"Body Language" Penang Local Custom Tip by mtaiwai

Penang Local Customs: 91 reviews and 117 photos

The following body language is vulgar in Malaysia
1) Showing of middle finger (i suppose this is western influence). (The sign is trying to convey male sex organ?)

2) hand1 making a 'O' to form a hole. hand2 palms open. hand2 cover hand1's hole. Done with gusto and with sound (have seen westerner done this to generate some sound, so i guess this mean something in the western world). Done on the face/body level of target. Coupled with unkind remarks or responses to unkind remarks. (The sign is trying to convey male-female copulation?)

3) hand1 making a 'O' to form a hole. thrust hand2 index finger into hand1's hole. Done on he face/body level of target. Coupled with unkind remarks or responses to unkind remarks. (The sign is trying to convey male female copulation?)

The following body language is not vulgar (or has not become vulgar yet) in Malaysia
1) the peace sign (ie 'V') with palm facing in. This according to Allan Pease means up-yours, but i think it is only in the western context. In the local context, it means the number 2. palm facing in and palm facing convey the same meaning. For example, I ordered 2 popiah at a busy stall. The aunty was so busy with other customers that by the time she is done with them, she has forgotten about my order. Then she saw my face. Apologetically, she smiled, raised her eyebrow a bit and at same time gave me the 'V' palm facing in, to confirm if i ordered 2 just now. I gave her a 'V' palm facing out (the common number 2) as confirmation. No sweat. Perfect closed loop data communication.

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  • Updated Nov 2, 2006
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