Friday, 31 August 2007

Happy 50th birthday Malaysia!

Today, Malaysia celebrates its 50th year of independence! Merdeka!!! (Bahasa Malaysia - our national language - for Freedom!)

We gained our independence from British rule (which explains why we write British-English instead of American-English, huh?) on Aug 31, 1957.

In conjunction with our Golden Jubilee celebration, here's some information on our country, along with a look at its respective Korean counterpart.

Map

Malaysia is represented in orange above.

Malaysia is made up of Peninsular Malaysia (a.k.a. West Malaysia) and the northern part of the Borneo Island (a.k.a. East Malaysia). K-popped! is located at the peninsula. Well, two out of the three of us for now, eh Rooster? :-P

South Korea in yellow

Confession time: Before I got hit by the Hallyu, I didn't know where Korea was and did not understand the hoo-hah between North and South Korea. Now that has changed. I got to know about South Korea - also a peninsula! - because of the Korean Wave. North Korea? Pretty much synonymous with nuclear weapons!

Flag

Called the Jalur Gemilang
(Bahasa Malaysia for Stripes of Glory)
  • The stripes represent the equal status in the federation of the 13 member states and the Federal Government, as represented by the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan.
  • The colours red and white symbolise courage and purity respectively.
  • The blue canton symbolises the unity of the people of Malaysia.
  • The crescent is the symbol of Islam, the official religion of Malaysia.
  • The 14 points of the star signify the unity of the 13 states of the federation with the Federal Government.
  • The colour yellow signifies the royal colour of the Rulers.

Called the Taegeukgi (태극기)
  • Also known as the Yin-Yang Flag, which embodies the philosophy of the Korean people.
  • White background symbolises peace. It also stands for the purity and homogeneity of the Korean people as well as the white clothing traditionally worn by commoners.
  • The blue-red yin yang symbol stands for eternal duality from where all life derives its existence.
  • The trigrams at the four corners represent heaven, earth, fire and water.

National flower

Hibiscus (Bunga raya in Bahasa Malaysia)
  • Chosen as the national flower because it's found in abundance in our country.
  • Many varieties but the five-petaled Hibiscus rosa sinensis was chosen above the others because it is the most symbolically relevant.
  • The five petals symbolise the Rukunegara (the Five Principles of Nationhood).
  • The colour red represents courage.
Rose of Sharon (Mugunghwa in Hangul)
  • A flower that remains in bloom for a long time.
  • Symbolises the dauntless spirit of the Koreans, who have overcome many hardships.

Traditional costume(s)

Yikes! This category is a headache for Malaysia as there are so many ethnicities represented in our country! If you don't already know, Malaysia is one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse nations in the world today. The world's major religions, as well as major Asian ethnic groups, are represented in our country.

Yes, Malaysia, truly Asia. ;-) Due to the diversity of our people, I will only show you some of our traditional costumes. For a more detailed look at the traditional wear, please go to: www.heritage.gov.my (I actually got most of the pics there).

The three major races in our country (left to right):
Malay, Chinese and Indian

  • Malay: The lady is wearing a baju kurung while the man is in a baju Melayu. The man's headgear is called a songkok.
  • Chinese: The lady is wearing a cheongsam while the man is in a samfoo.
  • Indian: The lady is wearing a saree while the man is in a kurta.

Indeginous people of Sarawak, East Malaysia
(left to right): Iban and Ulu

Indeginous people of Sabah, East Malaysia
(left to right): Kadazan and Murut


Traditional costume of Korea
Hanbok (한복)
  • The winter hanbok is stuffed with cotton and the trousers are tied with bands at the ankles to better insulate the body.
  • The summer hanbok is made of starched hemp cloth or ramie to maximise the diffusion of body heat.
Food

Yummy Nasi Lemak
  • Malaysia does not have an official national dish but by default, the honour would have to go to nasi lemak.
  • Rice cooked in coconut milk.
  • The dish is available on almost every street corner and in almost every local-themed restaurant.
  • Can be quite spicy as it is served with sambal or rendang or curry.

Kimchi
  • The must-have dish for Koreans.
  • Fermented dish.
  • Ingredients and preparation method differ according to the seasons.


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6 Comments:

Orchid said...

Wow! Excellent entry Liz. :-) Very nice.

I must say, i am surprised to see that both Korea and Malaysia's national flower look quite similar - The "Rose of Sharon" and the Hibiscus (bunga raya).

Happy Liberation Day!

Happy 50th Birthday Malaysia!

Malaysiaku Gemilang

Gdog said...

Happy Birthday!! I must say you girls have done an awesome job with your blog--it looks beautiful! Keep up the excellent posts! :)

Orchid said...

Thanks gdog!

rooster said...

Merdeka!

unf4me said...

Happy B-day Malaysia. Wow so many different cultures living together, and people always say Asian don't get along with other Asian cultures... it's cool. Hope you girls have a great liberation day..

Liz said...

Hiya!

Thanks Orchid, for the compliments!

Thanks gdog for the encouragement and birthday wish! :)

Thanks unf4me for the birthday wish! :)

Yo Rooster, MERDEKAAAAAAA!

 

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