Living the life of a Malaysian person is never easy. Each new day is another struggle to prove that they are better than the next Malaysian. That is why social networking sites exist. In the past, Malaysians used Friendster or MySpace but slowly everyone gravitated towards Facebook. It was of course, unacceptable for Malaysian people to remain on old networks and thus started the Facebook era.
The power of Facebook in raising a Malaysian person’s social status in life cannot be underestimated, the profile page is very important in determining social desirability. The first thing a Malaysian person will look at (besides your self-photography) is the number of friends you have. A large number of friends is very crucial and a benchmark to one’s status in the social hierarchy. Anything less than a thousand friends could lead to you being labelled a social pariah. You do not want this.
The next indicative sign a Malaysian person will observe is personal information such as education, influences and basically what stereotype they can pigeonhole you into for future reference. The more astute Malaysian will list the most obscure (but foreign) elements in his/her profile. Western or European movies, books, philosophy, music and clichéd quotes are all acceptable to project that they are cultured and knowledgeable. It is also necessary for a Malaysian person to join as many celebrity (I Heart Brad Pitt), political (Obama for President) or social cause (1 Million Malaysians Against Fuel Hike) groups and applications to demonstrate their firm understanding of pop culture and the socio-political climate.
Another crucial element of the Malaysian Facebook dynamic is to constantly update their profile with updates on what they are doing or thinking to show how busy, popular or smart they are (“Andy. Is. So. Tired.”, “Sasha is excited about her trip to Melbourne, w00t!”, “Tiffany loves the romantic ambience of Starbucks..”, “George is pumped from his intense gym session!!”, “Mandy got 90% for her Macro Econs paper!”, “Lina is assignmenting..”). But it is not enough to constantly update a profile message, Malaysian people also need to photograph all the events that take place in their lives and compile them into a photo album. Malaysian people have a knack for making the mundane seem interesting and this is evident when you see those albums featuring them in a drunken stupor at a club or pictures of their half eaten dinners from the day before.
Facebook is also a credible source of information and news for Malaysian people. For example, reading the messages that people leave on friends’ walls (“Hey, I’ve been good. Hectic as usual but that’s me, busy busy busy!”). If a Malaysian person desires to find out more about that guy or girl they’re interested in, all they have to do is cybersquat on their Facebook page and watch their daily updates as well as admire the aesthetic nuances of that person’s pictures. This information they gain can then be conveniently used in future conversations (“I really enjoyed The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. No way, you too? We’re like soulmates, it’s insane!”). Even their friendships can be managed easier. All they have to do is leave a message on their acquaintances’ page once every six months or simply poke them. This shows the sincerity and fortitude of their relationship that extends to cyberspace.
Remember that a Malaysian person’s Facebook page is every bit as critical to their identity as their job, friends and living address. If eyes are the window to a person’s soul, Facebook is the door to a Malaysian person’s mind. Anything you can absorb and decipher from a Malaysian person’s page can be highly useful but at the same time highly deceptive. This is because none of the things they state were true to begin with. But they sure would like you to believe that it is.
Note: A Malaysian person who doesn’t have an account at any social networking site is either a Counterculturalist or does not own a computer. Both are equally dangerous.