SFATW: Things I Love about Malaysia

Souvenirs from across the World is a feature hosted by Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books. In the first feature, bloggers talked about their hometowns and shared it with each other. I talked about Sarawak, my home state then. Check it out here.

Souvenirs from across the World is now a monthly feature! This month’s topic is  “Things I Love About [your country/city]”. I chose to write about my country, Malaysia!

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Nasi Lemak wrapped with Pandan leaves.

Food

Ask any Malaysian what they love about Malaysia and nine times out of ten, the answer is food. Most Malaysians live to eat and there are some of us who are willing to drive for hours and wait in line for several more hours just to eat some food.

Food here comes from many different cultures. The Malays have the nasi lemak, which is rice cooked with coconut milk and served with sambal and anchovies and sometimes with eggs and peanuts. The Chinese have the bak kut teh, is a soup based dish cook with pork ribs, various innards and herbs. And the Indians have the roti canai, which is a flatbread similar to the Indian parotta, is usually served with curry or dhal. There are several variants of it, including the roti tisu and murtabak. Where the former is a thin, tall version while the later is a thicker version with fillings of meat or sardine, egg and onion.

More of this in next month’s #SFATW 🙂

Holidays

Malaysia has a lot of holidays. And I love holidays! We have national public holidays for most of the festive events and other significant days like the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s (our monarch’s) birthday and Labor Day. We also have state public holidays, for festive occasions and religious holidays for the various local ethnic groups in each state. For example, Sarawakians have Good Friday and Gawai days off because of our high Christian and Dayak population, while states like Selangor observes Deepavali and Thaipusam, festivals for their high Indian population.

Also, our Independence Day celebration was just twelve days ago and Malaysia Day is in five days. Why two national days, you ask? For the longest time, we celebrated 31 August as our Independence Day, which is true, for the West Malaysians. But for Sarawakians and Sabahans, they had separate days of independence and joined Malaya and Singapore to form the Malaysian Federation in 16 September 1963. Hence Malaysia was actually born on that day. Sidenote: Singapore was kicked out 2 years later for various political reasons, which is why they’re an independent nation today.

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Moon Cakes

Festive Celebrations

As a multicultural country, we celebrate the festivals of all the ethnic groups in the country. Major festivals like Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Chinese New Year and Christmas have a nationwide holiday. Minor ethnics in each state have their own state holidays, like Tadau Ka’amatan for the Kadazan people in Sabah. We also celebrate a ton of other minor festivals without national holidays, like the Mid-Autumn Festival coming up on 15 Sept, where we’ll be eating moon cakes and carrying lanterns around.

This week is actually a good example of just how much holidays and festive celebrations we have.

10 Sept – Sarawak’s Governor’s Birthday (only in Sarawak)
12 Sept – Hari Raya Haji (Festival of Sacrifice marking the end of Pilgrimage for the Muslims)
13 Sept – Hari Raya Haji Day 2 (Only in Kedah and Perlis)
15 Sept – Moon Cake Festival (Not a public holiday)
16 Sept – Malaysia Day

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Batu Caves interior. There’s a Hindu temple inside.

Nature

Malaysia has beautiful sights and nature in abundance. There’s many national parks and wildlife reserves to visit, caves to explore and mountains to climb. We have many rare animals and plants to see, like the tapirs, orangutans, pitcher plants and rafflesia. Caves like the Batu Caves and Niah Cave can be fun to visit. The former, pictured above, is a religious site for Hinduism.

And of course, there’s mountains like Kinabalu that can be a great exercise to climb or you could visit highlands like Genting, a casino haven and Cameron, a tea and strawberry farm, to get some nice air.

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Sipadan Island

Beaches and Islands

Okay, this might be cheating a little, but I have to put this on its own. Malaysia has some of the most beautiful beaches and islands in the world. Penang, known as the Pearl of the Orient, is one of the larger islands and its capital Georgetown is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But if you’re looking for something with more sand and water, Tioman and Sipadan are great for that. Sipadan has one of the best diving spots in the world too. And if the name Jacques Cousteau means anything to you, well, he was pretty impress with Sipadan, calling it an untouched piece of art and was most likely responsible for the island’s popularity.

Weather

The weather in Malaysia is the best. (I type as I swelter under the blistering sun.) Temperatures here are pretty constant throughout the year, staying around 28-32 degree Celcius. Seasons here amount to two – Sunny and Rain. There’s no need to worry about summer outfits or winter clothes, we just basically have one set of wardrobe all year long. Think about the money we’re saving :D.

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Malaysia and the South China Sea

Natural Disasters

We’re mostly free from natural disasters too. Floods are about the only worry. We’re pretty exposed to tsunamis too. The 2004 tsunami did reach parts of West Malaysia though the damage is not as devastating as those felt elsewhere. However, if one does happen in the South China Sea, it would be very, very devastating. I’m not sure if earthquakes can happen there though. I’ve heard that China are preparing some measures to detect tsunami along it’s coasts, so it could be possible.

We have had one or two earthquakes in our history, though they’re mostly minor ones. Also, if somehow a major earthquake strikes, we’re screwed. We’ve no education about how to deal with earthquakes and our buildings are not earthquake-proof. Oh, an interesting story about the last earthquake in Sabah, which happened last year. Apparently some tourists were caught taking nude pictures on the peaks of Mount Kinabalu, which is sacred for the Kadazan people, and some people blamed them for causing the quakes…

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The King of Fruits

Fruits

Okay, once more I feel like I’m cheating here by separating fruit from food, but I think they definitely deserve it. There’s the famous King of Fruits, durians, which stinks so spectacularly they’re banned from hotels and public transports, but a lot of people swear by their tastiness. The people here are so crazy about durians that there’s a lot of food with durians in them. Durian cakes? Check. Durian ice cream? Check. Durian rice balls? Check. Durian pancakes, durian crepe, you get the idea.

Besides durians, there’s also other fruits to try. Mangosteen, known as Queen of the Fruits, are sweet, purplish fruit with white flesh. There’s also the rambutans, jackfruits, dragon fruit and starfruit to try too. With names like dragon fruit and starfruit, aren’t they tempting 🙂

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You can see why they’re called dragon fruit.

Architecture

Being a region with many ethnic groups as well as have been conquered and colonize by at least three different European powers (Portuguese, Dutch and British), Malaysia’s buildings boasts a ton of different architecture styles. So below are some examples. Hover over them to see their name and architecture style.

 

So those are the things I love about my country. I’m sure there’s a few more that I can’t think of right now, that I would go like “duh” when it comes to mind, but that’s all I could come up with for this post.

That’s all from me, thanks for reading! Have you ever been to Malaysia? Are you a Malaysian? Let me know what you love about the country. If you’ve not been to Malaysia, would you like to visit? Let me know in the comments down below.

 

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19 thoughts on “SFATW: Things I Love about Malaysia

  1. Pingback: #SFATW: What I Love About France and Alsace | Drizzle & Hurricane Books

  2. This was such a fantastic post, and I LOVED reading it all, thank you for writing it, and for your contribution to my little feature! ❤
    I am so, so impatient to know about ALL the food your country offers, from that little sneak peak I feel like I could LOVE IT all. This nasi lemak sounds absolutely delicious, I want to try it right this second!
    Whenever I think about Malaysia, what I think about the most are the gorgeous beaches, island and nature, this must be so impressive, and all the pictures make me think of this place as a little corner of heaven. I didn't know much about the architecture, but from what you put in your post, it looks REALLY beautiful as well. Oh if I come here someday, I'm going to take THOUSAND of pictures ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I’m glad you loved it! I’ll try my best to deliver a good look at Malaysian food next month 😀 The nasi lemak is the best! It’s known as Malaysia’s national dish.
      There are certainly plenty of gorgeous beaches, island and nature here and I hope it remains the same for a long, long time. I didn’t really notice the architecture either, until I did some research. Malacca and Georgetown are two cities that are awesome for that. Plenty of interesting things to take photos of 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a great post!! Do you really get food served on leaves like in the photo? That would be so cool… also, the only thing I know about Durian fruit is that it smells so bad, but we obviously don’t get it over here! I do like Dragon fruit though! Especially because it is a ball of fire with Green flames! Whats not to love?!?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! They do. It’s usually wrapped with the leaf, so you unwrap it to serve as plate. It’s meant to enhance the taste. Durian definitely stinks. You could probably smell it from ten feet away, and if it gets into the air conditioning system, it can stink for a loooooong time. I like to think that the Dragon fruit is a dragon egg or a dragon’s heart. Haha. They look pretty awesome 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! It really is quite beautiful. Most tourist I’ve seen like to stick to Kuala Lumpur, but there’s tons of interesting places outside if you know where to look 🙂 They are gorgeous and there’s monkeys around to see too.

      Like

  4. Everytime I read about your country, I get more and more fascinated about it. It is so interesting! Mainly, because it’s so different from my own country. I love how multi-cultural and diverse your country is because of all the different islands.
    “We’ll be eating moon cakes and carrying lanterns around” is probably the best holiday description ever! It sounds like something from a fantasy novel.
    And, of course, the nature and the beautiful landscapes that are so particular of Malaysia. I could spend all day looking at these pictures.
    Thankfully, Brazil is also really blessed when it comes to natural disasters. Earthquakes and tsunamis never happen here, but floods are really common, along with landslides because of our poor infrastructure. And weather is really good here as well, although it does get colder in winter.
    Overall, I hope you can share more and more with us about your hometown. It is so interesting to read all your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We’re at two ends of the world map after all 🙂 I think the diversity has more to do with our location between the East and the West. Any sea trade route will have to pass by us. Which meant a lot of Indians and Chinese came here during that time and mixed in with the Malay and other natives.
      I’ve never really thought of it that way. Haha.
      Yup, there’s definitely a lot of natural beauty and landscapes to look at.
      Ah, we get landslides here too, though not that often. Usually on the mountain roads, which usually means shortage of tea, strawberries and that kind of stuff. Though it’s never really that impactful. Most of I’ve heard of are tourists stranded on top (with nice facilities to stay in and not like trapped in a hostile forest or something) or they can’t get to the top.
      Thanks for your comment 🙂 I’ll probably share more with each SFATW 🙂

      Like

    • Thanks for commenting! Photos from photographers better than I tend to do that. Haha. But honestly, it’s pretty neat. I hope you do pay a visit sometime in the future. Everything here will probably feel super cheap based on your currency. Haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is an awesome blog post! I remember when you first posted for #SFATW and I loved how delicious all of the food in Malaysia sounded and now this makes me even more excited for next month’s feature! Moon Cakes sound so good and look so pretty! And a whole festival dedicated to them sounds awesome. I also love the architecture. Visiting Malaysia is definitely on my bucket list!

    Liked by 1 person

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