Local traditions and culture in Malaysia

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Most Viewed Local Customs in Malaysia

  • lmkluque's Profile Photo

    Take shoes off before....

    by lmkluque Updated Aug 19, 2012

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    Take shoes off before entering—yes, a Mosque—but also, a private home. (I got yelled at again for not taking off my shoes when entering a home too!)

    A rack is usually kept on the front porch for the deposit of shoes, but beware of thieves who steal only the good quality shoes in broad day light! This happened only once while I was in Malaysia and the home owners seemed not to be too bothered by it. I made a comment that I was glad my shoes weren't taken. They told me that theives only take modern and expenisive shoes. LOL! I should have known.

    TV is heavily censored, especially for modesty. That was an interesting experience for me, especially when they could easily watch the wildest DVD's that are made. And they do.

    The weather is HOT, moisture almost drips from the air. A slight breeze at first barely detectable, might relieve the heat, by joining the sweat of the body, the effect is cooling, but lasts only until the sweat has dried.

    Women wore Shirt-Lock dresses, and many men wore a sarung instead of trousers.

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  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Malaysia during ramadan.

    by cachaseiro Written Aug 14, 2012

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    The majority of the population in Malaysia is muslim so tamadan is celebrated quite a lot in the country and that alos has a little effect on various things because of the fasting that mean that the majority of the muslims fast during the daylight hours.
    But Malaysia is multi cultural though and you have over 50 ethnic groups in the country including many chinese who are not fasting and their shops and restaurants are open during daylight hours, so you will have little problem getting something to eat.
    Even alcohol is easy to find during ramadan and there are no restrictions on that.
    It's only in the north eastern part of peninsular Malaysia where you might have a few problems finding food as this part of the country has more than 95% muslims, so few places stay open during the day, but this is a part of the country with few tourists, so i do not think this will affect you.
    And the fasting period is in a way a festive period too at night and you have ramadan markets in most malaysian towns and many restaurants offer special ramadan buffets with tons of food so the muslims can fill the stomach before going back to fasting the next day and non muslims are welcome to take part in these huge dinners too.
    If you have problems locating something to eat then you can always try the big chain restaurants such as KFC, Pizza Hut and Mc Donalds.
    They are not very exciting, but they generally have long opening hours during ramadan and can be used in an emergency.

    Ramadan market in Malaysia.
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  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo

    Fun Facts about Malaysia from Emily Young

    by jumpingnorman Written Sep 16, 2011

    Just read these fun facts about Malaysia from Emily Young from the internet, posted April 2010


    1.They drive on the Left side of the road.
    2.Islam is the official religion of the country.
    3.Shoes must always be removed when entering a Malaysian home. Sometimes even in shops you had to take your shoes off upon entering.
    4.Never use your finger to point at things. You must point with your thumb.
    5.It is considered rude to not try something when offered.
    6.The official language is Malay (Bahasa Melayu).
    7.The average temperature is between 70F to 90F; however, in the jungle the temperature was 105-115F.
    8.Most of the coffees and teas are sweetened with TONS of sugar.
    9.Times Square Mall is the largest mall in Malaysia with 15 floors, a rollercoaster, bowling alley, 3 Starbucks, a Wendy's, and a hotel.
    10.Singapore is just a 5 hour bus ride away from Kuala Lumpur (capital city).
    11.Tons and tons of rice is consumed everyday in Malaysia.

    Read more: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/21466c/#ixzz1YAGZbUDe

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  • reezal's Profile Photo

    Wayang Kulit...

    by reezal Updated Apr 4, 2011

    A spellbinding medium for storytelling, the Wayang Kulit is a traditional theatre form that brings together the playfulness of a puppet show, and the elusive quality and charming simplicity of a shadow play.

    Its origin remains a mystery, though it appears to have a strong Javanese and Hindu influence. Today, it is spread out, in various forms and guises, across Asia - from Turkey and China to Indonesia and of course, Malaysia.

    Here, it is most popular in the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, particularly in Kelantan, the heartland of Wayang Kulit, where it took root more than 250 years ago. Today, however, urbanisation and modern entertainment have led to a decline in its popularity.

    There used to be four main varieties of the form in this country: the Wayang Kulit Siam of Kelantan; the Wayang Gedek, performed by the Thai communities of Kedah and Perlis; the Wayang Kulit Jawa, performed by the Javanese communities in Selangor and Johor; and the Wayang Kulit Melayu, performed by the Javanese communities of Terengganu. Today, only the first two are performed.

    There used to be four main varieties of the form in this country: the Wayang Kulit Siam of Kelantan; the Wayang Gedek, performed by the Thai communities of Kedah and Perlis; the Wayang Kulit Jawa, performed by the Javanese communities in Selangor and Johor; and the Wayang Kulit Melayu, performed by the Javanese communities of Terengganu. Today, only the first two are performed.

    There used to be four main varieties of the form in this country: the Wayang Kulit Siam of Kelantan; the Wayang Gedek, performed by the Thai communities of Kedah and Perlis; the Wayang Kulit Jawa, performed by the Javanese communities in Selangor and Johor; and the Wayang Kulit Melayu, performed by the Javanese communities of Terengganu. Today, only the first two are performed.

    For more info log on to the National Art Gallery Malaysia website listed below.

    A Wayang Kulit show

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  • zennet's Profile Photo

    Say 'Asalamu Alaikum' to any muslims in M'sia

    by zennet Updated Apr 4, 2011

    ENTRY POINTS - Visitors can enter Malaysia by air, sea and road/train. The main entrances are as follows : International Airports,Ports,Roads,Trains.
    ARRIVAL - Upon arriving in Malaysia, visitors are to declare all dutiable or prohibited goods in their possession. Visitors are required to unpack and repack their baggages themselves for customs inspection. This is defined under Section 103, Customs Act 1967. Baggage inspection and imposition of customs duty are done only at the entry points. Customs duty is not imposed on trips within Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. This does not include duty free zones which are Labuan in Sabah, Pulau Tioman in Pahang and Langkawi in Kedah. Customs Duty will not be imposed on goods imported from Labuan and Langkawi except rubber, marble, anchovies, and petroleum products.
    GREEN/RED LANE SYSTEM - If the visitors do not possess dutiable and/or prohibited goods at the entry points (for example in airports), where the Green/Red Lane exists, they can walk through the Green Lane. Otherwise the visitors have to walk through the Red Lane and declare the goods to the Customs Officers on duty.
    DUTY EXEMPTION FOR RESIDENTS AND NON-RESIDENTS - The Customs Duties (Exemption) Order 1988, Item 19, allows Malaysian citizens and visitors to import the following goods duty free if certain conditions are fulfilled: Wine, spirit, malt liquor not more than 1 liter. Tobacco not more than 225 gram (equivalent to 200 cigarettes).
    Wearing apparels not more than 3 pieces. One pair of new shoes.
    Portable electrical or battery operated appliances for personal care amd hygiene not exceeding 1 unit each. Foods preparations to a value of not exceeding RM75.
    All other goods including gifts and souvenirs valued at not more than RM400 ( except for goods from Langkawi, Pulau Tioman and Labuan, the total amount valued at not more than RM500). For any other related info: pls visit: http://www.customs.gov.my/html/eng/pengembara.asp?id=129&category=3

    Royal Malaysian Customs
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  • DAO's Profile Photo


    by DAO Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Greetings can be a slightly complicated affair. ‘Selamat’ is the greeting word, but you must specify the time.

    • Selamat pagi = Good Morning
    • Selamat tengah hari = Good Afternoon (from noon to about 2pm)
    • Selamat petang = Good Afternoon/Good Evening
    • Selamat malam = Good Night

    I did have a grumpy policeman on a train just say ‘Pagi’ to me one morning.

    Some other greetings:

    • Terima Kasih = Thank You – this is an important phrase to memorise.
    • Sama = You are welcome. Sometimes they will say Sama Sama as a way of saying Thank You very much. They do not have the word for ‘very’ so they repeat a word to indicate this.
    • Selamat datang = Welcome
    • Apa khabar? = How are you?
    • Khabar baik, terima kasih.= I'm fine, thank you.
    • Selamat tinggal =Goodbye. Said by the person leaving
    • Selamat jalan =Goodbye. Said by the person staying

    Related to:
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  • EricLe_Rouge's Profile Photo

    Rip-roaringly, funny travelogue.

    by EricLe_Rouge Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    'Ye Gods, old man-don't do it!' you're bound to shriek on page 1 of this hilarious travelogue, on which the author lists the hazards that may befall him-vipers, cholera, crocs, ticks, tuberculosis, malaria, rabies, and 1,700 types of parasitic worms among them. After all, portly, over-the-hill London Times literary reviewer Redmond O'Hanlon hasn't done anything more aerobic than flip the pages of a book for decades; he wasn't even a Boy Scout. It's hardly reassuring that his colleague, poet James Fenton-who had the big idea to trek in Borneo-was a Boy Scout. He hated it, and besides, aged, balding Fenton, whom O'Hanlon describes as rather worm-like, sounds like he's a likely lunch for a swooping black eagle.
    But on they trod-with the much-needed help of three Iban natives and an unseen, though oft-quoted river god-through jungle, across rivers whose height may rise seven feet overnight, and via native villages (where they often have late-night parties), with one goal in mind: seeing the fabled Borneo rhino. Fenton is nearly swept away in a whirlpool, they subsist on jungle-worm gruel, and ripping off sucking leeches is a near-daily occurrence, but cultural and natural insights and adventures abound in this rip-roaringly funny and deftly written travelogue that will have you chortling out loud. (Melissa Rossi)

    Where's the Borneo rhino?
    Related to:
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
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    • Hiking and Walking

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  • traveldave's Profile Photo

    Rubber Tapping

    by traveldave Updated Nov 16, 2010

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    Along with tin, Malaysia's early economy was built on rubber. Rubber tapping is the process whereby natural rubber, called latex, is collected from a rubber tree. A small incision is made in the bark of a rubber tree with a special tool in order to cut the latex vessels. The dripping latex is then collected in a small container attached to the tree.

    Rubber trees are native to the Amazonian regions of South America. There are several species, but the rubber tree that yields the purest, most elastic, and most abundant flow of latex is the Pará tree, which is native to western Brazil, northern Bolivia, and eastern Peru.

    Attempts were made to grow Pará trees in South America, but a species of fungus native to that continent caused a disease that killed many of the transplanted trees and made it impractical to set up rubber plantations there. And the rubber trees that grow wild in the Amazonian region tend to be widely spaced over large areas of the vast rainforest, and are therefore mainly inaccessible.

    In the 1890s, Pará trees were smuggled from Brazil and transported to Malaysia. The hot, humid climate of Southeast Asia perfectly suited the rubber trees, and the fungal disease that killed them on plantations in South America did not exist. The numerous orderly rubber plantations established in Malaysia eliminated the problems of access and maximized growth. In addition, the invention of special cutting tools increased the flow of, and therefore the production of, latex. These factors helped Malaysia monopolize much of the world's production of natural rubber.

    Although Malaysia's importance as a rubber producer declined after the advent of synthetic rubber, it is still the world's third-largest producer of natural rubber, accounting for 20 percent of the world's total. Over 3,212,370 acres (1,300,000 hectares) of land are devoted to rubber plantations in Peninsular Malaysia.

    I took a day trip to see the sights of Kuala Lumpur, and one of the sights featured a visit to a small rubber plantation where the tour leader showed us how the bark of the tree is scraped to start a flow of the latex.

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  • Callavetta's Profile Photo

    Malaysia Culture

    by Callavetta Written Oct 25, 2010

    Malaysia has three primary races; Malays, Chinese and Indians. The Malays far outnumber the others and the government has struggled to lift them out of their current state and provide wealth and prosperity to this group.

    Malaysia has had a Prime Minister since its independence in 1957. Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
    was PM for 22 years and instituted many policies intended to lift up the Malays. They have had preferred interest rates, greater quotas for university acceptance and other practices intended to offer them advantages.

    In 2009 Najib Razak took over the job of PM. He actually cried during a speech when he bemoaned the fact that the preferences have not changed the facts of life for local Malays. As a result, he's instituted the One Malaysia policy.

    It is generally felt that the Chinese (considered Chinese even if they are born in Malaysia and are several generations deep) have the business advantages. Indians are considered the last race but are working very hard and have really made big progress in lifting their families up.

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  • Callavetta's Profile Photo

    A Muslim Nation

    by Callavetta Written Oct 24, 2010

    Malaysia is a Muslim country; 80 percent of the population is Muslim. For a westerner, not used to this the various accountrements stood out for me. The clothing is varied, from women covered completely except for their eyes, to the more common covered head and body but face and hands free, to a simple veil covering the head, a pretty patterned and modest top, but jeans and sandals.

    One thing that struck me very odd was to see a family in the shopping mall or at a resort; mother fully covered with just a pair of beautiful eyes peeking out, kids in a stroller and father so casually dressed in short pants, t-shirt and sandals. As a Western woman, that seems terribly unfair. Especially when the temperatures are so hot and humid.

    But Muslimism is not a feminist faith. Men are allowed 4 wives. In many countries that's a moot point as civil law dictates one marriage. In Malaysia, Muslim men can have 4 wives. One of my Malaysian colleagues has two wives. I can't even fathom that. I asked non-Muslim married women what they thought. In many cases they said "hmmm, that might not be so bad! When you don't want him around he can go to her house!"

    It took me two hotels to realize that this little arrow on the roof wasn't an indication to the hotel where some spot needed painting! Rather, it's an arrow indicating the direction of Mecca!

    Many hotels, resorts and businesses have prayer rooms.

    This way to Mecca

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  • Shaking Hands

    by chrisyclam Written Jul 9, 2010

    If you are a man, shaking hand with Muslim men is fine.
    BUT when meeting woman with hand scarf, unless she initiate hand shaking, it is best not to try to shake hand - nothing personal, just a culture and region thing.

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  • cochinjew's Profile Photo

    surprising new friends

    by cochinjew Written Oct 4, 2008

    My good friend MC had organized a dinner at a Chinese Restaurant (large sumptous, only chinese diners) and for me to meet Mr H and his wife. it is not often one meets an intellectual (having spoiled in Cuba where the intellectual life is so rich).. Mr H is a movie affecionado to an intense degree and his knowledge is wide, and it was while discussing the literature, especially Murakami haruki's novels that we discovered our deep passion for the written word.
    he spoke perfect english and it made me realize. while most malaysians (and singaporeans0 can communicate in english ( where to buy electronics? where to eat?) the majority of the population is not literate, mainly because they are not confident in using the english language and use abbreviations and short cuts which sound ridiculous and even create a creole language like in Haiti (singlish for example). but those asians who READ books and literature would learn how to use the proper words.
    to me it was a sheer pleasure to converse with Mr H in the company of his wife, our mutual friend MC and her sister ML

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  • Hello

    by hemacd Written Apr 1, 2008

    Malaysia is a Muslim county. Therefore in MOST places esp the city centres, it is absolutely premissable to shake a Malay woman's hand (if you're a male). However exercise caution in the rural areas where some of them might just smile. So don't get offended if they don't choose to shake your hand in return.

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  • cochinjew's Profile Photo

    Minority News from Malaysia

    by cochinjew Updated Feb 17, 2008

    Here is the latest corporate news on very rich minority Chinese and Indian. As you can see the richest man in Malaysia is Mr. Kuok and the second is an Indian, Mr. Ananda Krishnan . Mr. Krishnan also owns the Petronas Twin Tower, Maxis ( one of the top telecommunication operator in Malaysia) and many key businesses such as gaming.

     Astro bids for UK’s Virgin Radio. Satellite TV service provider Astro All Asia Networks plc (ASTRO) has joined the fray to acquire UK’s pop and rock radio station Virgin Radio from British media group SMG plc. According to UK’s Telegraph newspaper on Sunday, T Ananda Krishnan-controlled ASTRO is understood to have made a bid for Virgin Radio, taking on three British rivals for the radio station. The four companies have lodged offers worth between £60 million (RM386 million) and £70 million (RM450 million) for the radio station which is valued at £85 million on the books of its owner, The Telegraph reports. [The Financial Daily, 18 Feb, pg 1 & 6; Malaysian Reserve, pg 2]

     Kuok still the richest. Sugar king Tan Sri Robert Kuok Hock Nien remains the richest Malaysian, ahead by a wide margin from closest rival T. Ananada Krishnan, according to Malaysian Business magazine’s of 40 Richest Malaysians. The magazine in its 16 February issue puts Kuok’s wealth at RM58.11 billion while Ananda Krishnan’s fortune is worth RM19.63 billion. [Star, 16 Feb, pg B4; Utusan, 16 Feb, pg 21; Tamil Nesan, 16 Feb, pg 1]

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  • ant1606's Profile Photo

    Tropical Fruit

    by ant1606 Written Dec 12, 2007

    The equatorial climate greatly favors the growth and abundance of local fruit such as durian, rambutan, jackfruit, langsat and other more known delicious edibles.
    The pungent durian can be a weird surprise to most unaccustomed palates. This fruit stinks - literally - and in many cities throughout the region it's forbidden to carry it on public means of transportation. Try a quite solid jam made of it in case the fresh product can't be found.

    Durian fruit Langsat fruit Jackfruit Rambutan fruit
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Comments (1)

  • Jun 1, 2014 at 12:03 AM

    to DAO. about the 'greetings' thing in malaysiaa~ u'r wrong, there is a word to describe 'very' in malay languange (bahasa Malaysia) the word 'very' in malay is called sangat. very=sangat. Thank You Very Much is mean 'terima kasih sangat-sangat' or 'terima kasih banyak-banyak' in malay language. they didn't say 'sama-sama' as a way of saying thank you very much. noted it right. 'sama-sama' means u are welcome. 'sama' means same. must refer to the dictionary before u post something that would effect my country languange. think, search, refer, before u post/talk something.

    ~ hope this would helps your bahasa Malaysia. bahasa is language. sincerely from me, aina. malaysian~ ^^

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