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Questions about Malaysia from an Australian

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Voltman Male
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  #1 Old 26-08-2012 Default Questions about Malaysia from an Australian

Hi everybody,

I have a few Malaysian friends and as a result have suddenly become interested in the country. That is why I registered for membership in this forum, to learn more about Malaysians and life in Malaysia.

1) Is Malaysia a good country to live in?
2) What's the best thing about living in Malaysia now?
3) What's the worst thing about living in Malaysia?
4) How would your rate Malaysia's current education system on a scale from 1-10, where 10 equals perfect?
5) Why do so many Malaysians choose to study university at overseas institutions instead of in their own country?
6) How does Malaysia as a country compare to neighbouring countries Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei?
7) Is life getting better in Malaysia or getting worse?
Why are so many Malaysians determined to seek Australia permanent residency and leave their country when they leave on a working/student visa?
9) Do the people belonging to the different ethnic groups intermix with one another and understand each other? I have heard that it is quite a segregated country. To what extent is this true?
10) Is it true that the government is racist? If so, why are they racist? Is it understandable?
11) Also, how are crime rates in Malaysia? Are most Malaysian citizens law abiding?
12) Do you think Australia is a much better country to live in than Malaysia or not?
13) Are Chinese Malaysians usually fluent in Malay? I was surprised to find that most of my Malaysian friends do not speak Malay...Is this usually the case and if so does this cause problems?

Hope somebody can answer these questions.

Thanks!

Last edited by Voltman; 26-08-2012 at 05:30 PM.
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  #2 Old 26-08-2012 Default Re: Questions about Malaysia from an Australian

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voltman View Post
Hi everybody,

I have a few Malaysian friends and as a result have suddenly become interested in the country. That is why I registered for membership in this forum, to learn more about Malaysians and life in Malaysia.

1) Is Malaysia a good country to live in?
2) What's the best thing about living in Malaysia now?
3) What's the worst thing about living in Malaysia?
4) How would your rate Malaysia's current education system on a scale from 1-10, where 10 equals perfect?
5) Why do so many Malaysians choose to study university at overseas institutions instead of in their own country?
6) How does Malaysia as a country compare to neighbouring countries Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei?
7) Is life getting better in Malaysia or getting worse?
Why are so many Malaysians determined to seek Australia permanent residency and leave their country when they leave on a working/student visa?
9) Do the people belonging to the different ethnic groups intermix with one another and understand each other? I have heard that it is quite a segregated country. To what extent is this true?
10) Is it true that the government is racist? If so, why are they racist? Is it understandable?
11) Also, how are crime rates in Malaysia? Are most Malaysian citizens law abiding?
12) Do you think Australia is a much better country to live in than Malaysia or not?
13) Are Chinese Malaysians usually fluent in Malay? I was surprised to find that most of my Malaysian friends do not speak Malay...Is this usually the case and if so does this cause problems?

Hope somebody can answer these questions.

Thanks!
I'm kinda bz. So, i'll keep my ans brief. U cn ask if u wan 2 knw better.
1) Yes, Malaysia is still a gud place 2 live. The culture, food and the ppl r one of a kind.

2) The food. I hv tasted many different food around the world bt nothing cn beat Malaysian food. (I could b biased since I'm Malaysian) hehe

3) Nt hvin an equal chance in gettin scholarship, job employment, promotion, etc.

4) 6 since there is a lot of improvement 2 b done.

5) Ppl hv the impression tat the "grass is greener at the other side" though some local institutions cn b compared as equally good as the unis at overseas.

6) Well, Brunei r rich because of their oil. Singapore hv caliber leaders n lack of corruption. Malaysia is considered as the 3rd best in the region. (correct me if I'm wrong)

7) 2 complicated 2 answer. It hugely depend on our political stability which will b decided durin the next general election.

no question 8.

9) Well, it depends. In general, Msians regardless of race n religion cn mingle well with each other. However, certain Msians hv different mindset n prefer 2 b racist.

10) I answered this question in another thread. Our constitution favours certain ppl which seemed 2 a racial discrimination for some.

11) As far as I knw, v dun hv much serious criminal cases. So, I think the crime rate is low bt I could b wrong.

12) Australia is a developed country while Malaysia is still developing. Therefore, thr r a lot of benefits living in Australia compared 2 Malaysia bt for me, I still prefer Malaysia as it's my home. I dun feel like home elsewhr.

13) Practically all Malaysians cn speak Malay. Bt they cn lose their fluency whn they go abroad since they dun use it much. Mayb they dun wan 2 speak Malay in front of u so tat u won't feel left out. Furthermore, in my experience, v tend 2 talk english 2 our non-malays frens n malay with our malay frens.
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  #3 Old 27-08-2012 Default Re: Questions about Malaysia from an Australian

Well, to answer your questions:

1) Is Malaysia a good country to live in?

It really depends on what you look for in a "good country". Generally, Malaysia is still a developing country, but most of the technology that you can find in other countries are also available in Malaysia. In my opinion, it isn't a bad country to live in at all, barring political issues and the lack of efficiency at most administrative sections. There are very, very few natural disasters that strike Malaysia. Typhoons (which are mostly not to the scale of what Hong Kong, Taiwan and even the US experience) leading to floods are perhaps the worst type of natural disasters that can hit the country; some states, though, have almost no risk of natural disasters at all. We don't have earthquakes and volcanoes, at least for now.

2) What's the best thing about living in Malaysia now?

Malaysia often boasts about the huge variety of food. Malaysia is a multi-cultural, multi-racial country. It is no surprise that the variety is very vast. There is food that reflects the tastes of the Malays, the Chinese, the Indians, the Peranakans and many more other cultures.

There is quite a number of expatriates who have chosen to settle down in Malaysia for a number of reasons. Malaysians, in general, are capable of conversing in English, and this is the language that most, if not all, expatriates speak. It is definitely nice to live in a place where language barrier is not a problem.

Then, there is also the climate. Expatriates from countries like the UK and Canada love the idea of living in a tropical climate where it's warm throughout the year. To them, standing the hot weather is way better than having to deal with large amounts of snow, blizzards, etc.

3) What's the worst thing about living in Malaysia?

Political bickering is perhaps the thing that gets on the nerves of Malaysians. Like the UK, the administrative system is modelled after the Westminster system. However, instead of seeing both sides of the bench working together for the common good of the people, we have seen lots of unparliamentary behaviours, politicising of trivial issues, internal bickering, etc.

4) How would your rate Malaysia's current education system on a scale from 1-10, where 10 equals perfect?

Perhaps I'm being generous, but I would give it a rating of 8. But I was brought up in the city, where access to education (and perhaps better education) is much easier. In rural areas, the quality of education may be poorer than that in cities. It's not that we have two different systems, but rather because of shortages of teaching staff, or even the lack of awareness on the importance of education.

5) Why do so many Malaysians choose to study university at overseas institutions instead of in their own country?

There are various reasons for this. Arguably, we do have good universities in Malaysia. However, admission into public universities is mostly decided by the ministry of higher education (I might be wrong, though), and it is often the case where a student is assigned a university which they have no interest of, and worse, being offered a course which the student is totally uninterested. The student can appeal, of course, but when the appeal fails, the student has only two choices - either to put up with the university and the course that the ministry has offered, or to study in a private institution of higher education.

Now, if the student comes from a rather well-to-do family, then they can definitely consider going overseas to pursue their tertiary education. But most of the time, students who study overseas have already secured full scholarships from the government or from private corporations and institutions, and admittedly, it is always a very exhilarating experience to be in a new country. It gives the student the opportunity to see new places, to see how things might be done differently, etc.

There is also the impression that a degree from an overseas institution is more valuable than one from a Malaysian institution. Although this viewpoint is flawed, it cannot be helped when students and some other people look at university rankings so closely. When you look at rankings published by QS and Times Higher Education, the universities in the US, the UK, Australia etc. are often listed in the higher rankings, which give people the perception that the quality of education there is much better.

6) How does Malaysia as a country compare to neighbouring countries Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei?

Economically, we are perhaps nowhere near Singapore. Singapore has really developed from a small, rural country to a very developed one. Despite not having any natural resources to boost its economy, it has done well in terms of providing services, tourism, etc. to ensure that its economy keeps thriving.

Generally, Malaysia shares cultural similarities with Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei. It's very hard to compare politically, geographically or demographically. Malaysia is a federation with a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy system, Singapore is a city state (a parliamentary republic), Indonesia is a country (presidential republic) with thousands and thousands of islands, and Brunei is a small country with an absolute monarchy.

7) Is life getting better in Malaysia or getting worse?

It can go both ways. For people who are concerned with political issues and crime rates, life has gone worse. However, for people who have seen lots of development happening in some areas, things have got better.

Why are so many Malaysians determined to seek Australia permanent residency and leave their country when they leave on a working/student visa?

It's always got to do with money, money and money. It's not that getting a job in Malaysia becomes increasingly difficult, but rather the salaries that a fresh graduate gets in Malaysia is not at all attractive if compared with the pay that they can get in Australia or even other countries.

Then again, there are also political issues and perceived inequalities that seem to dissuade Malaysians from settling down here.

9) Do the people belonging to the different ethnic groups intermix with one another and understand each other? I have heard that it is quite a segregated country. To what extent is this true?

People of ethnic groups do mix with one another, and we have schools where students of different backgrounds and races mix and communicate with one another without any problem. However, there is a degree of truth when it comes to Malaysia being a somewhat segregated country. However, it is not because the government has decided to segregate us, but rather it's partially due to our history and the source economy. Many years ago, big cities were densely populated with the Chinese because at that time, the Chinese were businesspeople and traders, and most of these activities took place in large cities with dense populations. The ethnic Malays and the ethnic Indians, at that time, live in open fields, estates and other rural areas based on their main activities. However, all these have changed over time, and we're seeing a much more mixed society today.

There is no doubt that some areas are still particularly densely populated with people of one particular ethnicity, but again this has to do with the history of the country as well. There was a time when segregation was not just a norm - it was perhaps the rule.

10) Is it true that the government is racist? If so, why are they racist? Is it understandable?

Perhaps to be fair, it is not really the government that is racist, but a portion of the people in government who are. However, because the people who are racist happen to be some of the more vocal ones (and they will always get a spot in the media for their notoriety), the people would then perceive the government or a particular political party to be racist.

We had, in the past, read or even heard racist statements made by some leaders. It's very uncalled for, especially in today's society, but bigotry isn't just limited to Malaysia - it's everywhere.

Racism is not something that can be "understandable". It is something to be abhorred, but with some quarters sharing bigoted views, it takes a longer time to eradicate such menace. We can only hope that as time goes by, things would get better.

11) Also, how are crime rates in Malaysia? Are most Malaysian citizens law abiding?

Most citizens are law abiding. But perceived crime rates have gone up in the past couple of months. Perhaps another thing that often gets the people frustrated and irritated is the lack of efficiency and effectiveness of the police. There is so much red tape involved and the lackadaisical attitude of the law enforcement agency that the people have little confidence in them.


12) Do you think Australia is a much better country to live in than Malaysia or not?

That is something that you will need to ask a Malaysian student living in Australia.

13) Are Chinese Malaysians usually fluent in Malay? I was surprised to find that most of my Malaysian friends do not speak Malay...Is this usually the case and if so does this cause problems?

Yes, Malaysians, regardless of race, ought to have a certain degree of proficiency in Malay, especially if they have studied in a public school. Most of your Malaysian friends do not speak Malay not because they couldn't, but rather because they are more comfortable speaking in English or their mother tongue. However, as time goes by, they may lose the ability to converse in Malay because they don't use the language much.

This isn't a big problem.
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  #4 Old 27-08-2012 Default Re: Questions about Malaysia from an Australian

Okay, thanks for the really detailed response henry yew.

14) Generally speaking, is it true that most Chinese Malaysians are rich in comparison to Indian Malaysians and Bumiputeras? If so, what are the reasons for this?

15) Is there a lot of poverty in Malaysia? And is there a significant gap between the rich and the poor?

16) What sorta of television shows are shown in Malaysia?
Is it mainly American sitcom?
Are most channels in English or Malay or Chinese or Tamil or other languages?
What are the rough proportions?

17) As English is an official language in Malaysia, do most Malaysians speak English? Which ethnic group generally speaks the best English?
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  #5 Old 28-08-2012 Default Re: Questions about Malaysia from an Australian

Wow, it's interesting to see an Australian having deep interest in our country! Hi there Voltman, I'm currently studying in UNSW in Sydney so I guess I can try answering your 12th question.

12) Do you think Australia is a much better country to live in than Malaysia or not?

In some aspects, yes. I'll just list down whatever good and not-so-good aspects I can think of at the moment.

Australia (or at least Sydney) is more organised, safer and more environmentally conscious! I also observed that the pace of life is generally quite relaxed compared to Malaysia. I'm sure not many of you frequently work overtime. In my opinion, public transportation here is also more efficient than in Malaysia even though I constantly hear Sydneysiders complaining about the lack of punctuality of the buses. Besides that, I feel that people here cherish culture a lot and integrate heritage with modernity very well. =)

If there's one thing I really dislike about Australia is the binge drinking culture (apologies if I offended you). I don't get why so many people just love getting themselves drunk and then behave violently, swear all night long and end up vomiting everywhere. Furthermore, as much as I enjoy the experience of living in a 4-season climate, its unpredictability can be frustrating at times.

What I've said above is merely my personal opinion. Please remember that the question is subjective and therefore others may have different views. I'll try answering other questions if I have the time. For now, I need my precious sleep...
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  #6 Old 28-08-2012 Default Re: Questions about Malaysia from an Australian

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Originally Posted by Voltman View Post
Okay, thanks for the really detailed response henry yew.

14) Generally speaking, is it true that most Chinese Malaysians are rich in comparison to Indian Malaysians and Bumiputeras? If so, what are the reasons for this?

15) Is there a lot of poverty in Malaysia? And is there a significant gap between the rich and the poor?

16) What sorta of television shows are shown in Malaysia?
Is it mainly American sitcom?
Are most channels in English or Malay or Chinese or Tamil or other languages?
What are the rough proportions?

17) As English is an official language in Malaysia, do most Malaysians speak English? Which ethnic group generally speaks the best English?
For someone so interested to know about our country you should just pay a short visit to experience it yourself lol. Apply for homestay programs then. My answers won't be near as eye-opening as henry_yew's but oh well, too free now.

14. Perhaps most is blowing it out of proportion here. It would be safer to say that when a rich man is in question (here in Malaysia), most people would give a good whacky guess that it's a Chinese. A matter of perception. You've read henry_yew's explanation about our source economy past. History is also carved into our cultural norms in the modern society ; cultural norms such as being an over-achiever, hard worker, desiring to be intellectual and educated are values long cherished within Chinese societies. You would see more association of these values in Mainland China and naturally these values reflect on the reason why a Chinese would be commonly associated with wealthy figures. Speaking of intellectual, there's another possible reason ; realizing the importance of an education. However, there is some limitations to achieving those big figure salaries when an education is concerned. Mainly because most rich people own BUSINESSES, which requires another multitude of values to learn. There is however, a common denominator that makes the Chinese IMO capable of achieving these set values ; being an opportunist.

With all that said, we cannot definitely say most Chinese are better off. Just as there are seemingly more wealthy Chinese individuals in Malaysia, does not mean wealthy Indians/Malays are as scarce as a nearly extinct life-form. Then again, sometimes the issue of wealthy individuals is much closely linked to geological features than we think. As henry-yew has mentioned, some parts have more of a certain ethnic than another.
An illustration is that where I am living now, despite being very developed there are still large populations of Chinese grinding out a meager living from the streets. Chinese drug-addicts/prostitutes/unemployed begging on the streets is not a rare sight either.

15. I did presentation about this before but I forgot the statistics and it was at least 2-3 years old so it's deemed unreliable by now. What I did recall is that there is a rather large gap between the poor and the rich in Malaysia. If I'm not mistaken, almost >7% of Malaysians (but definitely not above exaggerating figures like 20%) are below the poverty line in Malaysia, meaning they are earning less than needed even to feed themselves. Comparatively with other countries, that's an even harder analysis and may require professional reading on the internet. From a layman's perspective, I think poverty in Malaysia is not as severe as countries known for such statuses like the third world countries that come to your mind (parts of Africa, parts of the Indochinese circle, Philippines, Indonesia, etc). We are somewhat still in the middle of the wealth rat-race. To gauge how bad is our gap is not for me to answer. Personally I have encountered people with experiences on what it means to be poor, but the experiences were not intimate or vivid enough to be reliable. Frankly, I feel it's hard to describe to someone how much poorer you can get (the opposite is not exactly the same dilemma though ) because how else can I describe it? For example, many people can tell you the poor Malaysians don't even earn enough to feed their own selves. Other countries experience this as well. Maybe someone else can answer this haha

16. Malaysian TV LOL. Haven't even bothered to turn on the tube for months ; too reliant on internet for entertainment. Yes, American sitcoms are generally a common favourite amongst most hardcore potato couches of the Malaysian kind but not always. You should be aware that satellite TV in Malaysia is monopolized by one company, Astro. Hence, forcing most Malaysians to either abide in their prices (it use to be cut throat but now it's rather normal) for perhaps live-enhancing digital entertainment or settle for terrestrial television (nationwide free broadcasts). Most households nowadays are subscribed to Astro, having access to both terrestrial and satellite television services. Astro does provide channels broadcasting live/delayed/rerun telecast for the ever-popular American sitcoms/game shows/drama/movies, but also offers a large variety of other visual entertainment genre and even premium local entertainment. An interesting fact is that Malaysia is currently at the height of Korean craze. Music, drama, concerts, game-shows, you name it. Ask any modern Malaysian and they can tell you at least something about seeing a little bit of Korea everywhere they go.

Now back to the question of language, it's very dependent on which broadcasts are in question. Astro (satellite) offers entertainment for all three of those mentioned languages. However, it would make sense that Malaysians will purchase the ones with language that appeals to them and not buy a little of everything (unless that is their preference). Astro also offers entertainment for Korean and Japanese language AFAIK. Other foreign languages that are supposedly popular like French, Spanish, Russian etc have very little or no air time at all. On terrestrial broadcasts however, the companies within this broadcast circle try their best to match the variety offered by Astro at no extra charge but then again, when something is free, quality is not reassured.

Proportions wise ; I think Astro is akin to a Swiss army knife, so every language deserves a somewhat equal footing. For local television, almost none for foreign languages, but same proportions for our commonly spoken languages here.

17. Most Malaysians do have some degree of fluency in English. It's a general script of communication with almost everyone in Malaysia, but it's extent of usage pales IMO to Malay, as henry-yew again has mentioned before. Generation-wise IMO, the current Gen-Y and Gen-Z are more inclined to have basic fluency in both Malay and English due to the fact access to education is better than it was 10-20 years ago. However, it is inevitable some end up only being able to converse in Malay (due to geological restrictions and ethnic majority's usage influence) or not being able to converse in both at all but only in their mother tongue (a common case for many Chinese and Indians). For the latter's case, usually it is influenced by again ethnic majority, usage at home amongst family members, simple preference or education roots (we have vernacular education available here) Another interesting case is sometimes city boys/girls like me have a problem of English being our mother tongue and not being able to converse at all/not well in the mother tongue we were born with (for me as a Chinese, Mandarin and Cantonese). English as far as it's concerned is sometimes also not a very popularly spoken language amongst the older generations. Again, this was due to education opportunities. So if you speak English to a senior citizen, don't be surprised that their reply is an awkward stare and a reply in another language/dialect. THEN AGAIN, some of these senior citizens were from the time of the British rule and therefore grew up with an English education. Sometimes, these people have a much better conversations in English than us youngsters, it just makes you blush.

If you are familiar with Chinese and Indian lingual culture, you'll know we both have many different dialects or branches of the main language. Yes, various dialects are also spoken in Malaysia. For Chinese, it's mainly Mandarin (official language) and the dialect Cantonese. For some states, Hokkien/Hainan/Hakka/Teochew are more applicable. Tamil and Hindi are the most commonly spoken Indian language I know but you should get a better opinion from a Malaysian Indian haha.

It is not right to answer that there is one certain ethnic that speaks the best English in Malaysia IMO. I have seen great spokesmen from all the major races but also have seen perhaps the worse in all as well. However, there is the perception amongst certain citizens of Malaysia that most good English speakers are either Chinese or Indian. It's not a good solid answer if you are not properly exposed to various kinds of Malaysians, but it is more likely you will see it that way.

Phew... that killed some time
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Last edited by frostbyte13; 28-08-2012 at 02:50 AM.
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  #7 Old 28-08-2012 Default Re: Questions about Malaysia from an Australian

14) Generally speaking, is it true that most Chinese Malaysians are rich in comparison to Indian Malaysians and Bumiputeras? If so, what are the reasons for this?

It does seem so, doesn't it? The fact is that I don't have statistics to back me up. Many years ago, it might be true that Chinese Malaysians were more wealthy. Today, with every race being more aware about education, money-making skills, etc. other races have also climbed up the wealth ladder, and they could be on par with the ethnic Chinese.

15) Is there a lot of poverty in Malaysia? And is there a significant gap between the rich and the poor?

I have no statistics for this, so I have no comments. Suffice to say, poverty isn't a racial thing.

16) What sorta of television shows are shown in Malaysia?
Is it mainly American sitcom?
Are most channels in English or Malay or Chinese or Tamil or other languages?
What are the rough proportions?

This was addressed by frostbyte13. If it makes you happy, we get ABC on Astro as well!

17) As English is an official language in Malaysia, do most Malaysians speak English? Which ethnic group generally speaks the best English?

No, strictly speaking, English is not an official language in Malaysia. Malay is THE official language of Malaysia. Mandarin, English and Tamil are perhaps the most widely used languages in Malaysia.

Having said that, as English is the language of business, the language of knowledge, etc. it is important that we have a certain degree of proficiency in the language.

I would rather not identify which ethnic group speaks the best English, because I think the most important point to remember is that a language requires practice. The person who practises the language often will naturally gain a better grasp of it. Learning a language isn't a big problem - practising it can be a totally different matter.
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  #8 Old 29-08-2012 Default Re: Questions about Malaysia from an Australian

Quote:
Originally Posted by yanno_yamster View Post
Wow, it's interesting to see an Australian having deep interest in our country! Hi there Voltman, I'm currently studying in UNSW in Sydney so I guess I can try answering your 12th question.
Hi!
What are you studying in UNSW? Is it engineering?
Why did you choose to study the course you're doing now in UNSW instead of in other Australian universities?

Quote:
Originally Posted by yanno_yamster View Post
In my opinion, public transportation here is also more efficient than in Malaysia even though I constantly hear Sydneysiders complaining about the lack of punctuality of the buses.
Public transport is better and more efficient in Melbourne than Sydney.
Takes me a 12 minute tram ride to get to the city from my home and the tram stop is right outside my street.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yanno_yamster View Post
If there's one thing I really dislike about Australia is the binge drinking culture (apologies if I offended you
I don't get why so many people just love getting themselves drunk and then behave violently, swear all night long and end up vomiting everywhere.
Haha, nah you didn't offend me. I actually agree with you here, I personally don't drink and I think binge drinking is a big problem here but the government/police seems to be working on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yanno_yamster View Post
Furthermore, as much as I enjoy the experience of living in a 4-season climate, its unpredictability can be frustrating at times.
I think this is one of the best things about Melbourne. One season can get a bit monotonous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frostbyte13 View Post
An interesting fact is that Malaysia is currently at the height of Korean craze. Music, drama, concerts, game-shows, you name it. Ask any modern Malaysian and they can tell you at least something about seeing a little bit of Korea everywhere they go.
Got any ideas on how the craze began?
Why do you think Malaysians have suddenly gotten into Korean culture?
How did the craze begin?
I currently attend a Korean church here in Melbourne and see some Malaysians there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frostbyte13 View Post
17. Most Malaysians do have some degree of fluency in English. It's a general script of communication with almost everyone in Malaysia, but it's extent of usage pales IMO to Malay, as henry-yew again has mentioned before. Generation-wise IMO, the current Gen-Y and Gen-Z are more inclined to have basic fluency in both Malay and English due to the fact access to education is better than it was 10-20 years ago. However, it is inevitable some end up only being able to converse in Malay (due to geological restrictions and ethnic majority's usage influence) or not being able to converse in both at all but only in their mother tongue (a common case for many Chinese and Indians). For the latter's case, usually it is influenced by again ethnic majority, usage at home amongst family members, simple preference or education roots (we have vernacular education available here) Another interesting case is sometimes city boys/girls like me have a problem of English being our mother tongue and not being able to converse at all/not well in the mother tongue we were born with (for me as a Chinese, Mandarin and Cantonese). English as far as it's concerned is sometimes also not a very popularly spoken language amongst the older generations. Again, this was due to education opportunities. So if you speak English to a senior citizen, don't be surprised that their reply is an awkward stare and a reply in another language/dialect. THEN AGAIN, some of these senior citizens were from the time of the British rule and therefore grew up with an English education. Sometimes, these people have a much better conversations in English than us youngsters, it just makes you blush.
In what situations would a Malaysian typically use Malay to speak to others instead of English?
And in what situations would a Malaysian predominantly use English?
Is there a hidden rule to when to use a particular language socially or is it all just random?

Last edited by Voltman; 29-08-2012 at 06:59 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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  #9 Old 29-08-2012 Default Re: Questions about Malaysia from an Australian

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Originally Posted by Voltman View Post
Hi!
What are you studying in UNSW? Is it engineering?
Why did you choose to study the course you're doing now in UNSW instead of in other Australian universities?
Nah, I'm studying commerce. Well, I chose UNSW as it's one of the best in accounting (one of my double major). Don't get me wrong, UniMelb is also good, but I just felt that there are too many Malaysian students in Melbourne which might hinder me from getting out of my comfort zone.

P/S: LOL... For some reason, I'm sensing some age-old Melbourne and Sydney rivalry vibes here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voltman View Post
I think this is one of the best things about Melbourne. One season can get a bit monotonous.
There's a saying that one can experience all 4 seasons in one day in Melbourne
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Last edited by yanno_yamster; 29-08-2012 at 10:07 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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  #10 Old 30-08-2012 Default Re: Questions about Malaysia from an Australian

Not really sure how or when it started, but there should be a correlation to the international rise of Korean entertainment as well. Only in recent years (about 5 years or so) has Korean entertainment gained a place of recognition internationally. I am pretty sure for one thing is that most Korean entertainers have extremely great looks haha Generally the craze is more towards the younger generation like us Gen-Y people.

As a Chinese, I would use Malay instead of English instinctively in daily situations involving communicating with a Malay/Indian person. Even more so, if I perceive them to be less-educated/uneducated. Sometimes it doesn't matter what their background is but whether it's a Malay/Indian person as mentioned, because naturally how else am I to communicate with these ethnics. I don't speak a word of Tamil/Hindi and a Malay's first language by right should be their own ethnics'. Situations such as ordering food from street hawkers is one common example. However, it would be a little senseless as a Chinese to converse Malay initially. It would make more sense to start the conversation in Mandarin/other dialects. This is because the perception here is that a Chinese should know their mother tongue. It's very shameful to tell another Chinese you can't speak even a word of Mandarin. It's alright if you don't know the other dialects though. Being someone who is not completely fluent in Chinese, I will still coerce them to speak in English whenever possible. As to a Malay/Indian person, I would try to utilize my Malay as much as possible because I know the lack of practicing it will lead to me slowly losing my fluency, especially now that I am no longer always in an environment needing it and where my education level is completely in English.
There is no gauge to access a predominate situation where you will definitely use English, especially in today's stage where Malaysia is melting pot of a multitude of expatriates who naturally do not understand Malay. Like it or not, every Malaysian will have to grasp some basic English in order. However, majorly in formal and official matters would commonly use English (but not indefinitely). The rule of thumb you are asking is depending on the context of which person is speaking. For me as a Chinese, I've told you mine. For you as a foreigner who is visiting or dwelling in Malaysia, you would naturally not be expected to know Malay, so speaking in English is fine but at some point, it will lead to an inconvenience. Some foreigners I have met have fluent Mandarin so conversing with a lot of Chinese is not a problem. Not many I've met who are fluent in Malay though.
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