August 31st marks Malaysia’s 50th year of Independence and everywhere you go there are signs of the celebration. Not only are all major buildings, parks and highways adorned but individual homes, shops and even vehicles are decorated.  On Saturday night we decided to take the bus out to Putrajaya to see the Fireworks competition, along with several thousand Malaysians. 

The fireworks display, put on by Italy, was fabulous but not nearly as amazing as the gridlock that occurred when every vehicle had to pass through just one intersection to get out of town afterwards. There were no lights at the intersection and the sole policeman that we had seen earlier had disappeared. I can’t say that I blamed the poor man, it was an incredible mess. We were lucky and got through before it locked up and got home in a mere two hours. Some people spent two hours just getting through that one intersection, I’m sure.

Anyway, it’s all part of the learning experience over here, and Malaysia is still a young country going rapidly through stages of development that it is not quite ready for. Everyone is very pleasant and patient with each other so it makes it all fun, if somewhat frustrating for us Westerners. We wish this country well. After only fifty years, it has made some remarkable progress.