15 Reasons Malaysians Absolutely Love Their Country

15 Reasons Malaysians Absolutely Love Their Country

Our 'lepak' culture, all-time-favourite Milo, Petronas advertisements and the powerful Force Hand. These are things that Malaysians can totally relate to.

It’s no question that Malaysia is a cauldron of many diverse cultures and peoples. Sometimes, it’s hard to see the uniqueness of Malaysia when you’re living within the country itself. But ask anyone who’s been to Malaysia on a short visit and they’ll no doubt tell you that there are certain things that we Malaysians do that no one else can do better.

Even though Malaysians are also good at complaining about rising fuel and toll prices (as our neighbours probably are as well) and an expert in donations, those things shall not be mentioned here. Because…reasons. Anyway… here’s a list of 15 #JustMalaysianThings that explains why Malaysians love their country so much. 

Also read: 20 Reasons Why Malaysia is a Horrible Place to Travel

1. Touring history and culture

malaysia attractions Image credit: User:Vmenkov

Whether it’s the Dutch and Portuguese settlements in Malacca; or the many historical buildings in Georgetown, Penang;  or visiting the Iban and Kadazan tribes in East Malaysia, this country is full of historical and cultural destinations that never fail to impress visitors, local and foreign alike.

2. Beautiful, ancient rainforests and wildlife

malaysia attractions Image credit: Nicolai Edgar Anderson

In almost every article I’ve written about Malaysia, I’ve never failed to mention the many national parks and nature reserves in our country. So, naturally (pun not intended), I’m doing it again. Malaysia is home to some of the world’s oldest tropical rainforests, many of which have been turned into breathtaking forest reserves that offer an escape from busy city life.

3. Wonderful islands and beaches

Image credit: Ferrazo

Apart from lush green forests, Malaysia is also home to quite a number of pristine beaches and islands. That is a given, considering that Malaysia consists of a peninsula and an island. Tioman, Pangkor, Langkawi, Sipadan…the list is endless! Regardless of where you are in Malaysia, chances are you’ll be able to go on a quick island getaway in the blink of an eye.

4. Friendly banter between the East and West

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Like a pair of rival siblings, you would often find some of the best banter in Malaysia between East (Sabah and Sarawak) and West (Peninsular) Malaysians. Most of the banter usually consists of stereotypical slurs and jokes about each other. Don’t worry though, because it’s mostly done in good fun and humour…as long as no one goes overboard while comparing who has the better beaches or natural attractions.   

5. Badminton. ’nuff said.

malaysia attractions Image credit: Antony Stanley

Despite the banter and friendly competition, Malaysians are usually fiercely proud of their country, especially when we win stuff. And there is no sporting event treated with more fervour in Malaysia than badminton. It’s a pastime of almost every Malaysian kid. And when Dato’ Lee Chong Wei plays in a World Series Final, you can bet that half the nation is glued to their television/computer screens watching and hoping for glory!

6. Public Holidays

Calendar MY Update - NATIONAL

And how best to celebrate a sporting achievement in Malaysia? Why, by declaring the next day a public holiday, of course! Truth be told though, Malaysia is one of the countries in the world with the highest number of public holidays per calendar year. Heck, we even have two National Day celebrations (Independence Day and Malaysia Day). #JustMalaysianThings.

In 2016, as expected, we’ll be having plenty of public holidays, so be sure to bookmark our long weekend calendar and plan your getaways. 

7. Petronas Advertisements

Image credit: Petronas

What usually comes with holidays? Why, advertisements by PETRONAS, of course! What makes them special is the fact that PETRONAS ads during the festive periods aren’t about buying fuel at all. They’re usually close to heart and touch on a number of social issues (usually concerning family). So successful have the ads been that Malaysians actually anticipate and expect a good ad from them whenever Hari Raya or Deepavali is around the corner. So far, they’ve always delivered.

8. Jom, Lepak!

malaysia attractions Image credit: Fernando De Sousa

Speaking of holidays, what do Malaysians like to do on public holidays? Well, we lepak of course! Lepak in its most objective translation means to loiter around. Despite its somewhat negative connotation, what it really means in Malaysia when someone says that he/she is just lepak-ing is that he/she is just hanging out. Malaysia is filled with cafes, beaches, parks, and mamak outlets. With so many ideal spots to hang out with friends, it’s no wonder that the lepak culture is quickly becoming a national phenomenon!

9. Football…watching it, I mean

Image credit: Gunawan Kartapranata

Let’s not bring up the form of the Malaysian national football team towards the end of 2015. Let’s just not. But Malaysians sure love their football. Usually it’s the Barclays Premier League or the UEFA Champions League that captivates us. Occasionally, we also watch our national team or Harimau Muda. What, just me? Fine. But nevertheless, it’s not uncommon to see groups of friends camped in (or out) at McDonald’s or 24-hour mamak outlets to watch ‘the big game’ late into the night

10. We ‘bossify’ everyone

Image credit: Max Gaines

In Malaysia, everyone is a boss. Seriously. That mamak outlet server, the fruits seller from the market, that kid from your Form 4 Economics class, everyone. In Malaysia, when you’re trying to address someone you don’t know, you call that person ‘boss’, especially if you’re having business dealings (this can be as simple as buying durians from a stall). Other terms used to address strangers in Malaysia include ‘bro’, ‘sis’, ‘aunty’, and ‘uncle’. Yep. In Malaysia, everyone is a boss and apparently, everyone is everyone’s family.

11. The Force Hand is strong in Malaysia

Image credit: Evan-Amos

Step aside, Luke Skywalker. In Malaysia, the Hand reigns supreme. Popular Malaysian Youtubers like JinnyBoy and Dankhoo have often pointed out that in Malaysia, the raising of your hand in a slight upward motion (much like the motion of a Jedi’s mind control stance) is the most powerful gesture in Malaysia. It can even stop traffic if you do it right! Yes, the Hand is another one of those #JustMalaysianThings.


malaysia attractionsImage credit: DCubillas

Let’s face it, Malaysia’s greatest draw is its cheap and delicious street food. Every region in Malaysia has its own unique twist to many mainstay local delights. For example, Sarawak laksa and Penang laksa have very distinct tastes and flavours whereas Kelantan has its own version of nasi lemak and Malacca’s meat dumplings are made using blue glutinous rice (affectionately called ‘nyonya dumpling’). So here’s the bottom-line: To us Malaysians, no one does it better when it comes to food, not even Gordon Ramsay.

13. We take our Milo very seriously

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There’s malt chocolate and there’s Milo, every Malaysian kid’s favourite breakfast drink (some never grew out of it). So popular is Milo that there are many variations of Milo beverages in Malaysia, including Milo Dinosaur! When I was doing my foundation studies in the University of Nottingham in Malaysia (UNMC represent!), I had a Korean friend who was with us for a summer programme. Before leaving, we asked her what she wanted to bring back with her to South Korea. In a heartbeat, she loudly exclaimed, ‘Milo!’ I rest my case.

Also read: Know Your Minuman: 7 Uniquely Malaysian Thirst Quenchers

14. We love our king…of fruits!

Image credit: The Wandering Angel

The durian: you either love it or you don’t. Thorny on the outside, sweet and creamy on the inside with distinctly strong aromas (or stench, depending on how much you like/hate durian). Sure, you can find durians in other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, but I bet you won’t find durian buffets and feasts like the ones in Malaysia! We treat the durian with the respect and honour it deserves as king of the fruits!  

15. We always leave travellers wanting more

Image credit: Nicholas A. Tonelli

I’ve visited Malaysia once before. It’s great! But once is enough for me.‘…said no traveller ever. They’ll come back to Malaysia. They always come back. *inserts evil laughter*

Now, I can go on and on about the things that make Malaysians adore their country. In fact, I can do it in at least 3 languages and 2 dialects. Oh wait, that’s another thing about Malaysians. We are more linguistically blessed than any other country in…wait a minute, doesn’t that make it 16 things on my list? Gosh, I should probably stop now!

Did I miss anything though? If I did, feel free to let me know in the comments below!  

About Author

Darren Yeoh
Darren Yeoh

Darren enjoys the finer things in life and loves exploring unfamiliar places on foot, guided with nothing but instinct and a good-old fashioned map. He enjoys cultural experiences and exciting adventures and is not a stranger to travelling alone. When he's not putting his travel experiences into words, he's probably sitting behind his laptop, planning his upcoming adventure.


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