Hari Merdeka, or Malaysia’s Independence Day, is celebrated annually on August 31. It is an important day to commemorate the independence of the Federation of Malaya from British colonial rule on 31 August 1957. As Malaysians, we will celebrate this historic event as a national holiday with parades, fireworks, excitement, and flag-waving cheer.
Malaysia is a country that I have grown to love. It is the place that holds many dear memories of My family and me. Although I feel a bit disappointed because there wasn’t a parade for Malaysia’s 63rd National Day celebration due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I really hope that in 2021, we can celebrate our National Day with a grand parade. Still, we can show our love to Malaysia by understanding it better! Now, let me introduce you to some interesting facts about Malaysia, and let’s see how well you know about our country.
- The corridor of Gua Rusa – the world’s largest underground cave chamber.
Gua Rusa, located near Miri, Sarawak, is a show cave attraction of Gunung Mulu National Park. It is famously known as the world’s largest underground cave chamber. You know what? It is said that the corridor of Gua Rusa – a 2km-long passage of caves which is part of the Sarawak Chamber – could fit five rows of eight Boeing 747 jetliners parked nose to tail!
- Durian – the King of Fruits.
The durians are the most famous of Malaysian fruits due to their powerful aroma, distinctive taste, and custardy texture. However, the smell of durian evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust. Some people regard the durian as having a pleasantly sweet fragrance, whereas others may find the aroma overpowering with an unpleasant odor. For me, I am a durian lover! I like all the food with durians such as durian cake, durian ice-cream and any snacks with durian flavor. There are various benefits of durian such as strengthening our cardiovascular health, reducing constipation, and lowering the cholesterol level. It also provides relief from insomnia, boosts bone health, and prevents osteoporosis.
- Petronas Twin Towers – the world’s tallest “twin” buildings.
The Petronas Twin Towers are twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)’s official definition and ranking, they were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004. The Petronas Towers remain the tallest twin towers in the world today. The Skybridge that connects the two towers is the highest two-story bridge in the world. These towers are a symbol of Kuala Lumpur, along with the nearby Kuala Lumpur Tower, another icon of the city.
- Malaysia, a rainy country.
The weather in Malaysia is hot and humid year-round, interspersed with tropical rain showers. The wet season on the east coast is between November and February, while the wettest months on the west coast are April to October. Do you ever wonder why is it raining so much in Malaysia? It is because Malaysia faces two monsoon winds seasons, the Southwest Monsoon from late May to September, and the Northeast Monsoon from October to March. The Northeast Monsoon, originating in China and the north Pacific, brings in more rainfall compared to the Southwest Monsoon, which originates from the deserts of Australia. In Malaysia, it is important to always bring along your umbrella, especially during the rainy season.
- Rafflesia – the world’s largest flower.
Rafflesia is a parasitic plant, which grows in a wild only in Southeast Asia. It is proud to say that, Malaysia has a total of seven species of Rafflesia plant! The flower is usually known for its giant size – where it can be over 100cm in diameter and weigh up to 11kg! It has a unique odor, which smells similar to that of rotting flesh. That is why Rafflesia is commonly referred to as the “corpse flower”. The unpleasant smell is, surprisingly, the way how Rafflesia attracts prey for its reproduction. Unlike the other species of flowers, Rafflesia does not have any leaves, stems, or roots as it is a parasite attaching itself to forest vines.
- The total length of Malaysia’s highway is longer than the Earth’s circumference.
Shocking but true! In total, Malaysia has 65,877 km (and counting) of highways. However, the Earth’s circumference is only 40,075 km! Maybe that is why we have to pay so much for tolls. The network of national highways in Malaysia begins with the North-South Expressway (NSE) and is being substantially developed. The North-South Expressway passes through all the major cities and conurbations in West Malaysia, such as Penang, Ipoh, the Klang Valley, and Johor Bahru. Meanwhile, the Pan Borneo Highway connects Sabah and Sarawak with Brunei.
- The Malaysian passports.
Do you know the facts about the Malaysian passport? It is a traveling document that was ranked as the most powerful passport in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by Global Passport Power Rank 2020. The Malaysian passport has high-security features and was the world’s first e-passport with a security chip inside. The biometric passport, which started in 1998, allows Malaysians to visit 163 countries without a visa. Besides, the Malaysian passport is difficult to forge due to its security features and system used, which is not visible to the naked eye.
- Malaysian Favourite Food – Nasi Lemak.
I am sure every Malaysian knows this mouth-watering food – Nasi Lemak! Nasi lemak is a Malay cuisine dish consisting of fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf. It usually comes with a variety of accompaniments such as hard-boiled egg, peanuts, vegetables, lamb/chicken/beef curry, seafood, and sambal (chili-based sauce). However, in the olden days, Nasi Lemak was paired with fried fish, kangkung, and stir-fried sambal only. For me, I love the sambal very much and I could even have Nasi Lemak with just only the sambal! The sambal is definitely the essence of Nasi Lemak. The dish is traditionally eaten for breakfast but these days people are ordering it any time of day.
- Borneo Island – the 3rd largest island in the world.
Covering an area of roughly 287,000 square miles, Borneo is the third-largest island in the world. The island is politically divided among three countries: Malaysia and Brunei in the north, and Indonesia in the south. There are four regions where Kalimantan belongs to Indonesia; Sabah and Sarawak are part of Malaysia; while a small remaining region comprises the sultanate of Brunei. It is the only island in the world to be politically administered by three countries at a time. With a generally hot and wet climate, rain is more common than not. Due to the abundance of rainfall, Borneo’s flora is among the most diverse in the world! Borneo has nearly 11,000 species of flowering plants, about a third of which are indigenous.
- Tualang – the world’s tallest tropical tree.
The Tualang, also known as Koompassia excelsa, is an emergent tropical rainforest tree species in the family Fabaceae. It is found not only in Malaysia, but also in other countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. Malaysia boasts being the home of the world’s tallest Tualang, with its base of over 3m in diameter and around 80m in height. The tallest Tualang can be found in Tawau Hills Park, Sabah.
It’s a wrap! After going through all the 10 fun facts of Malaysia, do you know our beloved country better? Due to the corona outbreak, we may not be able to have a grand celebration on a national day. However, patriotic sentiments could be expressed not only by having a large celebration but always keeping it in our hearts. Lastly, I hope everyone could stay safe and healthy, and I believe we could get through this pandemic together.