Budaya beat September-October 2016

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Focus Volunteer Summer Summit 2016:

Venetian Binds


FIL’s recent Volunteer Summer Summit in Venice, Italy brought together around 250 AFS volunteers of all ages and from many countries to discuss this year’s theme of “Education for Peace – The Challenge of Living Together”. Held on the island of San Servolo in the Venetian Lagoon where Benedictine monks lived for almost five hundred years, AFS volunteers were housed in buildings that were once a military hospital and amidst rich flora, originally planted for the island’s pharmacy which was used to supply medicine to the military. There were several tracks offered for volunteers to choose from: The Role of AFS in Society, Conflict Resolution and Mediation on a Micro Scale, Peace Education in Formal and Non-Formal Contexts, Inclusion of Minorities and Peace-Building Initiatives. Highlights of the intensive four-day programme included Open Space which invited volunteers to propose project ideas on how to implement peace education in AFS. The best ideas were given funding to ensure the project happens after the VSS and winners were selected by VSS participants through secret ballot. Also a crowd favourite was the leisure activities organised by the support team which were varied to cater to the different tastes of participants. This included a music lab where

Playacting on conflict resolution

famous songs from the 60’s, 70’s and 90’s and whose lyrics addressed social, political and protest issues, were taught and shared, an Italian language crash course, a creative lab to craft Venetian masks, a ball tournament and board games. Participants were also given an opportunity to teach others various games or skills from their own countries and AFS India scored a huge following with their Bollywood dance instruction, AFS Japan with origami craftwork, and AFS Ghana with African tie-anddye and batik painting. An International Bazaar Night also saw Partner Countries displaying their respective country’s wares, food and drink before frenzied bargaining took place to exchange crafts and products that interested them. AFS Denmark for instance, exchanged an umbrella for a paper fan with traditional motifs from AFS Malaysia! The annual Summer Summit organised by EFIL and this year’s host, AFS Italy is to share best practices in AFS volunteer work, to exchange tools, tips and create a spirit of international unity. It also aims to increase motivation, focus on one leading theme to facilitate the sharing between volunteers from different countries, explore methods and themes new to the AFS network and create a new tradition of an annual volunteer meeting in an informal setting to enrich their skills and enhance a stronger spirit of international community between national and local volunteers from different countries.

Sharing opinions on mediation initiatives


AFS Iceland is the host for next year’s Volunteer Summer Summit and the theme is Equal Opportunities.

Volunteer Summer Summit 2016:

Mediation in AFS and Beyond


he principles of negotiation are straightforward, yet implementing them can be a challenge as one goes through the process, participants of a workshop on Peace Education learnt.

present persuasive and logical arguments and understand that information is not always complete or possible to be complete. With these outcomes, mediators can formulate communication, formulation and manipulative strategies to achieve resolution, Hugrun added.

The key principles of negotiation are to separate the people from the problem, focus on interests and not positions, invent options for mutual gain and insist on objective criteria. Interpretations however, can make or break negotiations, hence it is important to listen using the Four Ears Model, according to trainer Hugrun Vigfasudottir. “The 4-ears model of communications describes the complexity of communication – what is said is not necessarily what is heard. A message is always sent on four channels and can therefore be received on four different levels. These are factual information, appeal, relationship and self-evaluation,� he said. Mediators must establish common ground, be flexible and creative, agree on meanings and definitions, be aware that values create context,


Focus Volunteer Summer Summit 2016:


The Icon of Venice

By K.Talha


bout twenty of us had signed up for a Gondola tour, one of several excursion options arranged by VSS 2016 organisers. Upon landing at San Marco Square on a sweltering summer day, we made our way past hordes of tourists and through Venice’s rabbit warren of campi and calli to reach our destination, a gondola boatyard. Half an hour of walking on cobbled stones and we arrive at a deserted square, far from the madding crowd.

The ferro represents the six districts of Venice

they are built in the Tyrolean style since workers came originally from an area around Cadore, in the Dolomites, an Italian section of the Alps. Master craftsman Marco explained that Squero di San Trovaso is now more of a repair facility than a building yard. In summer especially, boats are sent here for repair, paintwork and maintenance. On the few occasions a new gondola is built here, it is done during the winter months. A brand new gondola takes two months to build and usually lasts 30 years with proper care and maintenance.

The boatyard is situated beside the Church of San Trovaso and close to the Accademia Bridge but it is not open to the public. Visitors to Venice can only catch a glimpse of what’s going on in the boatyard by watching from across the Rio San Trovaso which was why we were excited to be given this rare opportunity to learn about gondola making up close and personal. The tiny facility known as the Squero di San Trovaso is the oldest and largest in Venice, established in the 17th century and just one of three remaining boatyards left. The boatyard has been home to the workshops of many generations of gondola builders. We saw small wooden structures at the yard which are the living quarters of the gondola makers and


A gondola taking shape, usually taking two months to complete

“Gondola making is an exact science. The boat is fashioned from eight different kinds of wood - mahogany, cherry, fir, walnut, oak, elm, larch and lime - and made up of 280 parts,” explained Marco. “All are flat bottomed due to the depth of water in Venice.” In the past, gondolas were used by noble families until such time when competition as to whose gondola was the most ornate became so intense that the Doge of Venice declared all gondolas must be painted black. It was felt that the gaudiness of the decorations on the gondolas was getting out of hand, hence a sumptuary law was passed. Today, only an iron symbol of the city is affixed to the bow and a small wood carving secures the oar, making the boats quite simple and plain.

The nondescript boatyard of Squero di San Trovaso

The length of a gondola is 11 metres and the width 1.4 metres. It is shaped like a banana but with differing curvatures according to the weight of its gondoliers. Its most distinctive ornamentation is the ferro, a metal design at the prow of the gondola. The curled design is not only for aesthetic reasons, but also to defend the gondola from possible damage caused by collisions. Popular tradition maintains that the six teeth on the ferro represent the six districts of Venice; the elegant curve signifies the Doge’s cap, or the Grand Canal. The semi-circular break between the curved top and the six teeth is said to represent the iconic Rialto Bridge. A kind of tooth juts out backwards toward the centre of the gondola symbolises the island of Giudecca. Nowadays, only minimal ornamentation adorns the gondola

“Gondolas contain no modern equipment to propel them through the water. A single gondolier stands in the back left-hand side of the boat and propels it with a single oar,” added Marco. There are currently 433 gondoliers plying the city’s waterways. Each gondolier must pass an exam and undergo a year of training before he (and now a lone “she”) is issued an operating licence. The exam consists of proper rowing techniques, steering and maneuvering, swimming, Search and Rescue and history of the city. Incidentally, if you fancy owning one of these gondolas, the average price is only about 40,000 euros!

Gondolas glide on the waters of Venice daily


Focus Volunteer Summer Summit 2016:

Inclusion of Minorities By Amirah Sukurdin


he workshop track I chose at VSS2016 was “Inclusion of Minorities” as I was curious and eager to learn more about this subject matter. Besides, the organisers had cleverly come up with catchy titles for the sessions and I was drawn to find out more. For my first day, it was “Talk is Cheap - You can feel it on your own”. I soon found out that the operative word was actually “feel” as in this workshop, we delved deep into the senses. We were asked to blindfold ourselves and use our senses to get to know our friends in the group. It began with the sense of touch… we had to feel the face and hands of our team mates. Then we moved on by using our sense of smell. It taught us that by touching and smelling to get to know someone, the process itself would require a certain level of comfort. Later, we were told to mix ourselves into a big group and move around marked areas of the room while still being blindfolded. The trainer then related the activity to AFS Educational Goals about Personal, Interpersonal, Cultural and Global experiences. These goals serve as the backbone of AFS exchange programs, and would help participants to develop the knowledge and skills that are necessary to succeed in planning sessions for orientation camps and other activities in AFS. On the second day, I learned about “The trap of plural. What is a prejudice?” This workshop was conducted by an expert trainer named Giulia Sissa. She explained that prejudice is an experience we all go through. “A negative attitude is often called Prejudice and sometimes you are not fully aware that you have a prejudice towards something,” she explained. “The language of prejudice is unconscious. But there are

Above and below: Workshop in session

also positive prejudices.” Giulia also clarified the differences between prejudice and stereotypes and how being aware of them can help lead to zero discrimination. “We’re in this together” was the title of the workshop on the third day. It started with a role playing game where in a group of five, each of us were given a character to act throughout the game. We had to stand up for our opinions as instructed in the piece of paper given to us. We have to come to a conclusion whether we should take into account the opinions of others or exclude them totally in order to live happily.

Inputs from participants are put up for further discussion


This workshop taught me that people are basically all the same on the inside, with the same hopes, dreams and aspirations but for some reason, some are treated differently. There are minority groups in our society who are not afforded the same opportunities as others. This workshop gave insights into how we can challenge exclusion and improve the world. After all, as the song goes: We’re all in this together!

Volunteer Summer Summit 2016:

ISMAR: Monitoring the By Amirah Sukurdin

Waters of Venice


he Institute of Marine Sciences (ISMAR) is the largest institution in Italy devoted to scientific development in ocean science. The headquarters for ISMAR is based in Arsenale, Venice which was my choice of the excursions offered to VSS2016 participants. The trip covered a brief background on the lagoon, human interaction with the lagoon and also continuous monitoring efforts on its waters. One fun fact about Venice – the city is basically built on wooden platforms that are supported by wooden stakes driven into the ground. The secret to the strengths and longevity of Venice’s wooden foundation is the fact that they are submerged underwater. Although wood is known to decay and is less durable than stone or metal, yet the wooden support in Venice remains unaffected. This is because the decay of wood is caused by microorganisms, such as fungi and bacteria, but since the wooden foundation is submerged, they are not exposed to oxygen and hence microorganisms cannot survive. Over time, the wood turned into a hardened stone-like structure because of the constant flow of salt water around the wood and through the wood.

One of ISMAR’s projects is the continuous testing of water salinity. Scientists will take a few samples of water from different places in the lagoon area regularly and conduct tests on them to identify microorganisms that are living in the waters of Venice and if any are harmful or threaten the wooden structure of the city. ISMAR also strives to understand the interaction of the ocean with the waters in Venice. Researches are carried out by combining (long and shortterm) observational and modelling approaches. We learned that ocean observations come from research cruises, moored instrumentations and remote sensing.

An ISMAR official briefs participants on the work they do

Samples are tested frequently for water salinity

One of the instruments used to identify microorganisms in the lagoon



A Glowing Lantern Experience


FS students recently had their first experience of a Mid-Autumn or Harvest Festival organised by Ampang Chapter. The Chinese have celebrated the harvesting of crops during the autumn full moon since the Shang Dynasty. This intangible cultural heritage is now celebrated among Chinese communities around the world, including Malaysia. Visitors to the festival were entertained to day-long activities, like charity food sales and fun fair, lantern painting, face painting, and handmade henna. In the evening, stage performances such as Martial Art demonstrations and Choir Performances captured their attention. A notable part of celebrating the holiday is the carrying of brightly lit lanterns, lighting lanterns on towers, or floating sky lanterns. Everyone present were given a lantern and took part in a procession. Guests were thrilled to receive lanterns in many shapes and sizes, from the traditional design to those shaped like fish, butterflies and even Pokemon!

festival. “I really wanted them to experience the sense of community where people around the neighbourhood would get together to light up lanterns, watch performances and eat together. And of course, to experience a little bit of the Buddhist culture here in Malaysia,” she added. Maria Pangalos from USA, said that she had never experienced such a festival before. “It is wonderful, being surrounded by so much positive energy and sense of community. It has honestly been one of my favorite experiences in Malaysia so far! It is something I’d never get to do back in Colorado and I live for adventure so this event was the perfect thing for me,” she added. Jamain Bauer from Germany agreed. “Everything was beautiful especially the lanterns. We were also given mooncakes and they tasted delicious. I was pleasantly surprised but happy about this festival because it gives you the feeling that you are in one big family celebrating a shared event.” Jamain said the festival also reminded her of her childhood and hometown, Mühlhausen where children played lanterns along the streets in the evening.

Making and sharing mooncakes is also one of the hallmark traditions of this festival. In Chinese culture, a round shape symbolizes completeness and reunion. At the festival, mooncakes were distributed and shared to signify the completeness and unity of families and community members. “I wanted our exchange students to experience a common childhood festival that Malaysian children often look forward to,” said Ampang Chapter volunteer, Swee Lyn who headed the initiative to bring students to this


Captivated by the performances on the stage

Insight into Japanese culture


ive Malaysian students have been selected to participate on a short intercultural exchange to Japan, courtesy of Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in association with AFS Intercultural Programs. The scholarship is for a 4-week intensive high school program departing early October and returning early November 2016. The Japan-bound students, including two under the Intensive Program, recently gathered for a Pre Departure Orientation Camp as they were briefed and oriented by volunteers and alumni, organized by AFS Malaysia to give structured support and practical information for the students to understand their role as young ambassadors in an intercultural context. “It is important for us to give guidance and support to these young ambassadors as this might be their first time going abroad. More importantly, we need to guide them to adapt to the cultural differences,” said Assistant National Director, Annie Yap.

Understanding their roles a syoung ambassador

The orientation included lines of communications, cultural adaptation and personal safety as well as personal well-being. One of the participants, 16-year old Arsyad from Melaka, shared his excitement about meeting his Japanese family. “I would like to cook for my host family so they can taste Malaysian food. Smiles and waves before departing for Japan If given an opportunity, I would like to teach English to them too because my ambition is to be an English teacher,” he added. Jasmine, 16 years old from Penang said, “I would like to share our Malaysian culture with my host family who may not be aware that Malaysia is a multi-racial country. Therefore, my goal is to share Malaysian cultures especially my Chinese culture and ensure that they receive correct facts about Malaysia”. Jasmine is also looking forward to trying out Japanese dishes and learning the Japanese language. All participants will be placed with vetted volunteer families and attend local high schools during their one-month stay in Japan. Program briefing was conducted by Annie Yap


Chapter Chats

Penang Chapter

Aims High F

or this edition, we sat down with Datin Teo Hwee Ai, President of Penang Chapter.

Q1: Introduce your Chapter and share with us how your affiliation with AFS Malaysia began. Annie Yap, the present Assistant National Director of AFS Malaysia first mooted the idea of opening a Penang Chapter in 2008. Datin Teo Hwee Ai (an Educator returnee to South Africa) and Datin Noorliza Leow Abdullah (a sending parent) were invited to attend the 2008 Volunteer Congress held in Malacca to meet other Chapters as an introduction to Chapter operations. A pro-tem committee was then formed with Mr. Karzen as President, Datin Teo as Vice President and five other committee members. AFS Penang Chapter was officially launched on 26 April 2009 Kaethe and Yoshiki taking part in the recent Merdeka Parade with much fanfare. VIP guests included Dr. Yahya (then Chairman of AFS Malaysia), Encik reach more schools on the island and mainland Jamil, Head of Co-curiculum Unit, JPN Penang, through this channel. Invitations from schools President of Perlis Chapter and representatives to do roadshows are too few and far between, from AFS National Office. Present also were hence we distribute flyers and AFS brochures to some returnees and their parents. In 2011 a school counsellors during their annual meetings. structured committee was formed with Mazlan We were also invited to give a presentation Mohamed as the President, Datin Teo as Vice at the Malaysian German Society Open Day to President and six other committee members. In target students interested on AFS programs to June 2016, Datin Teo was appointed President Germany. and Datin Noorliza the Vice-President. The committee was restructured with an additional As for the 18+ hosting programmes, Datin Teo’s five committee members (three are new contact and network with NGOs in Penang have members). been largely responsible for Penang Chapter successfully hosting many CSPs with many NGOs Q2: What are some of the activities that Penang as repeat hosts. The CSPs themselves have also Chapter have conducted and please explain the given a positive impression of AFS to the hosting impact towards the target audience? NGOs and the public with their selfless service to the community. The Penang Chapter has co-hosted End-of-Stay Farewell Dinner for SH09 and the Volunteer Q3: What is the biggest challenge you face? Congress in September 2009. We also coHow do you overcome or mitigate such hosted a Chapter Presidents Meeting on board challenges? Star Cruise Libra from 7th to 9th October in 2011. On an annual basis we participate in roadshows Our biggest challenge is recruiting host families to spread awareness about AFS to schools and especially on the island and having schools the public. These include education, career expo be enthusiastic’ about AFS. Currently, we are and fairs organised by JPN Pulau Pinang, SMJK fortunate to have SMKTAR, Nibong Tebal as a St. Xavier and SMJK Chung Ling. We feel we can


repeat host school (even assisting us to find host families from among the teachers and students’ families). Hence, a Chapter must have good rapport with host schools to encourage repeat hosting. We also lack experienced returnees to contribute as permanent volunteers. Most returnees move out of the state for tertiary education and career opportunities. We are now targeting ‘fresh’ returnees who are pursuing their tertiary education in Penang to be active in Chapter activities. We also invest in giving briefings to parents during state level interviews for AFS awareness and to encourage hosting.

Georgetown Heritage Walk with students, CSPs and Penang Chapter committee members

Q4: What can a student who is placed in Penang look forward to in terms of intercultural opportunities?

Penang Chapter Committee - September 2016

Georgetown is a UNESCO Heritage Site of historical and living culture. Penang celebrates major religious and cultural festivals all year round – namely Chinese New Year, Thaipusam, Wesak Day, Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, Hari Raya Haji Deepavali, Moon Cake / Lantern Festival, Easter, Christmas. Multicultural Penang is often touted as a gastronomic paradise of local and international cuisine. The State Government has introduced many initiatives to promote arts and culture through an annual Georgetown Festival, street art, local and international theatre shows, literary festivals and others. Students will definitely get an ‘enriching ‘intercultural experience here whether it is an urban or ‘kampung’ lifestyle.

Q5: What does Penang Chapter hope to achieve in the next three to five years? Penang Chapter has hosted 22 students thus far, from 2009 to 2016.Our target is to increase from an average of three to five students a year and to spread the hosting opportunity over a wider geographical area i.e. both on the island and the mainland, besides that, we hope to enlist more repeat host families by giving good support so that students will have an enriching experience. Whenever we could not achieve our targets, we host STE students so as to keep our ‘hosting’ activity alive and well. Penang Chapter is ‘strong’ in hosting the 18+ (CSPs) programme. From 2011 -2016 we have hosted a total of 40 CSPs. We aim to increase from eight to ten CSPs per year. Though we are fortunate to have repeat CPO hosts, nonetheless we still want to recruit new CPOs. We have set up a database of returnees and host families in Penang so we can recruit and sustain a pool of volunteers. We plan to have more activities involving our volunteers so that they feel part of the Penang Chapter AFS family. Currently the returnees assist in roadshows and state level interviews. We plan to train some of them for LP roles. Penang Chapter also has a succession plan to train and pass on the baton to new leaders after the term of service of the key committee members expire.


Family Highlights

Masih Merindui Anak Angkat Kami Norlelawati Abdul Aziz


ada Julai 2015 yang lalu saya dan suami telah menerima seorang remaja perempuan yang comel, pelajar AFS bernama Lisa Glogowski yang berasal dari German. Kehidupan seharian sebagai seorang ibu dan bapa angkat terasa begitu cepat berlalu sehinggalah Lisa kembali semula ke German pada bulan Jun 2016 , meninggalkan begitu banyak kenangan manis dan membuatkan kami berdua merasa agak kesunyian. Kehadiran Lisa di dalam keluarga kecil kami banyak mengubah rutin harian. Umpama seorang puteri kerana Lisa satu-satunya anak dalam keluarga kami, banyak masa yang kami lalui bersama hampir dalam setiap aktiviti. Lisa begitu cepat dapat menyesuaikan diri dengan cuaca, suasana dan budaya orang Malaysia khususnya bangsa Melayu. Seawal hari pertama tiba di rumah kami lagi saya telah perkenalkan Lisa dengan pakaian tradisional harian orang Melayu iaitu kain batik sarong. Abah (panggilan mesra suami saya oleh Lisa) ajar Lisa bagaimana cara memakai kain batik sarong. Saya tidak sangka Lisa sangat menggemarinya dan begitu selesa memakainya ‌.kerap juga Lisa berpakaian kain batik sarong apabila jalan-jalan ke pasar Ramadan, ke pasaraya, ke rumah Tok, malah ke sekolah untuk aktiviti Orkestra Cina Hua Yue dan kelas tuisyen Bahasa Inggeris. Rakan-rakan Lisa terpegun dan hairan dengan fesyen pakaian Lisa kerana orang di Nibong Tebal pun tiada yang berpakaian sepertinya. Sebelum Lisa dibawa ke sekolah untuk kali pertama, kami bawa Lisa ke kedai pakaian seragam sekolah untuk mendapatkan kelengkapannya. Rasa seronok juga melihat Lisa mencuba pakaian seragam baju kurung putih berkain biru dengan kasut sekolah putih dan berstokin putih berbelang hitam. Katanya di German tiada pakaian seragam seperti itu. Lisa boleh saja memilih skirt jika beliau mahu tetapi baju kurung tetap menjadi pilihannya. Namun kerana saiz anak ini agak besar berbanding remaja Malaysia, agak lama juga memilih baju yang sesuai untuknya. Sesi persekolahan sebelah pagi agak pendek, waktu Lisa pulang dari sekolah lebih awal


berbanding waktu saya pulang , oleh itu Abah perlu menjemput Lisa setiap hari. Namun aktiviti selepas sekolah yang Lisa hadiri agak padat sehingga kadang-kadang sempat juga pulang bersama saya pada jam 5.00 petang. Saya bertuah kerana sebagai ibu angkat yang perlu melayani keperluan Lisa, saya dibantu oleh beberapa guru lain yang pernah mengambil anak angkat dan mereka merindui anak-anak angkat masingmasing, lalu kerapkali mereka “meminjam” Lisa untuk dibawa bersama menghadiri pelbagai program dan majlis. Antara yang Lisa seronok menyertainya ialah majlis perkahwinan orang Melayu, Cina dan India. Lisa juga dibawa menyertai majlis sambutan pesta Ponggal, Deepavali, Thaipusam, Krismas, Tahun Baru Cina dan pastinya sambutan Hari Raya Aidil Fitri dan Aidil Adha bersama keluarga saya dan Abah. Lisa begitu rapat dengan saudara mara kami kerana ia pasti hadir pada setiap majlis kenduri kahwin di kedua-dua belah saya dan Abah . Malah Lisa menjadi tumpuan umum kerana ia merupakan satu-satunya “Minah Saleh” yang memakai baju kurung dan penampilannya yang comel membuatkan ramai yang ingin berselfie dengannya. Ini membuatkan Lisa tidak kekok berada dalam kalangan keluarga kami. Saya dan Abah tidak menghalang jika Lisa ingin mengikuti majlis yang rakan guru saya hadiri misalnya upacara di gereja, kerana di sana Lisa dapat bermain piano yang ia sangat minati. Malah saya juga membawa Lisa bersama sewaktu menunaikan jemputan majlis bacaan Yasin atau sambutan Maulidur Rasul yang diadakan di dalam masjid. Lisa akan memakai baju kurung dan memerhatikan semua gerak geri dan mengikuti aturcara majlis sehingga tamat. Pada saya Lisa seorang yang “open minded”, mungkin ingin mengetahui serba sedikit tentang agama yang dianuti oleh masyarakat di Malaysia. Tahun 2015 sempat juga Lisa berpuasa sehari konon katanya hendak merasai sendiri bagaimana keadaan bila berlapar seharian. Tahun 2016 pula Lisa dapat berpuasa dua hari dan hari ketiga Ramadan merupakan penerbangan balik Lisa ke German, maka kami tidak galakkan ia berpuasa kerana perjalanan yang jauh menjangkau 25 jam sebelum sampai ke rumahnya. Lisa sangat dikenali dalam kalangan sahabatsahabat saya di Pulau Pinang samada kalangan pengetua-pengetua atau pegawai-pegawai


Family Highlights PPD. Kehadirannya dalam acara peringkat daerah dan negeri berjaya mencuri tumpuan umum misalnya sambutan hari Kokurikulum Negeri, sambutan hari guru daerah , majlis anjuran PESSCA dan banyak lagi. Ini kerana Lisa tampil sebagai pemain piano dalam acara yang melibatkan persembahan orchestra dan gamelan sekolah. Kebolehan Lisa bermain bola tampar telah menyuntik semangat pasukan sekolah saya sehingga dapat memasuki pertandingan akhir walaupun tidak dapat merangkul tiga tempat teratas. Inilah pencapaian terbaik pasukan sekolah setakat ini. Begitu juga dengan kebolehan berbahasa Inggeris di mana pasukan sekolah berjaya menjadi naib johan debat Bahasa Inggeris peringkat daerah walaupun Lisa tidak menyertai secara langsung, tetapi menjadi penyumbang idea dan rakan pendebat. Guru bahasa inggeris yang rapat dengannya mengakui kemahiran berbahasa inggeris Lisa bertambah baik berbanding sewaktu awal sampai ke sekolah dahulu. Secara peribadi saya akui Lisa anak yang baik dan mudah diurus. Makanan kegemarannya ialah nasi goreng cina, spaghetti Bolognese dan semua yang lain kecuali ikan. Minuman jus buahbuahan menjadi pilihannya setiap kali bersantai di luar. Namun lebih suka makan masakan saya di rumah sekiranya berpeluang pada hujung minggu. Tak sangka pula “cucuk kodok� atau jemput-jemput pisang menjadi kegemarannya, sehingga ia pandai mengadun dan menggoreng sendiri dengan harapan boleh dipraktikkan bila balik ke German kelak. Kami sempat membawa Lisa berjalan dari Pulau Pinang ke Kelantan untuk melihat sambutan Aidil Adha yang lebih meriah di sana dengan upacara korban. Namun ia tidak begitu gembira kerana kesedihannya mengatasi kegembiraan apabila melihat lembu yang dikorbankan. Selepas itu kami terus ke Terengganu menyusuri tepi pantai yang memang menjadi kesukaannya sebab di German amat jarang dapat peluang bermain pasir di pantai. Kemudian kami teruskan perjalanan ke Pahang untuk menghadiri majlis perkahwinan anak saudara saya. Oleh kerana ketika itu keadaan udara agak kurang bersih dengan IPU yang agak tinggi, maka kami hanya teruskan perjalanan balik ke Utara melalui Negeri Sembilan, Wilayah Persekutuan dan Perak tanpa mengunjungi pantai.


Percutian ke Langkawi selama tiga hari membawa begitu banyak kenangan manis. Lisa memang seorang perenang yang baik, seronok melayannya berenang setiap kali ada kesempatan dan peluang. Uniknya Lisa, ia suka mengumpul kulit-kulit cengkerang di tepi pantai dan membawanya pulang untuk dijadikan koleksi. Menurut Lisa hidupanhidupan yang ada di Malaysia amat unik sebab tidak terdapat di tempatnya. Malah sewaktu mula-mula sampai di rumah saya, cicak juga menjadi perhatiannya, beberapa koleksi gambar ada dibawa pulang untuk dikongsi bersama keluarga di sana. Pengalaman menaiki skycab dan tempat-tempat menarik di Langkawi dapat dirakamnya. Sudah tentu banyak juga baju T berlogo Langkawi dibeli untuk simpanannya. Seminggu sebelum penerbangan Lisa ke German kami sempat bawa Lisa melawat Brunei dalam program Lawatan Sosial Rumpun Asean oleh Pengetua-pengetua Daerah Selatan. Perjalanan yang sangat seronok dan memberi seribu kenangan manis yang sukar kami lupakan. Mungkin itulah hadiah terakhir kami untuk Lisa dengan harapan hatinya terubat juga walaupun hajat kami untuk membawanya ke Korea tidak kesampaian disebabkan program tersebut ditunda hingga ke bulan Disember atas sebab-sebab yang tidak dapat dielakkan. Hingga hari ini kami masih berhubung melalui aplikasi Wassap sekurang-kurangnya seminggu sekali. Lisa berjanji untuk datang semula ke rumah kami bersama bapa dan adiknya dalam tempoh dua tahun mendatang, mungkin selepas ia menamatkan pengajian A level. Sementara itu kami akan terus menyimpan koleksi pakaian yang ia bawa semasa datang ke sini dahulu dan tidak dibawa pulang bersama ke German, mungkin kerana sudah tidak muat untuk dipakai olehnya .Kami akan menunggu saat dan ketika itu kerana nampaknya kami saling merindui.


Malaysia Moments

Kanyanut Chantapatkul: Love Thai Neighbour By: Kanyanut Chantapatkul


awadee Kah. Selamat Sejahtera. My name is Kanyanut Chantapatkul. Everyone in Thailand calls me Tle (my nickname), but here I am known as Kanya. I’m 17 years old this year. In my family there are 5 members: mother, father, grandpa, younger sister and me. We live in Bangkok. Before I came to Malaysia, my friends asked “why did you choose to go to Malaysia, it is so near?”. True, Malaysia is Thailand’s nearest neighbour but not everyone can come and live among the people for one whole year. Malaysians also generally can speak more than two languages. English is a widely spoken here too and I really want to improve mine. Also, I want to speak Bahasa Melayu because many countries in ASEAN use Bahasa Melayu and I want to be part of that solidarity in a more meaningful way. In addition, although Thailand and Malaysia are next to each other, there are stark cultural differences that I want to learn about and understand. In Malaysia, I am staying with a Muslim family in Selangor under the Klang chapter. I have been here for eight months now. I am happy to say that I can understand and speak Bahasa Melayu, “sikit sikit”. I know about the Islamic religion more deeply. I learned about Malay culture and customs like why they do this or that and why they cannot do certain things. My umi (host mother) always tells me, “There is no true or false until you try first”. I go to school at Kota Kemuning and am Taking part in a marathon event active there. I like to join school activities as I enjoy them. I learn martial arts “Silat Fatani” at


the school every Saturday. I had wanted to learn this form of defensive art since finding out about it online when I was searching information about Malaysia. At first, I found it intimidating but now I know the movements are designed to protect me. I also joined the Ukulele club. I like music and the ukulele is easy to play. My Ukelele group members are very supportive and help one another. Sometimes we perform too. For me, in the school there are many activities and people are always friendly. When I walk past them, they always say “Hello, Hi or Sawadee Kah/Khub”. My class is never quiet. I think it is good, I don’t like silence. But I think my teachers don’t like me in the sense that my classmates prefer talking to me over reading their books! For me, the toughest challenge was speaking English. In Thailand we learn English also but we speak English only during English classes. Here, my friends continue speaking the language after classes too. Another challenge is eating using fingers instead of cutlery. At first, it was difficult and I was always the last to finish eating although I was the first to begin. Now my friends say my English is much better and I’m no Celebrating Teacher’s Day, we performed with our ukuleles longer the last to finish my food. My favourite experience is when I went to Terengganu, during the STE program for two weeks with five Japanese friends. We stayed with Chinese families and went to the same Chinese school. I improved my English with my STE family. I also received many presents from my new-found friends there which was a new experience for me. I learned more about yet another culture, religion, food and their lifestyle. We went to Pulau Redang and did some snorkelling and saw beautiful marine life under the sea. It was absolutely wonderful. Event for AFS in Klang Chapter at FRIM

At Samadhi Vihara Buddhist temple celebrating Lantern Festival

Yes, I would definitely encourage potential participants to choose Malaysia because there are Malay, Chinese and Indians here, a truly Asian melting pot. We can learn about their culture, their languages, and eat their food which are varied and delicious. In school, there are many activities, not just focused on studies. And people here are always ready to assist one another, as I found out whenever I have problems and they all rally around to help me. Sometimes we don’t have to travel far to learn another culture. Our countries are next to each other but there are some things we don’t know until we experience them first-hand and understand and appreciate them.


Malaysia Moments

Ursula: A Strange New World By: Ursula Bergfeld


y name is Ursula but I’m known as Teacher Ussa among the children I work with. I arrived in Malaysia in January to spend one year here as a volunteer. A lot of people have asked me why I chose Malaysia as my host country and the truth is that Malaysia was a strange new world for me, a country far away from my own and one I did not know anything about. It was mainly due to curiosity which does not sound like a good reason but I don´t regret it a bit. I fell in love with Malaysia and especially with Georgetown in the Penang chapter, where I currently live. But it wasn´t like that at the beginning. When I first learnt that I would be placed in the Penang Buddhist Association Kindergarten, I was really scared. I had never worked with children before and my lack of Mandarin and Bahasa Melayu did not make things better. The first two or three months were therefore pretty tough because I had no idea how to get respect from a class full of three and four-year old children. In addition, the communications with other teachers were equally hard sometimes. But I persevered and over time, I got used to the routine, the teachers and the children


and also learned a lot from another volunteer in my project, who had been there six months earlier. I am now so enthusiastic and excited about my project that I would not change it for anything. I am happy whenever I can teach the children something new and the greeting “good morning teacher! “said in unison and with much gusto never fail to cheer me up and make me smile. Would I encourage other AFS participants to choose Malaysia as their destination? Yes I would!

It´s a great country to learn about other cultures and the number of public holidays here is always a plus point! Malaysia also has many stunning places to visit like Cameron Highlands and the ancient rainforests of Taman Negara. Of course, one’s experience depends a lot on how one faces the many challenges of being in an environment and culture so different from one’s own. Also, the state you´re placed in plays a part too. I know that Penang differs in many respects from most other parts of Malaysia, being an island state and with quite a cosmopolitan population. In other places in Malaysia you may sometimes feel out of place because there are not many foreigners there and you have to be careful not to offend the sensivities of people there by how you dress and behave. Despite that, Malaysia is the best choice for those interested in Asian cultures, appreciate beautiful landscapes and good food that are available 24 hours a day!


School Spotlight

Presence of Exchange Students Boosts School By: Pn Norlelawati Bt Abdul Aziz


am Pn Norlelawati Bt Abdul Aziz, the principal of SMK Tunku Abdul Rahman since December 2014. Before I came to this school, AFS programmes had already been carried out here. However, to be honest, I was only aware of this programme when I joined this school. Since 2013, this school has hosted five exchange students from different countries. I was happy to receive heart-warming response and feedback from teachers about the presence of the exchange students. AFS has enhanced the name and image of the school even though it is only a rural school. In fact one of our exchange students, Andre Mansfeld was chosen as the best exchange student in 2014. It was a proud moment for all of us. I myself felt motivated by this programme, so much so that I decided to host a child. After hosting Lisa for a year, I sincerely find this programme enriching and meaningful. It was a good exposure for myself, my family, school and the community in general.


School is a micro society, as such the social interaction

Lisa, learning to paint batik

we have is an integral part of communication. It prepares the students to face the real life outside. This AFS programme provides an avenue for our students to interact confidently with the exchange students who come from varied backgrounds, are of a different race, culture, language and so on. Besides, it promotes mutual understanding, tolerance, respect and most importantly acceptance among the students. Our students have the opportunity to work and mingle

as a team with the exchange students. Hence it helps to broaden their mindset. The AFS programme is also part of a global learning process among our students. One of the initial challenges of having international students are that our local students are usually intimidated by their presence at first. This is largely due to the communication barrier and the perception that the exchange students are far more accomplished than them.

They will be reluctant to speak them. However, with the help of activities inside and outside the classroom, this gives them the opportunity to gain confidence and interact with each other. Most of the exchange students actively participate in our music and cultural activities. They learn the traditional arts such as gamelan, wayang kulit and so on. They also experience our Malay Traditional dances such as Joget, Inang, Zapin to name a few. They also actively take part in the school brass band. We are happy to note that exchange students hosted in this school seem to enjoy all the activities we organise. On the other hand, we also find that exchange students initially have problems adjusting to Malaysian food, especially the spicy and oily variety. Happily though, they quickly acquire the taste within a few weeks. AFS students are closely guided by our teachers and we try to give them as many opportunities as we can to learn about local cultures and major celebrations. I certainly agree AFS can play a big role in shaping education for the 21st century. It can assist in preparing students to fit into the real world and contribute positively to society in future. It makes them more confident to be an effective global player. It also nurtures students to be holistic in all aspects of life and to be more prepared to face the challenges ahead. The interaction with exchange students gives our own students a better awareness about other countries, cultures and the future of education. Hence, this will create an atmosphere for the students to think critically and make informed decisions on important matters in their lives.


Returnee Reflections

An Enriching Exchange Experience By: Violacea Low


y name is Violacea Low. I am currently a university student, majoring in education at Taylor’s University here in Malaysia. When I was 17 years old, I went for the KennedyLugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program to the United States. That was in 2013. I was hosted in North Tonawanda, in New York state. It’s a sub-urban town about 15 minutes away from the Niagara Falls and Buffalo. It is also the birthplace of the well-loved Buffalo wings!

During my exchange, I did not experience major problems that took away from the experience. But being a more reserved kid back then, I did not speak out much in my classes. As a result, I didn’t really have many friends of my age. However, I joined clubs in my school like the telecommunications club which handled the school’s morning TV announcements program, and I volunteered at my uncle’s community centre. This brought me much closer to my host family, which really brought so much joy during my exchange.


My favourite moment was my farewell party. It took place at a park in Niagara Falls, which was attended by so many people! My host family members, friends from school, my teachers, the other exchange students who drove in from far away to visit me, and people from the telecommunications club. It was so comforting to see so many people sending me their blessings and well-wishes just before I returned to Malaysia. My host family planned this party secretly behind my back, and I was honestly so touched by the kind gesture. The highlight was literally the icing on my farewell cake which had the following words: “Two countries brought together by one amazing young lady”. And that photo of my cake had pride of place as my Facebook cover photo for over two years!

The biggest impact my exchange had on me was exposing me to a world of volunteering. I first started volunteering in America, and now I am still volunteering long after my exchange had ended. Right now, I am volunteering with the amazing people at YES Alumni Malaysia and with Ampang Chapter, both very close to my heart. I am also getting my siblings to volunteer too, although that’s still a work in progress. But, as the saying goes: “Once the volunteering bug bites, you cannot really ever be cured of it”.


Alumni in Action

Summer Academy 2016 By: Kan Wai Min


hile I was on the bus on the way to Karlsruhe from Frankfurt, I recall feeling really excited for the days to come; what a truly intercultural experience it will be, with participants from more than 20 countries! From the 18th till the 29th of July 2016, I was a participant at the Summer Academy in Karlshochschule International University that was jointly organised with InterCultur, a subsidiary of AFS Germany that focuses on intercultural learning. After getting to know each other and a brief introduction about the topic, we were then asked to think of what is meant by ‘intercultural competence’. Among the participants, there were various descriptions and definitions - and of course, the famous AFS Malaysia tagline is particularly apt here, “No right or wrong one, just different lah!’. Our lecturer, Roman Lietz then set the learning environment and approach to be one that is constructivist - and as the week progressed, this constructivist approach turned out to be highly effective. Throughout the week, we learnt more about among others, different models of culture, identity, intercultural (vs multiculturalism), models of intercultural competence, and diversity management. On the Wednesday of the first week, we had an ‘Intercultural Dinner’ that was held in the university’s cafeteria which by the way, had a beautiful terrace! The second week which focused on ‘Intercultural Trainings: Design and Facilitation’ was slightly more intense. This was mainly because we, in our assigned groups, had to design and conduct our own trainings. We worked through our Wednesday afternoon for hours to prepare for our training and then, executed it on the next day. This was a particularly helpful and useful exercise as it allowed us the opportunity to apply what we have learnt in the past few days. On Friday, it was time to say not goodbye, but thank you and see you again to all other participants, lecturers and trainers for what has been a truly intercultural experience that was surely enriching for each and every one of us.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank AFS Malaysia and AFS Germany for making it all possible - and I look forward to sharing my experience with everyone else. In this present world that can seem so divided, disunited and filled with hate, let us be part of the solution.

Global Village – Opportunity for Growth By: Wan Aifaa Shafia bt Wan Mohd Sopi


lobal Village is a workshop program organised by Lehigh University that is participated by entrepreneurs all over the world, although the opportunity is also open to those interested in learning about conducting business on a global scale. Malaysia was represented by just me and our neighbouring countries Thailand and Indonesia also had one representative each. Participants were as young as 18 years old with the oldest in my Global Village batch being 39 years old. In all, there were 91 participants from 43 countries. Our daily activities were varied and included speeches and lectures from many top executives such as the CEO of HP and the founder of PokĂŠmon Go. We also went on a trip to the World Bank and New York Stock Exchange.

Official Global Village photo day - selfie

Yearbook Project team

Malaysia’s role in GV2016 was to assist a cosmetic company planning to expand their business in Malaysia and needed research on how to do it. We formed a project team about conducting business in Malaysia with a focus on learning about Malaysian culture. Malaysia also had to do a country presentation, and feedback from participants revealed that they found it fascinating how Malaysians love their food which bonds Chinese, Indians and Malays together. They were also amused to learn that Malaysians generally frown upon boys and girls displaying open affection in public! The program was focused on creating new global leaders and businesses, but I found out eventually that another subtler objective was to get people together to understand each other better in a controlled and enclosed environment where they would have to work together as a team and ultimately, create a peaceful world. Participants from countries in conflict like Palestine and Israel were there too, and while they argued a lot during team sessions, nonetheless at the completion of the program, they hugged each other and cried. That was when our guide told us that this is why the program was created - not just for creating and developing entrepreneurs, but also to spread love and break down barriers that obstruct respect and understanding, similar to the mission of AFS. Global Village will continue next year in 2017 and will be celebrating its 21st birthday too. Applications will open in late January 2017.

Eid night Celebration with people from Palestine, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Oman, UAE and Thailand


Travel Tales - International

Istanbul CAPITAL OF CULTURE By: Khalilah Talha

“Istanbul was Constantinople Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople Been a long time gone, Constantinople Now it’s Turkish delight on a moonlit night”


he catchy ditty was playing in my head as our coach headed through the almost deserted streets of Istanbul on an early and cold March morning. All around us were evidence of the various peoples and empires that had previously ruled the city… Genoese and Roman architecture standing majestically alongside their Ottoman counterparts. After all, it had once served as the capital of four great empires: Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman.


We passed through avenues lined with tulips in all colors, adding a festive cheer to the otherwise austere morning. An interesting but not-sowellknown fact about Istanbul is that tulips are the symbol of Istanbul and Turkey as a whole. In fact, the first bulbs were introduced to the Netherlands from Istanbul! These flowers bloom from late March to early May and while they can be seen on many avenues of the city wherever there is enough space for planting at the sides and the central strip of the road, if you are after admiring and/or photographing large patches of tulips with relatively exotic varieties,

Tulips originated in Istanbul, blooming from late March to May

Above and right : A veritable treasure trove at The Grand Bazaar

Sultanahmet Park and Gülhane Park in Sultanahmet is the place to go; also head for Emirgan Park near the northern Bosphorus neighbourhood of Emirgan or Çamlıca Hill on the Asian Side. There is also a Tulip Festival throughout April organized at Emirgan Park. With its long history at the center of empires, Istanbul naturally offers a wealth of historic and religious places to take in. The bulk of these ancient monuments, including the Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque), and Basilica Cistern are located around Sultanahmet Square, while others are dispersed throughout the peninsula of the old city, such as Church of St Savior, the entire inside of which is covered by mind-blowing frescoes and mosaics. An impressive section of mostly intact Theodosian walls, which mark the full length of western boundary of the peninsula, is right next to this particular church. Not surprisingly, Istanbul is the world’s fifthmost- popular tourist destination attracting over 11.6million visitors annually. The city’s biggest draw remains its historic center, partially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Travel Tales - International

Traditional Iznik blue and azure tiles adorn the walls of the Blue Mosque

The city straddles both Europe and Asia, separated by the mighty Bosphorus Strait, one of the world’s busiest waterways. As we cross the Galata Bridge, we marvel at the cultural differences on both sides of the divide… the old city with its elegant minarets and the new with its towering skyscrapers. The dual character of the city continues with its numerous shopping centers, from the historic to the modern. Most popular among tourists is The Grand Bazaar, in operation since 1461, and is among the world’s oldest and largest covered markets. Here, traders ply everything from rugs to exotic clothes, household ware, trinkets and food snacks. It is a veritable Aladdin’s Treasure Chest with its maze-like arrangement, and many traders here are even able to speak a smattering of Malay. There is also Mahmutpasha Bazaar, an open-air market extending between the Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Bazaar, which has been Istanbul’s major spice market since 1660.

Tea drinking is a fovourite part time


Due to the overwhelming choices of wares and handicrafts at the bazaars, one may be confused on what to get as a perfect souvenir from Turkey. Recommended buys would be Turkish Delight or Lokum and it is advisable to buy it fresh rather than in pre-packed

Carpets and kilims in all hues and sizes await visitors street-side

Staggered wooden facade of buildings in the Old City

boxes and to get a variety of flavours. Pistachio in particular is very good. Highly recommended for Lokum is the Malatya Pazari stall in the Spice Market. The Turkish Delight there is fresh, has great flavours including some offbeat ones and the prices are fair. Tea, the national drink of Turkey, is another good souvenir. Brewed from leaves grown on the steep, verdant mountain slopes of Turkey’s eastern Black Sea coast, Turkish tea is brewed samovar-style, with a small pot of very strong tea sitting on a larger vessel of boiling water. Pour a small amount of strong tea into a little tulip-shaped glass and cut it to the desired strength with hot water. Turks usually add cube sugar. Having fresh, hot tea always available everywhere is one of life’s splendid little luxuries in Turkey. Apple tea is the flavour of preference for tourists, although the Turks themselves prefer Siyah Çay (black tea). Rugs and kilims can be a good buy while in the city too. They are mostly located around the Sultanahmet area. For those with deeper pockets, chalcedony is a must-buy. It is a semiprecious gemstone named after the town of Chalcedon, and is sold in many of Istanbul’s multitude of jewellery shops. Turkish Delight is aptly named!


Travel Tales - Domestic

JAW-SOME Experience at Aquaria KLCC By: Nurhasliza Sahadi


lways wanted to see life under the sea but were afraid to dive? Well, now you can marvel at the many denizens of the deep without getting wet! Aquaria KLCC located on the concourse level of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, is home to over 150 species of marine life. Aquaria does not just ‘submerge’ visitors beneath thousands of gallons of seawater – instead visitors will be going on an adventure set in different watery landscapes, from evolution zones, to the riverbank jungle to shipwrecks, flooded forests, coral reefs and the open ocean. In short, a total immersion into underwater life. Your adventure will start off on Level 1 where you will meet huge red bellied piranhas that you would think make quick work of their meal. Surprisingly however, according to the staff and also the interactive kiosk there, these piranhas are actually omnivorous and not as dangerous as movies make them out to be. We were relieved to learn piranhas will not attack humans unless there is not enough food around (hence, stop polluting the oceans and seas, people!) and if they smell blood. All the displays are beautifully made to mimic the natural habitat of the fishes which are exhibited


We also got to interact, touch, feel and hold a horse shoe crab, sea cucumber, bamboo sharks and starfish at the Gene Pool and marvel at the electric zone fishes, namely the Black Ghost Knife fish, elephant nose fish and the electric catfish. Take a break from the fishes and head to the Riverbank jungle where you will see Oriental Whip Snakes and meet the only mammals in Aquaria, the Asian Smallclawed Otter. From here, you can wander off into several shipwrecked dioramas which unfold the secret tales of the ocean‌ with the poisonous and very fascinating Lion Fishes and Long-Horned Cow Fishes, unique shrimps, Razor Fishes, tiny Spotted Garden Eels and Snowflake Moray Eel that hover around shipwrecks. The oriental small-clawed otter, also known as the Asian smallclawed otter, is the smallest otter species in the world

Despite their reputation as a dangerous tropical fish, Piranhas are actually a pretty popular aquarium fish


Travel Tales - Domestic

Put on a lab coat and find yourself in the Lab area where to can s

Then head over to Level 2 where you can experience a freshwater journey with Lampans, Kelahs and fishes from the Kenyir and Flooded Forest where the oversized arapaima, alligator gar fish and many others dwell. Take a leisurely stroll up to the Coast to see archer fish, mud skippers and more. There is even a section where we can get to see the life cycle of a bamboo shark, from egg form to being a new born. Then we will come to the highlight of Aquaria which is a 90m walk-through tunnel with a slow moving travellator in its centre.

Above and below: The fascinating Lion Fishes and Long-Horned Cow Fishes


It is here you can imagine yourself to be right under the sea, surrounded by sand tiger sharks, huge stingrays, giant groupers,

Electric eels are well known by the electric current that they produce in order to defend themselves in the wild sea

see Jelly Fishes, and Sea Horses being bred and kept

leopard sharks, olive leaf turtles and many more denizens of the living oceans. Soak in the feeling as evil looking sharks with razor sharp teeth, stingrays and other fish swim past and above you… the feeling is just so surreal. And if you are in the tunnel at the right time, you will see Aquaria’s professional divers feeding the sharks. And then there is the Atlantis Souvenir Store just before you exit the attraction. Get some souvenirs to commemorate your visit here so that memories are triggered every time you look at the items… and you don’t have to dive deep into your wallet either as there are many choices to suit every budget!

Take time to marvel at the Giant Pacific Octopus

Stop by the Atlantis Souvenir Store for some souvenirs to commemorate your visit here


Social Media Highlights Here are some highlights from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts over the past months. For September, Malaysian celebrates Mid-Autumn Festival which is known as The Lantern or Mooncake Festival. The World’s Teacher’s Day fell on the 5th October which celebrates all educators and teachers around the world.

Facebook Facts One of our biggest hits was when we publish our previous edition of Budaya Beat which featured our Annual General Meeting 2016 and YES Selection Camp 2016. During the end of September, hosted students from Ampang Chapter experienced The Mid Autumn Festival @ Chempaka Buddhist Association.


Twitter Talk Tweet with #AFS #AFSeffect has been retweeted several times especially on The World Teacher’s Day. The annual theme for World Teachers Day is “Valuing Teachers, Improving their Status”, especially in relation to the Global Goal #4, Quality Education.

Instagram Insights The main highlight for Instagram was the live updated on NH16 18+ Delayed Orientation Camp at Quay Side Hotel Melaka.


Intercultural Etiquette in Malaysia


elcome to Malaysia, a melting pot of cultures, traditions, rituals, religions, and beliefs! Understanding and knowing about local customs and etiquette can certainly give you a heads up on the social front… especially to tourists, travellers, adventurers and AFSers from other countries.

When you meet or are introduced to someone for the first time, handshakes are commonly used but in some instances, only with members of the same gender. Otherwise, the more acceptable and safe form of acknowledging a new acquaintance would be to place your right hand over your heart and bow slightly. Eating with the right hand is also considered appropriate. The custom has been around for a long time and even people with different backgrounds, ethnicity and culture have learned and adapted to the practice of eating with the right hand.

However, the simplest but most important etiquette involve gestures in a social environment. For example, touching someone’s head is strictly to be avoided. Malaysians believe that the most sacred part of a person’s body is their head. Hence touching their head will be viewed as a sign of disrespect. Another rude gesture is using your feet to point at anything or anyone and even resting them on a table in the presence of others is to be avoided. Make sure never to cross your legs at an interview session either. Giving a slight bow when leaving, entering or passing by people implies “please excuse me” and is a sign of good behaviour and breeding. Or one could just say “tumpang lalu” which means excuse me. Generally, it is considered more polite and respectful to ask for a passage way rather than barging in or forcing a space to move or walk through. Bow slightly when passing in front of people

‘Salam’ with elders is a must


Seniority plays a big role in Malaysian society, and significantly influences the way customs and etiquette are followed. On occasions when introductions are made to a family, the oldest male member of the family should be greeted first, hence this same person will be given the best and the highest placed seat at a table or gathering, and is consulted first on any matter. Lastly, when entering a home in Malaysia one must always remove one’s shoes first. Even back then, shoes and any footwear were considered unclean to be brought into the house as they had been used to step on ground outside, and this tradition has carried on for centuries. It makes good sense too for hygienic purposes!


Life Quotes





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