Budaya Beat March-April 2017

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Culture T Clubs

A visionary Johore school started it but a Perak school made it official.

wo intercultural clubs under the aegis of AFS Malaysia have been officially established in SMK Dato’ Panglima Perang Kiri in Tapah, Perak and SMK Pasir Gudang 3 in Johore with the objective of getting students of various races and backgrounds to gain better insight, understanding and appreciation of each other’s as well as international cultures. In her speech, SMK Dato’ Panglima Kiri principal Puan Siti Khadijah Ngosman welcomed the support and guidance of AFS to the fledgling club. “The presence of 12 AFS students in our school since 2012 has always been a positive one. Our students who mostly come from lower income families and have never travelled overseas are curious about AFS students and their culture and language. Interaction with them has helped these students improve their confidence levels, their communication skills, learn and appreciate more about their own cultures as well as gain knowledge and

Left: AFS Club initiator, Mrs. Premah showing the club’s newsletter to the representative from the Department of Education Below: Students perform ‘Endang’ at the launch


insight into countries they did not know much about before,” she said. The initiative to launch an AFS Club in the school was mooted by Perak Chapter Vice President, Mrs Premah Palaniandy. She said she wanted students in the school to lose their fear of international and intercultural learning experience. “Through this club, we hope to encourage

AFS students pose with AFS National office staff and Chair at a Chinese culture booth

Johore Chapter ICL Club members holding placards saying ‘Peace’ in many languages

them to embrace each other’s cultures, appreciate, understand and respect them. We will have fun activities and also reflection sessions that will help them improve their confidence and language skills,” she added. SMK Pasir Gudang 3 established their intercultural club last year in April but only made it official in 2017 because it wanted to ensure there was traction and acceptance first. Initiated by then Johore Chapter President who is now an AFS Malaysia board member, Puan Shoba Devi, the club mirrors the AFS vision of creating peace and understanding through intercultural

learning. “We want to create agents of peace and a body of volunteers who are willing to go the distance in achieving that vision by equipping them with intercultural knowledge and competence and develop their communication skills too,” she said. In both launch ceremonies, students of the club performed cultural dances and songs and SMK Pasir Gudang also held a Food Fiesta offering culinary delights from all states in Malaysia.




Changemakers in action

By: Vincent Jiam


y affiliation with AFS Malaysia began when my family and I hosted Roberto Colzani from Italy in 2013/14. This relationship increased our courage to put our children on AFS programs. I came to realize how good an opportunity it was to be able to send our children abroad as well as host students from abroad. The Pahang Chapter was launched two years ago but it was previously known as the Kuantan Chapter. Our chapter has organized field trips for hosted students for Inter-Chapter Festive Exchange and STE as well as our current and primary hosting of Giulia Monacelli of AFS Italy. In the recent STE, we actually covered more than 1000 kilometers in distance. We had activities such as cruising the river for “firefly watching�, seeing the mangrove swamps and visiting an elephant sanctuary. Our chapter also coordinates and partners with a few KL volunteers as well as Perak Chapter who serve as a great support to us. Recently, we engaged with the Perak Chapter and brought our hosted students to see the Rafflesia, the biggest flower in the world, and to Cameron Highlands. From the


Promoting AFS programs at schools

land to the sea, we wanted both students and their host families to experience the wonders and strengthen their bonds in the process. We need to remind ourselves that these Young Ambassadors aka AFS students are still young persons. Due to our limited time frame to deal with their problems (10-11 months per hosting cycle, if not less), it can be a difficult task. Different people have different levels of tolerance and sensitivity and sometimes, cultural clashes and misunderstandings happen. These clashes undoubtedly hurt, but not without hope of course, for therein lies our main focus of the AFS program.

Hosted students spending their time at the zoo during Short Term Exchange

This is when we make the effort to sit down to listen to all parties. We can learn to DIVE by Describe, Investigate, Verify and Evaluate. Nothing is really what it seems at the surface of the clash. Therefore, we encourage families and the hosted students to spend time together, have a meal together and help each other to understand. We remind ourselves that it is a life time learning experience for everyone. A plea of understanding is always sought and a second chance at peace between these parties. Sharing a peace-meal together does work. As there is also a saying in Jordan, “Anything can be settled over a cup of tea.� An idea always worth pursuing!

Roadshow at SMK Tok Sera on 13 March 2017 with Liann Wong and Syarifah Syamila.

Friendship with the local people. The local people of Pahang are the ones who make up the opportunities as students can learn about their culture just as much as the local people can learn about the foreign student’s culture as each person is unique. Everyone is special. We hope to establish a stronger team that could provide great support to families and students, and find more volunteers that can be host families in different parts of Pahang. Come to Pahang, where beauty awaits you!





elamat sejahtera kepada semua! I am currently living in Tapah under the Perak state chapter. To be honest, I’m not sure exactly why I chose Malaysia for my exchange year… but I’m so glad I did! Before I applied to come to Malaysia, I didn’t know much about the country beyond its general location, the big towers in Kuala Lumpur, and the missing airplanes. Among the five countries I could select for the BP scholarship I applied to, I chose Malaysia because Google Images told me it had the most beautiful beaches. Almost a


Daily before-meal prayers for uncle’s funeral

year later, I haven’t spent much time on the beach, but I still love living in Malaysia! I attend SMK Dato’ Panglima Perang Kiri, Tapah Road, and the school has been amazingly welcoming to me and the Belgian student who also attends SMKDPPK. As AFS students, we seem to get a lot of privileges, which sometimes bothers me since I don’t like getting special treatment that separates us from our classmates— but I really appreciate how the teachers and friends are so welcoming and treat us very well. I attend English, mathematics, additional

mathematics, biology, physics, and chemistry classes, and I enjoy learning on my own by following along in a bilingual textbook. I don’t do homework, which is an amazing break in stress compared to my life in the U.S, but I still learn. I also spend time in my host mom’s English classroom, reading, writing, working on a school newsletter, and doing other work. My host family is very loving and they treat me like their own daughter. Life with them isn’t always seamless, and sometimes I get annoyed with them. But at the end of the day, I know I am so lucky to have a

A procession for a Hindu festival

family like them. I am their fifth host daughter, but I have never felt like just another temporary inhabitant of their home; they are truly my family, and I can’t imagine life without ever meeting them! Homesickness was a huge challenge for me. Realizing I was at physically at the farthest place I could go from home was scary. There were days I wanted nothing more than to fly back to America and hug my mom. But now, more than halfway through, I wish time would slow down; I’m not ready to go back to the U.S! Another challenge has been the tendency for plans to be

cancelled and changed; this is difficult for me to get used to, but I have learned to be a much more relaxed person. I also had trouble feeling like an outsider; being an orang putih, I feel like people are always staring at me, and it’s difficult to fit in. Still, this is just a minor obstacle compared to all the amazing things I’ve participated in.

going for a run through Melaka one beautiful morning, cooking Thanksgiving dinner and eating it off banana leaves, spending 30 minutes in Thailand, having lunch with some Buddhist monks, playing hockey and badminton with fifteen family members for our own family Olympics, and so many other things!

It’s impossible to choose a single favorite moment from my experience in Malaysia. I have made so many memories that will stick with me for a lifetime, and the experiences that make this year incredible are a million small memories— having a full conversation in Malay, learning to cook with my host aunt,

I recently competed in the state level cross country meet, followed by the district track and field competition with my school. I had a great time with friends from all over the district, and it was so exciting to realize that I had made these friends almost entirely by speaking to them in Malay.


MALAYSIA MOMENTS One of my favorite things about Malaysia is that there are so many gorgeous temples. I’ve been to more Hindu and Buddhist temples this year than the entire rest of my life— well, before this year, I had never been to any. I love attending prayers in our town with my host family and also visiting the huge gorgeous temples throughout other parts of the country. A particularly unique part of my year came when I got to participate in the funeral prayers for my host uncle. His passing was extremely sad, and of course I would prefer that the family did not have to go through this, but this was an incredible experience. The entire extended family came from throughout Malaysia and stayed with us. For sixteen days, we prayed and sang before each meal, and on certain


Kolam I made for Deepavali!

days had major prayers at the temple or with the priest in our home. I learned so much in this time about Indian culture and realized the immense value that comes from immersion and living with a host family. I really enjoyed the time spent with fifteen family members in our home and realized how much I love this family. I have changed in so many ways, but at the same time realize traits about myself that have always been true. I have become more confident, less stressed, and more aware of the things that truly matter in life. I would absolutely recommend Malaysia to future AFS students. I would never have considered Malaysia without the scholarship I am on; I was set on doing AFS in Italy since I was 12 years old. But I am infinitely grateful that I ended

up in Malaysia. The country is so rich in culture and beauty, and I’ve never experienced anything like it. In one day, I can feel like I am in India, China, the Middle East, Britain, or the Pacific Islands. It is such a gift to be able to wake up hearing the Muslim call to prayer, later go visit a Chinese temple with a friend’s family, go to evening prayers in a Hindu temple with a family you love, and to watch the gorgeous sunset surrounded by mountains and palm trees. Malaysia is an extremely diverse country, and this diversity is beautiful. Of course there is culture shock, and being so far from home can be scary, but living in Malaysia can be such a wonderful, beautiful, colorful experience that it is absolutely worth it.

Visiting a Chinese temple in Ipoh. We climbed up hundreds of steps and were rewarded with an amazing view

Visiting friends in an orang asli village



Deeper Insight Through Cultural Immersion

By: Adla Sieno


y name is Adla Sieno, I am a 20 year-old AFS volunteer from Germany, whose passion is to get to know new cultures and a different point of view of the world. To satisfy my curiosity and need to know about cultural understanding, I decided to apply myself as an AFS participant to Malaysia. I already knew that Malaysia is a multi-cultural country,


with the unity of races - Malays, Chinese and Indians. So during my stay , I had the opportunity to get to know three different cultures at the same time. I am staying in an Indian children’s home, which is located in Taiping, Perak. Together with Sarah, another volunteer from Germany, we are involved in tuition classes as well as in office work. However,

regarding the children, I think we are more like big sisters, who try to help whenever we can. It was a completely new experience for me to be surrounded by 40 children, different in age, attitude and background. At the same time we had to get used to the Indian culture, which is totally unlike German culture. So I had to keep justifying to myself that how I see certain things through my cultural eyes

must be tempered by the new cultural milieu I was in now. This is sometimes very challenging because you have to revise your action or the way you are communicating, so that the person you are talking to, is not judging you. Though it was not very easy for me at the beginning, yet after completing the year, I see the Indian culture as a part of me which is mixed with my western point of cultural understanding. I am really grateful to be able to get to know the Indian culture because otherwise I would not experience its big festivals like Deepavali, Ponggal or Thaipusam. In fact Thaipusam was one of my

Top: Attending a Thaipusam celebration Bottom: Photo with a Lion Dancing troupe favorite moments during my year in Malaysia. The pulsating atmosphere and the colour and passion of the devotees as they fulfilled their vows will always stay with me.

With friends I have made during my time here

All in all Malaysia is a place for people who want to get to know foreign cultures with all its celebrations and traditions. If you want to get to know them, you have to immerse yourself in the culture and experience it yourself.



Hosting Enriches Our Family Life By: Prem Kamal Bin Radzi Raju


t all started when my wife was introduced to AFS programmes by Dato’ Haji Mohamed Radzi bin Manan, a former State Executive Councillor of Perak through AFS Perak Chapter President, Mr. Santheran. Our first student hosting lasted for two weeks during Hari Raya Aidilfiri 2013. Julie Kohler was a volunteer from Germany and she really enjoyed her short stay during the Hari Raya celebration and our family members were very excited to have her. Then in the year 2014, Mr. Santheran gives us a chance to host a student from Italy. Chiara Alberghini, a young and beautiful Italian girl managed to interact well with my family within a short period of time. She was very close with all my children especially

Riding elephant in Chiang Mai with Chiara

my youngest son who is 3 years old. Once he even playfully invited Chiara to pray with him. My eldest daughter also found someone to talk to and to do many activities together.

Cameron Highland trip


After hosting Chiara, we had decided to stop participating in the AFS programme. Then, my family discovered that the house was devoid of any merriment. As such, we decided to host another student, this time from France. In 2015, we hosted Elysa Passelaigue. Elysa was a happy go lucky girl and she loved to talk. As a result, all of us got excited to learn French from her. She had

a very powerful voice and could be heard in the farthest corners of the house. She was a very active person and she could speak Bahasa Malaysia fluently by the end of her programme and my children loved her. In 2016, our family welcomed Melissa Krauthammer from Germany for a short semester programme and she quickly got along with my children especially my second son. During this year also, we sent her to a local school near Kampung Manjoi area whereby she could learn Bahasa Malaysia. Melissa really work hard and she excelled in sports at her school. She even got a chance to learn a traditional Malay dance Joget, before she left home. Melissa also had the opportunity to fast for 25 days during the month of Ramadhan and attended ‘tazkirah’ sessions in her school during that holy month. This year 2017, we have the chance to host a Japanese student, Shizuka Watanabe and she will be with us for a year. So far, my children are able to get along well with her. Many of our friends and relatives were under the impression that we are being paid to host a student but in reality, host families are not compensated nor compelled to host a foreign exchange student. It is wholly voluntary. Of course the hosting experience will have its ups and downs but in the end, it is worth it. Hosting has been a wonderful way to enrich our family life, add a new member to the family, forge friendships and exchange cultural insights. We create lifelong

My kids learning Origami with Shizuka

Celebrating my son’s birthday with AFS students hosted in Perak

relationships which continue long past the AFS year. Hosting an international student needs a lot of passion, patience and understanding between each other. As host parents, we must always be prepared to help them to deal with Malaysian culture, culture shock, and other issues unique to being an exchange student. We strongly recommend Malaysian families to open your doors and your hearts to an AFS exchange student. You just need to provide for them what you would to your own child. A bed and three meals per day are a

given, but also emotional support, a shoulder to cry on, advice (even when they don’t want to hear it!), some transportation, and so on. Include them in your family activities and holiday celebrations and incorporate their country’s traditions into yours. My family would like to take this opportunity to thank AFS Malaysia especially Perak Chapter for their continuous support to us for hosting international students. We will keep on supporting AFS in all their volunteering activities and will keep on hosting students as the benefits enrich us all.



The Italian Job By: Sudha Ashvinder


left for my exchange when I was in Form 4, which was at the age of 16. Although my program was only for two months, but I lived a completely different life. I was hosted in a beautiful little town in Northern Italy, called Montagnana located in the province of Veneto. This tiny town had a medieval feel to it, which made the town more breath-taking. Growing up in a very protective family in Malaysia, I’ve always been told what to do and how to do them. I’ve never had the freedom to decide for myself. I was even at a point where I could not even order pizza for


myself as I was too shy to go through the hassle of speaking to a stranger. Yes, my biggest challenge was interacting with people I have never met. I knew that leaving for Italy, my biggest challenge was going to hit me in the face very hard. I was going to a place where everyone spoke a different language, ate different kinds of food, experience a different climate and culture all at once. I was being placed in a foreign country, with foreign people and foreign culture. How was I supposed to survive? I did go through a couple of rough weeks in Italy. All the

hardships I went through on my exchange transformed me completely. The only way to get through my biggest challenge was to be optimistic. As cliché as it sounds, every day became easier when I thought positively, and was aware and grateful for what my experience had to offer, whether it be good or bad. Whenever I felt myself being so reluctant to participate, all I had to say was “YOLO” and just jump right into it. It became a habit that I still practice to this very day. Most people would say their favourite moment being abroad in Italy was either

skiing, visiting the Colosseum, or even shopping in Milan. My favourite moment in Italy was when I visited my host sister’s (Sara Zovi, YPNH13) family in Vicenza. I slept in Sara’s bed in Italy while she was sleeping on mine back in Malaysia. We literally exchanged lives with each other. While my family was hosting Sara back in Malaysia, Sara’s family was hosting me in Italy. Never have I ever felt more at home, being thousands of kilometres away from my actual house. To say that I am thankful to AFS for the opportunity they provided me would be an understatement. No words can describe how grateful I am to be able to experience such a lifechanging transition. AFS gave me the necessary tools needed to progress mentally, physically and spiritually in life. My experience in Italy will forever and always be priceless. Ordering a pizza is no big deal now for me. I guess being in a country where pizza originated from had way more impact to me than I could ever imagined. Grazie mille AFS.

A quick picture on the last day of our exchange at Vatican City, before heading for the aiport

A family picture before boarding on my flight

Sara’s sister and I, after a hike up to the family cabin in Vicenza

A satellite view of my beautiful town, Montagnana



Interfaith Visit By: Shridha Nair (YES ‘16)


t was a sunny morning when I made my way to Masjid Jamek, the meet up point for an Interfaith Visit. My understanding of the event was that I was going to learn about the traditions and teachings of the various major religions in Malaysia. I was excited yet nervous at the prospect of finding the answers to all the questions that had built up inside me over the years. The participants comprised people from different religious backgrounds. As soon as everyone had arrived at the meet up point, Alvan, our group leader and vice president of YES Alumni, briefly explained our itinerary and got us all to make brief introductions. He made us note down our stand on religion as well as what we expect from the day.

With a priest at the Buddhist temple we visited


Our first stop was St. John’s Cathedral in Masjid Jamek. It was a beautiful church, with a view of the KL tower. We entered the church as a bible reading activity was taking place. We sat and absorbed the ambience of the church. As soon as the bible reading came to an end, we all moved outside. A discussion was then conducted by Si Yin, a fellow AFS volunteer. She explained in simple terms the predominant beliefs and teachings of Christianity. A question and answer session was conducted on the spot, taking questions the participants had regarding Christianity or about things they had noticed in the church.

groups, each led by mosque volunteers who were only too happy to share their knowledge of Islamic traditions and beliefs as well as give us a tour around the mosque. As soon as the tour was over, we were all invited to lunch, courtesy of the administration of the mosque. Over a delicious vegetarian meal, we were all given the opportunity to raise any misgivings or concerns we had about Islam and its traditions and practices. All our questions were met with sincere responses. I felt very warm amidst the welcoming vibe I had received in the mosque.

Next stop was Masjid Jamek Mosque. We were welcomed by Mr. Faisal Tan, the head administrator of the mosque and sorted into many small

Our third stop was the Maha Vihara Buddhist Temple located in Brickfields. The temple administration was welcoming and served us with refreshments before our session began with one of the Buddhist monks. He enlightened us with knowledge on Buddhism and answered all our questions with grace. The last stop of the day was the Sri Kandaswamy Hindu Temple also in Brickfields. A representative of the temple conducted a session with us, giving us insight into Hindu beliefs and traditions. We then entered the temple to observe their prayers and conventional Hindu traditions.

I also realized that I was actually hesitant to engage in conversations about religions that were not my own simply because religious beliefs were a sensitive issue and I didn’t want to offend anyone. As a result, I was left with my own doubts and assumptions of other religions because I didn’t understand them. I came to my own conclusions based solely on my observations.

Learning Hindu traditions and helping at the Sri Kandaswamy Hindu Temple

A reflection session at the end of the day

Our day concluded with a session of reflection. Alvan encouraged us to compare our stand on religion and expectations from earlier in the day to what we now felt after the visits. I can say we all agreed that all religions were not so different after all. In essence, they all

shared universal values like acceptance and respect, living modestly, helping each other and making the most out of our time on earth. It was simply the approach that was different. Each religion had the same core values, the same purpose and the same cause. No one religion condemned another.

Yet everyone we had met at the various places of worship were comfortable and keen to clear our misconceptions and doubts regarding their beliefs. I had absolutely no reason to fear. The only way we can resolve such perceived differences between us is to engage in respectful conversation, refrain from being judgmental and drawing conclusions based on conjectures. “Religion is not the cause of war, it is the excuse.” This was an insightful quote shared by one of the participants during the session that really helped put things into perspective. At the very end of our discussion, Alvan shared a quote from former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, “When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.” It was the perfect ending to our discussion and to a most insightful day.



Creating Opportunities with Disabled People By: Puan Rokiah Bt. Ahmad


he Penang Cheshire Home (PCH) was established in 1978, with the noble aim of housing the physically handicapped. Over the years, the home became synonymous with the rehabilitation of the disabled. The home aims to help the physically disabled adjust to life by training them to become independent and to be able to take their rightful place in society. Furthermore to


help integrate them into society, they are given handicraft projects and jobs are sourced for them in factories and sheltered work places. The relationship of Penang Cheshire Home and AFS Intercultural Programs started back in 2010, when the current president of the Penang Chapter AFS Datin Teo Hwee Ai introduced

it to the honorary secretary of the home in a moral uplifting society programme. To date, PCH accommodates two AFS participants in a year. Here at the home, the participants are introduced to the lifestyle and activity of the disabled in Malaysia. As volunteers for PCH the participants take part in daily activities of the residents of the home and participate in cultural events, festivals and programmes held at the home and around Penang Island. One of the challenges faced is trying to match the participants’ niche area to the programmes

held at the home. At Penang Cheshire Home, it is sometimes challenging for the participants to handle and run programmes as it is slightly more difficult when handling the handicap. A lot more thought has to be given when trying to run and organize a project or programme. However hard it is, it is usually very rewarding when seeing the smiling faces of the residents as having volunteers from AFS gives the residents a chance to learn and interact with someone that has something new to share. Both residents and AFS volunteers share or learn something new from each other almost every day. New culture, new language and new perspective in life. We live in a diverse and global world, where sometimes being different is considered weird or creates discomfort for other people. Here at Penang Cheshire Home we believe that this AFS experience is a great tool for volunteers and participants to be exposed to new environments and surroundings. Volunteers are able to live together with the residents, while learning about each others. To be able to respect our similarities, celebrate our differences, and finally appreciate the diversity of the world and its people.



Spreading our intercultural competences beyond AFS

By: Michaela SvobodovĂĄ


year ago, I was approached by an AFS Czech Republic volunteer whom I had just trained in What Every AFSer Should Know about Intercultural Learning - a training offered to AFS volunteers and staff around the world, that gives them a shared basic knowledge and competences within intercultural learning. This volunteer found the training extremely interesting and wondered if we could do a similar one in the company for which she works. Her colleagues, employees of the accounting department, often collaborate


with foreign partners and struggle with misunderstandings and conflicts in their communication. I approached it as a challenge for my training skills but also for my knowledge of intercultural learning. And in effect, not only mine but AFS’s knowledge of intercultural learning in general. How useful would it be for non-AFSers? The training was a success - the participants recognized the issues we addressed as very accurate and present in their daily work. They understood how

things that feel natural to them might seem strange in another culture and vice versa. They also learned about the importance of suspending judgement and practiced it in order to use it while working with others not necessarily from different countries but even within their local team. My original question got its answer: what we know in AFS, what we do and how we do it can be brought outside our organization. Moreover, it is very much needed outside our organization.

The topic of intercultural learning outside of AFS followed me all throughout last year. In November, I attended the EFIL (European Federation for Intercultural Learning - the umbrella organization for AFS organizations in Europe) training for trainers: Who needs intercultural education? We started by addressing the root questions of intercultural education outside of our organization: Can we?, Should we? and How would we? and we took it all the way to the end of delivering workshops for various non-AFS audiences. I was part of a team preparing and delivering a workshop to a group of refugees focusing on their integration into Belgian culture, helping them find points of connection to it and providing an opportunity to share their experience and best practices. It was incredible how during this two-hour session, the participants managed to grasp some basic concepts of culture, apply them on both their own and the Belgian culture and on top of that, give each other many helpful tips and words of encouragement.

This training had a double impact on me - a very confidence-boosting and yet humbling effect. I feel that to effectively bring our know-how outside of AFS and share it with the world, we are on the right path and should feel encouragement. But we need to also always be aware that the field of intercultural learning is endless and updating our knowledge is of the essence. And as the world is constantly changing and the potential audiences and topics are so diverse, we should never let go of the root questions. Can we? Should we? And how would we? Michaela is a volunteer of AFS Czech Republic and a member of the national pool of trainers. She is currently finishing her 12-month internship with AFS Iceland through the European Voluntary Service (EVS).



DEMPSEY HILL: Singapore’s Bohemian Enclave



o you think you know your neighbor south of the border well enough, do you? If you have not visited Dempsey Hill, then you are yet to discover one of Singapore’s top lifestyle destinations. Set amid lush, quiet surroundings that evoke old world charm, this mini-precinct offers a respite from the city, and is just a short distance away

from Orchard Road. It boasts a hip cluster of wining and dining establishments, art galleries, antique furniture stores and weekend farmers markets. Dempsey used to be a military stronghold. It was the site of the British army barracks in colonial times and the Central Manpower Base of Singapore (CMPB), where young men reported for military service, in the early 1970s.

The area has undergone a transformation while retaining the old pre-war buildings and army barracks. Hidden within conserved colonial blackand-white buildings, you will see specialty food purveyors and restaurants. Indian curry houses are situated next to European eateries, local seafood establishments and premium grocery outlets.



Foodie highlights include European restaurant The White Rabbit. This airy spot is housed in the former chapel of the colonial British garrison. It’s a beautifully refurbished space outfitted with wrought-iron grills, stainedglass windows and sage-green banquettes. For your specialty food needs, there is Australian gourmet store, Jones the Grocer. Pick up the highest quality chocolate, jams, snacks and extensive

Breakfast favorites: pancakes with honey syrup(above) and salmon quiche (below)

A favorite pitstop for joggers


array of cheeses here. Just next to it is the Museum of Contemporary Arts (MOCA @ Loewen), a contemporary art specialist, showcasing top works by regional names like Chen Liu and Fang Lijun. The spot’s luxury facilities, set in green surrounds, will leave you feeling nicely refreshed!

Left: Specialty shops hold many unique treasures Below: Antiques abound here.....

Once army barracks, these buildings are now transformed into trendy outlets



Cheng Ho Cultural Museum:

Experiencing the Extraordinary Voyages of Admiral Cheng Ho



heng Ho Culture Museum is believed to be a restructured ancient building with Ming architecture, with two to three hundred years of history. Historical records reveal that Ming Dynasty’s Admiral Cheng Ho (Zheng He) visited Malacca at least five times during his famous seven voyages to the Western

Ocean. He set up a huge warehouse complex along the northern side of the Malacca River. However, there has been no serious investigation made on this fascinating topic of its exact location. Some people claim that Zheng He’s warehouse was located in Bukit Cina because there is a Sampo well and the area is named Sampo Hill.


TRAVEL - DOMESTIC The museum building is believed to sit at the original site of the warehouse complex Guan Chang, built by Zheng He around 600 years ago to temporarily store goods he acquired during his travels. The warehouse complex originally occupied 10 acres of lowland along the northern bank of Malacca River. Founded by Tan Ta Sen, the president of International Zheng He Society, the museum building is divided into three levels. It occupies eight units of old shop houses. , some of which were built before 1786. A drum and a bell tower is situated in front of the museum. The museum exhibits the life

Left: Ship Gallery consists of the documents and physical evidence of massive ships which sailed during Ming dynasty

of Zheng He and his world voyage in his fleet of ships. It displays his travel with big pictures of Chinese history. The museum can roughly be divided into several sections: Old Malacca Village, Ship Gallery, Treasure Ship, Antique Gallery and Garden Courtyard.

Reconstructions of vessels, antique vase, architecture, wall hangings and many other aspects of traditional culture are on exhibit


Guided tours are available if you come in a big group. The guide will explain how Cheng Ho prepared for the trips with a Chinese physician on board each ship, his plans

to keep scurvy at bay and how communication was made possible among the different ships. Also there is a special, creative and very entertaining locally produced puppet show. Cheng Ho Museum is located at Jalan Hang Jebat, very close by to the Tan Kim Seng Bridge and is a must-see when visiting the historical city of Malacca.

Right: Antique items for household or decorative purposes are placed in glass chamber perfectly on display Below: A well maintained place, this courtyard has an old world look with classic wooden furnishings in architecture.



Gesture of Appreciation


ational Director Atty Sulaiman handing over books and souvenirs of AFS Malaysia to Encik Hassim, State Education Department Johor Bahru during a courtesy visit to the department recently. Atty thanked the department for expeditiously processing student visas and school placements of AFS students being hosted in Johore every year. Encik Hassim reiterated that his department will continue to assist AFS in whatever way it could as he believes the programme is mutually beneficial to all parties involved.

Recycling Sees Print


FS student Matilda Rotta and her host siblings were featured in a Sin Chew Jit Poh article recently for their efforts in a community recycling activity. Matilda joined a neighbourhood initiative to create play products from recycled materials including newspapers and drink cans.


New Site, New Style, Same Spirit


fter months of preparation, AFS Malaysia finally unveils its new website!

The new website is more engaging and suitable for visitors of all ages. Fully optimised for mobile devices, the new site will allow the casual and serious visitor to learn more about what AFS Malaysia is about, the opportunities and programs it offers and the partners it works with across the globe. It is adaptable for mobile platforms such as smartphones and tablets, with easy access to all programs and related information. Also available are trivia on countries, blogs on intercultural learning and many more. With the new website, AFS Malaysia hopes to build on the service it offers to participants and volunteers. “We look forward to continuing to build bridges across cultures and bringing diverse communities together,” said Atty Sulaiman. Visit www.afs.org.my now for information on how to be part of the AFS global family.

Book Donation


he SMK Dato’ Panglima Perang Kiri school library recently received English literature books from an AFS volunteer. Works by celebrated American authors like Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck and English writers Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Enid Blyton were among the books that were received by the school principal, Puan Siti Khadijah Ngosman. The newly launched AFS Intercultural Club members formed under the English Society expressed their thanks in various languages.






Snippets about Malaysian returnees now living/working abroad

1. Your name? Chun Chin Yong 2. Your Exchange country and year? USA 1975-76 3. Where are you working/residing now? I live in Melbourne, Australia. -Job title and share a bit about your work. I was a company secretary and currently I’m a part time staff worker with Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students. My job is to reach out to international students, help them grow in their Christian faith, practise their English, make new friends and overall help them to settle into life in Australia. 4. Most memorable experience during the exchange year? I guess it had to be the night when I had a talk with an old missionary. It changed my life because up to that point, my life was fraught with fear of the unknown and the supernatural. After the talk, I felt assured that God has my life under his control and that He loves me. The other experience was seeing snow for the first time. 5. How has the AFS experience helped you in: your personal life it has opened my eyes to know that every human being, regardless of their race, colour or cultural backgrounds have a desire to build relationships and to seek love and understanding. - your career? It has helped me to relate well with people. 6. Your advice to future participants? Be open to new experiences and be prepared to go out of your comfort zones. Be slow to speak and quick to listen. Always ask questions when in doubt. 7. Motto in life? Or favourite quote? “The Christian does not think that God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.” By C. S. Lewis