One topic of discourse the Malaysian person enjoys indubitably is money. This includes asking others how much money they make, how much they paid for something, what their monthly expenses are, etc. Despite the sensitive and private nature of money to some people, Malaysians will not hesitate to prod and peruse the financial aspect of other people’s lives on a daily basis.
Inquiring about money is essential to the Malaysian’s self-confidence and assessment of others. By having intimate knowledge of someone’s earnings, the Malaysian can determine his and said person’s comparative ranking in the unseen social hierarchy. The general rule of thumb is: more money=higher status (foreigners and celebrities are exempt from this rule). Having knowledge that someone makes less money than himself gives the Malaysian great pride and assurance. However, should the Malaysian meet someone earning more money than he, his mind will be wracked with turmoil and will not rest until he reaches justification that the other person earns more because of unscrupulous methods (“I know! He must be having an affair with his boss. No one makes that much at my age!”).
Although most Malaysians can be cajoled into revealing their finances after awhile, there are some who remain steadfast in their reticence. No amount of coaxing will persuade them to loosen their restraint. This would be perfectly respectable except for the fact that the most secretive Malaysian will also be the most inquisitive.
This inquisitive Malaysian who refuses to reveal any information whatsoever regarding their money matters will nonetheless interrogate others about their fiscal situation. This type of Malaysian takes great pleasure in pursuing private information of others while retaining their own. After acquiring the facts and figures of others, the inquisitive Malaysian conducts his own assessment and evaluation. His treatment and judgment of the people whose information he possesses will then be based on the rating scale he has set in his mind.
If you encounter a Malaysian who is insistent on extracting your profit and loss statement, fabricate a figure that will leave him floundering (“I make $300k a month and I don’t even have to go to the office!”). This will leave the Malaysian flabbergasted and the knowledge will haunt him day and night. He will not bother you anymore out of insecurity, until he self-surmises that your money is the result of ill gotten gains or money laundering at which point he can feel good about himself again.