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Malaysia and South Korea

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Ji Hoon Lee

on 31 October 2013

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Transcript of Malaysia and South Korea

Malaysia and South Korea
Culture; Similarities and Differences
We always live in many different cultures. We are surrounded by it, we are affected by it, and we try to adjust to it. These cultures make us different. People who grew up in different cultures are different. But if you look closer, you can see the similarities as well. What? You don’t believe that they can share similarities as well as differences? OK, I’m going to show you how that can happen by comparing Malaysian and South Korean cultures.
First culture I’m going to talk about is the clothing.
When you have a chance to go to both countries, Malaysia and Korea, you easily can recognize that there are not so many people wandering around with wearing their ancient traditional clothing. Not many people in Malaysia would wear their clothes like they would wear in Hari Raya. It is even weirder if you wear Hanbok (Korean traditional cloth) and walk around in the heart of Seoul. It is a similarity that you don’t wear traditional clothes that often.

But, the main difference is that you totally CANNOT see people wearing hijab if you’re not terribly lucky to see them in Seoul. But, in Malaysia, you can see people wearing hijab for about once in 10 seconds. In the city, you even can see them almost 5 seconds a once. It is because Muslim takes about 60% of the Malaysian population list. On the contrast, Christianity and Buddhist are mainly covering up the religion of Korea, so there are not many chances to see Muslims that often.

Next culture is the food. There are quite a lot similarity between the Malaysian food and the Korean food than you might think. The first similarity is that Malaysia and Korea both have a lot of spicy foods. We have to admit that the Malaysian food is spicy, since we agreed to that when we were discussing about some similarities and differences between Malay and British food. Of course, there are so many spicy foods in Malaysia, like Tom Yam soup or Laksa noodle (which are all my favorite; yummy!). As for Korean food, there are quite many spicy foods such as Kimchi or Ttukbokki.
The second similarity is that both Malaysian family and Korean family usually eat all together, breakfast or lunch or whatever. In Korea, people usually gather around with their family since Korean families are often big. The family was often huge since it was better to have many people in the family, because it would make the farming work much more easier. (Not now, since there are not so many people who live in a countryside farming for whole of their lives and passing their job to their sons before they die, but there are still many big families left.) For Malaysia, we already agreed that people gather around and have meal together, also in our Humanities class.

There are also huge amounts of differences between Malaysian food and Korean food, but the biggest difference is that in Malaysia, many people don’t eat pork, because many of them are Muslims or vegetarians. But, to such a surprise to who is Muslims, pork is one of the MOST famous meat in Korea. When colleagues or friends meet and they want to have meal together, they would usually say, “Hey guys, do you want to go have some Samgyupsal?” (Samgyupsal[Sam-gyup-sal]=grilled pork). It is because there are not many Muslims in Korea. In Malaysia, many people are Muslims, and they are not allowed to eat pork.
Another difference is that foods in Korea are not containing much spice, comparing to Malaysian food. They have to use many spices because Malaysia is a hot country. If they do not put spices in their food, the food will go bad in about half a day. But, Korea is not that hot country. The hot days are only late June to early September, for about three or four months, since only those days are summer. The winter days’ temperature sometimes even drops down to -10 degrees Celsius. So, spices don’t hugely seem to be necessary.

The third thing I want to talk about is the architect. The similarity between Malaysia and South Korea is that the buildings and houses are very crowded in the city with not much space or gaps between them, since many people flock into the city by many different reasons, like to get better conditions for education or their jobs, et cetera. If people build the buildings with not so much gaps between the buildings, they would not be able to build many houses, and that would lead to ugly situation.

The difference between the two countries is that buildings in Korea are jutting high up to the sky, and each of the stories is not so wide, but that buildings in Malaysia are very low and each of the stories are wide. It is because Korea has much more people living in one area, comparing to Malaysia. Plus, Malaysia has much larger land then Korea.

The last culture I wanted to look at was the festivals.
The similarity is that almost every people in each country would go to see their relatives and gather around when it is holiday or festivals. In Korea, it is almost said that in the holidays, people do ‘temporary migrate’. Many people would drive their own transportation or ride a bus or train or whatever for about 4 hours to meet their relatives living in the far, far countryside, to eat things, to wear traditional clothes, and to talk to each other, asking ‘How are you’ to some relatives that they only meet at the festivals, since they usually don’t have time during their hard works. I sometimes see those relatives who I even didn’t see them for ages. And after these tight and tiring schedules, they are still happy by the fact that they met their family, and that it is the holiday.

The main difference is that there are NO formal holidays for Muslims in Korea. It is ironic that people celebrate Christmas or The Birthday of Buddha and make both festivals a formal holiday, but they don’t celebrate Hari Raya. Hari Raya is not even the formal holiday. It means that they don’t celebrate Islamic Holidays. But, in Malaysia, Hari Raya is one of the most important festivals they celebrate. It is because there are not many people living in Korea that are Muslims. (Uh, those Muslims, they seem to be changing everything, including the clothings, food and the festivals.)

After doing this essay, I was quite surprised that there are so many similarities between those two countries. I knew that there would be many differences between those two countries, but I didn’t know there would be many similarities. Also, I felt quite guilty of how less I knew about the country I am living now. I thought that I should have more curiosity of things around me.
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