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It can be said with some certainty that Malaysian time is plus but never minus - i.e., expect things to generally start a little past their scheduled time, or people to get to an appointment just a teensy bit late.
How little and how teensy depends on many factors - mood and traffic among them. Fifteen minutes to half an hour is the generally accepted "plus factor" in calculating Malaysian time, although if it's a Chinese wedding dinner then you can add another hour to that.
In fact, it's generally thought that the time stated on the wedding invitation is actually the time guests should leave their respective homes for wherever the dinner is being held.
Malaysian timing is one reason why we always seem to be driving in a hurry. Face it, if we all left 15 minutes earlier than we usually do for our appointments, we'd not only get there on time, but there'd be fewer "beasts" on the road too. People have tried to beat the system by scheduling their events half an hour earlier than the desired start time, so that people will arrive just in time. It works - some of the time.
An other particularity is the refusal to be fixated in the future: "Tomorrow" means "Not now". It does not say that 'something will be done at all' (and certainly not tomorrow!).
If a shop is closed it is because it is closed and it will be open when it is open again. Don't make things more complicated than they are!
If you are a friend of intellectual clarity you will bang your head at a wall of 'don't know', 'perhaps' and 'may be'. Nobody is stupid enough to get stressed by you - lol.
Malaysian invitation for a Business Dinner
If you are invited for a Business-Dinner-Event, be at least 15 to 20 min late - or you will be alone with yourself, feel miserable and everybody will know that you are new in town.
If you are 15 min late - you still will have to wait probably for an other half an hour until several important persons start to have a speech. The speech is probably done in Malaysian and if you do not speak the language you will have no clue what all is about. Then, when the speeches are over, you can start to eat. You will normally be seated at a round table with many others - so just follow them. After you have eaten the event is officially over for you. You got what you came here for - righ? No one expects you to say thank you to anyone or good bye, just leave and clear the space.
C-Right 2014 by Langkawi Gazette