Immensely filled with culture. These are just a few words that can describe Malaysia and Singapore. I took a trip to these two countries to visit family, as well as be a bridesmaid in a wedding in Malaysia. When I stepped off the plane and out of Singapore Changhi International Airport, I instantly noticed the clean atmosphere. The air felt pure when I took a deep breath, and the floors were shiny as if they were just waxed. The ban on chewing gun in Singapore definitely contributed to the clean ground. Underneath the high-rise apartment building in Yishun we stayed at was a market that had everything from fresh soybean milk, satay, Ice Kachang, fish ball soup, and many other traditional dishes. The food in Singapore is a variety of Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisine. You can find this great food everywhere you go in Singapore. After spending some time in Singapore I took a taxi across customs to Malaysia. Taking a taxi is one of the ways people cross to and from Malaysia and Singapore. Before I knew it I was in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
I stayed with family throughout my stay in the two countries. In Malaysia, food is the main part of the culture. All the different dishes show how cultured the country is. At most homes in Malaysia, the first thing they offer you when you walk through the door is food, and the main thing offered is roti canai, aka my favorite Malay dish. But aside from loathing over the food, it was time to prepare for my cousins wedding.
I was so honored to be chosen as a bridesmaid. It meant the world to me to be a part of a Malay wedding. The tradition is to hold a dinner for the bride and grooms family a few days before the nuptials. In Malaysia it is legal to shut down the street for anything pertaining to a wedding, and that’s exactly what my family did. The dinner was held right in the middle of the street in front of the bride’s house in Johor Bahru. I found out that there are thrones made for the bride and groom at the bride’s house which was absolutely astonishing. They were gold and had beautiful flowers all around them. A day after the dinner was the day of the wedding. I learned that at a Malaysian wedding everyone shows up, and I mean everyone. There were hundreds of people there. There was an eight course meal filled with curry puffs, satay, and of course wedding cake. A Malaysian wedding is truly an experience to remember.
It was great seeing all of my family that I only see every few years due to the fact that we live across the world from each other. Visiting Malaysia and being in a traditional Malaysian wedding allowed me to fully immerse myself in the Malay culture. I learned about the different types of foods they have, their traditions such as blocking a street for a wedding, and their way of life. I was very lucky because mostly everyone that I talked to spoke English, but whenever the conversations took a turn to the Malay language, I was lost. The language barrier was the only minor setback throughout my trip to Malaysia. Other than that I felt like I fit in, and I bet anyone who visits Singapore and Malaysia would too.
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