Culture: Malaysia

Reader Fong Hui-yi
Reader Fong Hui-yi |

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Tell us about your culture

Apa khabar? This means how are you in Bahasa (Malay). I am a Malaysia-born Chinese, and I am definitely proud of that. Come with me on a short journey to Malaysia. I'll be your guide to the Southeast Asian nation.

Buckle up and enjoy!

Special place You can do so much in Malaysia. Like any other tropical country, it offers many adventures. You shouldn’t miss the Petronas Towers, the fourth tallest building in the world. You can go scuba diving and see amazing sea creatures. You can also choose jungle trekking or hiking in the rainforest or the Pahang National Park. The Kota Kinabalu Mountain inSabah is a well-known attraction for hikers as it boasts the richest orchid flora in the world. But, if you prefer to stay indoors, there is always a museum or historical culture centre that gives you a peek at Malaysia’s culture.

Multicultural Malaysia is a multicultural country with three main races: Malay, Chinese and Indian. Bahasa is our national language, while English is our second language so we can all talk to each other.

Food This is a hot topic in Malaysia. There are all sorts of cuisines here, again thanks to our multiracial country. Muslims are forbidden to eat pork so you will find the dishes are mostly chicken, beef and mutton in the Malay cuisine. You might find some Chinese food that's similar to that in Hong Kong, but some dishes are original to my country. Last but not least, we definitely cannot go without the spiciness in Indian cuisine. Some Indians are vegetarian, so their dishes are healthy too. Here's some great Malaysian grub to try: satay, nasi lemak, chicken curry, shrimp noodle, durian and teh tarik.

Sport Sepak takraw (rattan ball) is a sport which is similar to soccer, and it is widely popular here. However, badminton has enjoyed a rise in popularity as it is an activity the whole family can enjoy. Lee Chong Wei, the 2008 Olympic Badminton silver medalist, is Malaysian and this has helped to promote the game as a national sport.

Religion As I’ve mentioned, Malaysians come from three different races, and there are different religion for each. Malays follow Islam and they are called Muslims. Every morning and Friday, the worshipers go to the Mosque to pray. The Indians are mostly Hindus. Whenever there is a religious festival, especially Thaipusam, the city is always bustling with people. Lastly, most Chinese, like me, are Buddhist. We often go to the Buddhist temple to worship. Some Chinese may be Christian. We respect each other’s religions even though we believe in
different gods.

Defining characteristics You cannot really know whether someone is Malaysian until you hear their accent.People sometimes even use both Malay and English in one sentence, delivered with a unique accent. Since Malaysia is multi-racial, I think people embrace other cultures and enjoy the benefits they bring.

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