dramas. Even newly build building have ancient Chinese influence instead of adopting modern architecture. According to the tour guide, there are over 300,000 hills/mountains in Guang Xi, the state with the most mountains. So, yes, Guang Xi is a vacation spot for sight seeing.

Mom, tasau and niece. Hilly background is obscured by thick mist.

On the other hand, I personally feel Guang Xi, although the parks and vacation spots are kept clean, other public areas like the walkway, roads, certain restaurants and open air shopping area are not as clean. There were papers and cards everywhere. The ground are constantly wet with dirt mark everywhere. What I can't handle most is people throwing rubbish on the floor when there's rubbish bins around. Perhaps more effort should be put into keeping the whole town clean.

 Underground shopping place. Not that clean.

Well, that's all I can think of now. After gaining a few kgs and a few shades darker, I'm back with more experience. It's kind of irony thinking how we are all Chinese, with the same skin colour and common ancestors, we are actually very different from each other.