"Malaysia, Disini Lahirnya Sebuah Cinta"
“Malaysia Where Love Grows”
“Malaysia Where Love Grows”
~ The "Theme" for Malaysia's 57th
Independence or Merdeka Day celebrations.
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1) We have our own unique blend of English called "Manglish" with words like "No la", "Yes la",
"Really, meh", and so many others that sometimes leaves non-Malaysian speakers at a loss to understand what we're saying. Our 'la's have also been transmitted to others with many foreigners happily dropping 'la's here and there when they speak, sometimes even without their realization that they have adopted our style of English.
*I love Manglish as I feel it shows our multi-racial heritage with a language born of this merging of cultures and languages from the different races in Malaysia.
2) We may stay in the city and have ample opportunities to eat all kinds of gourmet food, but when asked to make a choice, we still head to our favorite Nasi Kandar Shop.
*My siblings work in the city and when they come back home, the first visit is always to a Nasi Kandar shop.
3) We travel to foreign lands sometimes even spending years there, and although we may enjoy delicious Italian pizzas and spaghetti, authentic American burgers or original British Fish and Chips, but when we come back home to Malaysia, we drive straight to our favorite
hawkers stall and decimate nasi lemak, char kway teow, thosai/Dosa, laksa, curry mee, roti canai, etc like a person starved. Heck, I go for holidays and enjoy delicious chicken chops and pasta, and the next day hunt down Indian restaurants selling rice with spicy curries and sambal. It may be food I eat every day at
home thanks to my mom's amazing culinary skills but going without rice just for one day is like I've not eaten. Any meal without rice is not really a meal, just a snack.. Right? Right? Yeah. I do seriously need to work on my diet..
4) A must have item, in any long-distance travels to foreign lands especially for long periods of time, are packets and packets of Instant Noodles.
5) We bond as one Malaysian Family over football, badminton, tennis, any sports regardless of who is playing. Our catchphrase of "Malaysia Boleh!" (Malaysia Can!) is common utterance at these games. We mourn at every loss and rejoice at every win. Whether the athlete is a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban, Bidayuh or Kedazan, doesn't really matter, he or she is a Malaysian, and that person gets our love and support.
6) No one else gets our fascination with the King of Fruits, Durians, as one whiff of its deadly aroma sends some people especially non-Malaysians running for their lives. For most of us Malaysians however, it is sweet, sweet heaven. A creamy, melt in your mouth fruit; every bite savored and enjoyed.
7) We stand together as one family when faced with adversities. We may not have earthquakes but we do have floods that can devastate villages and towns.
When these mother nature based calamities occur or when we face national tragedies like the recent
sad loss of Flight MH370 and MH17, we bond as one family to grieve, reciting our prayers for the victims and their families. When help in needed, we give what we can.
8) We may have tons of designer apparel shops in huge shopping malls, but at most nights, we can be seen at the night markets or pasar malam because we, Malaysians, know there is where we can get the best bargains. Quality materials at a fraction of the price.
9) We have luxurious restaurants that are air-conditioned and classy, yet our favorite hang-out is always at a hawkers stall because we know, this is where we can get the best-tasting food.
*I'm not saying these high end restaurants do not provide quality, tasty food; they do and I've enjoyed many scrumptious meals at these restaurants but there is just something special about eating satay, ikan bakar, ais kacang or teh tarik at an open-air hawker joint.
10) We have many awesome burger joints, either the fast-food variety or those at elegant restaurants, but
for us, it's the burgers from the road-side stall that we flock to.
11) Being blessed with sun all-year-round, barbecues and picnics are common occurrences. Nothing beats meat cooked over a hot, charcoal grill.
12) For a little excitement in our lives, we have the unpredictable weather. The weather forecast may predict hot, sunny weather but it's always handy to have an umbrella in your car as you never know when the next thunderstorm is going to make its grand entrance.
14) As the years go by, many of us have become racially integrated, with inter-racial marriages becoming the norm. So much so, many of us are not easily identified due to our mixed parentage.
*My mom, for instance, is always mistaken for a Malay, thanks to her mixed parentage of Eurasian and Indian. In my extended family, both on my mother's side and father's side, we have an interesting mix of Indian, Malay, Chinese, Portuguese, Irish and Iban ethinicity. Family gatherings are always fun especially when Roast
Chicken and mashed potatoes, rendang, rice and curry, and spicy Portuguese Devil Curry adorn the table.
15) Ask most young Malaysians what their favorite food is and they will all unanimously say, "Hands down, mom's cooking!".
16) Blood relations doesn't matter here, every man is an "uncle" and every lady is an "aunty". We would never dream of calling our friends' parents by name. It's always "uncle" and "aunty" for us. For those still young but older than us, it's always "Kakak" (sister), "Abang" (brother) and those younger are called "adik". There's also the practice of young boys calling each other, "macha", which originates from the Indian culture and is the term for the wife's brother. Now, however, everyone is somebody's "macha".
*I've recently been demoted from "Kakak" to "Aunty". I know they are just being polite, but every "Aunty" I am called is a painful stab in my heart. I guess it's time to accept that I'm not as young as I want to be.
In Malaysia, we have beautiful sandy, beaches that beckon. A paradise of islands that entice you to stay. Green forests that relax you. And for those looking for some fun and excitement, there are shopping malls, clubs, water-parks, animal reserves, national monuments and so on. We are never at a loss for fun things to do during the weekends and holidays.
Our country is not perfect. There are many things that perhaps can be tweaked a little but then again nobody and no country is ever perfect. All I hope for, as we celebrate 57 years of independence, is to look back and have pride in all that we have achieved in the past 57 years, with our skyscrapers, advanced and modern amenities, and international recognitions. An achievement made possible not only by one race but through the joint effort of every race in Malaysia; in short by Malaysians. I hope we can look past our race, skin color, religion and culture, and to not harp on our differences but to celebrate our similarities. All the things that make us special and unique. All the things that make us proud to be Malaysians.
The author of this blog post is not responsible for any hunger pangs or yearning resulting from the food pictures in this blog post.
Note to self :
The author should refrain from writing blog posts such as these when hungry.
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