Us Malaysians generally have a good grasp on the English language. In fact, we are so good at it that we’ve even created our very ‘meanings’ for English words that will make any other English-speaking person go “huh?”.
Here’s some of the English words that only Malaysians understand!
In English, ‘on’ is a preposition, for instance “The book is on the table”, or used to indicate wanting to use an electrical appliance such as turning on the lights.
In Malaysia, we use ‘on’ to indicate that we’re ‘up for the plan/activity’.
Example: “We are going to mamak tonight, you on ah?” “On lah!”
We use these two words to indicate how awesome/great something or someone is. It can be food, a person, or just about anything really!
Example: Jason just helped me solve this super complicated math question! So power/terror right!
While English speakers use this to describe something that’s firm or stable, we Malaysians use this word when we’re describing someone who’s laid back and chill.
Example: “Sean is taking his big exam today but he still seems very steady ah.”
No we don’t mean ‘one’ the numerical digit. We very often use this word as a confirmation for our statement or question, usually added at the end of each sentence.
Example: “Ask this girl any questions about Malaysia, she sure know one.”
We use this word to describe someone who is being braggy, cocky or arrogant.
Example: “This guy is very action. He purposely drove out his BMW just to go to the pasar malam.”
English speakers use this word to describe a person who’s drunk or under the influence of drugs, especially marijuana. However, we Malaysian are so laid back that we get stoned just by staring into blank space. Or sometimes used to describe someone who looks lifeless.
Example: “Eh, didn’t sleep well yesterday? You look super stoned.”
People would think you mean ‘sleep’ when you say slumber. But in Malaysians context, it’s used to describe a person who isn’t anxious nor worried about something.
Example: “He came in 3 hours late to work but he’s still so slumber.”
This one can be tricky for foreigners! When someone asks you to ‘tackle’ a person in Malaysia, 90% of the time it means to apprach and flirt with an individual. Don’t end up beating someone up!
Example: “I think she likes you. Quickly go and tackle her lah!”
While banana means a type of fruit, in Malaysia, it’s used to represent a ‘type’ of human – a Chinese who can’t speak the Chinese language! Banana because… yellow on the outside, white on the inside!
Example: “He’s a banana lah, he won’t understand if you speak in Mandarin.”
When English speakers say ‘pattern’, they mean repeated decorative designs. In Malaysia, this word is used pretty frequently to describe a person who acts in various kinds of unusual behaviour.
Example: “So you’re telling me that you like banana flavoured ice cream but not the fruit? Can you don’t be so pattern ah?”