Malaysia is well-known for its diversity in culture, thanks to its history of colonization and trade flurries that opened up the land to merchants and travelers from all over the world.
This also means that the customs and etiquette can get overwhelming and aplenty, with each ethnicity having its own numerous customs and etiquettes, to begin with.
However, the general etiquette in home-visits covers most of the major ethnicities as the myriad of culture has somewhat come into an intricate fusion.
Here are 5 helpful tips on what NOT to do when visiting a Malaysian home:
1. Don’t forget to give them a ring or text before dropping by
Malaysians are generally a happy and accommodating bunch of people, so, they would appreciate it that you alert them before you drop by their homes. Preparing for a guest is an honorable thing to do among Malaysians, as they appreciate their guests and love to make them “feel at home”.
2. Don’t forget to take off your shoes
It is customary for Malaysians to not wear shoes in their homes, therefore don’t forget to take yours off before stepping in. Don’t worry, keeping your socks on is perfectly fine though.
3. Don’t reject food or drinks – it hurts the host’s feeling
Part of preparing for a guest also involves preparing and serving snacks and beverages during their visit. Try not to decline the offer, or politely explain your reasons and ask for an alternative if they insist.
4. Don’t immediately extend a hand to the opposite sex on the first meeting
Many Malaysians, particularly the Malays and some Indians do not feel comfortable having direct skin contact with a person of an opposite sex. To show courtesy, they will usually place one hand on their chest and slightly bow with a smile. It is fine to return a handshake if they started it first, otherwise, just go on and give verbal greetings instead.
5. Don’t be blunt and keep it polite
In general, Malaysians love to keep conversations polite, especially with their guests. They usually use careful tones when making a point to avoid conflict or hurting anyone’s feelings, even when the issue is not in their favor. It goes the same way when you are a guest.