For Educators

Where in God’s World is Malaysia?

by Tina Tocco

 Fascinating Facts about Malaysia

This southeast Asian country is split into two parts, approximately 400 miles apart. The western portion, a peninsula, is found at the southern tip of Thailand. The eastern portion borders Indonesia and Brunei. Both parts lay along the South China Sea.

Rainforests filled with thousands of species of trees and plants cover vast areas of Malaysia. The rainforests are so thick that sunlight can barely break through the leaves. Malaysia is home to the monster flower, the world’s largest flower, which measures nearly three feet across!

The climate here is hot and humid. Monsoons sometimes bring flooding.

Animals you might see here include elephants, Malayan gaurs (wild oxen), tapirs, wild pigs, monitor lizards, cobras, and leatherback turtles.

Some popular foods here are cendawan goreng (fried mushrooms with barbeque or chili seasoning) and nasi kerabu (blue rice served with fried coconut and bean sprouts). One popular snack is rempeyek, salty fried dough topped with peanuts, anchovies, dried shrimp, or garlic.

Malaysia’s national sport is sepak takraw. In this unique game, players kick a hollow ball over a net using their feet, knees, legs, head, and chest— but not their hands. Badminton is also popular here.

Christians make up only about 10 percent of the population here. The majority (a little over 60 percent) of the people are Muslim, and almost 20 percent are Buddhist.

On August 31, Malaysians celebrate Merdeka Day to honor the day Malaysia gained its independence from British rule in 1957. Various celebrations, including fireworks and flag-waving ceremonies, are held throughout August.

Learn the Language

English, Cantonese, Tamil, Thai, Panjabi, and other languages are spoken in Malaysia. However, the country’s official language is Malay, also called Bahasa Malaysia. Try these Malay words and phrases:

Good morning. — Selamat pagi.

It’s very hot here! — Ia amat panas di sini!

What’s for lunch? — Apa untuk Majlis Makan Malam?

See you after school. — Jumpa anda selepas sekolah.

 Let’s play sepak takraw! — Mari kita bermain sepak takraw!

Monsoon — monsoon

Independent — Merdeka



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