Thursday, March 20, 2003

Well, well, well. A brand new blog.

I guess for the first post it is a good idea to write down what the heck "Cari Makan" (yes it is two words) means. Cari would have the meaning of search or look for and makan means eat or food (since words in Malay can be both verbs and nouns at the same time depending on usage).

The phrase "Cari Makan" would then mean "Search (for) food". The actual meaning is the process of making a living. So when someone asks you why you are working then you say "Cari Makan". As this place gets more affluent people are starting to use the phrase for a more literal meaning which is the act of looking for food. Usually this consists of looking for fresh new places to eat. One of the joys of living in Malaysia is the ability to have your stomach travel around the world without ever leaving the country. The fundamental problem being, of course, that the variety is not only in the types of food you eat but also the quality of the said foods.

The phrase "Cari Makan" has also come to mean a person who is looking for a corrupt hand-out. It probably comes from the usual method for discussing corruption in Malaysia where you ask the recipient if he has eaten already. This is a standard greeting in the country as it is considered polite to ask someone if he has eaten. It presents a tidy method for proffering a bribe where everyone can "save face" if required. This will not be covered in this blog.

So let us proceed apace.