March 24, 2017, by Janice

Being Malaysian in Nottingham

Having been here for almost 3 years, Nottingham is starting to grow on me. But, I’ve got to admit, Nottingham is worlds apart from my home country of Malaysia. Here are some things that I believe Malaysian students like me would definitely miss about our home country:


1.You miss Malaysian food

I can proudly say I speak for all overseas Malaysians on this subject: we Malaysians are VERY PROUD OF OUR FOOD.

There were on one too many occasions where I’ve craved Malaysian food while in the UK. Lesson learned: Never scroll through Instagram before going to bed— food posts by friends back home ain’t helping those late night cravings.

As a result of being unable to completely part with Malaysian food for a year or so, most of us pack Malaysian comfort food to be used when in the UK. The words ‘sambal’, ‘ikan bilis’, ‘Maggi mee’, ‘Milo’ and ‘teh tarik’ might sound foreign to many, but these items will definitely ring a bell amongst most Malaysians.


2.Goodbye Manglish

Some may wonder what is this ‘Manglish’ that I’m talking about? To put it in simple terms, Manglish is short for Malaysian English, a combination of British English, Chinese dialects, Malay and Tamil. God knows who invented the language but ourselves.

The above picture is a classic depiction of the many ways the word ‘can’ can be used in different contexts just by adding a Manglish jargon after it. Adding suffixes such as ‘mah’, ‘hor’, ‘liao’, ‘meh’, ‘ah’, ‘leh’, ‘one’ and ‘what’ after a word adds on a different meaning to the word and choice of usage depends on the thought that is to be conveyed.

I’ve got to admit, there were, on many occasions, where I have unconsciously used Manglish to converse with non-Malaysians. And Ive got to say most of these conversations have been met by confused faces. I apologise for this, after almost 3 years here, I’m still trying to shake off this Manglish of mine. I can’t help it!


3. You wonder why you ever complained about the tropical weather back home

British weather. Need I say more? The weather in the UK is the total polar opposite to that of Malaysian weather. As Malaysians, we are used to the hot, humid weather all year long, with the monsoon season at year end. No snow, hale or cold temperatures. We’re used to walking out of the house with just jeans and a t-shirt, no need for a jacket to keep us warm. So you can just imagine the ‘climate shock’ I experienced the first time I came to the UK— goodbye slippers, shorts and tank tops. Hello jackets, jumpers and boots.


4. You are not alone

Being a Malaysian in this university is no lonely affair. The Nottingham Malaysian Society has over 400 members. I’ve got to say, I’ve fostered some of the best friendships from this society, and it makes the experience here ever more sweeter. It’s always nice to know that you have a great support system of Malaysians that are going through similar trials and tribulations as you.



Posted in Janice