Malaysia is my first country to travel alone. It is a well-known country with multiple ethnic groups and diverse cultures. To my surprise, I felt a little familiar when I was there for 10 days. The first thing is the language. I talked with the ethnic Chinese, one of major ethnic groups, in Cantonese. When I turned on the video or TV, Cantonese sometimes came out from the channels. I remembered one day when I was a little scared in the hotel at night, I turned to TV’s Cantonese channel to comfort me. Before coming over, I have read quite a lot of documents about the history of these local Chinese. When I had a conversation with them, I even imagined a scene of my ancestors from Canton.
Another unforgettable thing is my English practice. Honestly, this is my first time to talk with people in English in non-Mandarin environment. My spoken English was so weak that I had to speak slowly. Nevertheless, I had a funny talked with a cute young man at the train with my horrible English.
Generally people’s travel is full of scenery, food or shopping.But mine is basically a semi-academic journey. I contacted an editor of a local Internet media and a activist through Facebook. Then I visited their office, a news room in Kuala Lumpur and a think tank in Penang separately. I also had meals with them even though our topics were different. One was about the speech freedom in Malaysia and the other focused on China, Taiwan and Malaysia’s politics.
Anyway, I had a great day in Malaysia. People often say first time is the most precious. But for me, it is the beginning to explore the world alone. Single travel may be lonely sometimes but full of surprise. It is not precious but hard to forget.