Monday, February 7, 2011

About Royal Highnesses and Prime Ministers...

Tower for Regalia
 I had to realise that Malaysia does not really have the most exciting museums. There are a lot of them, yes, but they tend to be rather "provincial", which is a polite way of saying run-down, antiquated, with crumbling walls and fading markings - and totally bored staff.

But on the positive side they have a rather comical effect on me.. Let me explain this:

Malaysia consists of several provinces that all have a sultan. These sultans rotate every five years when they elect one of them to become king for the next 5 years. Therefore Malaysia is one of the very few countries in the world with an elected monarch, who is even rotated every 5 years.

Now every province is very proud of their sultan and therefore there are a lot of small museums dedicated to the respective sultan and his wife. I was truly amazed what sort of stuff you can find there: In Alor Star the museum was not only showing His Highnesses' old golf balls and tennis raquets, no, they even went so far as to display his old cell phones! And the Royal car park not only consisted of 4x4 drives and Rolls Royces, but also of old motor bikes and even Royal bicycles. Of course there is also an official portrait of the Royal couple - and one example resembled a Pop Art Andy Warhol style for beginners version. But on closer inspection I realised that I was just looking at silk embroidery.
Royal Palace

In Kota Bahru, another provincial capital, the Royal museum was much more dedicated to the sultan's hobbies. I learnt that Her Highness likes to broaden her horizon by reading magazines (I wondered what type... Vogue or what), whereas "His Highness can often be seen with a video camera recording the natural beauty of Malaysia." Luckily they did not torture me with the end products of His Highnesses video expeditions...

But even Prime Minsters are not immune to being exposed. Dr. Majathir Mohamad's house in Kota Bahru has also been transformed into a museum were I learnt that he had to take a bath every Friday at 11 am and was not allowed to eat fish because his mother believed fish contains worms.... Wouldn't any Germany die to learn similar things about Angela Merkel?

But this is Malaysia - where you have to remove your shoes even in internet cafes and where all the museums close Friday from 12.30 to 2.30 for Friday prayer....

Tomorrow I will go to Brunei - the place sounded so weird that I decided I have to visit...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great idea rotating royalty and politicians.
D