Text by Lira Jamaluddin
10 Things That Make You Malaysian
There aren’t many (if any!) countries like Malaysia who can say they hold and celebrate multi-culture like we do. As much as we moan and groan about a lot of things, we still can’t deny our roots and at the end of the day are still able to pull together as a nation. So, what makes us a Malaysian?
No, this time we don’t mean Mandarin/Malay-English, but really, just very mangled English. We kesian the native English speakers as we regularly and continuously butcher their language with our strangled word arrangements, slang, and how we start or end sentences with suffixes like –lah, -meh, -weih, -weh, -ah et cetera… Malaysians usually use these suffixes to give emphasis to what they’re actually saying, or to shorten phrases (because who has time for proper and complete sentences?). We shall allow you to comprehend this based on the comparison below:
Normal: Why did you do that?
Malaysian: Why you do that lah?
Normal: This food picture is making me hungry.
Malaysian: Eh, see food hungry already weih.
It’s not surprising to find a Malaysian who is at least a bilingual, and then some even boasting up to four languages (not even counting dialects!). The most commonly spoken languages are English, Bahasa Melayu, Mandarin Chinese or Cantonese, and Tamil. A common Malaysian would have English and either one of the other three languages down pat, unless you’ve been taught outside of school or Chinese-educated, then you would be able to speak three languages. There’re also Malaysians who’re starting to pick up foreign languages such as French and German – are we or are not aspiring polyglots here? This makes up for smooth adaptation in different surroundings as well as being able to boast speaking three languages in one sentence: “Dei, you want to makan sini or tapau?” Do you see the French doing that? Non! Only in Malaysia!
— HUH? School (@HuhSchool) September 21, 2015
3. Holiday Appreciation
Everyone loves a holiday, but we love our holidays; with our calendars usually containing a plethora of public holidays thanks to its multicultural society. All three races that make up Malaysia get to enjoy the festivities and holidays from the three different cultures. Indians can enjoy Chinese New Year, Malays can revel in Deepavali, and the Chinese can be a part of Aidilfitri. Not only that, we even get public holidays for happenings such as a great win from a Malaysian star, or when the weather gets particularly thick with haze.
Need we say more? This is simply a point all on its own.
Nasi Lemak, Rendang, Roti Canai, Banana Leaf Rice, Yong Tau Foo, Char Kuey Teow, kuih-muih peranakan… You name it – we’re really proud of our food. We can actually say that – find one tourist who doesn’t find Malaysian food to be the absolute bomb. There isn’t any skimping on flavours here, most if not all of our local dishes usually pack a lot of punch to blow away tastebuds (durian and sambal, ‘nuff said).
6. Everyone is Family
Though not related, we often call those older than us, family members of our friends, even shopkeepers by “Uncle”, “Aunty”, “Kakak”, “Abang” and the like regardless of culture and race. It’s like we’re all one giant, multicultural family!
Yes, Malaysian Timing is a thing. If you’re going out to see a show at 11, you better make sure to set the time with your friend at 10, because lord knows that they’re only going to show up at 10.30. The Malaysian’s “on the way” is actually loosely translated to “I just started getting ready”, and “I’m here” really means “I’m almost reaching”. Both frustrating and kind of endearing – but mostly frustrating.
8. Petronas Ads
Don’t be surprised if you get funny looks when you watch a Petronas Ad and not shed at least ½ a tear. These carefully filmed and crafted advertisements always pair together lovely visuals and a heart-wrenching, touching story. They always come highly anticipated so that they may once again tug at our heartstrings. Don’t believe us? Check it out!
Literally one of the most difficult questions in life when going out is: “Where do you want to eat/go?” Relationships have suffered because of this simple-but-not-really question. Suggest a bistro, it’s expensive. A club is too noisy and crowded. A shopping mall is too boring. A restaurant is too fancy… Jom, pergi mamak is always the last (but never regretted) resort. It’s familiar, affordable, and satisfying.
10. The Weather
Be it sunny, rainy, or hazy, Malaysians have very mixed, PMS-style feelings about the weather. If there’s one thing we all collectively complain about consistently – it’s the weather (and increase in petrol costs).
The 4 seasons in Malaysia.
— Typical Malaysian (@TypicalMsian) September 11, 2015
How Malaysians describe the weather on a sunny day:
2. Panas Gila.
3. Panas Gila Babi.
— Typical Malaysian (@TypicalMsian) March 1, 2013
Hot weather = complain.
Rain = complain.
No sun = complain.
Even if there’s snow in Malaysia, we would still complain
— Typical Malaysian (@TypicalMsian) December 21, 2013
Also, check out this wonderfully and hilariously executed video of a representation of Malaysians. It’s always healthy to have a good chuckle now and again through the long working week!
Jokes and jabs aside, it is nonetheless a beautiful thing to be able to live and coexist with vastly different races and cultures every day – breaking down unnecessary walls between each member in our society. In a way, we’re practically lea