Editorial
10 September 2020

9 Unique Traits Every Malaysian Can Relate To

Proud to be Malaysian, that’s what we are! As a country filled with diversity, we’re immersed in different cultures on a daily basis thus enriching our lives. Despite our diverse backgrounds, there are plenty of things all of us can relate to that makes us Malaysians, together. So, what exactly are the things we Malaysians can relate to?

1. We beam at the Milo truck

 

Remember back in primary school or special outdoor events, there’d always be a Milo truck providing free cups of cold Milo and how that’d make our day? A long line would form in front of the truck, but no one really minded the queue because what mattered was that one cup of Milo.

It was bliss, and it still is, isn’t it?

Beyond the queue, Milo is an integral part of every household and to our meals, especially breakfast. The ultimate combo of Milo and some cream crackers makes the best tea time snack too! Milo really does have a big influence in our lives, doesn't it?

Photo credits: mustsharenews.com

2. We like our food spicy and flavourful

 

As Malaysians, we loveee our myriads of spices and curries and we’ve got a whole bunch of uncomparable spices that we can’t live without —  be it in the form of cili padi, kari or sambal. There’s absolutely no such thing as merely seasoning our food with salt and pepper (say what?). You’d be surprised to know the amount of garlic and chillies that some of us usually put in our saucers. It’s enough to shock non-Malaysians! Young or old, we’d heap many spoons full of these into our saucers with a good amount of soy sauce. Mmm...yums!

Whether it’s a plate of pan mee, nasi goreng, mee goreng, roti canai, or white rice, we need the extra oomph from the spices! As Malaysian foodies, there’s hardly ever ‘enough’. I mean look at McDonald’s nasi lemak, they even let us order extra sambal!

3. Our mamak and kopitiam culture

 

Nothing speaks more Malaysian than our eating and chilling culture at our beloved spots — the mamak and kopitiam. While we do have fleets of fancy cafes popping up all around, Malaysians still enjoy the former, largely because we can all dine good local cuisine for cheap.

And best of all? They’re usually open for long hours and, back in the days before MCO, they were open 24 hours!

And after a long period of time being stuck at home, who would’ve thought that the normal taste of char kuey tiao, roti canai or laksa would bring nostalgia and tears to our eyes. Being able to eat outside once again sure is bliss! The warmth and familiarity of the mamak and kopitiam we all grew up with can fill up our souls once again. Although we’re now free to dine at our fave hawker centres, remember to remain cautious and practise the SOPs to stay safe. Keep those masks on wherever you should, y’all!

4. We can’t live without nasi lemak, roti canai, and char kuey tiao

 

Speaking of eating, us Malaysians are big foodies who treasure our local cuisines dearly and would fight to defend the honour of our food. You’re merely asking for trouble if you even dare to give a negative remark about our food as nothing unites Malaysians quicker than food. We tend to be very protective of our local cuisines — be it the nasi lemak, roti canai, or char kuey tiao, we simply can’t deal with it when our neighbouring countries try to steal or claim their versions are better (Hint: Remember the crispy rendang incident?).

5. Our morning and night markets are food haven

 

As we all know, the pasar pagi (morning market) and the pasar malam (night market) is home to many types of goods and trinkets. We’ve spent a good amount of our lives strolling in the middle of the street patrolling food stalls selling our local favourites from cheap finger food like keropok lekor, kuih nyonya, nuggets, french fries to hot meals like nasi goreng, nasi tomato, lontong, mee goreng, and even drinks like sirap bandung, air mata kucing, cendol — there’s so much food it’s almost like a buffet!

And the best time to visit the bazaar is during the Ramadhan season where even more stalls are set up! It’s one of those places where you can stuff your face without too much thought on spendings.

6. We love going to the shopping mall

 

The shopping mall is one of the best meetup points for nearly all Malaysians, and us youngsters are no exception! There’s just so much we can do there — eat, shop, karaoke, and even attend tuition classes…the list goes on. Most of the ‘fun stuff’ is at the mall! While taking a walk along the streets or at the pasar malam is also nice, with our humid and warm weather, it’s hard for us to say no to air conditioning and top it with a cup of thirst-quenching bubble tea. Oh, what a bliss!

7. We have the second-most public holidays

 

That’s right, we have 19 public holidays, with Iran snagging the limelight with 27 public holidays. Who would’ve thought that Malaysia has been giving us lots of freebies compared to other countries! We Malaysians sure are festive citizens.

One of the reasons we have so many holidays is because we have many cultures with different festivals. Thank you, Malaysia!

 

8. We love durian with almost everything

 

Ever heard of the durian nasi lemak or durian pizzas? As if the durian isn’t already exotic on its own, we Malaysians love to put a spin on everything with durians! We have durian ice cream, durian pancake, durian dumpling, durian pulut, durian panna cotta… and most recently, we’re introduced to durian balls! Boy, if you want to capture the attention of Malaysians, simply top it with durian and you’ve got us hooked! What’s next? Durian bubble tea — oh wait, we’ve got that already too.

9. We are proud to be united in diversity

 

That’s right! We Malaysians live in such a unique country whereby we have people of many different races, religions, and cultures that exist and live together for more that 60 years!

Although racism is still an issue, in general, Malaysians do live peacefully together and are tolerant with one another whether we’re at school, mamak, kopitiam, or the shopping mall. 

 

That said, we still have much to learn and appreciate from each other so let’s strive to stay united and embrace the uniqueness of Malaysia as one.

Eunice Liow is currently pursuing a Foundation in Business at Taylor's University. She is also a member of the Event Management team for Taylor's College Student Council.

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