Heart was all excited to reach the land it sorely missed. As the figure got off the plane in what seemed to be one of the most architecturally-intriguing airports in the region (and the world), his expectations ran high. He thought that he'd finally feel at home as he walked through the place, having his olfactory sense rekindled with the scent of familiarity. His heart beamed with pride.
Then he went through the customs and layers of bureaucracy, who lacked the courtesy he was accustomed to having his culture traditionally associated with. With the rather strenuous-looking faces (the eyes could tell) the airport staff just showed how dispassionate they were with their job. That they were simply stuck into doing what they're doing as part of their constant cycle of survival. The constant juggle between living life and surviving it; the latter would normally predominate. The visibly underpaid cleaning ladies (all but few of them seemed to be of Malaysian Indian descent), with their hardship-spelling premature wrinkles did the cleaning of such a futuristic-looking arrival hall with the most primitive tool one could find (hay broom), igniting a complex sense of irony. A pair of information counter staff had a casual chat over the the recent gossips and goings, and the electronic kiosks that were supposed to fill in the void left by the dis-functionality of the manned information counter came with the "NOT IN SERVICE" sign. This happened while the well-heeled customers did what they do best- shopping in the many duty-free stores, showing the economic stature of a nation's thriving middle class. Tens of gentlemen on Air Nepal arrived in the airport with their drab clothing and very rudimentary (or zero) English and had their 'tourist' visas checked by the seemingly indifferent immigration officers.
Beyond all these, KLIA is still an amazing airport.
This is the country with irony and juxtaposition. Neither here nor there. Now I don't think that I understand my home country more than the other countries the world, for my experience of spending my hour and a half people-watching in KLIA just unfolds more of the mystery that surrounds this country in a transition. KLIA is an edifice that represents what the country is trying to achieve in the future and the subtle, systemic failure that might impede it all. A barometer of what works and what doesn't in Malaysia.