Malaysians unite over “Truly Malaysian” scenes

 Malaysians will assemble over a handful of things. It usually includes loyalty to our local food, as well as nostalgic childhood snacks and memories that every 90s kid in Malaysia share in on. 

Something that truly brings out all of this Malaysian-ness in us every year is none other than Malaysia’s National Day. As this eventful day in our history is just around the corner, Malaysians are coming up with impressive drawings of things that “are so Malaysian” to them in response to a prompt from local artist, Ann Jaafar – and you can bet it includes the famous “power of the hand” trope and pictures of Myvis.

Prompt from local artist goes viral

The prompt was posted by Ann Jaafar on Twitter on 24th August 2020. The photo she shared of an empty box and one-line prompt – “Draw things that are so Malaysian to you” – has since racked up over 16,000 retweets at the time of writing. 

Just Truly Malaysian Things - original Tweet
Image adapted from: @annjrf

For those who haven’t heard of Ann Jaafar yet, she’s a talented Malaysian doodle artist who remains anonymous by wearing a brown paper bag with an expressive drawn-on face. She does this so that her art, which mainly consists of line art illustrations of adorably animated objects, can speak for itself.

Just Truly Malaysian Things - Ann Jaafar
Image credit: @annjrf

Malaysians respond with creative doodles showing truly Malaysian moments

The responses to Ann’s tweet brought out a flurry of talented Malaysians ready and willing to sketch out things that are uniquely Malaysian to them. Many had responses that are relatable to any of us who call Malaysia home. 

For animation student @ainraii, it’s the roti man who many of us will remember buying packets of tidbits from whenever they ride through our neighbourhoods. Netizen @fafrhna added a Milo truck for another familiar sighting from our past, while @Artortoise_full shared a sketch of a makcik patiently grinding coconuts without the help of any modern machines. 


Just Truly Malaysian Things - nostalgic sights
Image adapted from: @ainraii, @fafrhna, & @Artortoise_full 

Other netizens went on to draw some Malaysians’ quirks. This includes raising our eyebrows to say “hello” or “thank you” after making eye contact with someone, as illustrated by freelance artist, @callie_cchi

Some also noted the “Power of the Hand” as being able to communicate all our orders for food and drinks at mamaks. Netizen @syafiqali7 even went so far as to say that this is the true mark of a Malaysian.  

User @AemanSan___ added that we also go around calling anyone older than us “Auntie” or “Makcik” and “Uncle” or “Pakcik” even though we’re not related to them. 

Just Truly Malaysian Things - Malaysian quirks
Image adapted from: @aidafiqh_h, @syafiqali7 & @AemanSan___

Many also illustrated some classic local scenes that we’ve all stumbled across in our lives. Twitter user @Izxttt included a detailed sketch of a pakcik making teh tarik at a roadside mamak, a spot that many youths of Malaysia spend hours lepak-ing at. 

Not short of humour, @ipinpinn added a yellow MYVI to the mix while commenting “The one and only” – presumably referring to how this affordable car is popular among Malaysians and is often caught in unusual accidents. User @MsLailaSoraya also cited a motorcyclist with a terbalik jacket as a mark of Malaysian-ness. 

Just Truly Malaysian Things - relatable sightings
Image adapted from: @Izxttt, @ipinpinn & @MsLailaSoraya

Staying loyal to our food is also a local cultural trait, as observed by netizens @amethystmauve, @ahmdzairie, and @Kineslla who added impressive drawings of nasi lemak, aiskrim Malaysia, and hot cup Maggi respectively too.

Just Truly Malaysian Things - food
Image adapted from: @amethystmauve, @ahmdzairie, & @Kineslla

With how fun the whole Twitter thread looked, Pos Malaysia also contributed a sketch of a postman making deliveries and trying to dodge a friendly dog itching for a belly rub.

Just Truly Malaysian Things - Pos Malaysia
Image credit: @pos4you

Malaysians have fun online with truly local quirks

Malaysia is a colourful city packed with several rich cultures. This is why there’s often joy in seeing how we share a sense of Malaysian-ness, as illustrated here by these talented locals.

So we applaud Ann Jaafar starting a thread of these artworks that remind us of truly Malaysian moments, as our National Day draws near.

For deals and events to check out ahead of our National Day, click here:

Cover image adapted from:@ainraii, @syafiqali7 & @ipinpinn

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