Malaysia My Destination : Info about Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
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Johor / Johore : Southern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
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Malacca / Melaka : Southern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Negeri Sembilan / The Nine State : Southern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
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Sabah : East Malaysia / Malaysian Borneo - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Labuan (Federal Territory) : East Malaysia / Malaysian Borneo - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Sarawak : East Malaysia / Malaysian Borneo - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
 
 
 
JOHOR - SOUTHERN REGION OF PENINSULAR MALAYSIA
PEOPLE & CULTURE
 
 

PEOPLE & CULTURE

 

To appreciate the rich and diverse culture of Johor, you have to look into the customs and tradition, lifestyle and beliefs of our people. The handicrafts of the Johoreans are often another expression of this culture. The past of course influenced and shaped the culture of today. Therefore a look at the heritage of Johor will help to link the past and the present.

 

Being a multi-racial society, the customs and traditions of Johor represent a collection of the practices and its diversity. Visitors to Johor are often amazed by the cultural diversity they encounter. Cultural expressions can take many other forms - such as dresses, customs, beliefs, ceremonies, celebrations, festivals, dances, games and pastimes.

 
 

NAMES

The personal names of Johoreans (and Malaysians) will indicate their racial and religious background.

 

Malay Name

A Malay name has a personal name, which is followed by the name of his or her father. The gender indicated by ?bin? (for male) and ?binti? (for female) is added in between. For example, Kamarul bin Sulaiman (Kamarul is a male whose father is Sulaiman), or Nur Aisyah binti Kamarul (Nur Aisyah is a female whose father is Kamarul). The gender indicator may be unofficially written as ?b.? for ?bin?, or ?bte.? For ?binti?.

 

Chinese Name

A Chinese name starts with the surname, which is followed by his or her personal name. The personal name usually is made up of two Chinese characters though some have only one. For example, Chew Chin Chye or Hong Swee Swee or Tan Cheng. Chinese Christians usually have a Christian name before their surnames. However, do not assume all Chinese with such English names are Christians as some are not. For example Jimmy Sim Ah Ba.

 

Indian Name

An Indian name is arranged in the order of his or her personal name, gender indicator and the father?s name. The gender indicator is either s/o (son of) or d/o (daughter of). Thus, Rama s/o Samy and Letchumy d/o Arumugum are names for a male and female respectively. Some Indians may also have English names, though they may not be Christians.

 

Sikh Name

The Sikh name is simpler. The personal name is followed by a gender indicator, Singh for male or Kaur for female. For example, Harcharan Singh or Harcharan Kaur. The same personal name may be used by both sexes.

 
 

RELIGION

Johor is a land of many faiths. The main religions are Islam, Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity. Although the official religion is Islam, each citizen is free to pursue his or her own religious beliefs except the Malays who are Muslims. The majority of the Chinese is Buddhist or Taoist, and the Indians are Hindus or Christians. These distinctive religious pursuits bring about the diversity of customs, traditions, beliefs and lifestyles of each ethnic. Most of the festivals observed are linked to religions. Places of worship of different faiths are found throughout the state. Some have become historical treasures because of their intricate architecture designs and cultural significance. A few have become major tourist attractions, thronged by visitors both local and foreign.

 
 

RELATIONSHIP

Johoreans of all races show great respects for the royalties, dignitaries and the elders. Protocols are observed rather strictly. The people showed then respect by not wearing yellow-colour attire in their audiences with the royalties and in their choice of words used in conversations. Dignitaries are similarly respected and are addressed with appropriate title conferred (eg, Dato?) by the Sultan or King before their names, as a respect to the ruler. Shoes or other footwear should not be worn into a Johorean?s home or into a place of worship. You may be disallowed into a holy place for inappropriate dressing. Mosques may require you to wear a jubah (or robe) before entering. It is also impolite to take food with your left bare hand in a Malay home.

 
 

CELEBRATIONS

To celebrate auspicious occasions, the people of Johor observe certain customs or rituals. For the Malays, marriage is an elaborate affair from the date of engagement to actual marriage. The process of circumcision (berkhatan) is also customary. Thanksgiving kenduri (feast) is frequently held as an expression of gratitude for the manifold blessings or successes. The Chinese of the Taoist faith believe in ancestor worshipping. They will consult the Chinese almanac for ?auspicious? date and time for marriage, business and home-shifting. During the first day of the Chinese New Year (see below), the sweeping of floor is a taboo as it is tantamount to sweeping away of good fortune.

 
 

PASTIME

The past time pursuits of the locals revolve around hobbies, games, family and community. Hobbies include music, movie going, karaoke, dancing, kite flying, top spinning, stamps and coins collection, art and craft and others. An interesting aspect of kite flying is the local kite called the wau, which was believed to be existence more than 500 years ago. The making of this kite is an art itself. The best time to admire the beauty and elegance of wau and other kites is during the Pasir Gudang International Kite Flying Festivals in Pasir Gudang about 45km from Johor Bahru city centre. Top spinning is also an intriguing pastime among the males. Local gasing (tops) are oval or disc shaped. Regional or district-level top spinning competitions are regularly organised. Top spinning demonstration and learning is one of the many events in the stage?s agro-tourism tour packages.

 

Fishing is passionately pursued by many because of the state?s long stretches of rivers and vast expanse of seas and the presence of many commercially operated fishing lakes or ponds. You can plan for lake fishing or deep-sea game fishing in this southern wonder of Malaysia. In fact, the state holds annual fishing competition in the month of April/May on different fishing sites. Picnicking at popular beaches, recreational parks and forests is also another weekend pastime. Two popular traditional Malay games for the male are the sepak raga and sepak takraw, whereas congkak, a game of wits is popular among the women folks. An interesting communal based pastime, especially for the rural folks is to meet informally at local coffee shop early in the morning or evening and engage in casual chit-chats or serious exchange of opinions on village, national and international interests.

 
 

TRADITIONAL MUSIC, DANCE & PERFORMANCES

 

Among the traditional Malay music is Ghazal. Ghazal comes from a Persian word meaning simultaneous singing and poem recital. It was believed that Ghazal was introduced by the Indian Armed Forces around the 1920s. It is played with several musical instruments, including the harmonium, violin, gambus, guitar, tabla and maracas. Today the music of Ghazal is an expression of Malay?s pride to their country and people. Kuda Kepang and Zapin are among the more popular traditional Malay dances in Johor. Kuda (horse) kepang (weaving) is a term used to symbolise horse-riding ritual. The dance was believed to come from Java for the propagation of Islam in the 15th century by re-enacting the courage of Islamic warriors. Dramatic and hypnotic, Kuda Kepang is today developed as a traditional dance to promote the cultural heritage of Johor. Zapin is a beautiful and graceful traditional Malay dance and is very popular in Johor. Generally believed to have originated from Arab. Zapin is often performed in groups in sequential and orderly movements that are associated with birds. Thus, a large space is required to bring out the best of Zapin. It has become a major attraction in official functions as well as fiesta, wedding reception and other ceremonies.

 

The Chinese lion dance and dragon dance are animistic dances that seek to portray the powers of roaring lion and magnificent dragon to drive away evils and to bring in good fortunes and prosperity. Deafening drumbeats are used to synchronise ritual movements to frighten evils. The display of skills from a series of demonstration by the performers requires years of training. Lion dance is more popular here and has become a common feature of the Chinese New Year celebrations.

 
 

PULAU SIALU

 

There is a tiny island with a lighthouse, Pulau Sialu, in the of Batu Pahat district. It was the home of the seafaring Orang Asli. The Orang Asli has moved to the mainland and the island has great potential to be a tourist destination.

 
 
 
 
PEOPLE & CULTURE
JOHOR - SOUTHERN REGION OF PENINSULAR MALAYSIA