It's Easy For Anyone To Tell You're Malaysian When...

Being Malaysian is a pretty special thing. You could say we’re one of a kind – with our quirky lingo, customs and habits. Want to find out if you’re a true blue Malaysian? If the points below apply to you, you definitely are...

Cover image via AstroMalaysia

1. Your hand has magical powers

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Just by holding it up and in front of you, you can stop incoming car traffic – no matter how fast and intimidating. Car, van, or lorry – they all obey the hand. Also, raising your hand gets you past security guards in residential areas. It’s a short, powerful, Malaysian way of communicating the "I come in peace" message.

2. You call everyone "boss"

“Boss, kuah lebih sikit!”

Image via Astro Awani

You don’t work for any of them. Your lawyer, your barber, the guy serving you at the mamak – they’re all your “boss”. For example, we might say, “Boss, kuah lebih sikit!” to a waiter. It makes no sense at all, but it’s friendly and respectful. In Malaysia, we’re all bosses and that’s the way we like it.

3. The words “sale” and “free” excite you like an all-you-can-eat buffet (which also excites you)

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What could be more Malaysian than going crazy at the news of sales, discounts, and free giveaways? The cheaper and the freer, the better. We’re able to queue at 7 a.m. for a sale, but find it difficult to get up for work at 9 a.m. Our non-official slogan is basically “Boss, give discount lah."

4. You hope for a public holiday whenever we win at sports

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Whether it’s our badminton stars at the Thomas Cup, our football team at the AFF Suzuki Cup, or our athletes at the Olympic games – you hope for a public holiday if we do well. When Lee Chong Wei won in the recent Thomas Cup Final, Malaysians jumped joyously in their living rooms, believing a public holiday would follow. A sports victory is a big deal and the nation should celebrate it by being allowed to… sleep in.

5. You almost always end sentences with "lah"

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Can lah. No lah. Come on lah. "Lah" is as adaptable as Malaysians. You can use it for the weather - "so hot lah." You can use it for price - "so expensive lah." You can use it for disbelief - "No lah, where got?"

6. You’re willing to travel for good food. When you travel abroad, you crave the nasi, the mee, the curry, the kuih, the roti, the...

Food is so important to us that we’re willing to travel great lengths for it. A 4-hour drive to Penang for some authentic nasi kandar? No problem, man! To us, life is like a journey, and at the end of that journey, we eat. Even when we travel abroad, we start craving for Malaysian food after a few days – home is where our stomach is.

7. You feel something is missing if your food isn't spicy enough

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To us, throwing pepper on something doesn’t qualify as ‘spicy’. Spicy means bringing in the big guns - sambal belacan, cili potong, cili padi. We like chilli on everything we eat! This isn’t just limited to local food. Whether when eating chicken wings or pizzas, we always like an extra helping of chilli sauce or chilli flakes. We like our food as tough, dramatic, and sweat-inducing as a wrestling match. We’re not bland and our food shouldn’t be either.

8. Speaking of food, you like it smelly too...

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Mm-hm! Bring on the durians, our petai, belacan and our cincalok. While their smell might put off the rest of the world, we know there's NOTHING like it. We wear our love for the world’s stinkiest foods like a badge of honour.

9. You've developed a habit to feed your phone before you feed yourself

"Wait ah, take picture first..."

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We take pictures of everything we eat for our friends to see on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We've got skills arranging the roti canai to look fluffiest, the fried chicken thigh to look extra juicy and the lemon cheesecake to look like it was sliced out of a magazine. Today, posting food photos on social media has become the best way of documenting and sharing our every day lives.

10. You have an in-built clock that's tuned to 'Malaysian timing' and you arrive 30 minutes late for anything

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Whether it’s an office meeting, a wedding, or even a mamak session with friends, we’re always 30 minutes late. At least. We call this ‘Malaysian timing’. And how many times have we told others via phone that we're “on the way” when we were still wearing our shoes at the door of our home?

How many of those points applied to you?

We're guessing more than a few. As we approach our 57th year of independence, let’s remember that we’ve got more in common, as Malaysians, with each other than we even know.

Do something different this Merdeka: join the #kitasama blood donation drive by Astro. More details here.

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We need blood to live – this need cuts across barriers of age, language, culture, status and tradition. The colour of our blood is the only colour that matters. Unity runs in our blood. So show you care for Malaysia and your fellow Malaysians by donating blood this Merdeka at Astro’s #kitasama blood donation drive. You can make a difference. You can save lives. If you wish to donate blood, please visit the Astro Kitasama website for more details.

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