The Face a Holy Temple, Malaysia

It’s common for Westerners to give each other a hug or kiss each other in the face when you meet.

However, when in Malaysia, try to avoid touching a Malay or to kissing them in their face. The head and face are considered to be the home of the human soul. You can only shake hands if they will reach out for you to shake their hands.

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The basic visiting etiquette when visiting a mosque in Malaysia

As you enter Putrajaya, the federal administrative capital of Malaysia, you are bound to notice the pink-domed Putra Mosque sitting right on the foreshore of the man-made Putrajaya Lake.

The iconic mosque was named after Almarhum Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al Haj, who was the first Prime Minister of Malaysia. The mosque is well-known throughout the country for its exquisite architecture, intricate designs and rose-tinted granite.

Mosque etiquette

Before you visit the mosque, or any particular mosque in particular, I recommend you to learn some of the basic visiting etiquettes to make your visit a pleasant and worthwhile experience.

  • Visitors are required to dress appropriately at all times.
  • Visitors are required to remove their shoes before they enter the prayer hall.
  • Menstruating women are requested not to enter the prayer hall.
  • Visitors are requested to respect the mosque by maintaining cleanliness.
  • Smoking is strictly prohibited.
  • Non-Muslim visitors may not be allowed into the prayer hall during the 5 daily prayers.

As one of the two mosques located in Putrajaya, the Putra Mosque remains to be one of the most visited mosques in the country. Built in 1997, the mosque’s architectural design is derived from traditional Malay and Middle Eastern elements. Its impressive minaret also happens to be one of the tallest minarets in the region and was influenced by the design of the Sheikh Omar Mosque in Baghdad. Due to the sheer size of the mosque, the mosque can accommodate more than 10,000 worshippers at any one time.

The Putra Mosque is generally accessible to the public however, visitors are required to adhere to a particular dress code. If a staff finds you inappropriately dressed, the staff will direct you to the robe counter located at the entrance to wear a robe. The robes look quite similar to graduation gowns, and it doesn’t cost you anything to put it on.

Like most mosques in Malaysia, the Putra Mosque consists of three main functional areas – the prayer hall, the courtyard and learning facilities and function rooms. For the best experience, make plans to visit the mosque during one of the 5 daily prayer times to observe how the Muslims pray in congregation.

If you are interested to know more about Islam, the mosque provides free leaflets in English and other languages to help you understand the religion better. If you are in luck, you may even get a volunteer guide to share with you in-depth information about the mosque as well as the role Islam has on a Muslim’s life.

While you are at the Putra Mosque, you should also visit the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque, or more popularly known as the Steel Mosque.

Address Putra Mosque:

Putra Mosque, Persiaran Persekutuan, Presint 1, 62502 Putrajaya, Wilayah Persekutuan Putrajaya, Malaysia

Visiting hours:

Monday to Thursday, Saturday and Sunday (9.30am – 12.30pm, 2pm – 4pm) Friday (9.30am – 12.30pm, 3pm – 4pm, 5.30pm – 6pm)

Phone number:

+6 03 888 85678

Website:

http://www.masjidputra.gov.my/

 

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A Peek Inside the Etiquette World of Malaysia and South Korea

Southeast Asia is comprises of 11 countries located between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, making those countries as the hosts of numerous wonderful beaches, mountainous areas as well as home to developed cities and successfully attracts thousands of globe-trekkers from all over the world. These countries however are very particular with proper mannerism and etiquettes that must be observed very well in their daily lives, and even the travelers are expected to do the same.

The South Korean Etiquette

For example, South Korea, being one of the strictest of all in preserving their traditional customs and etiquettes are very wary on this issue. Mind your manners when dining with them. It is in their customs that the elderly must be given the priority, in other words, let them hold their spoon first and only then the younger ones can enjoy their meals. You do not leave the table until the elderly finished their meals and stood up to leave the table. When visiting and entering into their homes, you are expected to take off your shoes as a sign of respect to their belief of the importance to keep their floors clean. Just like the Westerners, the Koreans do love alcohol or called as Soju and again, they do have strict etiquette when it comes to drinking alcoholic drinks. Pour the drinks not in your own glass, but to your other acquaintances especially the elderly. The Koreans are really nice people especially when we as the travelers show much respect to the traditions and customs, what more their strict etiquettes.

The Malaysian Etiquette

Malaysia on the other side is a multicultural country consisting of different races that practiced different religions, yet they live peacefully as they respect each other’s faiths, believes and customs. The main religion practiced in Malaysia is Islam, in which the religion has laid down numerous rules and etiquettes for its believers to observe. The same goes to the other religions practiced in the country such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhs and the Christians. Just like the Koreans, everyone is expected to take off their shoes upon entering the homes of the residents as well as the worshipping places such as the mosques and temples. As for the greetings, you are basically not allowed to touch or have handshakes with people of your opposite gender, particularly with the Muslims. This is to respect the practice in their religion. Well, unless they offered handshakes first, then you are free to do so as well.

The list goes on if we are to discuss further on the rules and etiquettes that need to be observed when you are travelling to any of the Southeast Asian countries. Different countries do have different customs and traditions; hence they do have different etiquettes which might confused some of us even if you come from one of the Southeast Asian countries as well.

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Marriage in Malaysia

Marriage in Malaysia. Indeed, even with noteworthy changes in marriage rehearses, weddings uncover the sharp contrasts in Malaysian culture. Since Malaysia is a country with a higher diversity of religions, there are two approaches to a wedding: enlisting the union with the administration and participating in marriage before a religious specialist.

Different types of marriage in Malaysia

Christian Malaysians may wed Buddhists or Hindus noting just to their families and convictions; Muslim Malaysians who wed non-Muslims chance government authorize unless their accomplice believers to Islam. Marriage hones accentuate Malaysia’s different ethnic traditions. Indians and Chinese attempt divination customs looking for similarity and propitious dates, while Malays have expanded blessing trades.

Malay wedding dining experiences are regularly held in the home, and highlight an expensive dinner with a few dishes eaten over rice arranged in oil (to state one will eat oiled rice implies that a wedding is approaching). Numerous Chinese weddings highlight a various course supper in an eatery or open lobby, and most Indian functions incorporate unpredictable customs. Since wedded accomplices join families and also people, the meeting between imminent in-laws is critical to the achievement of the union. For most Malaysians, marriage is a critical stride toward adulthood. Despite the fact that the normal age for marriage keeps on expanding, being single into one’s thirties produces worry for families and people alike. The social significance of the organization makes interethnic marriage an issue of extensive anxiety.

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Top four most popular Asian festivals.

In both human population and in landmass, Asia ranks number one as the biggest continent. The boundary stretches from the Middle East region down to the east of the ocean Pacific. Asia as a continent over time has been known for the liveliness of it people and their huge cultural and religious heritage. However, beyond the people, Asia has one more thing to be proud about; it’s festivals. Asian festivals are one of the most celebrated events in the region as each of them shows off a rich variety of culture of the people. Even though these festivals as you travel from place to place in the region may vary in procedures or manner of celebration but they all have something they share and that is the fact that they are all huge and massive festivals with plenty fun in the pipeline for both indigenous citizens and tourists. So if it’s probably your first time in Asia or you have future plans of coming around to spend a holiday or even for a business trip, below are some Asian festivals you must not miss for anything:-

Songkran (Thailand)

Topping the list is the ancient Thailand New year festival known as Songkran. This festival usually comes up during the time of the year that seems the hottest and as the New Year festival. It also serves as a source of spiritual cleaning for the participants. The fun of the festival comes as local residents equip themselves with buckets of water far below room temperature and out into the streets to completely drench anyone that comes their way as a kind of New Year blessings. Tourists have been participants of this festival as they see the fun.

Harbin International Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival (China)

Looking at this festival as the biggest ice and snow celebration in the whole world will not in any way be an exaggeration. This festival as the name implies is an ice and snow festival held every year during the winter months somewhere in the northeast of China. During the festival, beautiful ice sculpture artworks are displayed in such a magnificent manner that it lights up the whole celebrations. First timers to this festival find it absolutely amazing. You will wish to attend some day.

Hong Kong Arts Festival (China)

Surely, this festival always gets the people of Hong Kong and visitors as well wet with excitement as they anticipate its arrival. A festival comprising of art shows, talent shows (both local and international), concerts and many more interesting activities by top stars in the entertainment industry around the world. This festival means a lot to the people of Hong Kong as it showcases their rich cultural heritage.

Thaipusam (Malaysia)

This list will probably make a low statement of fact if I fail to include the very famous festival of Thaipusam held in Malaysia. Thaipusam holds a record of attracting over a million local men and women with additional thousands of tourists and first timers in Malaysia. From the Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur, a procession which is due to last for 8 hours takes off and concludes at the stunning temple at Batu Caves just outside Kuala Lumpur. Celebrated between the January and February period, it attracts people from other religions aside from the main Hindu followers.

The list certainly can go on and on!

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5 things not to do when visiting a Malaysian home

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.

malaysian house

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.

Raising your voice

If you want to say something to each other try not to raise your voice too much. When someone is too far away go to the person first or try to get closer so there is not need to scream. This is considered rude.

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Speaking with your mouth full

When eating try not to make too much noise. Speaking with your mouth full is considered rude in the Malaysian Culture.

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Scooping up food

The girl is always expected to scoop the rice on the plate for the elder people in the house as well as for the males. Do not scoop up too much rice or too little, they to give an average amount.

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When entering the house

For those Muslims when they are visited at home people should always give their regards by first knocking on the door 3 times saying ” Assalamualaikum ” . If a person does not reply after these 3 times it means the person is busy or not willing to receive you. You should then leave the house and come back again maybe later.

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Not shaking hands?

in the old days, it is mainly not common for boys to mix with girls – asian culture. So gesture between different sex were of course rude back then.

Nowadays, it’s mainly due to religion. But of course there are people who are open minded, so they will usually extend their hand first. Normally if the Malay are still holding on to their religion strongly a woman may not shake the hands of another man. So before you extend a hand for greetings or handshake to a lady look out for a sign first that could indicate that you better not shake the hand of this person. The best hint would be a woman wearing a hijab.

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A woman sitting on the stairs

As a woman it is considered rude to sit on the stairs infront of a house. So please keep this in mind when you want to sit on the stairs somewhere outside. This could also be found offensive since it could remind people about the house stairs.

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