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Malaysia Insider

Malaysia insider

What's the big difference?

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Sometimes I'm asked what the differences are between Malaysia and Western countries, such as Australia. Well, the answer's simple — but unfortunately it doesn't come from me. My friend Mike Street put together the following list:



  • There's no such thing as a light drizzle


  • Mopeds can happily transport a family of four


  • Security guards can carry shotguns


  • Traffic lights are merely suggestions


  • Corn on the cob is an ice-cream flavour


  • People discuss traffic jams rather than the weather


  • Karaoke isn't a passing fad


  • People swap languages mid-sentence


  • "Air" means water


  • You can smoke in restaurants


  • Eating with your hands isn't just acceptable — it's encouraged


  • "Taking your lunch" means eating it


  • Everyone's thinner


  • It's okay to stick a pen in a three-pronged socket to make it accommodate a two pin plug


  • Pork has a private section in the supermarket


  • Nearly everything can be bought cheaper with a little haggling


  • People stop for a moment before getting on escalators


  • Kids I've never met before call me uncle


  • The smallest chillies can do the biggest damage


  • "Go straight" is the only answer anyone gives when asked for directions


  • Rain is warm


  • Chicken feet are good


  • The English phrases on T-shirts are sometimes nonsensical


  • Street food is tastier than a hot dog


  • Blue eyes are a rarity


  • No-one drinks tap water


  • People travel more


  • It's normal to live with your parents at 30


  • Things are "auspicious" or not


  • A group of friends at dinner will calculate their share of the bill to the exact sen


  • Double parking is okay, as is speeding


  • McDonald's delivers … 24 hours


  • Bread stays fresh for weeks


  • Deserted islands are common


  • People smile more


Yep, that seems to cover it.

What differences do you notice between Australia and Asia?

User comments
why are there some comments here about why Australia shouldn't be a part of Asia, etc??? the article is just about the differences.. it's fine to be patriotic or whatnot but only if it's relevant to the topic in question.. i don't get where the connection is.. the article clearly mentions some (humorous) differences in society, it's not about which one is better! relax!
I think some people are missing the point of the list. Its not trying to make australia like asia at all. Come on guys there must be some educated people out there...not including Mister Man
no one has said any thing about the smell when we were in asia it stank every where my partner was dry reaching all the time and we hardly ate anything as the smell of the place we visited smelt so bad shopping is so cheep people are friendly thats about it the pollution is realy bad
Keep in mind that all of the Middle East is in Asia......including Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Afghanistan and most of Turkey......
I just made the mistake of using local dentists in Central, Hong Kong. They commonly damage your teeth in a crafty and cunning way. I went for a check-up and polish and the first dentist, instead of a scale,quickly hacked pieces off my teeth, targetting the canines, pre-molars, bottom incisal edges and the front of one front tooth. Then instead of a polish, she stained my teeth with a sticky, acidic brown stain. I tried to find dentists to remove the stain. I found one who said he would and said he wanted to use an 'ultrasound scaler' but he lied and instead used a dental laser to alter the shapes of my teeth, burn the soft tissue in my mouth, and burn fake caries and 'abrasion' cavities. These dentists have no grasp of ethics, and then, they freely send your confidential patient information to one another and the dental insurance company to falsify your records. Never, never use HK dentists- your beautiful teeth will be wrecked and there's no proper consumer protection here.
"The English phrases on T-shirts are sometimes nonsensical" - the same holds true in Australia too but the other way round. "The Chinese phrases on T-shirts are MOSTLY nonsensical" (in western countries), & they sometimes have the Chinese word written wrongly, which would lead to a totally different meaning... so itz not like we dun understand English, well certainly u can make fun of us, but we laugh our *** off behind ur back!!! LOL
haha here in singapore, u cant smoke in restaurants..oh ya and we eat durians
most of this is so correct!! [i'm asian myself], other than the 'A group of friends at dinner will calculate their share of the bill to the exact sen'..us asians tend to fight over the bill. we fight verbally first..then it leads to physically. haha. and regarding 'chicken feet are good'..yehh hell they're good! we eat anything and everything..asian food isn't pretty much..improvising whatever you lay your eyes on.
sorry mate i think all of them are right ecxept for the one A group of friends at dinner will calculate their share of the bill to the exact sen its so wrong mate i disagree coz mainly only one offers to pay!!!!
I have lived in Vietnam the last few years and you find people less stressed not as aggressive as Aussies, no road rage, more willing to just have a good time with out the druncken violence. the food is more varried. People watching takes on a whole you meaning you can sit in a coffee shop and just be amaized at who and what goes by. the weather is great all year and it still rains here.cost of living is much cheaper, you are not getting ripped of by monoply phone companies,there are few lawyers, you can't get the smile of your face and the people smile back.

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