Visit Malaysia Year 2007

Next year, which is about 2 weeks away, will be the Visit Malaysia Year 2007 (VMY 2007). Initially, I thought VMY had been coordinated with the rest of the Asean countries. You know, I thought, maybe, there were VSY 2008 for Singapore, VTY 2009 for Thailand, and so on. (But the acronyms would need some fixing because what would you abbreviate ‘Visit Myanmar Year’. Maybe using ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country codes would be in order?)

Apparently, however, VMY is a self-proclaimed year-long event that does not require any negotiation with neighboring countries. VMY 2007 is the third of such events after VMY 1990 and VMY 1994. It is to coincide with 50-th Merdeka celebration. A lot of events have been lined up next year by the various states in Malaysia.

Not keen on being left out, Kelantan has some unique plan to attract people to visit the state during VMY 2007. The state will now relax its grip on entertainment a bit by allowing public dancing in the state. However, only same sex dancing will be allowed. And girls will be segregated from boys just like at the supermarket counters. Yeah, sure this move will increase tourists flocking Kelantan. But I think they won’t be from the group of people the state is willing to accept.

All jokes aside, I think Kelantan should focus more on its unique delicacies like Nasi Dagang and Nasi Ulam to attract people to the state. And since it is a poster child of religious conservatism, it should take advantage of this by promoting some sort of Islamic Tourism similar to Medical Tourism promoted by some other states and other countries.


Durian and wind problem

I don’t know whether eating durians would cause a major wind problem but the death toll in Philippines from today’s super-typhoon, Typhoon Durian, is no laughing matter. But I’m not going to talk about the typhoon directly. What I find interesting is the typhoon has been given a name that is familiar to us in Malaysia. You see, durian, a pungent fruit encased in spiky cover, is a favorite pastime here.

Typhoon durian has got me interested in finding out how typhoons are named. Apparently, there were 14 countries involved in the naming. Collectively, they contributed more than a hundred names. Interestingly, though, ‘Durian’ moniker was not contributed by Malaysia but its neighbor, Thailand. Malaysia offered ‘Jelawat’, ‘Sepat’, ‘Rusa’, ‘Melor’ and ‘Merbok’ from the names of animals, and ‘Rumbia’, ‘Tapah’, ‘Nangka’, ‘Meranti’ and ‘Mawar’ from the names of plants.

At the rate typhoons are coming around this time of year we should be reaching Typhoon Sepat, the name of a freshwater fish, soon. We have got ten more typhoons to go if I have understood the sequence correctly.