Kuala Lumpur Culture
The delightful combination of traditions and cross-cultural influences offers the city with an enticing and exciting charm. Kuala Lumpur has a unique mix of modern lifestyle along with its traditional ways of life. Similar to some of the biggest cities of the world, Kuala Lumpur is home to different cultures that co-exist side by side.
Majority of population of Malaysia consists primarily of three ethnic groups – the Malays, the Chinese and the Indians. Despite the fact that several ethnic groups and races inhabit the country, the populace of the country gets along very well. This serene and beautiful land always welcomes its guests with a warm smile and hospitality that makes every person fall in love with this splendid nation. Kuala Lumpur can be considered as a cultural melting pot where every community consists of its own art, music, foods, festivals and fashions as well as influences from other cultures in a positive way.
Malays happen to be the major ethnic group of the nation and consists of a huge population residing mainly in the city’s outskirts. They follow the Muslim religion and traditionally fishermen and farmers from Palembang part of Sumatra. Bahasa Malaysia, the official language of the country is spoken by the Malays. These people have rich heritage in wooden handcrafts and weaving fabrics, mainly evident in areas like Kelantan and Terangganu. The political scenario of the country is also dominated by the Malays.
Chinese came to Malaysia as early as fifteenth century however it was only during the later part of eighteenth century they formed a significant portion of the population. Chinese workers migrated from Guangdong and Fujian in China to work for the booming tin industry. Majority of the Chinese people settled in the city and played a huge role towards the prosperity and growth of this beautiful city. Although, there are various dialects within the Chinese community, majority of them are Cantonese and Hokkiens descent in Kuala Lumpur. When it comes to economic power of the country, the Chinese population forms an integral part with numerous Chinese inhabiting in the urban areas. Their colorful traditions and customs are enjoyed by the locals and other communities with full spirit and enthusiasm. Presently, most of the Chinese people pride themselves of good education and their ability to speak several languages make them popular in the business world. A big part of the Chinese population is presently involved with commercial and corporate sector of Malaysia.
Indians are the 3rd largest race in the country and a big portion of them have their home in the city of Kuala Lumpur. Most of the Indians in Kuala Lumpur are from the southern part of India and mainly practice Hinduism as their religion. They either speak Hindi or Tamil and their traditions and customs are intricately bonded with their religion. Several Hindu temples are scattered throughout the city that come to life during major Hindu festivals like Deepavali when colorful rituals and rites are performed. Another significant part of the Indian population is comprised of the Punjabis and most of them are involved in business sector. The Punjabis have a colorful culture and their popular festival is the ‘Vaishakhi’ – the New Year & Harvest Festival of the Sikh’s.
The indigenous group of people inhabiting Peninsular Malaysia is known as Orang Asli. They are considered to be the original natives of this land and have been present for more than thousands of years. Languages originating from Austronesia happen to be their primary languages though, with recent developments and advancements, many have resorted to the use of Malay language. People from this community are fast giving up their traditional ways of life to adopt commercial lifestyle of the people outside. The skills and traditional customs of the hunters and farmers residing in the area are exposed to the threat of extinction.
The declining population that still inhabits the area sustains their livelihoods through harvesting the jungle but their ways and methods have definitely become much more modernized. Many are in search of ways to earn more money and live a descent lifestyle. Few people from the tribes now put their traditional skills and customs on display so as to earn some money from tourists and travelers. The matter of fact is that Orang Asli remain neglected by the society and their customs, traditions and culture are slowly progressing towards total extinction. Plight of these people is hanging in balance where the future looks uncertain and blurry.