This year, after GE14, National Day would be extra meaningful to many devoted Malaysians that voted for a change. Commemorating a great wave in Malaysian history, let’s not forget why our multicultural society is so unique and special, that only Malaysians can identify these experiences with one another. Here are a few humorous takes on things that define us as Malaysians:
We love to ‘minum teh’ or ýum cha’ but that doesn’t necessarily mean teatime. It’s simply a phrase to indicate hanging out at mamaks, eateries or anyplace even when we’re not drinking anything.
Where can you find a place where everyone is the boss? In Malaysia, people ranging from all walks of life including a salesman, waiter or mamak server (not just the business owner) can be called ‘boss’ or (in Cantonese) ‘lou sai’.
Being natural at haggling prices on top of hefty discounts, we will only be appeased when we finally get a free gift out of the bargain or just to fill up a survey form.
Being inundated with an abundance of food, options are endless and available around the clock. Clearly, this has led us to an endless cycle of the age-old question – where to eat?
Keeping to our appointment time is always a challenge, so we do what every Malaysian does. When asked where we are, even when we’re still dressing up at home, we’re ‘on the way’.
If you want an ego boost or a swamp of compliments, just take a stroll down the aisle containing salesmen and promoters to feel good being called (in Cantonese) ‘lenglui’ (beautiful girl) or ‘lengchai’ (handsome boy).
Although a minority of Malaysians detest the pungent repelling fruit, it is the king of fruits in most of our hearts and we love it served in every imaginable way - as a spicy dip (tempoyak) with curry, rice, bread or flavoured into ice-creams and desserts.
We take pride at being geniuses finding parking spots that don’t obstruct nor illegal enough to get a ‘saman’. No parking bay? A space on the divider or on top of a corner curb will do.
That’s right, to get to the other side of the road, walk out and just raise your palm facing the oncoming traffic and watch vehicles halt around you. The ‘divine hand’ is a handy life-saver on Malaysian roads.
Everyone suddenly becomes an expert in Malaysian politics during election time, where we contain a wealth of knowledge on all contenders including their clean or dirty laundries. Post-election period, we revert back to our non-analytical beings in a wink of an eye.
It’s an annual thing that all Malaysians are aware of, so we will hold on to our speeding tickets for that discount announcement!
Malaysians generally are afraid to lose out on, well… anything. If we find out that we are short on cooking oil, the very next day, we will ‘sapu’ (sweep) all the oil from the shelves. If our friends are going to a Dua Lipa concert, we will ‘ponteng’ (skip) class to go with them.
We probably spend half our lives stuck in traffic, so, while everyone typically crawls through the jam, there are some true Malaysians zipping by on the clear emergency lane.
As children, we’re already introduced to the ‘pasar malam’, so, when we need our weekly dose of pancakes, fried radish cakes, steamed chick peas and knick-knacks, we gotta pay our favourite night markets a visit.