Brief Exploration of an Exotic Nation

Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy situated in Southeast Asia. Located on a strategic sea-lane that is exposed to global trade and foreign culture since ages, Malaysian culture has always drawn on the varied cultures across the world. It has been vastly influenced by Hinduism and Buddhism from India and China in early regional history.

Nascence Blossoming

Initially the area was populated by indigenous tribes of Malaysia, and they still continue to live in. Those tribes were followed by the Malays, who moved there from mainland Asia in ancient times. Pretty soon the foreign presence started appearing in the Malaysian Culture. The mark of Chinese and Indian cultures surfaced once mutual trade relationships were established with Malaysia. This was further augmented once immigration from these countries got increased. Not only these; Malaysian culture has imprints of few other countries too. This includes Persian, Arabic, and British. Different ethnicities that currently resides in Malaysia have their own unique and distinctive cultural identities, with some crossover because of their history and origins. With richness in culture, Malaysia has ample prosperity across the nation as well. The top 10 Malaysian states by GDP are: Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Sarawak, Johor, Penang, Sabah, Perak, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah.

Geographical Variety

Malaysia splits physically between west and east. These parts got united into one country in 1963. Western Malaysia is on the southern tip of the Malay peninsula, and stretches from the Thai border to the island of Singapore. the territories of Sabah and Sarawak on the north end of Borneo are included in Eastern Malaysia; these two are separated by the country of Brunei. Peninsular Malaysia is divided into west and east by a central mountain range called the Banjaran Titiwangsa. Majority of large cities and heavy industry are concentrated on the west coast. The larger section of immigrant groups is concentrated on west coast only. The east coast is less populated, more agrarian, and considered demographically more Malay. The federal capital is in the old tin mining center of Kuala Lumpur, located in the middle of the western immigrant belt, but it has been planned to move to the new Kuala Lumpur, the suburb of Putra Jaya.

Some Native Specialties

Malaysia is generally safe, friendly, and honest. This means that food vendors won’t try to extra-charge you for being a tourist, and even if you drop a RM50 ($12) note, you’ll usually get it back. However, Malaysians are also known to be the ones who never hold anything to themselves. If they have a feeling of something, they will most certainly let you know about that.

The country was colonized by the British for over 100 years, and has continued to be a part of the Commonwealth since 1957. Quite obviously so, they speak better English than any other parts of world.

Another specialty of Malaysian culture is the variety of eating options across the country. One famous among those is the Milo Drink. Babies and adults, locals and expats, monkeys and humans all bond over Milo (pronounced ‘my-low’). This chocolate-and-malt drink is so integral to Malaysian existence that local coffee shops and food courts will serve Milo, but not chocolate. (“You want hot chocolate? You mean hot Milo?”) It comes in various forms, too — iced, jellied, caked, and cocktailed. Definitely, it’s a drink full of fun!

Mesmerizing Art, Music and Literature

Malaysia has a long tradition in arts and music, with Malay art dating back to the Malay sultanates. Traditional art was centered on fields such as silversmithing, carving, and weaving. Multiple influences can be observed in architecture, a blend of individual cultures in Malaysia and the cultures from other countries. Embracing the modern advancements, Malaysia has seen large modern structures being built, including the tallest twin buildings in the world, the Petronas Twin Towers.

In ancient days, the Malaysian literature was based on Indian epics, which remained unchanged even when a vast section of Malays converted to Islam. Malaysian music also has a variety of origins, and is largely based around percussion instruments. Though the country was colonized by British Empire for a large span of time, the English literature remained majorly restricted to the higher sections of society until the arrival of the printing press.

Unity tuned-in Diversity

The cultural diversity has blessed Malaysia with one of the most exquisite cuisines in the world. This has led to a wonderful amalgamation with elements of Malay, Chinese, and Indian cooking, both distinct and blended together. Primarily, rice and noodles are common to almost every cuisine. Spicy dishes are also loved by the natives of Malaysia. Tropical fruits grow in abundance. One local favorite fruit is the ‘durian’. This fruit is known by its spiked shell and fermented flesh whose pungent aroma and taste often separates natives from outsiders. Malaysia’s ethnic diversity is quite apparent in food prohibitions too- In general, Muslims are forbidden to eat pork which is a favorite of the Chinese population; Hindus do not eat beef; some Buddhists are vegetarian. Alcohol consumption also separates non-Muslims from Muslims. But, the peaceful co-existence of diverse communities has been the beauty and strength of Malaysian culture since its origion.

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