A few weeks ago, we asked if we could use a word that could be applied to Malaysia’s self-imposed censorship: self-addressing media.
Malaysian media is a little more than a collection of news outlets, social media platforms, and blogs.
But we were wondering if self-censorship, a term that refers to how a country treats its media, applied here.
The answer is yes.
Self-censor, or self-indoctrinate?
Malaysians are often seen as self-righteous when it comes to what they read in the media, according to David E. Rieger, a researcher at the University of Washington who studies the social psychology of self-control.
But it’s hard to imagine Malaysians without self-concern about what’s out there in the world.
They have no sense of entitlement or guilt, he said.
They don’t see themselves as victims.
In fact, in Malaysia, self-confidence is often equated with self-esteem.
Rieger believes self-restraint and self-discipline are key to building a self-image.
He says that self-preservation is important to Malaysian society.
“Malaysi culture, in general, is based on self-denial,” he said, referring to a sense of self as superior and the importance of maintaining a sense that others can see you as a superior person.
It’s not that Malaysians are not sensitive to social issues or are ashamed of it, he continued.
“They’re very sensitive and they have a sense about what they’re doing, about their own behavior, and about others behavior.”
When it comes down to it, the world around you is just as important as what you do, said Nizamuddin Aboob, a professor of sociology at the American University of Singapore.
“It’s important for them to be aware of their own behaviour, so they can change.”
The word ‘malaysian’ comes from the Arabic word ‘Makr’ which means ‘world’ and is the name of a land that is divided into two halves: east and west.
The name ‘Malay’ is used in the form ‘Mahram’ which is the plural of ‘Maldives’ and ‘Malaya’ which refers to the region.
“There is a certain sense of isolation and isolationism in the country,” said Riegers, referring back to the fact that Malays are isolated from other cultures.
“I think that it’s very important to be self-aware and aware of your own behaviour.
That means you have to be a little bit more self-confident.
And self-satisfied and happy in your own self-worth.
Self-confidence can make a big difference.”
Malaysies self-consciousness over the media has been on the rise for some time.
But the word has become so prevalent that it has become something of a catchall for the country.
In 2013, the media company Al Jazeera America created an “anti-malay” tag on its Twitter account.
In 2016, the Malaysian government banned the phrase “self-censored,” meaning it would not be used in public, and it banned use of “self” and “malays” in headlines.
A similar ban was in place in Malaysia in March 2017.
In 2018, the country’s prime minister, Najib Razak, made headlines when he used a word he deemed “a form of self destruction.”
His use of the term, “malay-dee,” is now widely understood as a form of anti-Muslim bigotry.
Malay-language blogs, websites, and social media sites have been filled with the term “malayan” and other derogatory phrases.
Some people, including former prime minister Najib’s son, have suggested the term should be renamed “malaya” and that Malay-majority nations should be considered “Malayistan.”
In Malaysia, some of the words have become offensive and have even been considered derogatory.
Last year, a prominent Malaysian writer, author, and activist, Syed Mohamed, was attacked on Twitter by a user who called him a “faggot” and said he should be killed.
The term “Malays” is often used to describe those from the Malay majority and has been used to mean the entire nation, said Riesger.
But that’s not true, he explained.
“Malayan” is a generic term that describes many ethnicities, including the ethnic Chinese, he added.
“When we speak of Malay, we are referring to all the people who live in Malaysia and the country is part of Malaysia.”
While there’s a perception that Malays from the majority group are less tolerant of others, Riegs believes the opposite is true.
“In the Malayan country