Far more than bricks and mortar

The clear differences between the East and West are no more apparent than when on holiday in Asia, Happies. Their way of life here is so different to ours, you could almost call it opposing. Everything from housing, to praying, to eating, to working, to sleeping has thought and merit behind it, and rarely are things done without purpose.

Case in point: Traditional Malaysian houses, in which I had the pleasure of learning about yesterday at the Malaysian Cultural Centre. You see, Happies, houses here aren’t simply a matter of calling in an architect to build your dream home, instead, they vary depending on region, environment, and even religious beliefs.

It was the houses of Sabah that stood out to me the most. The simplest of the lot, these ramshackle bamboo huts were a motley selection of bamboo stuck together and made into something that slightly resembles that of a house.

Here they are…

However, like most things here in Asia, there’s far more to these nondescript huts than meets the eye, with the people of Sabah looking to omens, dreams, the orientation of the sun, and fresh supplies of water to decide on the location, and the layout of their ‘palatial abodes’.

You see, to the people of Sabah, the home is regarded as a microcosm of the world of spirits and universe. A place for them to live in harmony with nature, life, afterlife and everything else they believe in. So, while to the untrained eye this may seem like a simple little bamboo hut, it is, in fact, filled with more thought and appreciation than that of a Point Piper mansion.

Which brings me (finally) to my point, Happies. We live in a culture where success and status come from material possessions like expensive cars and fancy houses, but how much thought, consideration and meaning lies behind these shallow possessions? For the people of Sabah, and much of the Eastern world, happiness and success comes from appreciating your surroundings, and living at one with nature and the universe. Are we on the path to happiness? Or are our less materialistic friends in the East laughing at our every purchase? You make the call.

Tell me Happies…

Do you think we focus too much of the physical?
What do you think of the traditional houses of Sabah?
Do you think the Eastern way of living is different to ours?



  1. Kaz · May 18, 2011

    It really does take a move to realise who material we all are. I myself have just moved house (downsized) and realise I hang onto a lot of crap (both mentally and physcially) and one of the best feelings is letting go. I donated a lot of my unwanted stuff (and some I did want but didnt have room for) to my local charity and that gave me a bit of a buzz. The Eastern philosophy on life is completely different to the Western world. Especially since most are very holistic and religious compared to us. The yin and yang theory always comes to mind.

  2. Chloe · May 19, 2011

    Wow yaz. This is going to be such a great journey for you. I had similar journeys about 10 years ago and literally travelled the globe (even made it to Antarctica and an accidental 2 years in Africa)
    You must be pulled in a few directions when your industry is beauty. Your happiness pursuit will certainly cause you to question the industry.
    I love your blogs and wish you ALL the best on this trip. Oh for it to be me again!!
    (now at home with a little baby girl!)
    X Chloe

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