While living in Malaysia from 2010–2012, I designed a replacement website for the Malaysian Australian New Zealand Association. MANZA is a volunteer-run association whose main purpose is to help newly arrives expats ease into Malaysian life. The MANZA website was my first practical application of Information Architecture and content auditing. As a volunteer-run organisation, the then-current website was a mess of handed-over files, message, and content, not to mention design. The site was built and maintained by inexperienced volunteer expats wanting to led a hand, and as such was desperate for a redesign.
Here is a true story.[1. …with some exaggeration for dramatic effect.] My tennis partner Anna has gone back to New Zealand more or less until February. As I’ve been enjoying my tennis a lot lately this leaves me in a predicament. So last week I contacted the ‘captain’ of the MANZA tennis group, Monika, to see if I could join in on their Monday game. “Well, we had a man once”, came the reply (MANZA is a group that supports stay-at-home expat wives and partners, like me :) “…but we’re not sure what happened to him”.
Boo! Here’s a sincere word of advice: DO NOT LOOK AT THE ABOVE PICTURE. Last weekend MANZA put on a drinks night with the theme of ‘bad taste’. It was a good opportunity to drop some inhibitions and meet some new people. This, surprisingly, wasn’t too difficult, even for someone looking like a porn director and trainee pedophile :( In point form, my attire consisted of: Mo'[1. I should’ve stopped right there] Slick hair with fluffed up back-end (Mafia at the front, old skool Mel Gibson at the back) Salmon shirt with two or three too many buttons undone Light blue jeans, cuffed My yellow belt 1991 Nike Air Trainer Max 1s Kelly simply wore every pattern she had all at once, including baby blue striped anklet socks with pink pumps.
Last week I attended a Malaysian cooking class at LaZat, organised by MANZA. Lazat, as we were told, means ‘delicious’ in Malaysian. I found this cooking lesson interesting for two reasons. Firstly, I learned quite a bit about Malaysian cuisine. We cooked Menu Set A, which comprises of an appetiser called Kuih Cara Berlauk, the national dish of Malaysia called Nasi Lemak, and dessert of Sago. I learned about the spices that are used in these dishes — which are ‘typical’ Malaysian dishes — and about the main method of creating them: patience.
Last week, I attended my first MANZA meeting. MANZA stands for Malaysian Australian New Zealand Association, and is a group of about 200 people living in Malaysia, or Kuala Lumpur, that organise events and other social get togethers. From the MANZA website: MANZA prides itself on being open to all nationalities and currently has members from more than 25 different countries around the World. We welcome singles, couples and families into our association and aim to provide ’something for everyone’ We’ve decided to become members of the group to meet people who are in similar situation to us — living temporarily in KL — and to make a few friends close by that we can go out with now and then.