Saturday, August 27, 2016


Well I just don't know how the hospitality going forward can possibly beat Malaysia.

Esmael Wan has driven a million miles this week, and been a great host. Can't imagine he has had a lot of sleep and I've barely been left to eat alone - which is really nice. Eaten at local cafes that a tourist would never find and the food has been spectacular. I'm very grateful to his lovely wife Yati who has been so gracious in sharing him this week and for such a lovely day driving down from Kuala Lumpur to Penang.

I attended two very well attended meetings very generously sponsored by Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Open Sistem - Malaysia and the Penang Public Library.

Koha Community

Irma and Bob and I discussed in Sydney how many truly lovely people there are in the Koha Community; I'm not going to name names but there are many; genuinely kind, friendly, giving. This trip has been extraordinary. People like Esmael - whom I had never met before - meeting me at the airport in the middle of the night holding a sign up with my name on it. Then 3 days driving me from pillar to post, introducing me to librarians and developers from the Koha world, taking me to fabulous local restaurants, and capped off with a great day sightseeing and a scrumptious dinner with the staff from Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang (and yes - he drove all day again).

One of the conversations I had with some librarians was observing how brave I must be to travel abroad alone. Well you know, it is very easy to be brave when everyone is so kind. I feel blessed and so grateful for this opportunity to meet people who love Koha as much as I do.

Cool thing

Mr Pisol showed me around the Penang Public Library which is so bright and welcoming and modern. One project they are working on blew my socks off in its simplicity but potential to be life changing. A blind staff member translates books into braille and prints out clear sticky tape of the braille text which is then stuck into the books. This enables a blind person to 'read along' with their fingers and also to hear the sound of the words as someone reads beside them. So simple but brilliant.


The Islamic Art Museum in Kuala Lumpor is a must see with a breathtaking collection of illuminated manuscripts and prayer books, weapons and architectural models of mosques around the world.

The thing I noticed too was how accessible the entire complex was. So friendly and accommodating with kids darting about and tourists reading the exhibit signage. It was such an inviting way to find out about Islamic religion and culture.

I also visited a batik factory and watched the staff lay down the wax outlines and hand colour the fabric. We had to buy - of course :)

I also tried breadfruit, durian and rambutan at a street stall (all delicious).

Next stop India!

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