Living Moments (Part 35) – Learning From Every Nation.

by Patrick Liew on July 6, 2012

The beauty of being a global traveler is that you can enjoy the beauty and wonder that is unique to each country. You can also learn from its strengths.

These lessons are oftentimes more important and practical than the lessons from a teacher or a textbook.

It was with this belief in mind that I went to  Kazakhstan. Although the trip was short, the blessings that I got would stay with me for a long time.

Kazakhstan became known to many people as a result of the movie, Borat. It was unfortunate that this beautiful country has been grossly misrepresented by it.

This culturally rich nation is also blessed with rich natural resources, including oil, ferrous and non-ferous materials, and the world’s largest deposit of uranium.

Kazakhstan’s GDP has grown by more than tenfold since the mid-nineties. Its economic growth has become a model for many nations, especially in Central Asia.

Till date, it is not among the preferred destinations for many travelers. However, the number of visitors will continue to increase as the country has a wide array of attractions.

Kazakhstan has undergone major progress in recent times. It has improved its standard of living and its infrastructure for overseas visitors.

Its people are generally hospitable and will go out of the way to help a foreign guest, especially if you are a friend. I have personally experienced their warmth and received generous gifts from them.

Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country, the size of Western Europe and it has vastly varied terrains, with  hot summers and very cold winters.

The landscape and extreme range of temperatures could have contributed to make its people tough and sturdy.

Perhaps, it could also be due to the fact that historically, Kazakhstan has been predominantly occupied by nomadic tribes. After years of migration, they have learned to survive under different conditions.

They have also been hardened by the challenges they had to face in gaining its independence from the Russians. After raising its own flag on 16 December 1991, it went through many difficulties to build up the country.

In 1993, Kazakhstan demonstrated great leadership when it renounced nuclear weapons. Within two years, it has removed all  nuclear warheads, weapons-grade materials and their supporting infrastructure.

I wished that many more nations would follow its example and set the world on the path to peace. There should not be any place for weapons of mass destruction and for that matter, any weapons that destroy lives.

The people of Kazakhstan are ethnically diverse, with Kazakhs making up about 63% of the population. The rest of the people includes Russians, Uzbeks, Ukrainians, Uighurs, Tatars, Germans, Chechens and Koreans.

Despite the cultural differences, they live in relative harmony. This is no mean feat when you think of the ethnic wars and conflicts in many countries.

Over dinner on 1 July 2012, Epkih Hypmahob, the man who helped to facilitate my trip to Kazakhstan regaled us with tales about ethnic Kazakhs. They were descendants of nomadic nations and lived on the vast steppe and semi-desert terrains.

They have to be on a constant move to look for better pasture to support a livestock-based economy and diet.

At one point during the dinner, Epkih’s son told us that the Kazakhs are the second biggest meat eaters in the world. There was a twinkle in his eyes as he subsequently paused and waited for one of us to ask him, “And the number one is…?”

His response, “Wolves!” There were laughters all around the table.

I could attest to the fact that ethnic Kazakhs really love their meat. I have been fed horse meat and a whole range of other meat, some of which I was too courteous to ask and I just gobbled them.

In the olden days, the Kazakhs had to defend themselves against many different enemies. They rode on horses and used bows and arrows to hunt for food and to kill their enemies.

Epkih told us, “Do you know that many of our women folks would cut one of their breasts so that it would not block their hands as they pulled the arrow before releasing it”.

As he spoke, he demonstrated by using his hands to pull an imaginary arrow.

I was held spellbound by this and many other stories. These experiences were a part of the exciting and fulfilling time that I had in Kazakhstan.

During my trip, I interacted with different people. They have helped me to learn many useful lessons about our Creator and life.

For that, I will always remember this wonderful nation. I will be grateful to it.

The organizers have invited me to return to their land. Deep in my heart, I want to go back again.

I love Kazakhstan.

I love the people living in it.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Visit my Inspiration blog at

Visit my Transformation blog at

Please read them and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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