Theme Week Malaysia

Monday, 25 November 2019 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Bon voyage, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  8 minutes

Fort Cornwallis in Penang, first British colony in what was to become Malaysia © Cmglee/cc-by-sa-3.0

Fort Cornwallis in Penang, first British colony in what was to become Malaysia © Cmglee/cc-by-sa-3.0

Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia. The federal constitutional monarchy consists of 13 states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two similarly sized regions, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo). Peninsular Malaysia shares a land and maritime border with Thailand and maritime borders with Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Brunei and Indonesia and a maritime border with the Philippines and Vietnam. Kuala Lumpur is the national capital and largest city while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government (List of cities and towns in Malaysia by population). With a population of over 30 million, Malaysia is the world’s 44th most populous country. The southernmost point of continental Eurasia, Tanjung Piai, is in Malaysia. In the tropics, Malaysia is one of 17 megadiverse countries, home to large numbers of endemic species.

Malaysia has its origins in the Malay kingdoms which, from the 18th century, became subject to the British Empire, along with the British Straits Settlements protectorate. Peninsular Malaysia was unified as the Malayan Union in 1946. Malaya was restructured as the Federation of Malaya in 1948 and achieved independence on 31 August 1957. Malaya united with North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore on 16 September 1963 to become Malaysia. In 1965, Singapore was expelled from the federation. The country is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, which plays a large role in its politics. About half the population is ethnically Malay, with large minorities of Malaysian Chinese, Malaysian Indians, and indigenous peoples. While recognising Islam as the country’s established religion, the constitution grants freedom of religion to non-Muslims. The government system is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system and the legal system is based on common law. The head of state is the king, known as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. He is an elected monarch chosen from the hereditary rulers of the nine Malay states every five years. The head of government is the Prime Minister. The country’s official language is Malaysian, a standard form of the Malay language. English remains an active second language.

Malaysia's largest Buddhist temple, Ke Lok Si in Penang Illumination preparation for Lunar (Chinese) New Year © Flying Pharmacist/cc-by-sa-3.0 Fort Cornwallis in Penang, first British colony in what was to become Malaysia © Cmglee/cc-by-sa-3.0 Genting Highlands theme park © Angcr/cc-by-3.0 Istana Negara, today The Royal Museum, former residence of the King of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur © Gryffindor Laksa Sarawak © Jhlam79/cc-by-sa-3.0 Lankawei © Shmunmun Martabak telor, stuffed pancakes or pan-fried bread © Serenity/cc-by-sa-3.0 Mosque in Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) © CEphoto, Uwe Aranas/cc-by-sa-3.0 Mount Kinabalu, the highest summit in the country, from Che Sui Khor Pagoda © CEphoto, Uwe Aranas/cc-by-sa-3.0 Pulau Payar © Shmunmun
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Malaysia's largest Buddhist temple, Ke Lok Si in Penang Illumination preparation for Lunar (Chinese) New Year © Flying Pharmacist/cc-by-sa-3.0
Malaysia has a multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multilingual society. The original culture of the area stemmed from indigenous tribes that inhabited it, along with the Malays who later moved there. Substantial influence exists from Chinese and Indian culture, dating back to when foreign trade began. Other cultural influences include the Persian, Arabic, and British cultures. Due to the structure of the government, coupled with the social contract theory, there has been minimal cultural assimilation of ethnic minorities. In 1971, the government created a “National Cultural Policy”, defining Malaysian culture. It stated that Malaysian culture must be based on the culture of the indigenous peoples of Malaysia, that it may incorporate suitable elements from other cultures, and that Islam must play a part in it. It also promoted the Malay language above others. This government intervention into culture has caused resentment among non-Malays who feel their cultural freedom was lessened. Both Chinese and Indian associations have submitted memorandums to the government, accusing it of formulating an undemocratic culture policy. Some cultural disputes exist between Malaysia and neighbouring countries, notably Indonesia. The two countries have a similar cultural heritage, sharing many traditions and items. However, disputes have arisen over things ranging from culinary dishes to Malaysia’s national anthem. Strong feelings exist in Indonesia about protecting their national heritage. The Malaysian government and the Indonesian government have met to defuse some of the tensions resulting from the overlaps in culture. Feelings are not as strong in Malaysia, where most recognise that many cultural values are shared.

Malaysians observe a number of holidays and festivities throughout the year. Some are federally gazetted public holidays and some are observed by individual states. Other festivals are observed by particular ethnic or religion groups, and the main holiday of each major group has been declared a public holiday. The most observed national holiday is Hari Merdeka (Independence Day) on 31 August, commemorating the independence of the Federation of Malaya in 1957. Malaysia Day on 16 September commemorates federation in 1963. Other notable national holidays are Labour Day (1 May) and the King’s birthday (first week of June). Muslim holidays are prominent as Islam is the state religion; Hari Raya Puasa (also called Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Malay for Eid al-Fitr), Hari Raya Haji (also called Hari Raya Aidiladha, Malay for Eid ul-Adha), Maulidur Rasul (birthday of the Prophet), and others being observed. Malaysian Chinese celebrate festivals such as Chinese New Year and others relating to traditional Chinese beliefs. Hindus in Malaysia celebrate Deepavali, the festival of lights, while Thaipusam is a religious rite which sees pilgrims from all over the country converge at the Batu Caves. Malaysia’s Christian community celebrates most of the holidays observed by Christians elsewhere, most notably Christmas and Easter. In addition to this, the Dayak community in Sarawak celebrate a harvest festival known as Gawai, and the Kadazandusun community celebrate Kaamatan. Despite most festivals being identified with a particular ethnic or religious group, celebrations are universal. In a custom known as “open house” Malaysians participate in the celebrations of others, often visiting the houses of those who identify with the festival.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Government of Malaysia, Malaysia Tourism, LonelyPlanet.com – Malaysia, Malaysia Tourist Information, Culture of Malaysia, Music of Malaysia, Malaysian literature, Malaysian cuisine, Public holidays in Malaysia, Architecture of Malaysia, Human rights in Malaysia, Economy of Malaysia, Foreign relations of Malaysia, List of World Heritage Sites in Malaysia, Wildlife of Malaysia, Environmental issues in Malaysia, Wikitravel Malaysia, Wikivoyage Malaysia and Wikipedia Malaysia. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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