February 3, 2009

#55 Open House

One of the more charming Malaysian concepts is the "Open House" which is held during the various cultural or religious festivals held throughout the year. Basically it entails the host welcoming friends, family and freeloaders to visit and dine at their humble abode as a gesture of goodwill and to get into people's good graces.

Typically, Open Houses in Malaysia can be divided into two categories. One; is the layman's open house where the usual assortment of Malaysians attend and proceed to make small talk about the lack of traffic and the catered food. If the food is prepared personally by the host, this gives you another topic of conversation. It'll be the same stuff you encounter in other open houses but make sure you add some chutzpah to the compliments to really sell it. Alcohol, if served, will help facilitate the bland conversation and inspire a performance or two.

The second type of open house is of greater magnitude and draws a smorgasbord of visitors armed with tupperware eager to assist in adding to the merriment of the proceedings. These open houses are the ones held by public figures, specifically those in public service. Politicians far and wide hold these open houses to meet and greet the community which they so nobly serve and graciously remind them of such. The community, ever eager to repay the favour, will respond in kind by getting the most out the visit. Political ideologies or party allegiances are secondary when it comes to kiasuism, to be sure.

Whatever the case may be, it's always interesting to witness Malaysians in their natural element when you combine the elements of free food, scarcity and queueing. It's no wonder then that the open house is a unique and longstanding Malaysian tradition, it brings out the best in them.

6 comments:

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