I am Malaysian first. Those are 6 words that many Malaysians will declare from the rooftops despite the various negative and stressful issues that has been exposed in recent years. However, I fear that due to the recent events there has been a large influx of negativity surrounding Malaysia especially on social media. In conjunction with Malaysia Day last year, the #IAmMalaysianFirst and #ThisIsOurMalaysia campaigns were announced in order to spread love and positivity across social media, to show the world the true meaning behind being Malaysian. I personally feel that this campaign brought many people together with a sense of pride in our nation. Here are some of the many reasons why I am proud to say that I am Malaysian . . .
1. Cultural and racial diversity, is probably the first thing you would notice once arriving in Malaysia. You'll end up in a sea of people where no two beings look anything alike, as Malaysians come from Malay, Chinese, Indian, Indigenous Malays and various other racial backgrounds. Although there is one thing that I have come to notice, older generations tend to say "I am a Malaysian Indian/Chinese/Malay/ etc" or something along those lines, specifying their racial background and also the fact that they are Malaysian whereas those of my generation argue that a Malaysian is a Malaysian despite their background. This is where the #IAmMalaysianFirst comes into play as those of our generation always identify themselves as Malaysians despite their racial background.
2. Food, glorious food! Who doesn't love food? There's so many absolutely scrumptious dishes that can be found in Malaysia! Some must haves include, roti canai, nasi lemak, satay chicken and char koay teow. There are also dessert and side dishes dishes such as cendol, rojak, tau foo fah and the famous ipoh white coffee! The list could go on forever, Malaysians from all across the globe look forward to returning home to have some authentic Malaysian cuisine ... at least I sure do!
3. Night markets, 24 hour cafes and restaurants, convenience stores - Malaysians never sleep. There is always something open at any time of the day, if you get cravings at 2am just head to your nearest mamak. What is a mamak? It is basically a street side restaurant that is open 24/7. Some late night shopping? Night markets are usually on during different days of the week. Need to stock up on a few drinks and biscuits? There's a convenience store in almost every corner. Not to mention that Maccas (McDonald's) is also open 24/7 and they deliver straight to your doorstep.
4. CNN has also mentioned that the Malaysian shopping experience is ranked uno numero in the world! Fine dine and shop luxuriously in the breathtaking Petronas Twin Towers or haggle your way through Petaling Street whilst munching on some street food, the choice is yours. Not to mention, we also have shopping malls scattered around cities for some window shopping and relaxing.
5. Festivities, beaches and warm weather! One of the things I love most - we often try and escape the Australian winter and head down to KL for some sunshine! Malaysia can be quite hustle and bustle at times so Malaysians tend to escape to local islands such as Pulau Tioman, Pulau Langkawi and Pulau Pangkor for a getaway from the city life. There are also various festivities usually surrounding public holidays which pleases both locals and tourists, at the moment I have my eye on attending the Holi festival! There's also Christmas showcases in which groups sing carols in the shopping centres, Chinese New Year, Hari Raya and Deepavali, all of which is celebrated on a large scale in shopping malls and tourist attractions.
And with that, I end my first ever non beauty related blog post. I thought I'd try something different today - did you like it? Happy Malaysia Day to all my fellow Malaysians and Malaysia lovers! Although times are tough at the moment, don't forget all the many reasons we love our country. Don't be afraid to shout out -
"I am Malaysian and this is my Malaysia!"