My Own Culture - growing up in Malay culture.

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                         GSM5550 Cross Culture Management


 (Individual Assignment)


Symbols, Rituals, Role Models, Values and Assumptions.

        I was born in the small family.  I was the only daughter among four siblings.   As children, we were tight by the rules set by my parents.   As a child, i must commit with my parents order.  Among the things that I remember most so far is the way I dress up.   My daily wear is ‘baju kurung’, this is because my mother did not want me to dressed up just like my brothers.  For her ‘baju kurung’ is a symbol of Malay women and she wants me to look polite.  I wear ‘baju kurung every day until i finished my secondary school.  I change the way I dress accordingly when I go to college.  Then I realize that what my parents do is they want me to commit with the religious, until now I never wear something that against our religion.  But nowadays, most of parents did not really care how they want their child being dress as long it is still in proper manner and not against their religion.  Everything can change; even some rituals, traditions and customs can changes depends on how we adapt the changes.  The changes happen because of globalization and modernization of culture, values and believes.

From kids, we were synonyms by Malay rituals, practices or even values.  All the traditions and customs were set by the elders in the family especially parents, grandparents and also religious teacher who had conveyed us.  Here are some of the values, practices and also rituals that important in my family that my parents allow me to pass on my children.


Shaking Hands

The host may shake hands with the guest using both his hands, rather than in the Western manner with the right hand.  The grip of hands is gentler and the shaking less vigorous than in the Western style.  Additionally, when a younger person shakes hands with an elder, be it a parent, a teacher or someone else, the younger person also bows down during the handshake, and kisses the upper side of the right hand of the older person.  This is to show respect to the elder person.  During occasions such as ‘Hari Raya’ the younger persons in a family may also go down on to the knees and then carry out this handshake as just described.  This, however, happens only when the elders are seated.

But nowadays, we ourselves did not allow our children to go down on the knees and carried out this type of handshake.  We just want our children know how to respect the elders by bows down during the handshake and kiss the upper side of the right hand of the older person.  It still practices until now by the young generation because it was a simple way to show their respects to the elder’s generation. 

Bow in front the elder person.

My parents always remind me to bow a little to the elder when we want to pass in front of them.  By doing that manner, it will show our respect to the eldest and to get permission if we want go through pass them.  It is not only practice by the Malays, but people from other race also practicing it.  I noticed it when one of our classmate Chan Chi Kian enter the classroom and he want to pass Dr. Asma, he bow down his head a little to get her permission to passing her in front of class.  


The Use of the Right Hand. 

When we ate something, we used the right hand.  It is taboo to use the left hand for eating purposes, even when forks and spoons are used.   All good acts, such as holding a copy of the Holy Quran, touching someone, giving or receiving something, are to be done using the right hand. In fact if someone gives or receives something using the left hand this is considered rude.

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Similarly when someone wishes to point at another person or at something the right hand is to be used. The actual pointing, however, in the Malay style is done not with the index finger, but with the thumb, the other fingers being folded backwards.  Most acts considered good, therefore, are done using the right hand.  The left hand is used for less clean functions such as cleaning oneself after going to the toilet. 

Footwear to be left outside        

Since kids, parents will remind me that, footwear must be removed and left outside before going up the landing or, in the case ...

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