We arrived at the Singapore Airport around midnight and in true "poor college kid" fashion, we slept there for a few hours before getting on the first bus to Malaysia that morning. The bus dropped us over the border where we then took a taxi to the Mersing ferry port. While on the bus, we met a retired couple from New Zealand who was also headed for Tioman Island and were able to split the cab with them. The cab ride was air conditioned, but it was no match for the Malaysian sun's heat. I am pretty sure the temperature in the cab was well into the 100's for the entire 2 hour duration of the drive. After the cab we took a ferry to the island. The island itself was beautiful. It consists of seven small villages and traveling between them can only be done by boat. The local people on Tioman island were so welcoming.
During finals week, I had to write a paper for my Southeast Asia and the World Political Economy class and I chose to compare the level of globalization in Singapore and Malaysia. I wrote about cultural globalization, specifically looking at the languages spoken in the region. I was surprised at how many people spoke English in Malaysia, not only speaking it, but speaking it really well. The official language in Malaysia is Bahasa Malaysia, but everyone we spoke with on the island was able to speak and understand English. I think the reason why I was so surprised at how well people spoke English is because after visiting Beijing and Shanghai, I thought I would have been able to communicate with more people in mainland China and after seeing the lack of English there in two international cities, I wasn't too hopeful for a small island off the coast of Malaysia.
Not only was it great to talk with the locals, it was interesting to watch some of their daily routines on the island. Every night, when the sun would start to go down some of the Malay men would go to the local court and play this game that looked like a cross between hackie sack and volleyball. Some of the guys were good enough to do bicycle kicks with the ball. Check out the video I recorded of them one night.
My favorite part of the being on Tioman Island was going snorkeling everyday. One day we went on a round island boat trip where we went to five different snorkeling locations around the island. I saw a barracuda for the first time, a sea turtle, squid, and lots of tropical fish. When we were looking into places to stay on the island, we wanted to be close to good snorkeling and we were. On the days we snorkeled off the shore, we were still able to see tons of tropical fish.
After a great week of rest and relaxation, it feels good to be back in Hong Kong. Getting off the plane, it hit me that I really only have a month left before I head back home. I will start my independent research this week on repurchase intentions for mobile phones in the Hong Kong market, which should be pretty interesting.
I am going to make a Hong Kong Bucket List for my last few weeks and don't worry I will be sure to share my last few adventures here.