Etiquette, Kuala Lumpur
KL may be a modern city but there are several etiquette still practiced by all races in Malaysia. When entering someone's home, you must take off your shoes because we don't like the dirt from outside to be trampled all over inside the house. Even my sister who lives in Europe brought the habit there and insist that no dirty shoes enters her flat.
It's illegal, unless you are married, to show public displays of affection. If you are married, you must have your marriage license on your person in case you are approached by a police officer. You are also not allowed to be alone in a room (including an elevator) with a single, non-relative female.
Particularly with Malays but now days, with everyone, shake hands firmly but not too much so AND THEN gently place your hand over your heart for 1 or 2 seconds.
People will know you have studied the culture of indicating sincerity in your greeting.
When visiting a malay home or a mosque, please take off your shoes. It is customary for malays and muslims to take off their shoes when entering their homes and their place of worship as they consider these shoes dirty and not suited for indoor wear - no matter how cool your footware is.
At mosques theres usually shoe racks where you could leave your shoes...of course if you're wearing ultra cool footwear, put them in your bag and take it with you. Trust in God but lock your door huh...
When handing something over to someone or eating with your hands, always try to use your right hand, even if you're left-handed. Some Muslims consider it disrespectful if you use your left hand to do that because it is regarded as used for "unclean" activities.
instead of hand shaking or kissing on cheek (like in saudi), it's to smell your guests' cheeks.
Back to my Malay relatives, I remember when my opah (=grandma) used to smell me when i was a smelly kid.
To me, it's so beautiful greeting.
This is common among Malay ethnics.
Shaking hand is very popular like any other places on earth but there is a slight problem. Being a Muslim country, women usually don’t offer handshakes and they just smile to show their welcome gesture.
When you meet a Malaysian, especially a Malay, the right way to shake hand is to offer both your hands and gently grip the other person's hand. He or she would definitely do the same. Of course, the Western way is mostly and widely accepted as Malaysians are very liberal and Westernised but it's just a guide of how Malaysian cultures are.
well, maybe this is not a big problem,but i'v been noticed this for a long time and it is just keep bothering me for years...maybe is just me? i don't know, but for a local custom, i think most of asian countries think the same, my experience with foreign friends, they used to put their legs on the other chair or table when they chilled out, so better take note guys, keep your legs down, i'm sure u don't want people to give some kind of that 'look'....cheers guys..
When entering a malay home or most chinese and Indian homes as well in malaysia... shoes off please. We can arrange a display of our designer shoes or not so designer shoes by the front door. It has been a custom here for as long as anyone can remember.
When you are entering any mosques or Malaysian home, don’t forget to take off your shoes. Malaysian people are very hospitable and they always welcome their guests with some drinks, It would be courteous to accept this offer
Hm, let's see... Are you ready to observe a few very important Malaysian local customs and practices?
Shall we make the Malaysians really proud of us and show them that we DO know some of their common courtesies and customs?
1. Although handshakes generally suffice for both men and women, some Muslim ladies here may instead acknowledge an introduction with a gentleman via a nod of her head and a smile. A handshake is ONLY to be reciprocated IF the lady offers her hand first. The traditional Malay greeting of 'Salam' resembles a handshake with both hands but without the grasp. The man offers both hands, lightly touches his friend's outstretched hands, then brings his hands to his chest to mean, ' I greet you from my heart'. The visitor should reciprocate the 'Salam' in the same manner. Confused? Yeah, me too! But this is the general practice. So remember!
2. It is polite to call your Malaysian friend BEFORE visiting their home. I'm sure this is a common practice amongst most people living all over the world too. But I'm stating this down because I have met some people who just drop by your place (read: MY place) WITHOUT informing you before hand... and... and... I've actually opened doors and greeted my unexpected guests with face mask still on my face! Oh well. I'm sure you catch my drift.
3. Shoes must be REMOVED when entering a Malaysian home. It is also customary to do so before entering a Mosque or an Indian temple. No, I shan't say customary... It's more like MANDATORY.
4. Your RIGHT HAND is always used when eating with one's hand or when giving and receiving objects. And try not to look so shock when you see many Malaysians here eating their meals in public places with their right hand instead of using utensils like fork and spoon. It must be the culture thingy, ya know.....?
5. Toasting is NOT a common practice here in Malaysia. Also, the country's LARGE Muslim population does NOT consume alcoholic beverages. So, TRY not to make your Muslim friends feel awkward as you gulp on your beer or gin tonic! Well, if you really must... don't look too happy drinking 'em O.K.? Oh, and alcohol is pretty expensive here.
Like most asian countries, we are usually barefeet indoors. Mostly at private homes and sometimes small centres/the likes, we take off our shoes before stepping indoors. Private places like homes are usually always kept clean with regular cleaning, and good enough for bare feet and for sitting/crawling, and if extremely clean, for sleeping on even. But sleeping on cold floors is not good for health, as much as it's uncomfortable, so people do not usually sleep directly on floors. Anyway, back to being barefoot, if you see shoes just outside of the doorstep of a house/home/places like that, take it as one of the clues to take off your shoes before stepping in.
On a more elaborate manner and generally applies in modern homes, if convenient, after stepping into the house, you may request to wash your feet before you start making yourself comfortable. It's a matter of individual lifestyle, as some hosts would be pleased that their guest (or anyone) go wash their feet first right after stepping in. You don't need to use soap or anything if you haven't gotten any dirt/stain on them, just a shower or pail splash of water on those feet will do. And usually there'll be a floor mat (more like towel) at the washroom's doorstep to dry your feet with. Not only your host may be pleased, you would feel much more comfortable after.