“Melayu Boleh” is perhaps the most popular Malay phrase in Malaysia. It gets thousands of online searches daily and has even made national news a few times. So what is Melayu Boleh? Why is it so popular among the Malaysian Malays?
Melayu Boleh, which is a phrase in the Malay language, is loosely translated to “Malays can” or “Malays can do it”. The origin of this Malay phrase is rather sparse, but there are three theories that attempt to answer it.
The first theory suggests that this phrase has its origin from the slogan “Malaysia Boleh” which means “Malaysia can do it” – a very popular and fitting slogan to motivate the early post-independent Malaysians to strive for excellence and prosperity.
Since the Malays (Melayu) form the majority of Malaysia’s population and has a country now to call their own, it was only natural that this phrase as a slogan soon began to appear – a slogan for the Malay community to show the world that they too could strive for excellence and attain success like any other community.
Another theory suggests that this phrase has its origin from a health beverage commercial that was widely shown on national television in the early eighties. The commercial’s wordplay on “Boleh” mesmerized the nation and planted the seed for Melayu Boleh’s current usage and popularity.
The last theory, a theory which one will find most interesting and distasteful at the same time, suggests that this has its origin from a Malay adult website of the same name in the late nineties. This massively popular site, a first among the conservatives Malays, stirred controversy during its brief existence and opened the gates to a flood of similar sites, which the government soon clamped down.
These theories, at least the first and the third, explain why Melayu Boleh is popular among the Malaysians. The first theory points to nationalistic and community pride, while the third points to a basic human need – sex.
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Source by Yani Armani
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