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Being Malaysian: What does it mean?

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Words: @oliverinstead • Location: PETRONAS Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur

Whenever my ethnicity is questioned, I am always “Malaysian first, Chinese second” Y’know, except for the times I go undercover or register for free airport Wi-Fi… but that tends to raise more questions than it answers; fo’ real, what does it really mean?

 

For starters, being Malaysian means your ancestors had probably done their fair share of travelling since about half the Malaysian population is of non-native descent. In my case, all my grandparents came from some corners in Mainland China… but I claim to be no Chinaman!

 

Because the country is so rich in cultural diversity, being Malaysian almost always means being multilingual. As someone who travels to live, I cannot stress the importance of this attribute enough. It’s allowed me to navigate my way around many countries with ease – whether it’s Britain or Brunei, I could speak at least one of the locals’ languages.

travel-Malaysia-KLCC2On the flip side of that, being Malaysian also means your physical traits shall be subjected to scrutiny in the form of “yeah… but where are you really from tho?” and at times even “if you’re from Malaysia, why do you look *inserts another Asian nationality*?

In all fairness, it’s not unusual that I’m mistaken for a native when I travel to foreign countries neighbouring Malaysia. So it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that I could also be half-Thai / half-Filipino… with a pinch of Javanese somewhere down the line. #sarcasm

 

But I’m ok with that.

 

The fact remains : I’m still learning about my motherland and I probably learned more about it in the last seven, eight years since I moved away than I ever did growing up in this tropical melting pot. Nowadays, I build upon my understanding and appreciation by exploring a new region or six whenever I return… and truth be told : never had I realised more, that my home really does have so much to offer.

What about you? Have you ever been to Malaysia? What does being *inserts your nationality* mean to you? I want to know so spill it all in the comments below!! x

 

Oliver ❤

Chit-chats Travel Tuesday

I quit my job to travel!?

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Words: @oliverinstead • Location: Somewhere pretty in Phnom Penh

So for those who follow me on socials, I’m sure you would’ve noticed that I’m currently touring Southeast Asia / working my way through the map from Phnom Penh to Penang, from Kampot to Kuching.

Today, I would like to chat quickly and briefly about why I decided to quit my day job to travel for two months. Continue Reading

Travel Tuesday

Five things I learned about: Copenhagen

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Words: @oliverinstead • Location: Museum of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen Street Food, iBagel

Scandinavia is somewhere I had always wanted to explore more of, which explains why I’ve been there twice already this year. Earlier this year I took a sort of impromptu trip to the Norwegian capital (cue my Oslo ‘Five things’ post here) and ended up having the best time so with this Copenhagen trip, the mentality was very much “let’s do it all over again!!

Now that I’ve been there and done that, here are five things I learned that I would love to share with everyone planning a trip to Copenhagen, specifically during wintertime… Continue Reading

Chit-chats Fashion

My Christmas wishlist • w/ Manière De Voir

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Words & Photo: @oliverinstead

Since my return from Vienna last month, I’ve been coping with some health condition that led to quite an emotional strain… hence why I’ve been MIA on the blogosphere but hey, it’s December! Translation : ain’t nobody got time for medical complications in Dec so I’m back today in a festive mood + with a Christmas wishlist of my own whilst introducing to you my new favourite brand, Manière De Voir! Continue Reading

Chit-chats Travel Tuesday

Five things I learned about: Vienna

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Words: @oliverinstead • Location: The Schönbrunn Palm House, DDSG Blue Danube, etc.

If you’re following me on social (find me on Instagram / Twitter), you probably know that I spent most of the past week in Vienna. As anticipated, it was an awesome trip and throughout my brief stay there, I made a few observations and now I like to share ’em with you so here are five things I learned about the lively capital city of Austria. Continue Reading