Don’t get me wrong. Malaysia is a beautiful country with friendly people. It’s just that I made some mistakes and I hope other tourists would avoid at all cost so as not to ruin a rather fun vacation.
1. Ignoring the sanctity of religious places
I was walking around the campus of International Islamic University and as a curious tourist, I entered the campus mosque. I was curious and wanted to see what’s going inside. I saw people take off their shoes before going in and so I did. I was not disrespectful at all, you see. As I entered the mosque, I didn’t realize that it was a time of prayer and one guy followed me and spoke to me in a foreign language.
I didn’t know what he was saying and as I try to answer him in a polite manner, he raised his voice as if I committed something wrong. I started to panic and out of desperation to escape the situation and to tame his anger, I bended my knees and started praying. I thought this is a place for prayer so I should be praying anyway, right? He got more angry and one Malaysian guy noticed us and spoke to me in English.
I felt relief and comfort from that moment and finally I can explain my side. I told the guy that I was only curious and wanted to see the mosque. Later I found out that the guy who spoke no English was from Kazakhstan and the Malaysian guy told him that I am not a Muslim. The Malaysian guy told me that the Kazakh guy was asking me to pray with him.
After the explanation, I apologized to the Kazakh guy and thanked the Malaysian guy for helping me. I left the mosque feeling guilty and promised to myself to be sensitive to religious places whereever I may be.
2. Leaving my baggage in hotel custody
Most hotels allow their guests to leave luggage under their custody for different reasons. First, guests are checking out in the morning but the flight is not until the afternoon or evening. In this case, the hotel allows guests to leave their luggage and give the guests a claim tag which they should present upon claiming as proof of ownership.
Second, valuables of guests like jewelries, cash, laptops, etc. can be left under the hotel custody during the period guests are billeted at the hotel. Third, guests may leave their luggage if they are checking out but has another confirmed booking sometime in the future.
Under any of the three circumstance, the hotel has the obligation to keep and ensure the safety of the guests’ belongings. I fall under the third circumstance. I checked out of the hotel to continue traveling to Sabah, but then I have a confirmed booking seven days later. So as not to bring all my stuff to Sabah, I decided to leave my luggage at the hotel.
To make the long story short, I came back to the hotel seven days later to find out that some of my things including an electronic gadget were missing. I reported the incident to the manager and was surprised that he even had the guts to blame me for not taking care of my stuff. I felt helpless and decided to report to the police. This was already 12 midnight. I jut came back from Sabah feeling exhausted and now I have to face this ordeal.
I went to the police station knowing this may be a useless effort but I did anyway. The police asked me to narrate the events. The police on duty looked uninterested in helping me at all. After my narration, he printed the police report and gave it to me. I didn’t lose hope since I had no hope at all even before going there anyway. At least I’ve tried.
That was a lesson learned for me. I don’t think mentioning the name of the hotel can serve any purpose as this can happen to any hotel, even the most expensive ones.
3. Throwing away my arrival card
I was leaving Malaysia and got to the airport in time to catch an early morning flight. I checked-in to my flight and proceeded immediately to the immigration counter. The officer looked serious, as any other immigration officer around the world. I know it’s only a routine of a quick glance of my passport and stamp out of my way, until the officer asked me to hand in my arrival card. I felt numb for a half second. I tried to composed myself and not feel nervous. I told him that I lost it together with my other belongings in the hotel.
I handed him the police report. It showed there that I lost some of my belongings. The immigration officer seemed satisfied and let me out. Had I tried to looked for my arrival card in my bag, the officer would instantly know that I lost it in my possession and the alibi of saying I lost it in the hotel wouldn’t work.
As I was waiting for my flight at the boarding gate, I realized that I threw several papers while I was in Sabah. I can clearly remember that one of those papers was my arrival card. That moment, the arrival card was not important anymore.
My flight took off. Everything is now but a recollection of memory.