July 31, 2008

#25 SMS

SMS, or texting as it is known in some parts of the world, is an integral part of the Malaysian person's identity and lifestyle. As a whole, Malaysians send over 20 billion text messages annually. The acronym "SMS" stands for Shortcut Malaysian Syndrome.

It is a well known fact that Asian people are non-confrontational by nature. This trait is prominent in Malaysian people as they constantly seek the least offensive, simplest, cheapest and most laconic way to convey rejection, disappointment or a "courtesy excuse". In fact, Malaysians have proven to be most ingenious with their usage of SMS. To illustrate this point, observe the following SMS conversations:

Bruce Weng : We r meeting l8er 4 drinks. Leave ball n chain @ home. Dun bring sand 2 d beach! LOL wat is ur status?

Harvey Tang: Negative, gf dun let. Permission denied.

Bruce Weng : LMAO! Ok, ur loss. Over.

Using SMS to deliver breaking news is also very popular:

Oi Lee: Petrol price go up 80 cent at 12 midnite. Go refuel now!

Or to disseminate jokes:

Brook : What did the gay politician say to his assistant?

Beck : I'm right behind you.

It is also permissible for a Malaysian man to divorce his wife through use of SMS. Observe the following text transcript:

Mohd Sayfool : I wan divorce u. Take note, ya..

Siti Hazmat : Wat?? C u in court.

Mohd Sayfool : No need, this is legal Shariah court ruling. Thx, bye!

The use of SMS is not restricted to difficult situations alone, in fact Malaysians consider texting a pasttime. It is not uncommon to see Malaysian people texting at the cinema, while eating or as they multitask behind the wheel. The manner in which a Malaysian person texts is also a distinguishing skill. To text with the fewest amount of characters possible is a proficiency developed in patience over time (eg. "OTW, wait4me", "CU thr", "Bk!") and you must be able to decipher the text lest you be labelled as "uncool" or "blur". It is also desirable to have a loud message alert tone so others are notified as to the amount of messages you receive which symbolise your popularity.

The most salient display of Malaysian people's affinity for SMS can be seen during local reality show campaigns. Malaysians are most generous in their SMS contributions to ensure their favourite contestants win the competition. It would be an understatement to say that these Malaysians are fanatical in their support. If their favourite should lose, they will spout conspiracy theories ("It's not fair, her Dad must have used his connections.") and conduct post mortems extensively ("They only kept her in to make money, they were never going to let her win!"). This of course, is something you can exploit to your advantage by simply saying "I'm pissed she didn't win, I voted for her too!".

By now, you should have surmised that in order to initiate a budding relationship with a Malaysian person, all you have to do is start with a simple text message; "Hi! Can we b frens ;-)??".


fie the elf said...


when i was in kl for 8 months, my friends used to get so mad cause i took more than 10 minutes to answer a text. lolol

k said...

no no no you know what's worse?
"do you PLAY msn?"

B.H. said...

Fie- I can understand their frustration. KL people are impatient.

Kim- That's a good idea for a future topic actually. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

apparently not all involved in SMS contest..and i guess mostly Malays are overly-indulged in SMS contests..

Little Miss Curious said...

Goodness! This is something I've been trying to get a hang of for some time now. It takes me a while to understand a text message (SMS) like "C u l8er? (in fact, it took me 1 min to figure out how later should be spelt in SMS language). Probably cos I'm SLOW! :p

B.H. said...

Yatz- Potentially sensitive statement there but I appreciate the honesty.

Anita- Well now you know. Cu l8r!


starwish said...

I can take up to a day to respond to SMS messages. I am the anti-Christ of the SMS. My friends don't SMS me - they call, as I loathe SMS-ing.

I hate the "SMS language" and people alternating between caps and non caps. They belong in the pits of hell.

B.H. said...


You scare me. But the world needs old souls like you otherwise conversation would be a lost art.