Recently I returned from a holiday in China catching up with family and friends of both my wife and mine. This reminded me of an article I wrote two years ago of meeting up with an old friend.
In that story I recalled going to Malaysia in 2006, having grown up in China for all my 19 years – a totally different and new country – with much culture shock.
The weather was different. In Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), there is not any four seasons rather it's all summer. The humidity and hot weather made it difficult to leave my apartment.
All I wore in those 3 years were short sleeve t-shirts and shorts, except for presentation at the lectures – I wore long trousers. In contrast, my hometown Chongqing has four seasons. In the summer time, the temperature can reach 38 degrees in the midday while the winter time 3 degrees in the morning.
It took some time to adjust getting used to the weather in Malaysia.
The food was different. Before I went to Malaysia, I was told the Chinese food there is great. So that I tried the local Chinese food the first thing after I arrived. Most of the local Chinese food is based on southern Chinese food, such as Guangdong and Fujian province. It doesn't have a strong flavour in the dishes nor is it oily, but the taste is just the opposite of Sichuan food, which is spicy, rich of oil and strong flavour.
To be honest, I didn't enjoy the food there for the first few months. Sometimes I had to get super expensive imported instant noodles from a supermarket in another town.
I started to doubt myself as to why I choose to go to Malaysia to study? Fortunately, my dear friends in Malaysia gave me much courage and support and helped me settled in that beautiful country.
On campus, international students were from all over the world, they brought their culture and food with. Each time when we have a gathering, it just like a small United Nations. Malaysian friends would prepare their Nasi Goreng Ayam (Fried rice with chicken); Bangladeshi friends would prepare their curry; Korean friends would prepare their Korean style BBQ; while Chinese friends would prepare their dumplings.
After this awesome food, we would share our culture by telling the stories, singing songs with our mother language. As we were all a long way from our home
towns and meeting together in another country, this commonality we share provides us more understanding of each other easier.
A friend's visit
After moving to Sydney one of my best friends from high school back in China came to visit me. It was great to catch up and renew our friendship, and I showered him with warm hospitality.
The Pastor from the City Harvest Church, Kuala Lumpur, once spoke to the congregation in relation to having re-located to a new place. He said it is good to get to know new local friends. This doesn't mean we need to forget old friends back home.
The more friends we have, the road to our success in many endeavours will be greater. He noted to always remember, Jesus is our best friend. He will never forget us even when things are bleak. This has stayed with me all these years.
Oscar Duan is from China, he has an accountancy degree from University of Hertfordshire (UH) International campus in Malaysia, and has undertaken further accountancy studies in Australia for accreditation here. He is married to Heyley.
Oscar Duan's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/oscar-duan.html