The One-Armed No-Handed Malaysian Calligrapher

In 2014 I had the great privilege of competing in the semi-final round of Toastmasters World Championship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Though I did not go onto to the final round It was an incredible learning experience and opportunity. After the competition ended many of the international contestants went home. I figured since I took the incredibly long flight from Boise, Idaho, USA to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia I should stay as long as possible. This was a great opportunity to travel an area of the world I had never been visited. All the semi-finalists contestants from around the world were awarded a plane flight to Malaysia. I simply extended my stay for another nineteen days.

Toastmasters International World Championship of Public Speaking, Lance Miller, Speaking, International Solo Travel, Competition

He is AlejAndro standing with Lance Miller just after his semi-final round speech in the Toastmasters International World Championship of Public Speaking in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2014.

In total I started with eight days in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia attending and the Toastmasters International Conference and competing in the World Championship of Public Speaking. Then I did three days in Melaka, Malaysia, three days in Singapore, and five days on the island of Java in Indonesia visiting the the ancient and largest Buddhist temple in the world known as Borobudur. On my way back home I did two more days in Melaka, and two nights in Kuala Lumpur. It was the adventure of a lifetime.

Tea, Malaysia, Melaka, International Solo Travel

This is AlejAndro in Melaka, Malaysia with his host the “Queen of Melaka” to his left and the “King of Tea” to her left.

I plan to do many podcasts about this trip as an entire experience. I met so many great people, ate delicious foods, was steeped in the culture of three countries, saw many holy and sacred Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim places, and was able to do a three day Buddhist pilgrimage to the temple of Borobudur. I met a beautiful family there who took care of me for a day and a half. We took hose pulled carriages to the two other smaller and not-very-well-known temples related with Borobudur. Along the way we even stopped in at a Kopi Luwak coffee plantation, roastery, and cafe. We drank what is considered some of the rarest and most expensive coffee in the world. The workers and our servers called it “cat-poop-cino.” It is coffee that includes part-digested coffee cherries eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet. 


Kopi Luwak, Civet Coffee, Indonesia, Java, Borobudur

This is the Asian Palm Civet. This animal eats and defecates coffee cherries. Fermentation occurs as the cherries pass through a civet’s intestines, and after being defecated with other fecal matter, they are collected. This coffee is considered some of the most rare and expensive coffee in the World. AlejAndro was treated to this coffee while visiting the lesser known temple of Borobudur with Davin’s Family.

Buddhist, Indonesia, International Travel, Java, Borobudur

Davin’s family took very good care of AlejAndro while in Indonesia on the island of Java visiting the Buddhist Temple Borobudur.

After leaving Indonesia I flew back to Singapore where I took a bus to spend to two more days in Melaka with the great people I had met earlier in my trip. Plus, Melaka is an UNESCO World Heritage city and a very cool and hip place. Of all the great people I met on this trip it was a female calligraphy artist that had a beautiful, profound, and special impact on my life. My friend Mat, who is a Hindu Vedic Priest and my travel partner in Melaka said he had someone he wanted me to see and meet. As he was walking me through the market I could see the excitement in his face and in his movements. I knew whoever this person was, it was going to be good. It was there walking through the downtown market I met the “famous street vendor” woman with no hands and one arm who brushes calligraphy. Yes, that’s right… She has no hands and only one arm.

Calligraphy, Disability, Vedic Hindu, Malaysia, Melaka, International Solo Travel, Friends

AlejAndro met such great people while traveling in Malaysia. On the left he is pictured standing with the famous no-handed and one-armed local calligrapher in the city of Melaka. One the right AlejAndro is standing next to his dear friend, Melaka based travel companion, and Vedic Hindu Priest named Mat.

Of all the great people I met it was the female calligraphy artist I met on my way back to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia that had a beautiful and profound impact on my life. From the moment I saw her I knew she was special. When she looked up at me and saw I only have one hand she smiled was so big and sincere. Her heart glowed as she looked at me with such kindness and happily said, “hello my brother.”

To hear the story of meeting the locally famous Malaysian no-handed calligrapher I invite you to listen to my One Hand Speaks Storytelling Podcast Episode OHS045.

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