In Malaysia, the burial place has been commercialised into a big money-making venture. They created lakes with fishes and ducks swimming, moutains and bridges with water flowing underneath it. There are also figurines representing the dead, keepers of heaven and hell as they guide you through your journey into the other world. Their brochures that they occassionally dropped into my postbox invites you to come and experience the peace and serendity as you take a slow walk around the burial ground. It reads more like a holiday resort than a burial ground for the dead
Another Malaysian quirkiness is NEIGHBORS. These days most house owners install their solid metal gates to stretch from pillar to pillar. That means they could park their cars side by side. And when their children, relatives or friends come to visit, they were very considerate to the host but no consideration whatsoever to their neighbors. They parked on their neighbor’s properties, across the neighbor’s gate and stayed for hours. Being polite neighbors, we usually grind our teeth. But one neighbor got so fed-up he started to place cones in front of his gate to send the message across. One day, I came home and saw a cone hidden inside my gate. What ! Is my son also trying to send a message to our neighbor ?
Read some of Sarah Mori’s experience of Japan’s quirkiness.