Diversity in Unity
"Malaysia Truly Asia" is more than just a slogan. It reflects precisely who Malaysians are. Yes, Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-lingual nation where people of diverse races and religions live in harmony. One moment you may come across a mosque next to a temple and church. The next moment, you will meet a Malay, Chinese, Indian and a Eurasian dining on the same table in a restaurant. Malaysians are humble, tolerant, friendly and most importantly, respect one another regardless of one’s race, religion and background. It is this true Malaysian value that binds them together.
Malaysians comprise the Malays who are the majority followed by the Chinese, Indians and aborigines such as Iban, Kadazan and other minorities like the Peranakan and Eurasian. The culture of Malaysia is an amalgamation of many traditions handed down from many generations centuries ago. Each ethnic still continues practicing their own culture and traditions, and at the same time, some rituals and traditions have become more colourful and enriching through intermarriage as well as assimilation of other cultures. For an instance, tourists may find it surprising to see a Chinese wearing a Malay dress (baju kurung) or a Malay eating with chopsticks, or an Indian speaking Chinese Hokkien dialect. it is also very interesting to experience the like of an Eurasian of Portuguese and Chinese descent singing a Bollywood song. Or a Baba and Nyonya speaking Malay and praying to Chinese deities.
Religious traditions often exist in harmony alongside modern technological advances. In cities, the bustling streets, skyscrapers, sophisticated office buildings reflect Malaysia’s unhesitating leap into the future with massive developments while ancient monuments and landmarks including century-old temples, mosques and churches are still preserved.
Colourful festivals and a warm welcome to tourists
Malaysians are generally kind, humble and generous when it comes to festivals. Everyone including tourists are invited to attend Open Houses during Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Eid Ul-Fitr), Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Christmas, Festival of San Pedro, Gawai Festival, Ka’amatan Festival and more. There are also Open Houses held at a larger scale (national and state levels), where tourists can feast on the varieties of cuisines as well as the colourful cultural performances.
The official language of Malaysia is the Malay language or known as Bahasa Malaysia. Although Malay is the official language, English is widely spoken with other vernacular languages such as Mandarin, Tamil, Iban and Dusunic languages are also spoken by the respective communities. The influence of one language to another has even created a unique creole language - "Manglish" or Malaysian English. So, don’t be surprised to hear words like "gostan" to mean "go astern" or "reverse slowly" when Malaysians park their cars.
In other words, Malaysia is a nation of striking contrasts and diversities, a uniqueness that makes the country colourful and attractive to tourists.