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Touching down

Do not be offended by enthusiastic belches and slurps around the dinner table either: Malaysians live to eat and like to share their appreciation.

Visitors must also learn to distinguish between flabby handshakes and Malay salams. "Unlike the Western handshake, which is a rather vigorous up and down movement.. the Malay handshake is a simple palm-to-palm touch; she writes 7he most important part of the gesture is immediately touching your hand to your heart as a signal of sincerity. And, she adds, never use your left hand in Malay company! Datin Noor goes on to warn newcomers not to touch people's heads, when to take their shoes off and to think before they kiss a lady's cheek-in greeting. Dazzling, long-sleeved batik shirts are what you wear to formal dinners and black is taboo for happy occasions She explains what Tunkus, Tuns, Datuks, Dato's and Datins are and notes that the King's title 'Yang Di-Pertuan Agong'means He Who is Made Supreme Lord.

Malaysian Customs & Etiquette: A Practical Handbook by Datin Noor Aini Syed Amir times Books lnternational, 1991

Conduct Dress. Malaysians dress smartly particularly in cities, tourists invests, shorts and flip-flop look out of place in modern cosmopolitan KL. Dress codes are important m the point of view of Island sensitivities, particularly on the peninsulas some places such as Marang, bikinis are banned and wearing them will Pence. Topless bathing is completely taboo in Malaysia; this should be remembered even where tourists have started doing it, such as on Pulau Tioman. out of respect for Muslim tradition.

Malaysian cross-cultural differences are most apparent on the streets: many Chinese girl thing of wearing brief mini-skirts and shorts, while their Malay are dad from head to toe The tudung (or telukung) veil signifies adherence to the puritanical lifestyle of the fervently Islamic dakwah movement; during the 1980s, became a fashion among women at universities as well as among blue-collar workers in factories. Some women began to dress in the full black purdah until it was ,forbidden by the government. Much of this was the result of peer pressure and reflected a revival of strict Islamic values in Malaysia during and after the 1970s.

Eating when picking up and passing food, do not use the left hand in Muslim company it is worth remembering that Malays do not make pork satay and that Hindus do not make beef curries. Malaysia is well known around the world for its stringent laws again drugs. As they fill in their immigration forms, visitors.

Cannot fail to notice the bold block capitals reading: BE FOREWARNED –DEATH FOR DRUG TRAFFICKERS UNDER MALAYS1AN LAW' At entry0omts to Malaysia there are prominent posters repeating this warning, the words emblazoned over an ominous picture of a nose. world attention focuses , Malaysia whenevers western go to the gallows, but they represent a tiny fraction of those hanged for drugs trafficking offences since 1983 about 150 prisoner have been hanged and about 4,000 arrested under section 39(B) of the dangerous drug Act about a quarter of those face execution within the next few years Malaysian biggest -ever mass-hanging of traffickers took place at taiping jail in may 1990 when eight Hong Kong people were executed.

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