I ran a quick poll recently asking people to describe ‘Canada in 1 word’ and ‘Malaysia in 1 word’. It was purely for fun, to see if I would even get a response. I did, and it was interesting. Here’s what came in. Keep in mind that I was looking to gauge ‘first responses’. I show in brackets which word was associated to which country.
- Hot (Malaysia), Cold (Canada). Canada and Malaysia are seen to be on polar opposites by those who responded – weather wise that is. Though it can get really hot in Canada (+40C) and fairly cool in Malaysia – about 25, the first word for Canada was “Cold” and Malaysia, “Hot”.
- Local delights, the edible kind (Malaysia): Given the sample pool (my facebook page), it was no surprise I suppose that most thought Malaysia was a great place for good food. Any Malaysian would happily take you on a trail of culinary indulgence. Everything from street side food to high-end restaurants, Malaysian cuisine is nothing short of extraordinary. It’s the blend of cultures and the blend of spices – Malay, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Peranakan – to name a few – that make Malaysian food pretty unique. Personally, I am delighted to have found a couple of Malaysian restaurants right here in Toronto – Matahari Bar & Grill on Baldwin Street, downtown, and Lion City Restaurant in Mississauga. Lion City serves up a wider variety of South East Asian food. There are a few more Malaysian restaurants around the city, but these are the two that I’ve checked out so far.
- Change (Malaysia): Malaysia is a nation on the cusp of change. It seems that we’ve been on that cusp for a while now, but each year, we make small strides for greater political freedom and deeper social integration. Yet, with each stride, we sometimes suffer setbacks that hurt our progress. The country still has a very long way to go. Words that came up along with this were ‘corruption’ ‘complex’, and ‘religious’ – all of which suggest why change is a pretty big theme in Malaysia, and to a degree, why change is difficult.
- Colourful (Malaysia): The cultural heritage, wrapped within each nationality and religious group, is celebrated nationally. It is also a bond that unites Malaysians and this is what makes Malaysia colourful.
- Inclusive, Aspiring, Opportunities (Canada): To me these words reflect the fact that Canada has come further in terms of its political freedoms and social integration. It’s what makes Canada a nation of opportunity and inclusion for many.
- Beautiful (both): Both nations scored with this one. 🙂 The Canadian Rockies got several mentions, making Canada a dream destination for some.
- Home and Family (Malaysia): Words that got the most votes for Malaysia – no surprise, really – again given the poll sample. Malaysians, who live abroad mostly still see Malaysia as home. But, many have moved in search of better opportunities elsewhere. At the end of the day however, home and family is where you decide it is.
What’s your one word for Malaysia or Canada, and why?