Malaysia ~ Religions and Culture
• Religions • the Language •
Music and Dance • Cultures • Guidelines on the Do's & Don'ts •
A variety of religions and cultures found in Malaysia is a direct reflection of the diversity of many ethnic groups and races in Malaysia.
Malaysia's official language is Bahasa Malaysia, or Bahasa Melayu (Malay). You can also get along quite happily with English throughout Malaysia. English is, along with the Bahasa Melayu, the linking language between the various ethnic groups. Other everyday languages include Chinese dialects such as Cantonese, Hakka, or Hokkien. The Indians also speak Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, or other Indian languages. It is reasonable to say that the Malays control the government while the Chinese have their fingers on the economic sector of Malaysia and the Indians mainly in the service sectors.
on the Do's & Don'ts
Shaking hands is acceptable, but kissing of the hand or cheek
should be avoided. Many Muslim women, especially those who cover their heads, prefer not to shake hands with members of the opposite sex.
In such a situation, a simple nod and smile is sufficient.
generally respect their elders and will not confront, antagonise or
openly disagree with them. Visitors
are expected to be modestly dressed especially in the conservative rural
areas (especially the Northern half of the East Coast areas of Peninsula
Malaysia of the country). It is considered impolite for guests to wear
shorts to a place of worship or a function, except to a beach party.
But then, as with most things, times are changing, some for the better and some for the worst. Its best to use one's judgment according to the situation
and place and listen to the locals.