Tag Archives: Malaysia

A Hobby That Takes You Worldwide

Going through all my mails and reading all the letters and cards I received brought back loads of memories. Receiving a hand written letter or card from someone kinda makes you feel special and I love the surprise I got when I open my mailbox and there would be a letter waiting for me.

That is how Postcrossing is like. You send a postcard to a random person anywhere in the world and be surprised to receive a postcard from a random person from anywhere in the world.

At the time of writing, there are 464,575 registered users from 216 different countries. Since the Postcrossing project started there have been 21,678,492 postcards received. In Malaysia alone there are 3,292 members and 165,097 postcards sent.

I signed up for a Postcrossing account four months ago when I met a Postcrosser Gladys David on Twitter. A Postcrosser is someone who sends postcards to all over the world through Postcrossing. I saw her updates on Postcrossing and decided to check it out. After four months of having Postcrossing account, I only sent my first batch of postcards to Russia, Germany and China last week.

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Miss Gladys David.

While eagerly waiting for a postcard from a stranger from anywhere around the world  I decided to ask Gladys on her experience becoming a Postcrosser. Introduced to Postcrossing by her cousin, she started being an active Postcrosser since 2013, last year.

Why did you signed up for a Postcrossing account?
I love sending and receiving things through snail mail. Letters take too much time but postcards are simpler. 

So far, how many have you sent and how many have you received?
I’ve sent 70 postcards and received 73. I have a colleague who registered later than me but she has sent hundreds of postcards already.

Wow. Her postcards must’ve arrived their destination fast. That’s why she can send many.
[Laughs] I think I’m the one who’s lazy. If I’m busy, I put Postcrossing on hold and only start to send postcards when I have less workload.

For first time users, each user is allowed to send five postcards and when the recipient receives the postcard and enters the Postcard ID written, and then only a user sends another. The number of postcards allowed to travel at any single time goes up the more postcards a user sends.

How do you feel when you open your mailbox and there’s a postcard waiting for you?
Of course I feel excited.

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Usually how long will a postcard reaches its’ destination?
It depends on the destination. It doesn’t take too long if the destination is in the South East Asia like Thailand or the far east like Japan. Postcards to Russia will take some time though, according to my friend, @yAn123. [Laughs]

I see. Where have you received your postcards from?
Everywhere! But I haven’t received any postcards from the Middle East.

Gladys shares her statistics.

Did you become friends with the person you sent postcards to o the one you received postcards from, like adding each other on Facebook?
So far I haven’t add any Postcrossing friends on Facebook but there are some whom I became friends with for a regular swap. Basically regular swap is two friends sending postcards to each other without using the Postcard ID.

I see. The extent of your relationship with Postcrossers is sending each other postcards?
Yes. I haven’t had a Postcrosser friend whom I really became friends with.

Where do you get your postcards? Do you buy or your print them?
I bought my postcards most of the time. I print occasionally and I made a handmade postcard once.

Oh. I would like to go back to your previous answer, “I haven’t had a Postcrosser friend whom I really became friends with”. What are the points of the postcards if you haven’t made any friends?
I didn’t spend time nurturing my relationship with other users on Postcrossing. Maybe the point is to have a great personal statistics? [Giggles] You get to know some tidbits from the sender’s country or hometown and I like to see my postcard collection growing. That’s why I keep at it.

Some users have preferences on what type of postcards they like to receive and don’t like to receive. Do you send a postcard that meets the user’s preference or you just send any type of postcards?
[Laughs] I once send a user a postcard he dislikes. Usually, if I have a postcard that a user wants or if I can do something about it, I would meet the user’s preferences. I stick lots of stamps if a user stated that he/she likes stamps. For instance, normally I would use a RM 0.50 stamp, if he or she likes stamps if would use RM 0.10, RM 0.20, RM 0.30, RM 0.05 stamps that equals to RM 0.50. Different images on each stamp.

Postcrossing gave me a user’s address to send my postcard to and in her description box she stated that she is afraid of standard, touristic city views, monuments and art postcards, written in capital letters. Why would someone be afraid of a touristic city view postcard? I’m not sure why. 

What happened with the user whom you sent a postcard he doesn’t like?
Nothing happened. He didn’t say anything in the message box when he registered the postcard I sent.

Do you have any preference on what type of postcards you would like to receive?
My only preference is, the cards must be 4 inches x 6 inches in size so that the postcard can fit in my folder. [Laughs]

[Laughs] No wonder when I look at all your postcards, they’e about the same size. What do you usually write on your postcards before you send them?
Sometimes I write about the weather or any events that’s currently happening. Sometimes I write random stuff pretty much like tweeting.

Gladys’ postcard collection.

Speaking of stamps, how much do you usually spend on stamps for a postcard?
RM 0.50. Maybe more if he/she likes stamps but not more than a Ringgit. So far, I haven’t had any postcard that doesn’t reach its’ destination due to insufficient stamps.

RM 0.50 is quite cheap for a postcard travelling anywhere around the world. Adding that to the price of a postcard, the cost of sending a postcard all around the world is only RM 1.50. That’s what I had in mind when I was at the post office. I was surprised when I was charged RM 2 for a postcard travelling to Russia but I didn’t bother to ask why. While sitting at the corner sticking stamps on my postcards I heard a couple who ask the officer in regards of the price of sending a postcard.

“Why does it cost so much to send a postcard to Singapore?”

It turned out that any postcards that are 15 cm x 10 cm in size or smaller, stamp price will be RM 0.50 to all destinations. Any postcards larger than the size mentioned, the price of stamps will depend on the destination.

Top Left: Mt. Kinabalu postcard; 15 cm x 10 cm in size. RM 1 from Borneo Books, Wisma Merdeka.
Top Right: Random photo postcard bought at the post office for RM 1.
Bottom: KLCC postcard. Much larger than the previous two which stamps cost will depend on the destination.

Do you know any KK Postcrossers? Have you sent any postcards to someone in KK or anywhere in Sabah?
I’ve exchanged postcards with @rungitom who is also a Postcrosser but not through Postcrossing. Some of the Postcrossers I know are @glaydavid, @y4n123, and @sorbesque. Mariah Doksil is also a Postcrosser too.

After having that conversation with her I can’t wait to see the reaction of the user who’s afraid of certain postcards because I sent her a quite an artsy postcard I bought in KL. I would like to receive a postcard from the Pitcairn Islands. But unfortunately, with only population of 46 people (at the time of writing), there are no Postcrossing users from the island yet.

Want to start sending postcards? You can get your postcards from most bookstores at RM 1 each. There are stores you can get six postcards for RM 5 like Just For You in Wisma Merdeka. Most of the postcards being sold in KK are the typical touristic, scenic and cultural if not, orang utan postcards. There are various animal postcards in Times and Tai Yang Bookstore but they cost a lot. As for the artsy fartsy ones, so far I haven’t found any of them in KK.

Or you can always print a postcard by yourself or develop a picture you took and use it as a postcard. Opt for a more environmental friendly approach by reusing old boxes or envelopes and turn them into postcards. There are some concerns as well on Postcrossing leaving an ecological footprint. However, there’s a list of making Postcrossing a greener hobby on the website. Phew!

Fancy a postcard from me? Well give me your address then!

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GE13: I Did Not Vote

This year, I am 22 years old and I’m eligible to vote. But I didn’t.

Therefore, as some of you have mentioned, those who have not vote, have no rights to complain if any of the government policies is not in my favour. But I still have my freedom of speech. I can still voice out what I have in mind.

GE12 was in 2008. Back then I was only 17. Being a teenager, I didn’t care much about politics. All I knew was I want to have loads of fun though SPM was approaching. I never discussed politics with my friends, never with my parents or with my family. It was more of an adult thing and I didn’t bother. The lack of my understanding and knowledge on politics made me uninterested about the subject.

When I entered my tertiary education, only then my eyes opened. Whether we like it or not, politics concern us. One starts to acknowledge ones’ rights and role as a citizen as well as understanding how the constitution in Malaysia works, especially, local politics.

I start to realize the issues that concerns Sabah. With the likes of poor public transportation, poor medical access to rural areas, badly patched or graveled roads and illegal immigrants. It is this time as well I learned about the history of Sabah’s politics, thanks to the access to various information from various resources. I started to become aware and my awareness became stronger as GE13 approached.

Poor public transportation service in Sabah.

Poor public transportation service in Sabah.

But as I have mentioned, I did not vote. I haven’t registered myself as a voter and to those who may condemn me for I have not exercised my right to vote given the fact that I’m eligible to vote, I apologize.

This time however, GE13 has thought me lessons. It has thought me to be more mature in my political awareness, to know how democracy in Malaysia works and to educate myself of the process of election. It has also thought me to keep an eyes to those who won their seats, to get to know the political leaders, mark their progress and transformation brought. This way, regardless of the government or opposition, I can cast my votes rationally without the strong influence around me. In other words, be a smart voter, not just going for what majority around me rooting for.

Out of the 222 Parliament seats, 133 seats won by Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat won 89. It takes a minimum of 112 seats to win and 148 seats for two-thirds. For Sabah’s state Parliament seats, BN won 22 out of the seats while DAP won two seats and PKR a seat. On the state assembly seats, BN won 48 out of 60 seats while PKR won seven seats, DAP won four seats and STAR one seat. 

I share the devastation and sadness of all the voters who went for the opposition. That, the hopes for reformation has lost. That we have to wait five more years for a change. Five more years for a better, Sabah (and our neighbouring state, Sarawak). Five more years to speak out and demand our rights that has been scraped off since many years ago. Also the fact that after each blackout, a party mysteriously won. It raised questions of fraud and integrity whether if GE13 was a clean and fair election or not.

Bersih will set up an investigation on the electoral fraud of GE13. Source: Malaysia Kini

Despite what has happened, I believe hope is not lost, change is possible and giving up is the last thing that we should do. We’ve seen the changes in the GE13 results. It wasn’t a big leap, but small steps towards a bigger, better transformation. Those of you who have voted, made a move forward from where you were five years ago.

To the reigning champion, Barisan Nasional and the people who supports the coalition, congratulations. Those who weren’t in favour in your government understood your decisions and hope that, you also understand why, those who voted against the coalition wanted a reformation. I hope that the newly elected government will start fresh, and meet the expectations of the people. Never to let them down and conduct their affairs corruption free. Not just giving promises because, promises, are meant to be broken. This goes to the opposition as well. Whether it’s government or opposition, I hope that they can perform well. And I hope, this GE13 result will result in a better and mature Malaysia.

Malaysians, though our political views differ, let us not make it a reason that drifts us apart. Last time I checked, this is still Malaysia, and Malaysians, stick together. Let us ponder the meaningful lyrics to Keroncong Hujan, written by the late Yasmin Ahmad shall we?

“Hujan membasahi bumi, melahirkan keluhuran budi,

mengeratkan perpaduan suci, kasih sayang abadi” 

I would like to quote someone I met a couple of years back, “if you’re not in favour of the government, you can change it every five years”. And I will cast my vote.

See you in the next general election.

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YUNA

Artist: Yuna

Label: FADER Laber (US)

4/5

When Yuna joined FADER Laber in 2010, you know she’s going to be big. Yuna started out in Malaysia with her EP Yuna in 2008, and from there on, she has won a number of numerous awards. Being nominated for MTV Iggy’s Best New Band in the World (2011) is another stepping stone for her to conquer the world by storm. After the release of her US EP Decorate back in 2011, now she’s back with another US album, Yuna.

Yuna stayed with her pop roots and her soft vocals, she has taken her music to a whole new level. Combined with Pharell’s magic, this album is really worth listening too. Live Your Life, the first single of this album sends a message to people out there to reach your dreams and as you have heard it, live your life. Other catchy tunes such as Lullabies and Fading Flowers will be in everyone’s playlist in no time. Plug in your earphones and be swayed by Planes and Loud Noises, both of these tracks can take you to a whole new place and these are the tracks that you just might notice in TV series. Yuna is 100% easy on the ears and her Malaysian fans would find this US album of hers, another favourite, adding this to a collection of existing Yuna albums.

With brave experimentation of music paired with her down-to-earth personality and unique sense of fashion, Yuna will have the whole world in her hands. No wonder Russell Simmons is swept of his feet!

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