Monday, October 12, 2009

My first Malay Homestay Experience

Thursday 8 October 2009

Homestays are becoming an ever popular activity in Malaysia both with the local and international guests as many city folks have never experienced life in traditional Malay villages. Realising the increasing demand for these sort of activities, ANCM Creative together with Kembara Travel & Tours and Tourism Malaysia have invited around 70 participants from Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand for an IMTGT Homestay FAM Trip to experience local Malaysian life in villages across Kedah, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka.

The programme aims to encourage interaction with the village folks, promote local tourist attractions as well as sports tourism through the various ‘eco-challenge’ games organised at each homestay. It will be a whole week of traditional malay culture with limited internet access, not a single drop of alcohol or night life in sight. Good detox for me. Wonder if I’ll survive?

Our first homestay required us to travel six hours by bus to Kampung Raga, a small Malay village in the district of Yan, Kedah. We were greeted in full traditional splendour by the sounds of the kompang and serunai, accompanied by village folks carrying ‘Bunga Magga’ and ‘Bunga Telur’. Three young boys performed a silat demonstration as well.

Silat demonstration & lunch at Kg Raga

There are about 20 families involved in the Homestay Programme and we were divided into groups and introduced to our foster families. Each foster family can take up to five guests, depending on the number of rooms in their house.

Besides acting as a journalist and writing an article on the programme, this would be my first time as a TV host as Juliana, videographer from multimedia came along to produce a few mini snippets for Staronline TV. Wonder if I’ll freeze in front of the camera or forget my lines? Should demand 3 salaries from Star – 1 as a journalist, 1 as a photographer and 1 as a TV host. Haha.

For city folks who have never stepped foot into a village, staying in a traditional Malay house can come as quite a shock. Don’t expect the modern amenities and luxuries of city life – village life runs at a much slower pace. It’s going back to basics and living a simple life. Our foster mum, Umi, said that most of her guests are university and exchange students, corporate and team-building groups from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Korea.

Homestay experience at Kg Raga & my foster mum

Lunch was served on mats by the river before returning to our foster family’s house to get ready for the ‘eco-challenge’ games organised by the village folks. There were a total of 11 teams of four and each team had to complete different challenges involving local cultural elements such as weaving jackfruit baskets out of leaves, making local kuih out of flour, playing ‘Tarik Upih’ (pulling a person on a pinang tree leaf), tug-of-war and catching ducks in the muddy paddy field.

I think I did pretty well in front of the camera. You guys judge for yourself. Still have 6 more days to go…

The night ended with a cultural show by the local village folks playing traditional Kedah music and a nasyid performance by the women village folk. We were invited to try the local instruments and play along with the musicians. It was a cultural night indeed.

Playing traditional games at Kg Raga

Took a pic at the nearby Pulau Dayang Bunting before heading off to Perak

1 comment:

  1. I would love to do something like this one day, have a homestay experience.


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