When the people of Malaysia decide to celebrate they do so in a big way. 2014 has been designated as Visit Malaysia Year, and one of the ways they are celebrating the diversity of their country is to call themselves One Malaysia.
This signifies that Malaysia has many dimensions, but is a country that is truly multicultural.
Firstly, the country occupies part of the Malay Peninsula, bordering Singapore to its south and Thailand to its north. On the west coast is the Straits of Malacca, which separates Malaysia from the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
Within these boundaries are bustling, modern, cosmopolitan cities, hundreds of tropical islands, soaring mountains, dense rain forests, some of the world’s largest caves, many kilometres of magnificent beaches and national parks that are rich with native wildlife.
1Malaysia also celebrates the many cultures and ethnic backgrounds of its citizens.
The Malays make up the bulk of the population, but there is also an enormous number of people of Chinese descent who have lived in Malaysia for many generations. The third largest group hail from India, and their forebears arrived when the country was ruled by the British who offered them work on the railways and other public infrastructure.
People of many indigenous groups live in the country, especially in Sabah and Sarawak. Many religions are both practised and tolerated within Malaysia. The religion with the largest number of adherents is Islam, followed by Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and also Animism.
Malaysia is a great melting pot of people who have learnt to live with one and other and to respect their distinctive cultures and beliefs.
Malaysia is certainly a country worth visiting. Within its confines there is much to do, and, apart from winter sports, there is something to satisfy anyone.
One of the huge drawcards in Malaysia is its shopping. The country has been declared the fourth best shopping destination in the world.
The capital, Kuala Lumpur has a huge variety of malls and shops, but there are significant shopping precincts in all of the major centres.
I am attracted to the country’s cuisine. With so many different cultural groups there is a an enormous variety of meals available, but I have to admit that for me the popular dishes such as satay, and fried noodle meals, laksas and the humble roti make the choice very difficult.
Malaysia hosts an enormous number of sporting, shopping and cultural festivals throughout the year, but if you just want to chill out on a great beach somewhere it is an ideal to just relax as well.