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Malaysian Alternative Names Outsiders often mistakenly refer to things Malaysian as simply "Malay," reflecting only one of the ethnic groups in the society.
Malaysians refer to their national culture as kebudayaan Malaysia in the national language. Within Malaysian society there is a Malay culture, a Chinese culture, an Indian culture, a Eurasian culture, along with the cultures of the indigenous groups of the peninsula and north Borneo. A unified Malaysian culture is something only emerging in the country.
The important social distinction in the emergent national culture is between Malay and non-Malay, represented by two groups: The two groups mostly live in the urban areas of the Malay Peninsula's west coast, and their sometimes competing, sometimes parallel influences shape the shared life of Malaysia's citizens.
Sarawak and Sabah, the two Malaysian states located in north Borneo, tend to be less a influential part of the national culture, and their vibrant local cultures are shrouded by the bigger, wealthier peninsular society.
Malaysia is physically split between west and east, parts united into one country in Western Malaysia is on the southern tip of the Malay peninsula, and stretches from the Thai border to the island of Singapore. Eastern Malaysia includes the territories of Sabah and Sarawak on the north end of Borneo, separated by the country of Brunei.
Peninsular Malaysia is divided into west and east by a central mountain range called the Banjaran Titiwangsa. Most large cities, heavy industry, and immigrant groups are concentrated on the west coast; the east coast is less populated, more agrarian, and demographically more Malay.
The federal capital is in the old tinmining center of Kuala Lumpur, located in the middle of the western immigrant belt, but its move to the new Kuala Lumpur suburb of Putra Jaya will soon be complete. Malaysia's population comprises twenty-three million people, and throughout its history the territory has been sparsely populated relative to its land area.
The government aims for increasing the national population to seventy million by the year Eighty percent of the population lives on the peninsula.
The most important Malaysian demographic statistics are of ethnicity: These population figures have an important place in peninsular history, because Malaysia as a country was created with demography in mind.
Malay leaders in the s and s organized their community around the issue of curbing immigration. After independence, Malaysia was created when the Borneo territories with their substantial indigenous populations were added to Malaya as a means of exceeding the great number of Chinese and Indians in the country.
Malay became Malaysia's sole national language in and has been institutionalized with a modest degree of success.
The Austronesian language has an illustrious history as a lingua franca throughout the region, though English is also widely spoken because it was the administrative language of the British colonizers. Along with Malay and English other languages are popular: The Malaysian government acknowledges this multilingualism through such things as television news broadcasts in Malay, English, Mandarin, and Tamil.
Given their country's linguistic heterogeneity, Malaysians are adept at learning languages, and knowing multiple languages is commonplace. Rapid industrialization has sustained the importance of English and solidified it as the language of business.
The selection of official cultural symbols is a source of tension. In such a diverse society, any national emblem risks privileging one group over another. For example, the king is the symbol of the state, as well as a sign of Malay political hegemony. Since ethnic diversity rules out the use of kin or blood metaphors to stand for Malaysia, the society often emphasizes natural symbols, including the sea turtle, the hibiscus flower, and the orangutan.
The country's economic products and infrastructure also provide national logos for Malaysia; the national car ProtonMalaysia Airlines, and the Petronas Towers the world's tallest buildings have all come to symbolize modern Malaysia.
The government slogan "Malaysia Boleh! A more humble, informal symbol for society is a salad called rojak, a favorite Malaysian snack, whose eclectic mix of ingredients evokes the population's diversity. History and Ethnic Relations Emergence of the Nation.
The name Malaysia comes from an old term for the entire Malay archipelago.This site supported in part by (1) the American Sociological Association's Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline Award supported by the American Sociological Association and the National Science Foundation and (2) a research grant from the Office of Sponsored Research, Radford University, Radford, Virginia..
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