2012 marks a new year, and a new life for me. On New Year’s itself, I was already on my way to a new place to start my new job. For those who don’t know where I’ve been hiding lately, I’ve been posted to Bangi by my sponsors – a little Malay town about 45 minutes from Big City KL. Being here for two weeks now, I still find myself adjusting to the different culture here.
Bangi is a bit of a culture shock to me, because life here is catered to the Malay majority. Now I’m not being racist, but put someone from Bangi in Penang and you’ll get the same kind of opinion – it’s just different. Life in Bangi is more laid back, and even the nearest mall Alamanda in Putrajaya isn’t very crowded on weekends. While they do have premium retails stores like Guess, Ms Read, Esprit, (actually most of their stores are on the high-end side), there’s not much choice compared to larger malls in KL. Which is fine, by the way, for non-shopaholics like me. There’s a decent cinema, hypermarkets like Carrefour and Cold Storage and a bookstore like MPH.
If you’re into details, you’ll notice that even the clothes and books selections are very much tuned to the Malay customers. This is probably the first MPH I’ve seen that exhibits ALL of their Malay novels in front, and a very small unimpressive fiction corner near the magazines. Clothes sold in Parkson (and the other retail stores) are more of a conservative selection and so far the only store I noticed that has Chinese salespeople is Padini. Oh and a barrista in Starbucks. I’m not being selective, I just notice. But I like the fact that it’s not overly crowded here and you get to spend a peaceful coffee time without too much background noise – which is a rarity in KL.
Back in the little town where I’m currently staying, there’s probably only one non-halal Chinese restaurant I’ve noticed so far. They have Chinese food here, but it’s a halal affair mostly. They’re not bad though – and reasonably priced. Lucky for me, I’m not one who is too picky about food (albeit reigning from Penang), and neither do I get pork cravings, although I do get cranky if I don’t get good coffee.
Where I stay, there’s almost everything I need and more – mini marts, furniture shops, laundry, car workshops, petrol stations, banks, clinics, pharmacies, optometrists, and an array of other shops I have yet to explore because there’s just too many. And speaking of optometrists, I randomly entered one the other day to get my specs done (broke my old one), and the owners of the shop looked at me in surprise, because they didn’t think they’d see another Chinese in town apart from themselves. That was probably the first time I’ve spoken Chinese in this town since I got here. I’m also still getting used to the strange looks the locals give me whenever I enter their shops/restaurants. In this community, I do stand out.
If I ever want to blend in, I can opt to just hop over to the town nearby, Kajang. It’s a whole new ball game over there. It’s like Chinatown if compared to Bangi. I would drive there whenever I want to drop by the Giant hypermarket (not because of the community, but the Giant in Bangi needs major space improvements), but apart from the famous satay, I have yet to give its other culinary choices a taste. After all, exploring new food places on your own does cut half the fun cos you’d have no one to disagree with.
And as we go into food, I’ve been giving cooking a try. The kitchen in my house is rather complete, though lack of space, and I’m still experimenting different techniques of cooking as well as balancing the cost of cooking for one. One of my colleagues told me that cooking for one person is a waste of time and money, but I think it all boils down to smart rationing. I actually find it cheaper when you get creative with your dishes. One basic ingredient can transformed into different kinds of dishes. I need to remind myself to get a small oven and slow cooker for heating up food and boiling soup.
I have a nice housemate, and a fairly nice place to stay. Because she’s working shifts and disappears to KL every weekend, we don’t get to see each other a lot. But she’s easy to talk to, and I could discuss almost anything with her (such as adding two packages to our Astro subscription, heh). She works in a rival O&G company, and it’s a mutual understanding that we don’t talk about work at home. I think she’s a health nut, based on the things she eats – I could learn a thing or two from her.
As for work, again, I’m the only Chinese in my department. But my superiors seem like nice people, having already approved my CNY leave. I have a fairly large workstation, and very nice colleagues. There’s nothing much to comment about work just yet – actually it’s best to keep comments about work to a minimum, dear fellow bloggers. Right, moving on.
Actually, I’m almost done. Apart from waking up 6.30am every morning to a cold shower, make my own breakfast and going through the slow crawl (thank God I don’t suffer from bumper-to-bumper jams to and from work), doing what I need to at work, decide what to have for dinner (eat out or cook), another cold shower, catch up on TV and some reading before turning in every weekday, sleep a little more on weekends, and going to church and picking up my laundry on Sundays – I’m showing healthy vitals for a new, young working adult. When my finances are stable, I’ll prolly sign up for gym.
I wish I had pictures to illustrate my experience here, but I don’t have a decent camera with me at the moment. Hopefully my next post about life here will get its appropriate photos. This is mainly a chunk of text to prove that I am well and very much alive.
Oh right, I know it’s a bit late but, Happy New (Dragon) Year! =)