Social and Cultural Environment in Malaysia

Topics: Malaysia, Culture, Singapore Pages: 5 (1774 words) Published: March 21, 2011
Social and Cultural Environment of Malaysia
The cultures around the world are very different and very much the alike at the same time. The way people live around the world depends on the norms internalized by their societies. The given circumstances that differ around the world limit individual’s chances for fortune and life chances. There are endless questions that can be asked to compare or contrast culture from culture and nation from nation, but the fact that there are so many similarities amidst mankind should inspire cultural relativism and spread the attitude of multiculturalism. For country like Malaysia, culture is learned, practiced and shared through cultural diffusion. Many have learned that Malaysia is rich with diversity of races ranging from Malays, Chinese, Indians, and Bumiputera however very few people understand who Malaysians are. True enough that we are separated by different culture and beliefs.  Though the mode of celebration, the dates and the traditions vary, the spirit remains as one Malaysia. Well, the most amazing thing to us is that we accepted appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, whether of a specific place, organizational level, schools, businesses, neighbourhoods, cities or nations. In this sense, Malaysia is actually experiencing multiculturalism which approximates to respect for diversity. The fact to be understood about Malaysia’s social and cultural environment is definitely how the variations and diversifications birthed out. The history stated that in the 1950s, the rapid process of economic development and urbanization that took place throughout the country which is after the independence had led to a massive migration of people from rural villages to urban and newly growth areas. These immigrants soon became new urban dwellers and gradually adopted urban cultures and lifestyles. There and then, each race began to understand one another.

Malaysia with its multiculturalism is home to delightful festivals, celebrations and feasts all round the year. Festivals in the country are either celebrated nationwide or at the state level. Diversity of races, religions and cultures is the one very special significant characteristic of the nation. This rich cultural heritage brings Malaysia far beyond other country could imagine. The one very unique is the 'Open House' concept. This is when during the various cultural and religious festival like Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Gawai Day and others, friends and families and even strangers would visit the homes of those who are celebrating the festival. During these celebrations, one race will wish another well and enjoy the feast prepared by the hosts. Although the visitors may be from different races, they still can tolerate with each other and live under the same roof.

From multicultural ethnics come multivariate dishes. Reflection of this statement represents Malaysia’s very special cuisines. Various ethnic groups in Malaysia have their dishes but many dishes in Malaysia are derived from multiple ethnic influences. Not surrounded by candle lights and flower pots, Malaysia’s specialities lie at the cheapest areas which are hawker stalls and coffee shops, known as “kedai kopi” in Malay or “kopitiam” in Chinese. Despite the name, these usually sell a lot more than just coffee. Within a coffee shop you can see variety of small huts built around it selling many kinds of food like noodles and rice. Besides that, particularly popular and tasty are the “mamak” stalls, run by Indian Muslims and serving up localized Indian fare. Most hawker stalls stay open till late and some even operate 24/7 offering different food at different points throughout the day. If you have tendency to take away from any stall, terms like “bungkus” (Malay) or “tapao” (Chinese) will be suitable. The best thing about hawker food is that a meal will rarely cost over RM5. In addition, nasi kandar restaurant (also known as nasi campur or nasi...
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