Lillian is my English penfriend. She had planned to visit Malaysia during her summer holidays. So I had written to her to come and stay at my place in Kuala Lumpur. So, it was agreed that I was to meet her at Subang International Airport on the day of her arrival.
It was on a fine Saturday morning when my mother, my baby brother and I went to Subang Airport to meet Lillian. All of us, especially me, was thrilled at the thought of actually having Lillian with us. At the airport, we waited for half an hour before Lillian finally emerged from the arrival lounge. We did not have any difficulty recognizing each other as we had exchanged our most recent photographs in our last letters. We gave her a warm welcome and soon we were on our way out of the airport.
On the way home, we stopped at the Hilton Hotel for lunch.
Lillian seemed very surprised that we have such a grand hotel in Malaysia.
We explained to her that Malaysia is a fast developing country and Kuala Lumpur is one of the busiest cities in the world, though unfortunately, one of the most polluted.
After lunch, we went home so that Lillian can have a good rest to recover from the “jet-lag” travelers suffer from. In the evening we went sight-seeing in the city. We visited the Lake Gardens, from where we had a clear view of the Parliament House, the National Monument and the National Museum. The Islamic design of the National Mosque impressed Lillian very much. So did the many tall buildings that seemed to reach for the sun. “Just like London” Lillian commented, “but Malaysia’s very much hotter.”
My mother cooked a lavish dinner that night and we had a grand feast. Of course, we had to teach Lillian the intricacies of using the chop-sticks and surprisingly she caught on quickly and soon was using them like a native. She loved mother’s cooking for she had not tasted anything quite like it before.
The next day, we went to Templer’s Park for a picnic. Lillian was really taken in by the sheer greenery and magnificence of the place. She never imagined that there could be such abundant varieties of fauna and flora existing. The sights and sounds of being in a tropical semi-jungle overwhelmed her. She was really happy except for one thing the mosquitoes, which seemed to be attracted to her like moths to a flame.
We showed Lillian around the streets of Kuala Lumpur. She was very impressed by the way in which so many different races work and live together. She admired our customs and traditions, our differences and most of all, our tolerance and respect toward one another.
We spent a great deal of our time sampling. the foods and drinks that were sold. We never quite got around to sample all the possible varieties because Lillian took ill after having too much to eat and drink. The doctor said that her digestive system was not used to the sudden onslaught of alien food and was reacting badly so we took her home and gave her a rest. It had been quite a day.
Two weeks passed quickly. Lillian was nicely tanned. She learned to take a bath every day, sleep under a mosquito net, operate the car air-conditioner, listen to keroncong and generally soak in our Malaysian way of life. In fact she was beginning to sound like a Malaysian, with all the lab” thrown in at the end of a sentence.
Then it was time for her to return to England. Mother bought some gifts for her and some for her family. All too soon we found ourselves at the departure lounge of Subang Airport. Lillian promised to come and visit us again as soon as possible. We hugged each other, bade farewell and soon we were headed for our respective homes.