Your Malaysianness will eventually tell on you! Walking down the streets of Melbourne hearing another individual talking to his friend, ‘Jom ‘LAH’ pi makan, aku lapar,’ is an all too common Malaysian slang in a multi-cultural city like Melbourne, well-known for its immigration that is responsible for the cosmopolitan city it has turned out to be.
Every true Malaysian has been using at least a few of these slang words throughout their lifetime. The best part about Malaysian slang terms is that they have the same meaning regardless of the language in which they are uttered. It’s a wacky mix of Malay, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka, Tamil, Malayalam, Punjabi or Hindi, but that’s what makes us distinctively Malaysian.
This is not something new. Most of the time, our parents, relatives and even friends will instruct us to ‘Gostan’ while driving a car. We Malaysians now use it to imply “reverse” (a vehicle). Gostan is said to be derived from the nautical English word “go astern,” which means “to reverse.” But do you know it actually derived from the nautical term, ‘Go Astern’?
Anne, Nasi Lemak ‘tapau’!
The word tapau is derived from the Chinese word (da bao), which means “takeaway” (food). It’s pronounced precisely as it’s spelled, and it’s a famous word in Malaysia, especially when someone says, “Tapau, guys?” over lunch.
Mamak, which originally refers to Malaysians of Tamil-Muslim ancestry, is now mostly used to describe the restaurant or stall that offers Indian cuisine, with a few exceptions presenting fusion Malaysian cuisine.
These ‘mamaks’ are popular gathering places for Malaysians from all walks of life, and during the football matches this is the place to be.
Macha is a very common word used in Malaysia. Some feel Macha means friend, some feel Macha means brother but the Internet describes the meaning of Macha as one’s brother-in-law. It’s often considered to be the local equivalent of the English slang ‘fam’.
This is the ultimate slang which is used by Malaysians and Singaporeans. Till date there’s no specific explanation on the slang, all we know is that it adds flavour to a sentence. This slang is highly addictive so be aware, especially you foreigners, you might start sounding like one of us, in fact many of you expatriates and migrant workers have already incorporated the ‘lah’ slang in your conversations.
Did we skip any of the versions of your favourite slang? Let us know in the comments down below.