Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mutual respect : 'I Want To Touch A Dog' event


I was a bit surprise to see this photo circulated in Facebook.

Growing up in Malaysia, I know that my Muslim counterparts are not supposed to touch dogs. Their religion considers that dogs are unclean. If one has to be in contact with a dog, one needs to clean himself in a certain way. Therefore, seeing a Muslim Malaysian getting closed to a German Shepherd with her kid got me curious.

Reading further I found out the 'I Want To Touch A Dog' event recently organized in a park in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysians from different races and religions showed up. The goal was to help address animal cruelty and overcome prejudice and fear towards dogs.

Anyway, no matter what my Muslim counterparts decide, touching or not touching, this is their choice, and I learn to RESPECT. Just like they respect other Malaysians to own a dog at home. If one chooses to stay away from dogs due to religious aspect, one shouldn't be reprimanded.


Living in France, I learn that believers from different countries have different practices even though they are from the same religion. For example, I talked to a coworker from Algeria. She was surprised to hear that my Muslim counterparts in Malaysia do not touch dogs, as she doesn't practice the same things. The same goes to Buddhism: Buddhists / Taoists in Malaysia do not eat beef in general , but Buddhists in Taiwan do. How about Christian? My Christian friends here were so surprised that some Christians in Malaysia do not drink alcohol. They told me that Jesus drank wine at his last supper (in the photo above there is some red liquid in a wine container on the table). People just have different beliefs and practices and what is important is that we learn to RESPECT their choice.

Coming from France, hubby and his friends discovered that Muslims in France and Muslims in Malaysia live a different life. They were charmed by the colourful traditional baju kurung (costumes) and the friendliness of my Muslims counterparts. One commented that the female workers in Carrefour looked so cute with their blue uniform and blue head scarf. Hubby loves to go to Hari Raya open houses.

In my opinion, Malaysians, regardless of race and religion background, could live in harmony as long as we show mutual respect. I missed those days when we got invited to Raya open house for some satay and ketupat; and Deepavali open house for some Indian breads.

By the way, Happy Deepavali to all Malaysians at home!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Wednesday = no school no work no daycare day

One month into the Wednesday = no school no work no daycare day routine, we are slowly adjusting to the new organisation. The girls wake up at the same time, but we can take things slowly instead of rushing out of the door for school/daycare/work. Hubby enjoys it as well as he can sleep a bit more on Wednesday mornings.

In France a lot of government subsidized clubs used to offer sportive activities for kids on Wednesdays. However, since this September every government schools have class on Wednesday mornings. This has pushed majority of sportive activities into Wednesday afternoons. We went to a club forum where many clubs set up a stand to explain their activities. Through a friend we found a club who organizes session of get-together where everyone is encouraged to converse in Mandarin. For a long time I had looked for a Mandarin playground for Aelig and this seems to be a nice fit.

So I enrolled her for this program and we tried out the first session. The group was small with kids from mix couples (Chinese/French) and a French kid. Some kids prefer to speak in French, but the organizer spoke in Mandarin. I brought a long some Mandarin books and I was proud that Aelig volunteered to tell a story in Mandarin. Even though she was not that fluent, she had the courage to finish the story, with my help. Then, I was surprised that she was not shy but blended in instantly when the organizer was telling a story.

We decided to go back and enroll for more sessions. The organizer proposed to teach Aelig Chinese writing along with her own kids. She learnt to read and write several words a week. Most importantly she started to show some interest in writing, she even did some practice at home.

Through internet I also got connected to a group of Chinese mothers in my city. We informally started a playground, not regularly but occasionally we gather in a place to let the kids play together. I would like them to speak in Mandarin but some kids prefer to speak in French. I observed that some kids choose to speak French even though their mothers speak Mandarin to them. 

Another picnic + playtime for Aelig and her new friends. Hopefully the group would grow so that we could organize the outings more regularly.

Well, we had exceptionally sunny weather in September, it is going to be a challenge to bring them out as the raining days seem to be back in October.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

French tolerance: The traveling people V - They are still here!

I got back from my maternity leaves and was surprised to discover that the traveling people invading our office's parking lot are still there. Well, according to my coworkers, they left for a few months then decided to come back. The property management has actually installed a gate with access code to prevent them from entering, but they know how to deal with gate, they are squatting where they want just like the gate never existed.

Maybe due to word of mouth, their communities are expanding, they also invaded another empty field around the office spaces.

Photo shows a worker installing fence around the area. I don't know if this will really prevent them from staying.

It is sure that their present costed some money to the property owners here.

Well, I don't think they are bothered, they actually hung some clothes on the fence!

Some wandered why the prefecture is not reacting. The prefecture is supposed to send out some polices and conduct an expulsion operation. Some thought that the prefecture chose not to act because it is better if they stay in office area instead of housing area. Offices are empty during weekends so there would be less complains.

Employees are not happy about it but we know there is nothing we can do. Once a coworker lodged a police report due to some minor physical dispute with the traveling people. He was parking his car and a young guy from the group arrived and parked his car at high speed. He nicely asked the person to play more attention, which provoked a fight and at one point he was grounded. With their children and animals running around we do not feel safe to park there anymore.