Things Malaysians should stop doing.

I am a Malaysian and I love Malaysia and Malaysians as a whole. Unfortunately however, there are small things about my fellow Malaysians, and dare I say it, myself as a Malaysian that I don’t like and should stop doing. Thus, this is where this list comes in.

Top 5 Things Malaysians Should Stop Doing!

1. Being proud of our ‘Malaysian Timing’.

Fucking annoying invention ever, I swear! Whoever invented this term needs huge slap on the butt. I hate that everyone use this as a reason for being late. It’s not cute or cool to be late regardless of whether it’s a ‘Malaysian thing’ or not! You’re late and you should be punished for it by having everybody glare at you with utter disappointment. What’s worse is that people are proud to be late for they are now ‘true Malaysians’ and even make fun of people who are early! How lah Malaysians want to maju like this?

Malaysia, a place where you are made fun of for being on time.
Malaysia, a place where you are made fun of for being on time. [source]

2. Saying “on the way” when you’re not really ‘on the way’.

*Phone rings*

You: “Hello?”
Friend: “Oi. Where are you?”
You: “On the way! On the way!”
Friend: “You’re still in bed aren’t you?”
You: “Uhm…”

Doesn’t matter if you’re still on the bed, in the bathroom, sitting down somewhere or in deep slumber, when someone calls you and asks you where you’re at, saying “on the way” is a sin. Whether the reason is that we don’t want to hurt their feelings or that we simply do not want to be shamed for being late, when you say “on the way”, mean it. Impress us with your ability of really being ‘on the way’.

"Hello? Oh me.. On the way? Yeah, on the road already, arriving soon..."
“Hello? Oh me? On the way.. Yeah, on the road already, arriving soon…”

3. No courtesy on the road.

Malaysians have an ability to be total bitches on the road.

      • Drivers are notorious for not giving way to other drivers
      • Ignoring other drivers existence when not giving ways to other drivers to cut in
      • Driving faster when seeing another driver trying to get out of a parking or junction instead of slowing down
      • Not saying thank you when other driver give way
      • Driving really fast on the slow lane
      • Honking at any slight delay by other drivers when the light turns green. (No patience!)
      • Honking at drivers who take their time leaving a parking space despite having to wait for just a short while.
      • Taking their sweet time to leave a parking space
      • Talking on the phone while driving hence not paying attention to road
      • Not putting up the signal sign when turning to a junction or roundabout
      • Road bullying
      • Motorcyclists and drivers who race and/or do stunts on the road, endangering other drivers and padestrians

The list is endless!


4. Asking or wondering about someone’s ‘race’ all the bloody time.

This happens especially when I moved to KL. Every time I get into a taxi, the first thing that taxi driver would do is to ask what race I am as if to decide how they should ‘treat’ me according to my race. It is not only limited in taxis too but practically everywhere else. Because I do not look like the typical ‘three main races of Malay, Chinese and Indian’, often times, people are confused and would question me. This happens to anybody too, especially if you look ‘mixed’. It gets really annoying sometimes especially when people insist in putting you in the ‘Malay, Chinese and Indian’ category just because your mixed race do not make sense to them.

Man: “What is your race?”
Woman: “I am mixed of Kadazan, Irish, Korean and Indian.”
Man: “Ah, so you’re Indian lah!”
Woman: “No, no. I’m 50% Kadazan, 20% Irish, 20% Korean and 10% Indian. I’m pretty mixed.”
Man: “Why make so complicated. Say lah you Indian, done! Or Kadazan, done!”
Woman: “Fine. I’m mostly Kadazan.”
Man: “But in Malaysia there are only Malay, Chinese and Indian. So safe to say that you’re Indian lah!”
Woman: “(*&*%&*$%^$^&%!!”

A fab project called 'Inside Our Project: We're All Mixed' which showcases the extremely mixed population of Malaysia.
A fab project called ‘Inside Our Project: We’re All Mixed’ which showcases the extremely mixed population of Malaysia. [source]

5. Being ignorant of Sabah and Sarawak.

“Do they have roads where you came from?”

“Is Sabah and Sarawak a part of Malaysia?”

“Do you speak Malay there?”

“Are you Indonesian because you sure sound like one!” (No hate for the Indonesians though, ignorant people mistake us all the time, fucking annoying :/)

“But you don’t look Malay, Chinese or Indian! Are you sure you’re Malaysian?”

“Do you live on trees?”

“You don’t sound like us.”

“Don’t you have your own language or something?”

“Omg! What language is that!! It sounds so weird!”

“Do they have malls there? Or clubs? What do you do for fun there?”

“What TV channels do you guys have? Do you have Astro there? Or Internet at least?”

“I bet you see orang utans there all the time since you live in the jungle!”

“Sabah is 2.5 hours away by flight?! I always thought that you could just drive there!”

I wish I could tell you that these questions and statements are made up, but they’re not. They are actual questions and statements that my friends, family and I get from Malaysians and tourists/visitors living in Peninsular Malaysia. But of course, not everyone is clueless about Sabah and Sarawak and even if some of them are, at least they try not to be rude about it. Some people are just plain horribly rude! Those people are the annoying ones!

How I cope with all these bullshit.
How I cope with all these bullshit.

Top 5 Things Malaysians Should NEVER EVER Stop Doing!

1. Speaking ‘lah’, ‘mah’ etc…

Love it!

How To use LAH
How To use LAH

2. Changing accents when speaking with friends of different ethnicity

Because of our extremely mixed background and friends, we are able to adapt into each other’s accents when needed. What’s interesting about Malaysians is that we all have a neutral English accent, but when we are mixed with our ‘own’ people or with someone who has a very thick (Chinese, Indian, Malay etc…) accent, we in turn switch to the appropriate accent. I was talking to my sister’s boyfriend the other day using our ‘neutral’ accent, but when he talked to his mom on the phone, his Indian accent came on! When I talk to my Chinese friends, my “mah”, “hor”, “ah” etc… comes out. I love it!

Don’t get me started on my accent when I speak to a non-Malaysian! Boom! Some American + Australian + British accent would come out, courtesy of Astro’s channels :D

3. Having a nice Mamak session

Mamak, bringing friends together for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, later dinner, supper, late supper, after supper supper and post-party since like ever and with cheap food too!

Spending time with friends over drinks (albeit non-alcoholic) and hookah.

4. More halal restaurants (i.e., Malay-Chinese restaurants, halal dim sum restaurants etc…)

Although Malaysia is a Muslim country, our love for food goes way beyond that. Hence the creation of fusion food! Malay-Chinese, Thai-Malay, halal dim sum, beef bak kut teh… Dude! The boundaries of good food are bent through fusion!

5. A very rojak (mixed) bunch of friends

Friends. MIXED friends. Need I say more?

Sabahans man, can you pin point your finger as to who is Malay, Chinese or Indian? Even if you can, you might be wrong because we’re mixed as hell with a huge pinch of Kadazan, Dusun, Brunei, Bajau, Murut etc…


Author: Jasmine

Jasmine is from tropical Borneo. She loves traveling, fashion and all things lifestyle.

70 thoughts on “Things Malaysians should stop doing.”

  1. Great post, especially the pure, undiluted hatred just spewing forth for terrible Malaysian drivers. I can relate to that :D

    Best part is how you chose to end it on a positive note by highlighting the things we should be doing!

  2. “So you’re Indian lah!”
    Pretty funny when read, most certainly annoying everytime I get this. I’m mostly being mistaken for a Malay…
    Until they saw my name: “How do you pronounce this?!”


  3. Ya know, I get the “are you mixed or dusun?” question a lot despite being pure Chinese. Apparently I sound Indonesian too. People say first impression, Chinese but the minute I open my mouth in Malay they have doubts. LOL. Being born and raised partially in KL and then migrating over to Sabah was the best decision my parents made. I love that part of Malaysia where the people are just awesome.

    And yes, gotta love awesome mamak sessions! And gaawwdd driving, tell me about it. I drove in Penang once during pesta, it was an utter NIGHTMARE!

    Good read here I must say ;)

    1. When you look like one thing but sound like another, there would surely be a few heads raised up! I love it though. I love confusing people all the time. It’s fun, one of the fun bits for a Sabahan/Sarawakian who go to West Malaysia or any part of the world. Lol!

  4. The Driver one is completely backwards, it’s not the cars not giving way which are the problem… it’s the selfish drivers who use the hard shoulder to jump the jam and then cause traffic to slow down when they force their way back into the slow lane when junction. It’s the selfish motorists who flash, expecting anyone to jump out of their way when zooming down the fast lane at 200kph, even when it;s impossible, unsafe, or would require you to brake to do so, and travelling at 110, the limit btw… It’s the drivers who drive in the 2nd lane at 90 and don’t pull over into the 1st lane who let the idiot drivers weave in and out of the traffic… Must give way ah? to who? the morons who, cos they have nice car think they own the road? Why should they give way? They are too forgiving, letting these selfish fu(c)kt@rds push them around encouraging bad driving. Why should they be let in to the queue at a junction? Learn to F’ing Q! Why are they more important than everyone else on the road… pure selfishness.

    1. Amen to this! You said it right. I mean, this whole road bit, it’s a complicated thing based on so many different aspects, angles, people, cars, bikes etc… There’s a mathematics to it for sure.

  5. The Sarawak-Sabah stereotype is very true! Those on the other side need to open their eyes and minds and need to keep their mentality parallel to the development of their states (since they claimed to live in a developed metropolis states). A very good read, two thumbs up from me!

  6. I hold meetings and although they’re for young adults + they aren’t formal ones, I still think they should really be on time but nuuuuuuu
    The best part is some don’t even apologize and they think it’s perfectly fine = =

    And while I totally agree with you on Malaysians keeping the ‘lahs’ and stuff, sentences like ‘you got buy meh?’ gives my ears cancer :(

    1. Haha! I guess what’s important is that despite talking with each other, as much as we have the tendency to retain our ‘lah’ or ‘mah’, we should make an effort in speaking less broken English. I try to do that in my daily life, especially when I’m talking to a fellow Malaysian. Broken English sucks, but good English with ‘lah’ is okay I feel!

  7. Love this post. gotta admit I’m partly guilty with no 1 and 2. my time management sucks. My “otw” usually means “I’m on my way out of the front door”
    and being a Sarawakian, one of the most stupid question I get aside from the others you listed is “whats the time there?” OMG. such ignorant peeps.

  8. Good article but if you don’t want to profiled
    or classified then reply ‘I am Malaysian’. You
    don’t owe anyone a percentage of your heritage/ ethnicity.

    1. Yeah, that’s true. But sometimes people are so keen to know your ethnicity you know, we’re just engineered like that I guess :/ Or foreigners would ask too because you ‘don’t look’ Malaysian enough apparently.

  9. This is one of the best blog post about Malaysians. I totally can relate myself 100% to this post. Especially the part when annoying fellow malaysians asking whether you are mixed or not. Gonna share this post with my friends. Keep on posting :)

    1. I guess when you’re so used to being a certain race because you KNOW you are that race, it gets pretty annoying when other people ask if you are as if doubting your stance of what you are. But really though, don’t take it too personally. I learn that people just genuinely don’t know probably because you don’t look ‘typically Chinese’. So it happens :)

  10. definitely true especially the race thing thing, people always thought that i am Malay. Chindian or Chinese just because i look like one but in reality, i am 1/4 Memaloh and 3/4 Iban. Sometimes they also mistaken me as Sabahan because i spoke fluently in Sabahan accent. There’s one a Malay boy of 10 years old asked me this question inside elevator, “Akak, akak ni Melayu ke , Cina ke , India?” Then i told him, ” Iban, kenapa? Tak pernah tengok ke?”

    1. Lol. Chances are, they memang tak pernah tengok because we look different. Can’t really blame them. I got over the fact that some people are stupid for not knowing how so and so looks like, but I then realized that I don’t look Chinese, Malay or Indian, so I guess I could understand their confusion. But that’s the awesome part though, we can just fool around because we look ‘different’.

      1. I never blamed them for that. sometimes I’m feel a bit annoying. Some even spoke in Cantonese with me (unfortunately I only understand some words only, still learn that language ) If they speak Mandarin, normally i will answer in Mandarin because Mandarin is my 2nd language after Iban, then baru BM and English. Even some of my Chinese friends dint expect me can speak Mandarin fluently.

  11. Lah and bah signifies the uniqueness of our english remember … other country or nation do have their own way or slang in english just look at the americans , British the australian or maybe the scotish or even the irish do their sound alike ???? So be proud of what we have … and i’m proud of being a malaysian with our own Lah and bah .

  12. good stuffs u wrote there! i do agree on the idiosyncracies of KL people thinking tht everyone else is living on tree tops. next time, agree to their comment tht sabahans live on tree tops, but include the fact that the tree has lift, wifi, aircond, and superior interior designs. and not only that, u get the best views. im always pissed with ppl thinking tht east msians r less developed :( im a johorean who studied/worked/lived for 9 yrs in kk, n ka-boom! i guess im more sabahan than johorean now. minus the lack of awesome mamak stalls which serve cheap nasi lemak, all is awesome in kk. i flew in from london to kk instead because it’s more convenient really.. it’s a pity tht i cldnt be a real resident of KK – c’mon, using passport to go through immigration and being given a 90-day valid stay permit? :( im a malaysian too.

    1. Lol. I always do that though if I do get questions like that, so far, I’ve never gotten those questions just yet. Great to know that you have studied/worked/lived in KK! So you should be the spokesperson for all West Malaysians and tell them how Sabah and Sarawak really is like! Lol. Boo on the whole passport thing to enter Sabah! I totally understand. Imagine my surprise when I went to Sarawak and had those visas. I’m like, “But I’m Borneon! I’m just like you!” Meh!

  13. Nice post. I agree with your statements. I would really love to see Malaysians actually BE MALAYSIANS instead of some of the current racial situations we’re having..

  14. this is awesome.. but yea, people in Sabah and Sarawak are more open minded, no racism and value true humanity compared to semenanjung fellows.. since i had lived at both side, i understand.. i’m from semenanjung and i myself are more accepted in Sabah and Sarawak more than semenanjung.. something is terribly2 wrong with semenanjung fellows, and i could just hope they could learn it fix it from and live like Sabahans and Sarawakians or the other peaceful countries ie. new zealand, norway, ireland etc.. the change starts with us.. :)

    1. Haha! I guess racial issues are much more politicized there because there is no such thing as being ‘mixed’ or ‘interracial’. At least, it’s not spread around. I think people should cross-produce mix babies. I love mix babies!!! They make everything go round! Best of both world!

  15. Its a nice article. But i believe these are not only malaysian problems. They are everywhere. However this does not sanction Malaysians or anyone else to repeat them. Carry on writing :)

    Being an international student here, i would like to suggest you to write on Malaysian behavior towards internationals. I have been here since last 5 years now and its hard to make locals communicate or befriend with you. Language is the barrier i suppose.

    1. Thank you! I definitely agree that these are issues in many countries too and not just in Malaysia. And yes to the whole foreigner bit. I think with the recent threats happening in the world today and the fact that Malaysians in general were taught from young to be quite racial, it does contribute to our treatment of non-locals too. We are just very paranoid and think the worse out of everybody before seeing them as good people. Just how we are engineered I suppose.

      But yes! Definitely an interesting topic to venture into. Thanks for the suggestion and for commenting!

  16. So true. I frequently get mad about numbers 1 & 2 especially. When you say you’re “on the way” when you’re really not, it causes the other person to expect and wait for you, instead of being able to do other things as he/she knows you will be late. These are people who are inconsiderate of others’ precious time, that’s what it is. What I do now is when I am the one the person wants to see, I give him/her 10 minutes max, then I just leave. Why should I wait for you when you are the one who wants to see me?

    Agree with the Malaysian driver behaviour too, even though I have been guilty of one or two. I think I am a considerate driver in the sense that I usually give way when a car has been waiting for a while, but when a person JUMPS QUEUE and try to CUT THE LINE in front just because the queue is long, ooooooh nononono!! These bastards will never get me to let them cut in!!!!

    1. Amen to that!! I should start doing what you do wit people who are late! I usually would just go elsewhere and make them feel super guilty when they finally reach, especially if it’s a repeat problem. Super annoying :/

      And totally understand about the cutting cue one too. I do not tolerate bastards like that unless I know that they are genuinely wrong by accidentally going to the wrong lane and had to go into the right lane again. You’d see that they’d slowly drive in and out, but the confident ones are the bastards.

  17. Im a sabahan…all the question about sabah n sarawak is already quite common…the most suprise question i recieve from a friend in w.malaysia is….what currency u use in sabah? It make me pause for few seconds because i dont know what to feel…anger, dissapointed or funny…malaysian have plenty of amazing question about malaysian….this blog cool!

  18. I love this post. I’m an anti-racism person, so whenever I ask a fellow Malaysian about their race, it’s just because I’m curious, nothing more. It sucks that some people generalise so easily to the point that it reflects on the majority. And just in defence of West Malaysians, many of us are understanding and good-mannered and, though we don’t know much, can grasp the general idea of the state of modernisation in Sabah and Sarawak (PLKN faculties there are quite good, so I’ve heard). Perhaps KL is where most of this happened (no offence at all, KL people)? Hehe. Keep writing. :)

    1. Thank you! Yeah, I figured that both West and East Malaysians are worlds away at times, especially for West Malaysians who know very little about East Malaysians, which is understandable. We don’t get ‘played’ a lot on TV which kind of suck. Thank you for commenting and visiting my blog! :)

  19. Hi Jasmine,

    This is a bit late but thought I’d share my thoughts too.

    I’m a Sabahan too and proud of it! Being a mixed race myself (Chinese, Dusun and British) I used to get comments from west Malaysians about how my accent differed from the average people that they met. Apart from English I can speak Sabahan malay pretty well and can converse in Mandarin too. I have been mistaken for being an Indonesian, Filipino and many Chinese would speak to me in Cantonese when I’m out shopping in the city. Once someone even thought I was Korean lol.

    Yep I love how we from Sabah are so much more tolerant, happy go lucky and peace-loving compared to people from other parts of Malaysia.

    I worked for two years in KL and based on my experience (no offence to people from KL) people there were pretty combative, offensiv, lacked generosity and goodwill and they seemed to be in foul mood a majority of the time. You almost got the feeling that they had no soul.

    Racial polarisation also seems more common in the peninsular where people tend to stereotype and get suspicious of other races without really getting to know them. It’s just sad.

    Go you beautiful Sabahans – keep on expressing your lovely spirit and be a great example to the rest of the country what 1Malaysia truly means!

    Keep up your good work Jasmine. Malaysia needs more writers like you!

    1. Hi there! Thank you so much for your comment! You’re never too late to comment to this post or any of my posts! Thank you for reading too! And I totally agree everything that you said, good on you and good on us Sabahans! Hehe!

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