Today, August 31st, 2016, is Malaysia’s 59th Day of Independence. To commemorate this special day, we’ve put together a list of things which makes Malaysia what it is- one of Asia’s most fascinating countries, blessed with a rich heritage, a colourful culture and a proud history.
So here we go. You know you’re in Malaysia when:
You see food outlets open 24 hours a day
If this is your first time to Malaysia, we hope you’ll get to go to one of our all-night makan (that’s Malay for ‘eat’ or ‘eating’) places. The good thing about these 24-hour outlets are that they usually serve Malaysian food, so you’ll still be able to try something local at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning if you happen to be awake and peckish. The Malaysian appetite operates across all time zones.
You’re part of someone’s family, and you don’t even know them
Malaysians try their best to be inclusive. If you’re older than us we’ll refer to you as either kakak, jie jie or akka (sister) or abang (brother). If you look a lot older or as a form of respect, we may even call you ‘uncle’ or ‘auntie’. Everybody is someone’s elder sister, elder brother, uncle or auntie here.
You get to eat the most delicious food in the world, every day
Together with our 24-hour eating outlets, you also get the incredible taste and flavour which are features of Malaysian food. Malaysian dishes are influenced by Indonesian, Chinese, Indian, Siamese and Portuguese cuisine, some of which have been adapted in one way or another to suit local palates. But that’s not all- much of Malaysian cuisine is also a melding of its different components. The result is a truly amazing national identity which can only be Malaysian.
Shopping malls are full on weekends and public holidays
It’s unfortunate but it’s true: many Malaysians see shopping malls as the go to place to hang out because apart from retail outlets, our malls and shopping centres have cinemas, bowling alleys, restaurants, cafes, even pet stores! We honestly feel that Malaysians should enjoy the outdoors and go to parks more often but given how popular our malls are, be prepared for a crowd on weekends.
There’s a traffic jam almost every time it rains
Here’s something else that we don’t quite like. Whenever it rains, be prepared for a massive gridlock on the roads soon after. Why does it happen? Who knows- poor drainage, too many cars on the streets, rush hour. The fact is, it happens, so you’ve been warned.
Hearing words from three languages in one sentence isn’t unusual
This is our favourite quirk of being Malaysian: that the majority of us are bilingual, while many others are multi-lingual and able to speak up to four or five languages. Get a bunch of multi-racial Malaysians together, even complete strangers, and you’ll hear us use phrases and words from the different languages and dialects from the ethnic groups that make up our society. The result is something truly precious: for visitors, it makes listening to a Malaysian conversation a unique experience, while for us we get to enjoy a closeness, a bond with each other and a deeper appreciation of what makes us Malaysian.
Enjoy your stay in Malaysia!