Muhammad Iskandar Azlan

21 years old from Sungai Petani, Kedah. Currently in his 3rd year of studying (Teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages TESOL) in USM, Penang. Love to read tales of short stories and plays Hockey for the USM Hockey Team

Throughout the years, Malaysia has become one of the top notch country in South East Asia alongside its neighbor, Singapore. If we take a look clearly on how Malaysia has grown to become a very well-known country is mostly because of the western influence it brings with it. to better understand it, the most appropriate way to put it is the modern imperialism in Malaysia. Therefore, I would like to discuss the evidence of modern imperialism in Malaysia which are the names we give to certain things, the culture of buying products and also the education system.

To begin with, one of the clearest evidence that we can notice is that the names we bestow upon certain things be it buildings, roads and foods. In Kuala Lumpur, as in New York City, there are now places called (Berjaya) Times Square, MegaMall, Mid-Valley MegaMall in which their names do not reflect the reality of the local traditions at all. Roads in Penang are very highly influenced by the western influence such as Burma Road, Chulia Street, Victoria Street and many more. Foods no longer portray the tradition in the Malaysian culture. Instead of serving Nasi Lemak, Hokkien Mee, Mutton Kurma, restaurants across Malaysia are now famously serving Chicken Chop, Chicken Grill, Spaghetti and a lot other foods that do not exemplify the culture of foods in Malaysia. Even though some might say this matter can be quite a petty thing to discuss, however, the names we bestow upon buildings and roads, and the foods in our Malaysian culture are the things what people would observe and ponder upon when they visit our country. If we are too engrossed in naming all the buildings and roads using names which are related to western influence and promote foods which do not exemplify our Malaysian culture, eventually, one day, this country will forever lose its identity.

Furthermore, our people’s culture of buying products have also changed a lot throughout the years. This is also an evidence of modern imperialism in Malaysia. Traditional “bazaar” or “pasar” where customers could bargain and the products were cheap have lost its popularity among the citizen. Malaysians nowadays buy products to identify them with varying classes and social status. Hence, the upper class Malaysian will buy Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada and those of the lower class will buy Padang Besar or Golok-made imitations of these products. This culture of buying products is making people to compete with one another on who are more capable of buying all these renowned brands which is ridiculous. People would go to extreme extent just to get the fame of being capable of buying these so called “branded” products and neglecting the very roots of the culture of buying in traditional “bazaar” and “pasar” where you can bargain for a cheaper price.

Subsequently, another evidence of modern imperialism in Malaysia is our education system. Western colonization has strongly impacted the educational system. The syllabus we used to educate our children in schools are mostly taken from the westerners such as the exam oriented syllabus. We never actually had our own system of education. The syllabus we used are directly influenced by the western countries. We may have altered it in some ways so that it would be recognized and accepted in Malaysia. Nevertheless, our prime source of the system of education in Malaysia is undoubtedly influenced by the western countries. Countries like Japan and Finland use their very own educational system without having the influence of other countries and from the statistics presented, they are the countries with the highest stand in education worldwide. This shows that it is not impossible for our country to formulate its own educational system without having any influence from the western countries and being successful or otherwise is a risk that we have to take in order for us to have a step further than just following the same old way we have been following for the past 50 years.

Alas, Malaysia may have grown to be one of the prominent countries in South East Asia and this has helped the economy to flourish. However, we must know that even though it has flourished, modern imperialism has affected lots of things in this county and as time goes by, the tradition and the culture of the Malaysian people are slowly diminishing and eventually Malaysia will lose its identity. Therefore, the evidence of modern imperialism that can be clearly seen throughout the years are the names we give to certain things, the culture of buying products and the educational system in which if do not start taking them seriously, Malaysia will no longer be Malaysia.

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