Forget your fancy schmancy English here. Malaysians have their own colloquial slangs that gave birth to the Rojak language. It’s a variety of languages including Malay, Chinese (Mandarin, Hokkien, Foochow), Tamil, Hindi all blended into one rojak language.
But before we go into it alphabetically, let’s look at one term that deserves a big shout-out, putting itself ahead of the alphabet A, and that is: Lah
Want to speak like a Malaysian? Just add ‘lah’ at the end of your sentences and you’re good to go. It has no specific meaning, but the additional ‘lah’ suffix adds texture and emphasis to the overall sentence. For example, “Can lah!” expresses affirmation meanwhile “Faster lah” is Malaysians’ way of saying “We better hurry up!”
Malaysians version of ‘Oh my God!’ “Alamak! I forgot to bring my wallet!”
Everyone you need a favour from in Malaysia is a ‘Boss’. Doesn’t matter if that person is a worker at a hawker stall, security guard or an actual boss. “Boss, teh tarik satu!” is equal to “Can I get a glass of teh tarik please”
Derived from the Hokkien word ‘never invite’, Malaysians say this to the people who don’t invite them to an outing or gathering etc.
- Situation: Person A went to the newest café in town and uploaded the photo on social media.
- Comment: Bo jio.
Another way of saying “are you sure?”
There are various ways to using this slang. But in general, it indicates a stamp of approval. “That girl is so chun! Is she single?”
It means anything is acceptable, or in simpler terms, “whatever”.
- “Blue or Pink?”
- “Cincai lah!”
Another word for “wow!”
- “Fuyoh! Damn nice la this car!”
To reverse a vehicle. “Can gostan some more!” is another way of saying “there’s still space to reverse”.
When you’re caught red handed.
- “What are you doing here at the mall? Aren’t you supposed to be in school now? Kantoi!”
Indicates you having a lot of money .
- Person A comes carrying a Gucci handbag.
- Person B: “Wah, masyuk ah!”
Macha / Dei
Malaysian way of calling a person ‘bro’.
- “Where are you, dei?”
When you agree to whatever the other person is suggesting.
- “What are we having for lunch?”
- “Let’s have mee mamak”
When you have no money left.
- “Hey, you up for a movie tonight?”
- “Cannot macha.. I pokai already”
To describe a muscular man.
- “Walao, Tom Hanks so sado in that movie!”
From the Chinese word da bao, which means take-out.
- “So that’s one double cheeseburger meal, having here or take away?”
- “Tapao please!”
Walao / Walao eh
To describe the feeling of surprise (wow!) or disbelief
A response to a false statement or accusation.
- “I heard you’re getting married soon.”
- “Where got!”
And there you have it, some of the beloved rojak slangs Malaysians use every day. Which one is your favourite?