2 years ago, I published a book to celebrate its 51st birthday (the 50+1 Malaysia book), but this year, I'm doing something different.. a simple blog post of 53 things I relate to homeland, Malaysia..
1. Upin & Ipin
While some are still clueless bout this duo, but it's them who are bringing attention to the Malaysian animation industry.. before them, who would ever thought that Malaysian animation can be that big - seriously?
2. Siti Nurhaliza
It's been years since she has been in the industry.. but still, no other Malaysian based celebrity has such star power, till today.
3. Ah Niu
So 1Malaysian, Ah Niu leads the rest of the Malaysian Chinese artistes (in Taiwan) on what makes a true blue Malaysian Chinese! Though his Malay language is passable, but his proudness for Malaysia is unquestionable!
4. Media Prima
TV3, 8TV, TV9, NTV7, One FM, Fly FM, HOT FM.. and now News Straits Times... Media Prima is simply - everywhere! U just can't miss them! After all, they make free to air TV & radio... cool!
Malaysians complain of rising costs but even low costs houses see the need to subscribe to the satellite base TV!!! But even if you don't, u can't fully run away from them - that is if your car channel plays Hitz, Mix, My or Era FM..
6. Malay tabloids
As Malaysia papers go smaller in size, the tabloids rule the day with their cerita panas & sensasi, with sometimes more interesting stories than the usual heavy reads (hey aren't toyols, or gossips on celebritiy & politicians more interesting?)
7. Bukit Bintang
Think visiting Kay El, and think Bukit Bintang.. it's the face of KL (apart from the twin towers of course). Yeah, it maybe messy and all, but, this is really the heart of Kay El, alrite!
8. Pavilion & The Other Mega Malls
Pavilion shows that Malaysia finally got class (and is alive)...! (see all the cool 'overseas-like' ads? Well, they are usually taken from the pavement of non other than this spanking new mall!!).
But before Pavilion, the middle incomers have been enjoying the double extension malls - like when 1 Utama opened its new wing or when Sunway Pyramid doubled itself up! So did Midvalley Megamall by opening Gardens..! Talk about size & all things BIG!
9. Perodua (and still, Proton)
From 2nd to first, Perodua showed the way to be on top with less complains (are there actually?).
But though now at no. 2, our cannot forget, Proton, is still around.. and I'm sure we all want it to, don't we? (maybe buck up, but don't get out!)
10. Lee Chong Wei
He may not always win Lin Dan, but Chong Wei, is still no 1 in world rankings.. making him get some good endorsement deals from the likes of 100 Plus & Yonex, and is quite a celebrated sports personality (reminds of the 90s when Rashid Sidek was our national hero who even acted in movies!).
11. Nicol David
Nicol shows that while Malaysia is not as consistent as it wants to be, however, it is actually possible (she is still no. 1 in world rankings!)... the only sad issue, squash is not an Olympic sport. Otherwise Malaysia may already reap gold medals here!
12. Umno, MCA, Barisan Nasional, DAP, Pakatan Rakyat, PAS, PKR...
Whichever fence ur on, some of the politicians & their antiques just make life colourful for our daily lives cos everything under the sun comes into Malaysian politics - from corruption to slanders, scandals.. what else?!
This campaign is simply everywhere..! From politician mouths to campaigns by brands.. we just hear, look & see this every other day from radio stations to TV, in the newspapers & even billboards (now, what is 1Malaysia again?).
14. PJ, Shah Alam & the rest of Klang Valley
Say what u want, but Kay El needs PJ & the rest of the Klang Valley.. for KL alone is just too small and can be jaded, after a while.. and this is where Pea Jay & the likes of Shah Alam makes it complete (afterall, PJ is the one with the mega malls like Sunway or 1U, and Selangor is the one that boasts of waterfalls to fireflies.. and good seafood, not to mention more scenic views!).
15. The Star
If ur English speaking, you are most likely a Star reader, someway or rather - online or offline, weekday or weekend. They also own Red FM and host events from big celebrities to consumer based events (like Femm City)... only thing they are not in, a TV channel (well not yet, anyway).
16. Malaysia very own Magazines
Though we are flooded with foreign magazines that are published locally, but here in Malaysia, our local magazines of the likes of KLUE, I.M, and those by Karangkraf are hugely popular themselves.. giving readers a wide choice of read, and those that are closer to their hearts (hooray to highlighting local talents!!!).
17. Nasi Lemak & Roti Canai
In such a diverse country, the food is many.. but one dish that unites us all & eaten by nearly every other Malaysian is non other than the the nasi lemak.
Btw, close behind it is likely to be the roti canai, which again serves for breakfast, lunch, dinner.. or supper!
18. Teh Tarik & Kopi O Kosong
So prices of sugar is up, but that doesn't stop us from drinking the super rich in sugar 'pulled tea' - night or day. And for the less sweet & kopi fans, the kopi o kosong (and sometimes the white kopi) rules!
19. Old Town & The Other Kopitiams
Yes, there's Starbucks or Coffee Bean, but Old Town & its close competitors like Pappa Rich or Kluang Station most likely rule the nation with their white coffees, kaya toast breads or nasi lemak dishes. Ask yourself - when was the last time u ate or drank in these kopitiam? Pretty recent, no?
20. KL Nightlife
This is tricky. After all, we are a Muslim country.. but that doesn't stop Malaysians and our tourists alike from having 'fun', right? The thing is we Malaysians are not as close minded as you think we are.. all u have to do, is to know where to go! (Caution: your eyes may just pop out & your jaw drop to the floor - and no, I'm not joking!)
Though maybe less popular globally to the Singlish (or maybe even the Chinglish), but hey, our Manglish is just unique to us! How lah not to speak with the lah..???
22. Hypermarkets - the likes of Giant, Carrefour, Tesco..
We Malaysians just love things - BIG. The malls are and so are our supermarkets, which have mainly been replaced by the gigantic hypermarkets. Sundry shops just don't do anymore heh?
Locally made - and proud of it.. now this is one fruit, all of us Malaysians can be proud of.. cos no other country (yet) produces such thick & delicious yellow fruits (or at times red), like we do. A form of Malaysia Boleh?
24. The islands
We've heard of Sipadan, though the likelihood is more foreigners visit there.. so is Tioman. But mention Redang or Perhentian, and that's in our must-visit list, together with the likes of errr... Bali & Phuket?
Like the nasi lemak, mamak is another form that unites the many different races of Malaysia. The best place for breakfast, sometimes lunch & dinner... and definitely a good hangout for supper!
26. Malaysia Driving & Parking
The Malaysia Boleh spirit is here again... with lazy Malaysians who don't want to walk that far, or for some to get too much sun, Malaysians just love to double park.. and if that's not enough, sometimes, it do seem that some roads are really, their grandfathers'.
27. Bahasa Pasar: the new Bahasa Malaysia
So the mainstream media uses the more formal Bahasa baku.. but if u really want to understand the locals, u got to master the bahasa pasar - where new words are introduced, long words get shorter and... are now much more hip! (this is where textbooks get thrown out, and you'll learn more from text messages!)
28. Maxis, Digi, Celcom.. & Tune Talk
Like every other country, telco rules - and with unique ads to boot. Here, we get the fat yellow man from Digi or the more exclusive Maxis to the celebrity prone Celcom.. and recently the super hero style of Tune Talk. (oh yeah, we have U mobile too.. but that's a bit too quiet for now). Pricing - err, what pricing? We just like adverts...
29. Malaysia Internet
With 2 main competitors here (P1 Wimax & Streamyx), arguments are abound on who is better or in some cases, who is worse.. and while they giants battle it out, we users get to see some catchy ads like the controversial Sudah Potong ad.
30. Air Asia, Firelyz & yes, Malaysia Airlines
Now that nearly everyone can fly, Malaysians are booking their holidays months to year(s) in advance. Competition is tight, though in the minds of most Malaysians when it comes to the next holiday is most likely the red colour plane with its eye catching adverts (the other budget airlines like Tiger & JetStar should learn a thing or two from us Malaysians...).
31. Fake DVDs
While the Straweberry Generation are downloading from their online sources for their movies, but the older generation still prefer the ease of just putting a few ringgits into the many DVD stalls in the night markets or in some places, those with their own shoplots too!
So, what's your take - Hollywood blockbuster, Korean drama or HK series?
32. Pasar Malam
Though with the hypermarkets and all the other megamalls springing up, but still, the pasar malam rules just like the pasar pagi. Some things in Malaysia will never change, and let's keep it that way.
33. CIMB, Maybank, Hong Leong, Public Bank, RHB and..
Our local banks rule the banking industry, at least in the average Malaysian eyes through their advertisements after advertisements we see daily. Leading the pack is of course CIMB who is fighting hard to be no. 1., and close to them, ehem, Maybank.
34. (High end) Property
Just judging on the property in & around the Klang Valley, Malaysians seem to be one rich lot.. with good decent property ranging from RM400k and above, and RM400/ square feet becoming a norm. Even RM1 million homes don't send shockwaves anymore.. (and we thought that Singapore is scarce in land..).
It may be over 10 years old, but still, the 2 towers are our pride till today - ain't it? After all, which new impressive structure has sprung up after it?
36. Malaysia Festivities & the holidays
From the western holidays (like New Year to Christmas) to the local holidays (Raya, CNY, Deepavali, Hari Gawai, etc etc)... life can never be the same without them. Who else in the world eats ketupat to mooncakes, muruku and fruitcakes at the same time having holidays along with it?
37. Expressways & Highways
When there's no jam, the expressways in the country are a big pride. It makes living in the Klang Valley seem small.. and that Peninsula Malaysia is so connected. But when it jams... that's where the expressways get more attention - not the good ones that is (like the lanes are too little, bad exits.. etc etc).
38. Jimmy Choo, Zang Toi, & Malaysian Fashion
Malaysian fashion has made headlines overseas with the likes of Jimmy and Zang.. and now the press is paying more attention to our fashion designers. Oh the need for Malaysian talent to be recognised by the orang puteh before it gets an applause back home.. but well, at least they get recognised. So hooray to Malaysia Boleh!
39. Malaysia Snacks
Ding Dang, Tora to Mister Potato, Mamee, Munchies.. we have many local food brands that we snack - either when we were kids or still, now.
40. Akademi Fantasia & The Young Imam Show
Though you may not have watched Akademi Fantasia, but you must have at least heard bout it (or else go google it now!). It has produced the once bigger -than-Siti, Mawi. However, the other winners are not as popular (except say, Vince? and the new AF8 winner Shahir)... But still, year after year, this is one show not to be missed!
Close behind it, like all Malaysian style comes The Young Imam Show, a hugely popular reality TV for the next imam. I've said it before, it's the Malay/ Muslim market that rules the country - so for the rest, blend in if you want a share.
41. Ramly Burger
42. Cuti Cuti... err, 1Malaysia
While flying to the likes of Bangkok, Singapore or even China/ Taiwan is cheap(er) nowadays, but that doesn't beat the fact of just taking a drive away to our other Malaysian destinations. For the KL-ites & PJ-ers, Ipoh, Penang, Malacca.. even Kuantan, Kota Bahru or Kuala Terengganu is simply a drive away... different sceneries, different food, and 'away' from the honking KL jam. Even a drive around Selangor is good enough for a holiday experience!
Or for those with a bit more time & budget, just take a flight & u'll be in Kuching or Kota Kinabalu in no time!
43. Patriotic Malaysia Songs
Some may skip these songs altogether, especially for the Strawberry Generation who are much more internet based... and that's a pity.. cos though many are like 'Mickey Mouse tunes', but there are some memorable ones too like Demi Negara or the remake of 31 Ogos (by Sudirman).
Some of our cartoonists show that local talents and characters can be loved. Till today, after over 3 decades, cartoonist Lat is still well loved & his books still selling, very very well!
And it do seem that Lat has opened doors for other cartoonists like Ujang & the once super popular Gila Gila (though now, Gempak Starz seems to be in the lead).
45. Malaysian Indie Music Scene
Though still relatively small, but the indie music scene here in Malaysia has muscles - with the likes of singers like OAG first making a big break with their 60s TV. Though already disband, some other notable singers have since come up - the most successful one to date is most likely Yuna, who also won some good awards and Bunkface.
46. The Cap Brands
First we have the Ayam Brand canned food... and some smart entrepreneurs came up with the Cap Ayam t-shirts later. We also have the minyak cap kapak. Do we also have a Cap Gajah brand..? And er.. what's next?
47. Kuih muih
Malay sellers sell them. Nyonya sellers sell them. Even Chinese sellers sell these row of colourful kuihs.. why not? After all, we Malaysians just love all things sweet.. (and the fact that it is so easy to munch it!)!
48. Malaysia road signs
While some of the road signs along the major highways are good, but at other times, these road signs are simply confusing. Too many different signboards to one destination makes a driver more lost, though on the bright side - we have that many alternative roads to one destination! (the best example is the roundabout just after arriving in KL International Airport.. now which signboard to u follow to go to Kay El?)
Singapore maybe celebrating its 2 casinos with extreme hype, but in Muslim country Malaysia, we've had that for ages already.. and when we buy ekor (4D), we buy it from 3 different outlets (there's Magnum, 1+3D & Toto).. so who says we are conservative?? (Just make sure u close your house doors & curtains when you play mahjong during CNY!)
50. Malaysia Online Netizens
Despite the broadband connection from all providers are just so-so, but that doesn't stop Malaysians from going into forums to chit chat (it's surprising to see forums like Lowyat being so alive despite the competition from Facebook!), becoming bloggers (be it celebrity bloggers money-making bloggers or just personal bloggers), going into Twitter Jaya, or being Facebook users!
Btw, Blogging & Twittering is like the next best thing for elder Malaysian politicians who can't get the mainstream media with them - like Tun Dr M, Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang.. but then, now, even the PM himself is blogging, twittering.. and facebooking, so that means a lot to online power! (March 8, 2008 sure made a difference!)
51. Malaysia (no make that KL) Public Transport System
While we may most likely never ever compare ourselves to the likes of Taipei, South Korea, Shanghai in terms of transportation, but a fair bit of KL-ites, PJ-ians and the rest in Klang Valley rely on the commuters & buses of RapidKL.
And though it's not that extensive, but big(ger) Klang Valley's public transport can have a small pat on the back for its connectivity (yes, I've heard good comments bout it).. so next, it's time to boost up the frequency!
52. Malaysia media scene
We may not be much compared to Hollywood, Bollywood, or even the likes of the Philippines or Indonesia. But then, why are we getting so much attention from the Singaporeans? Definitely our media scene is rather BIG! (think the hiburan Melayu - it ain't just bout Siti!!!)
53. Land Of Foreign Celebrities
While we ban many big celebrities from coming to our shores, but still, many make their way here for concerts, product launches & other events (now, haven't they known we are not that 'open' or is it that Malaysia/ Malaysians are just too appealing??). MTV Asia (with line up like Katie Perie), Korea boybands, HK & Taiwanese stars, other Hollywood stars.. and the string of Bollywood actors & actresses (the latest is Aishwarya Rai & A.R Rahman) stop by and make all the bans & weird remarks about Malaysia being to strict, etc etc just fade away...
Well, there you have it.. 53 things about Malaysia-land. I hope u enjoy this post as much as I did writing it.. It has taken me much longer than I expected (3 days on & off), but in any case, I had lots of fun doing this.
To beloved country, Malaysia, here's wishing you a Happy Happy Merdeka! And here's to the spirit of Malaysia BOLEH!!! Now, shall we all sing 31 Ogos? :)
*Missed anything you think that relates to Malysia? Well, let me know! :)