How to Act Like a Malaysian
Yes, we do speak English. Our English is quite powderful.
Yes, we do have proper houses, equipped with electricity and water supply (which often gets cut off without warning.)
Yes, our pedestrian crossing lights aren’t working half of the time.
Yes, our cabs are infamous for charging exorbitant fares because the taximeters are always “rosak” or “spoil already”.
But we are Malaysians. We have been trained since young to overcome such difficulties.
From guiding you on how to shop to how to document your everyday life, here are 10 sure-fire ways to fake like you’ve been eating Nasi Lemak your whole life.
1. Know the lingo
Understand that we bring the English language to a whole new level. Therefore, you should too.
Add ”lah”, “ma”, “hor”, “loh”, etc at the end of every sentence to sound impeccably Malaysian. Say “huh”in place of “I beg your pardon?”
Is your English vocab limited? Fret not! Just toss in whatever other languages or dialects you know!
Campur it up! No need shy shy or paiseh one!
We’ll love whatever new concoction you come up with.
Address everyone as though you’ve known them forever.
The police who gave you a speeding ticket is your “abang.”
The waiter at the kopitiam is your “boss.”
The cleaner is your ”kakak.”
All your guy friends are your “bros.”
All your male Tamil-speaking friends are your “machas.”
2. Eat Spicy
Always ask for sambal. Add chilli padi whenever you can. Pour at least 2 sachets of chilli sauce in between your McD burger buns. Deny the fact that your mouth is on fire. Order anything that reads “curry” on the menu. Never admit defeat to the tiny chilli icons next to the name of a dish which indicate extra hot.
3. Pay like a local
The term “leaving tips” does not exist. Pocket every cent of change. Convince yourself that you’ll need them to pay for you parking ticket. Or for an RM1 gumball from the bubblegum vending machine (take that, Singapore!) Unless you’re going out on a date and want to impress the girl. If so, shut away the inner stinginess and tip away.
4. Know how to travel around
Always, always diss KL’s public transport and appear appalled whenever your peers suggest you brave the non-reliable transportation system available.
“Aiyah, always late one!”
“Walao, later I kena raped then you know!”
“Eh don’t play play, the aircond always spoil leh! Hot die me!”
5. Be a pro when it comes to ordering drinks
No, not at the bar. Malaysians can’t tell the difference between Makers Mark and Johnny Walker. I’m referring to being pro at ordering typical Malaysian beverages.
We love our kopi (coffee), Milo (malt chocolatey goodness) and teh (tea). We also acknowledge that everyone has different taste preferences, so we allow for customisation so very complex that we actually put Starbucks to shame.
“Kopi O gao sikit!” “Teh O ais limau!” “Kopi C!” “Milo kosong tambah ais!”
If you’ve ever chanced upon a kopitiam/mamak, I am sure you’ve heard the above drink verbiage being hollered from one end of the shop to the other. Know the difference. Do your homework. Ask for “a cup of cappuccino” at the hawker stall and you’ll be instantly labelled as a noobie.
6. Utilize social media
Instagram every meal. No, wait. Instagram every dish. Or twitpic. Either one is good. It is of utmost importance that your circle of friends know what you eat. Follow up by #abusing #the #hashtag #because #yolo #swag.
Expect a wave of “bojio” comments to hit you.
7. Have a thick skin a.k.a no shame
Really like something? Muster up every single ounce of confidence in you, flash a big smile and proceed to ask for the “best price.”
Do not accept “no” for an answer. Keep insisting. Or make sure the sales assistant throws in a handful of freebies and samples.
8. Appreciate god’s gift
As mentioned earlier, the pedestrian lights are hardly ever working. But we’ve got you covered!
When crossing roads, don’t bother waiting for vehicles to stop. Simply lift your arm to car-level, palm facing the auto-mobiles. They will stop FOR YOU. You just have to trust the palm.
God gave you hands. Use them.
9. State the obvious
Malaysians like to point everything out by asking rhetorical questions 24/7. The next time you see someone watering plants, go “eh, watering plants, ah?”
You can expect either:
A. a polite “Ya, hehe!”
B. a sarcastic “NO LAH, I’M DROWNING THE FLOWERS.”
Whatever the comeback, smile stupidly and saunter away…
10. Believe that a white lie never hurts
When in Malaysia, do as the Malaysians do. Arrive 30mins late to any event you’re invited to.
When friends call up to check on your whereabouts, never fail to assure them you’re “on the way” even if you’re still taking a dump at home.
As the saying goes: Better late than never.
Blame it on “bad traffic” upon arrival. Everyone will nod empathetically. I guarantee.
Article credit to Sabrina Loh from sabbyloh.blogspot.com