Well, here we go! Ever since I made the Indonesia episode, you have no idea how many Malaysians were like “Okay now that you did our cousin’s episode. Do not mess with ours.” Oh, don’t worry Malaysia. And here to reassure you, I made you some Nasi Goreng. Hey everybody, I’m your host Barbs. How refreshing? We are back in Southeast Asia. And today after Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia We are doing the last country in the Nusantara Archipelago, Malaysia! Singapore: Ahem! Oh, sorry didn’t see you there Singapore. You’re so small. So what do the Malaysians bring to the table that the others don’t? Well, let’s find out in the first segment. Cue transition! Now this is gonna be really fun, because Malaysia’s land has so many unique twists and turns; and explaining it is, you know, it’s kind of like doing a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded. Right Ken? -Right. Yeah.
-Yeah, you got it? -I don’t know. Did I? -You got it. -Cool! Uh, can I have my lunch break now? Ken, you know, I don’t speak Tagalog. Back to the coal mines. First of all, Malaysia is located in Southeast Asia divided into two main parts Peninsular Malaysia, (with) about 40 percent of land, which also has the southernmost tip of mainland Asia, Tanjung Piai; while East Malaysia or Malaysian Borneo takes about 60% of the country’s land on the island of Borneo, making it one of the only two islands shared by three nations along with Cyprus. (If you want to be technical, Cyprus kind of has four including the UN buffer zone, but you get the point. Just watch the Cyprus episode.) Keep in mind, about 80 percent of the population lives on the peninsula, while only about 20 percent live on Malaysian Borneo. In addition, the country has over 870 islands off its shores. The state of Sabah having the most with nearly 400. The largest one being Banggi Island, however, the island of Sebatik is a little bigger, but the island is split in half with Indonesia in the south. Also, they have a little bit of a dispute with the Philippines in the east. The country is divided into 13 states and three federal territories: Putrajaya, Labuan, with the capital Kuala Lumpur, however due to overcrowding, almost all the government ministries and administrative offices were moved to Putrajaya in 1999. After Kuala Lumpur, the next largest cities are Georgetown on Penang Island, and Ipoh. The busiest airports are Kuala Lumpur International, Kota Kinabalu, and Penang internationals. Here’s the thing: Malaysia lies under the South China Sea. If you don’t know anything about this place and if you didn’t watch the Brunei episode, it basically goes like this: Basically, every country in this area wants a piece of these things called the Spratly Islands. Today, Malaysia has claimed to about eleven of them and the most notable one being Layang Layang, which they built an airbase on. Now you might notice that it’s interesting how these two small entities Singapore and Brunei got mixed up into this whole region. Well, when it came to Brunei, it kind of went down like this: KL: Welcome to the Malaysia agreement. Sultans, please sign the paper saying you’d like to be part of Malaysia. Sultan of Brunei: Wait, I have to give up that? And and I’d have to lose control of what? Oh hell no! As for Singapore, it was more like: Singapore: Hey Malaysia, you just got free from British rule. Let’s join up. Malaysia: Makes sense? Yeah, we are now one country 2 years later KL: You have too many Chinese people! And you’re gonna waste my money! SG: Yeah, well you only give priviledges to the Malays! KL: You know what? You’re out of the club! SG: Yeah fine, you know, whatever. I quit! One day, you know what? I’m gonna make something of myself!
KL: Okay! And boy, howdy did they keep that promise! Otherwise, some notable places of interest might include places like: The largest roundabout in the world, the Petronas Towers (the tallest twin buildings in the world), Kuala Lumpur tower, the Batu caves with a Hindu shrine, the National Monument of Malaysia, Legoland Malaysia (Yep, they have one.), Sunway Lagoon, the National Mosque of Malaysia, Kek Lok Si Buddhist temple, these palaces, the old Dutch buildings of Malacca, the leaning tower of Teluk Intan, A Famosa fortress, the Cat Statue of Kuching, this Heritage Museum, Sarawak Cultural Villages, and the Sepilok orangutan rehabilitation center. Yeah, orangutans, they have plenty of those in here, which means we can now swing over to the next segment, the… When it comes to Malaysia’s land, they got kind of lucky because not only is it like rich and beautiful, but unlike their neighbors, you don’t really have to deal with any crazy catastrophes. First of all, Malaysia rests comfortably on the bottom of the Eurasian Plate, literally shielded on all sides, mostly by Indonesia and the Philippines. This means that if any earthquakes occur, Indonesia usually absorbs all of it, if cyclones and tropical storms attack, the Philippines and Indonesia take the hit, and if a volcano erupts they don’t have to worry, because they don’t really have any volcanoes, and it’s probably happening in Indonesia. Thanks, Indonesia! Now when it comes to nature, even though the largest lake the Kenyir reservoir lies on the West Peninsular Malaysian side, the Eastern Malaysian Borneo side has all the extremes. They have the highest mountain,
Mount Kinabalu; the longest river, the Rajang; and a lot more animals! In fact, Malaysia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. They have 14,500 species of flowering plants and trees, over 600 bird species, over 200 species of mammals. Speaking of which, Peninsular Malaysia is home to the most Black Panthers in the world *insert Wakanda joke, I don’t have time*. Speaking of that, the national animal is the Malaysian tiger, which is also featured on the coat of arms, which we’ll cover in Flag Friday. Stay tuned! Otherwise, they have elephants, rhinos, orangutans and they even have their own version of tapirs, like the ones in South America. Wow. And that creepy looking proboscis monkey. Many of these species you can find in one of the oldest rainforests in the world, over three times older than the Amazon, Malaysia is also a land of caves. In fact, they have the largest chamber in the world that can be found in Sarawak. Otherwise, Malaysia is known for producing electronics, palm oil, petroleum, gas and rubber. They’re actually the second largest palm oil producer in the world and the largest condom maker. (Just saying) They even have their own national car company, Proton, making Malaysia the 11th country in the world with the capability to fully design and engineer and manufacture cars. Otherwise, some national dishes might include things like: mangosteen, and durian are treasured fruits; and the national dish, Nasi Lemak. Oh, if you have the chance, see if you can witness the famous Tarik tea shows. The servers pour out tea, sometimes over a metre in length. It’s almost seen as like an art form. Okay, I think that’s just about it for now in this segment. Let’s talk about the coolest part of Malaysia, the Malaysians. Just for the record, the word Malay refers to the races that make up Malaysia; Malayan is the geographic term for peoples of West Malaysia on the peninsula, and not part of Borneo; and Malaysian is a nationality and citizenship. So a Malay person in Singapore is Malay, but not Malaysian. And a citizen of Indian descent living in Kuala Lumpur would be a Malaysian and Malayan, but not Malay. Got it? (Probably not.) First of all, the country has about 32 million people and is one of the fastest growing nations in Asia. The country is made up of 67% Malay or Bumiputera indigenous Malay peoples. (We’ll talk more about that in a bit.), about a quarter of the population is Chinese, about seven percent are Indians, and the rest are other groups mixed in, including a few other Asian groups and Europeans. They use the Malaysian Ringgit as their currency, they use the type G and M plug outlets, and they drive on the left side of the road. Now, here’s a thing, let’s talk politics. No, we’re not getting into an ideological debate. We’re just gonna explain the system in which Malaysia’s government operates. Proceed. Malaysia is one of the few monarchies in the world, However, It’s not a monarchy in the conventional sense, because they kind of have nine kings -ish. These nine states each have a royal leader known as a sultan and, every five years, they rotate to allow one of the nine sultans to rule as head King known as the Yang di-pertuan Agong. That means that technically, if you were a boy and your dad just finished being king for his five-year term, you could be the next one, but you would have to wait at least forty years for it to happen, you know since eight other Kings would have to be king before you. Yeah, I know, it’s like, ”Oh what the?” There’s a lot more that goes into it, but that’s kind of like the basic underlying. They’re the only country that does this. I mean the closest thing would be maybe the Comoros with that rotating president thing, but it’s nowhere near as complex as this. Nonetheless, the royals are held under a constitution that limits their power, mostly to cultural and religious affairs, as well as appointing certain leaders, and so on. Most of the government activity is held and controlled by the Prime Minister and the Parliament, which brings us to the most recent controversy, the 2018 election. This effectively changed everything, as for the first time since 1957, the BN (National Front) party was voted out, and the new PKR (People’s Justice Party) party took over. And it was actually a peaceful transition. We really don’t have a lot of time to talk about it, but it’s really interesting to look into and talk to a Malaysian person if you want to know more about it. It was like a huge deal for the country. Anyway, the country has two official recognized languages, Malay and English. They were once a British territory, so it kind of makes sense. It’s taught from elementary school. Malay is basically intelligible to Indonesian. Both countries can generally understand each other. I explained this a bit in the Indonesia episode. From Malay, the words are easy to read but the problem is the intonation. For example, the word for “slowly,” I believe, is “PER-la-han” not “per-LA-han”. It’s like you just have to know how these things work. Nonetheless, about half the population is mostly fluent in three languages, adding their mother tongue, especially if they’re part of the Chinese and Indian minority groups. And they are allowed to take vernacular schools that teach in these languages, just like Singapore. Which brings to culture. In Malaysia, the population is quite diverse. You have a lot of Chinese known as the Peranakan Chinese that have existed there since the 15th century. They have a unique Chinese Malay culture with a touch of European influence. The Indian community is mostly Tamil and Telugu speaking South Dravidian Indian groups that were brought over during the British colonial years. Then of course you have the largest people group the ethnic Malays or the Bumiputera, as well as the Orang Asal who are like the really indigenous ethnic Malays that make up the majority of the population in East Malaysia on Borneo. Sometimes these two people groups are collectively joined together under the term “Malay”, although some might disagree. But either way these two groups kind of steer the direction in terms of what constitutes Malay culture. Oh, and don’t even get started on the Bajau people that live on these structures in the middle of the ocean for most of their lives and they’ve adapted to hold their breath for like 15 minutes underwater. Yeah. Those people are cool. Another thing I really want to highlight is that sometimes, Indonesians do kind of accuse Malaysians of stealing their culture, because a lot of Malaysians are descended from Sumatra Faith-wise, Malaysia is also quite diverse. Although the country’s official religion is Islam, it’s a multi-confessional nation. Buddhists are mostly from the Chinese community, Hindus for the Indians, Christians from all races. Numerous temples, mosques and shrines and churches are found all over. Malay culture is defined by a number of aspects: for one, the clothing. Remember a couple months ago that guy from Malaysia, Kamarul sent me the Malay hat the tengkolok? (So I forgot to bring this on set when we were filming, but I still have the hat and I loved it and I told you I would wear it in the episode. So here I am. I’m wearing it in the Malaysian episode. Thank you so much, man.) I asked some of you guys to Malaysian Geogra-peeps what you would like me to highlight in terms of Malay culture, and some things you said included things like the performing arts such as Joget dancing and Mak Yung theatre, traditional shadow puppetry Silat martial arts, songket weaving, the traditional steep roof and sharp buttress architecture, Gamelan music. Speaking of which, history time. We don’t have enough time to go too far into it but in the quickest way I can put it: Hindu kingdoms, Buddhist kingdoms, Islamic Sultanate, Portuguese came in, Dutch came in, British came in and made the white Raja period which made things interesting, World War Two: Japanese came in, British came in again, independence… (Okay, very quickly just to cut. This is the part where I totally forgot to mention all the cool stuff that happened in the 60s. It’s how they got those two states in Borneo. We’ll explain more on Flag/Fan Friday. So stay tuned.) …economic restructuring and industry boom, 2018: vote for the new Prime Minister, and here we are today. Some notable people that you guys the Malaysian Geograpeeps suggested that I should mention in this video might include people like: Designer Singer Director and the first Prime Minister, I’m sure there’s way more famous people I could have mentioned but we gotta move on. Time to go to the last part of this episode, the… Now Malaysia is quite the powerhouse player when it comes to Southeast Asia. They got a good thing going on and they host great parties. Outside of Asia, the EU has good relations, making Malaysia one of the top three trading partners of Southeast Asia and specifically, Austria loves exchanging electronics and pharmaceuticals with them. Of course, the UK is still pretty close. As a former colony, much of the cultural residue is still evident to this day. They are one of the Commonwealth of Nations. Many Malaysians live in the UK and most of the white population in Malaysia are of British descent. As a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of course, they have close ties to their neighbors. Cambodians love Malaysia and visit often; whereas Malaysia is one of the closest and biggest investors of Cambodia. Thailand has a few issues, since there are those Malay Pattani separatists in the South that keep protesting. Whereas the Philippines is like: “Hmmm, we’re really similar, ethnically, but you’re mostly Muslim and I’m mostly Catholic; but whatever, we both like coffee and fried chicken.” When it comes to their best friends however, most Malaysians I’ve talked to have said Indonesia and Singapore. Singapore may have left the Malaysian Union, but they still kept close ties as a sovereign state. They are quite cooperative and business and even, culturally, they are very similar with noticeable Chinese and Indian minority enclaves. Indonesia is like the Big Brother that has a very different political system, but in the end, they cannot deny how alike they are. The biggest difference would be that most Indonesians have a Javanese background, whereas the Malaysians are just Malay (mostly Sumatran). But they talk the same, they eat the same, they enjoy the same hot humid atmosphere and they have close relations all together. In conclusion: With Sultans, kings, tigers, panthers, temples, shrines, mosques, and really cool hats, it’s no wonder why Malaysia is becoming a hot spot that everyone’s talking about today. Stay tuned. The Maldives is coming up next.