All respect to The Police and that amazing song from so many years ago.
It takes on a new meaning when one rides the subways and trains in Kuala Lumpur.
At least, it sure did for Jill and me.
If you look at the pictures, you can see that there are certain waiting areas, and coaches, only for women.
Men are not allowed on them and are not allowed to stand in the same waiting area.
There is a simple reason for this: The Muslim religion, as practiced here, does not allow for women and men to touch if they aren’t married or in a relationship.
I’ve been in other countries where the Muslim religion is the major religion and yet I have not seen this before.
I actually found it quite wonderful and quite respectful. Instead of having men only trains, where women are not allowed, they have women only trains where men are not allowed.
Jill didn’t ride the trains, as we were together and mixed couples are not allowed on these coaches either. Instead, we took the mixed trains and didn’t have a problem.
There were also women in our trains, many wearing the Hijab, and some wearing the full Burka, but they didn’t seem to have a problem since men tended to make sure they had enough room to stand or sit where they needed to be.
I have noticed, when we ride in shared taxis, that men will sit next to Jill. Jill often apologizes, as she knows the customs also, and the men usually answer with something like, “It is okay. We are commuting and it is excused.”
I have not tried to sit by women, while in taxis, and I am not sure if it would be accepted or not. I’m guessing it wouldn’t and I’d rather not try it as I want to be as respectful of their culture as possible.