If you can’t tell what happened on Saturday as a Malaysian in Malaysia, you must be hiding under a giant rock somewhere. If so, please tell me where the rock is, I wouldn’t mind hiding under it sometime!
But Saturday, July 9th came and went with both sides making all sorts of accusations, claims of victory etc. For me however, it prompted a lot of soul-searching and a deep kind of sadness for me. It made me wonder what makes us Malaysia Malaysia, what makes a Malaysian, a Malaysian – something that goes beyond ethnicity, citizenship and all those little political ingredients that you would find in a constitution and a charter.
If the British have tea, are we Malaysian for our teh tarik?
If the British have the Chelsea Flower Show, what about Putrajaya Floria?
Come Sunday, I was dying to get out of the house after staying indoors all day Saturday. We did brave a roadblock to see my in-laws where we hunkered down. Having only been a week since we returned home from the UK, and since I’m pumped up in all my anglophile glory with all my anglophile habits, I did not want to just be so Malaysian and stay at home and watch tv all day. I was going to go for a walk in the park.
The plan was grand, but as always in true Amiruddin fashion, the execution was awry. Eizwan spent the entire night playing Infamous 2. While I would like to be a good wife and blame the husband for not prioritizing sleep, it was my fault for egging him on. And criticising his game play. And accusing him of not approaching the monster battle with a sort of game plan. And that was why he kept dying instead of going through with the game as fast as he could have.
You have backseat drivers. Well, meet me. I’m a backseat gamer.
Anyway, the end result was, we struggled out of bed around 11am and by the time we got to flower show it was 12pm. And oh, Adlina, are you so full of yourself that you’ve forgotten that while it may be pleasant in the UK for a stroll around 12pm, by 12pm Malaysian time, you would positively be baking?
Of course I did.
It had rained earlier and walking about in Putrajaya park was a lot like walking in a sauna. Ten minutes in, walking from the parking lot, I was not so sure that I could survive this, and that perhaps we ought to surrender and be a proper Mall-aysian and hide in a mall. Of course, I was not going to tell Eizwan, that as always, my ideas might have not been the brightest and so we ploughed on.
As we walked along, I looked at everyone at the park. Were they feeling the same way I do, a melancholy over what happened on Saturday? Have we changed as a country from yesterday? Or am I mistaking all of that glazed look as that look when dammit, you just can’t decide because there are so many things to buy!
There were a few things I’ve learnt on this trip to Putrajaya.
- I’m not in England. Despite pretending that I might be. 20 minutes in, and I was sweating profusely. 30 minutes in and my shirt was soaked. 2 hours later, you could cut me open, fluff me up and fill me with a filling of your choice. Butter is nice. So would sour cream and chives.
- DSLRs are the bane of every show’s existence. Going through Putrajaya park was like going through an obstacle course with people hunkering down every two minutes or so, to do a macro shot of EVERY DAMNED FLOWER THEY SEE. And since this is a flower show…
- You can grow Western herbs in Malaysia. And they don’t have to look as manky as mine. Sigh.
- I’ve discovered another wonderful thing that makes us Malaysia Malaysia. The first time David ever came to Malaysia, I took him to Sunway Pyramid, one of my favourite malls in Malaysia for dinner. There, a giant lion greeted him, complete with glowing eyes. He cracked up laughing so hard that he nearly fell of his seat in the car, had he not been strapped down.
David mentioned something about us Malaysians loving our tacky structures. Like giant lions with glowing eyes. Giant pitcher plants made of concrete spouting water in the centre of KL. Even the supposedly sophisticated Singaporeans are not immune to the Tacky Structure Syndrome with their wonderful Giant Merlion spouting water.
I was affronted, of course. We are not tacky people who enjoy tacky structures. So far, in this garden show I’ve not seen a single tacky structure. Until I saw Penang’s beautiful gardens. They did not win a prize. I wondered why they did not. I surmised that it could be because they were a state held by the Opposition – nothing is free from politics here. Or it really could be the three giant cats grinning at me while wearing the Malaysian traditional outfit. I know some of you would be disappointed that I did not take a photo of it, but I don’t want to have a memory of the gleaming cats staring down at me forever. *shudders*
And then there were these, done by the show organizers. Nothing says class more than a….
And should you feel so inclined to actually have one of these structures in your own home, please contact this landscape designer, who could make a giant swan structure for your home.
Should you come over to my place and see a giant swan structure, well.
The day ended well though. I met a supplier who sold acclimatized Western herbs. He was trying to sell to me a vanilla bean plant for RM 25. I was not convinced. To try an convince me, he told me that if I were to own a huge field of vanilla bean plants, I’d easily be a millionaire. Thing is, I’m still a plant newbie, and my parsley is barely hanging on and my thyme plant looks like its been fried. So I highly doubt I would end up a millionaire, I could end up facing foreclosure with a plantation filled with dead vanilla bean plants.
And I bought lots of plants.
Two of them, as you can see are for eating. Aesthetic values are all fine and dandy but really, what we really like are edible plants. Was trained an economist after all, there must always be a return on investment.