What do Malaysians and the Irish have in common?


People attends the parade for St. Patrick’s Day. Source: Shutterstock

NO, this is not the start of a bad joke. It is, in fact, the start of realizing uncommon comparisons between two nations which are thousands of miles apart. 

Why? Because it’s very nearly St Patrick’s Day, and both countries and plenty of other nations are gearing up to celebrate.

Around the globe, it’s estimated that St Patrick’s Day is celebrated in over 50 countries and Malaysia is no exception.

Whether you’re of Irish descent, enjoy drinking creamy Guinness or just love an excuse to party on down to St Patrick’s town, there’s no reason to stop you joining in the celebrations on March 17 this year.

Surprisingly enough, Malaysia has many similarities to the emerald Ireland. But what are they?

Myths, fables, and tales of mysterious creatures

Asia is notorious for its belief in superstitions, black magic and mythical creatures that only come out under very specific circumstances.

While Ireland doesn’t take it quite this far, stories of the Irish orange-haired leprechaun are known across the world. Supposedly, the little fellow sits guarding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, bringing cheeky mischief to those he encounters.

Malaysia has its very own versions of mythical creatures, but one, in particular, isn’t as happy-go-lucky as the little Irish creature.

The legend of the pontianak strikes fear into children across Malaysia as their parents warn them not to go outside after dark as the “female vampire in the trees” will get them.

However, it’s more than likely an old wives’ tale to stop curious kids from getting lost in the night.

Cross-border banter

Ireland and England certainly have rivalries when it comes to sports and music. Ireland brought the world U2, but England created the Yorkshire pudding and David Beckham.

Similarly, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia have a friendly rivalry when it comes to food. But for anyone who has visited all three countries, you’ll know first hand that each delivers exceptional taste fusions. Everyone’s a winner.

Friendliest folk

Malaysia and Ireland play home to some of the most caring, inclusive, humble, generous and funny people on the planet.

Travelers to both nations are made to feel incredibly welcome. Often, locals will introduce tourists to local cultures, customs, and traditions, revealing an authentic and immersive experience, opposed to just another vacation.

Both nations pride themselves in having a laid-back attitude too. Sometimes, working on Malaysian time can be frustrating if you’re in a rush, but once you get used to the fact that nobody else is in a hurry, you can relax and take everything as it comes.

Love for Guinness

Does it need much more of an explanation? In almost every bar in big cities across Malaysia, Guinness or a similar silky stout will either be on draught or in a chilled bottle.

Simply ask for a pint of the “black stuff” and bar attendants in both nations will pull you a pint, albeit with a little wait, as the creamy beer-head settles.

Then simply sip, lick your top lip and enjoy.

What will you be doing to celebrate St Patrick’s Day?