Malaysia: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Malysia, the Chinese and Indian in Malaysia, headhunters and left hand haters, the biggest flower.

MALAYSIA

NOTES

Most of the Chinese were brought to Malaysia by the British in the 19th century to work the tin mines. Today half are self-employed; most of the rest are skilled. With foreign firms, they dominate Malaysia's economy.

The British brought in the Indians during the 19th century, to work on rubber plantations. Sixty percent still live and work under harsh conditions on the plantations.

The Ibans or Sea Dayaks are the legendary headhunters of Borneo. They are a proud and independent people who like to adorn their bodies with tattoos and distend their earlobes 6" or more with iron rings. They are quite fond of the water, sometimes spending most of their day squatting in the rivers conversing with each other. In olden times, they settled disputes by declaring the man who could remain submerged under water the longest by holding his breath as the winner.

English words borrowed from the Malay language include bamboo, bantam, and orangutan.

The left hand in Malaya, as in many Muslim countries, is considered "dirty" since it is used to perform all "unclean" bodily functions. Consequently, the Malays make sure never to touch food or another person with the left hand.

The Government, while appearing liberal, practices press censorship and occasionally imprisons left-wing opponents without trial under the Internal Security Act. In 1972 some 1,700 people were in jail under this act.

The Philippines claim Sabah, which was once ruled by the Sultan of Sulu (a nearby Philippines island). The 2 countries nearly went to war over this claim in the 1960s. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister of Sabah has reportedly been supporting Muslim secessionists in the southern Philippines.

The largest flower in the world, the Rafflesia, which reaches a diameter of up to 36", and a weight of up to 15 lbs., grows on mountain slopes in Borneo.

After W.W. II, the Malayan Communist party initiated a bloody revolution which continues today. The fact that the party is predominantly Chinese and Peking-oriented has led many Malays to question the loyalties of all Chinese. In 1969 riots broke out between the 2 ethnic groups. One hundred and sixty-three people were killed and over 4,000 were arrested.

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