By Sandy Zimmerman
(Photos by Sandy Zimmerman)
Malaysia wants you to indulge yourself and discover their country! Located at the crossroads of Southeast Asia, between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, they have so much to offer! You will enjoy the country’s multi-cultural character in their cuisine, architecture and people. You can experience adventure in the jungles, unbelievable shopping bargains and a variety of cuisines and historic sites in Kuala Lumpur and the smaller towns.
I attended the nation’s biggest event of all, part of their yearlong “Celebration of 50 Years of Independence” in conjunction with the Malaysia “Year End Sale”!
I represented the United States and joined nearly 200 media from 20 countries at the Renaissance Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. We watched videos and listened to speakers from Malaysia Tourism and Malaysia Airlines. Learning about Malaysia helped me to appreciate their “differences”.
To understand Malaysia, you have to know their past. During Marco Polo’s travels, Malaysia was important to the spice trade. European powers were interested in Malaysia. The country was under the control of the Dutch, England and Japan. Malaysia is the only country that celebrates other regions festivals on a national level, eg, the Chinese New Year, Hindu Festival of Light, Christmas and many more.
Later everyone walked across the street to the Restoran Seri Melayu for dinner.
What a fantastic banquet! We went from buffet table to buffet table tasting traditional Malaysian dishes along with those of India, China, and other countries. Chefs prepared and cooked their dishes in front of us. This was a great chance to taste the delicacies of each culture.
Their spectacular show dazzled the audience! These traditional dances were influenced by Malaysia, India, Borneo, and China. With the PIZZAZZ of a Las Vegas production show, the dancers dramatically moved with a passion for each of the song’s stories. When they performed their national song- “One Golden Celebration”, during the finale, I felt it aptly describes the feeling of being in Malaysia. The song mentions their smiling people, the thrills you will experience, and a “joie de vivre”. “The time is now, the place is Malaysia.” This was my first day in Malaysia and I was already immersed in their culture!
I must compliment the people who organized this event. It is truly a feat to arrange all of the transportation, accommodations, restaurants, tours and details for nearly 200 people (from cities in the United States, Russia, Thailand, Australia, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Viet Nam, Japan, the Philippines, India, Cambodia, China, Singapore, Canada, the Netherlands and Indonesia.) to attend this celebration and visit Malaysia for 10 days. The event went so smoothly, it seemed as though they can handle anything!
Award winning Sandy Zimmerman has been involved in producing television programs, television commercials and travel specials for 28 years. Sandy is a syndicated Show and Dining Reviewer, travel writer, professional photographer and talk show host of the Las Vegas Today Show and Discover the Ultimate Vacation travel specials. For information or questions about any of Sandy’s columns, contact Sandy Zimmerman: (702)-735-5974. firstname.lastname@example.org