Texting 101: Common Malaysian Text Misunderstandings

Anger, hurt, confusion, anxiety. All over a simple text or lack of. Do any of these seemingly over the top reactions sound familiar to you?

With the convenience of texting, face-to-face communication has taken a bit of a backseat in our society. Just how many times have misunderstandings occurred because of this little technological advancement? More often than not, texting is infinitely easier than actually calling someone. This holds especially true when you’re in a rush or just can’t talk at the time.

Sometimes, it’s necessary. Other times, not so much.

I’m sure you’re familiar with at least a few of the following

  1. The ever infamous Malaysian timing

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You think Malaysian timing only applies for actual meet ups? Think again! This habit of ours extends to text messaging too and while it seems innocent enough, it can lead to misunderstandings.

Whether the person you texted takes an hour, a day or much longer to reply, self-doubt can occur. Questions like “Does he hate me?” or “Am I not worth a minute to reply to?” must have run through your mind at least once.

Even if you understand there’s a possibility that they might just be too busy or tired to.

  1. Forgot to Reply!

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It’s normal. You receive a message and out of curiosity, you open it even if you don’t have time to respond. You then pocket your cellphone, telling yourself that you’ll reply later.

Later. You’ll reply later.

Of course, that later doesn’t come. Usually because you forgot.

If you’re lucky, the sender is a chill person who’d just shrug it off. If that’s not the case, you might have to prepare yourself for the cold shoulder.

  1. Why are you yelling at me?

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Via text, granted. That is, however, how your text translates to if you type it all out in caps.

Like it or not, that is how it is. Don’t be surprised if you’re met with disapproving looks the next time you meet your friend.

  1. Are you being sarcastic?

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Here’s the thing about sarcasm. It’s something that often requires tone of voice, facial expression and at times, body language to understand. Even then, face-to-face communication doesn’t always guarantee this.

Now imagine sarcasm being taken to text. You can’t see or hear the person that sent it; all you have to judge is a bunch of words on a screen. Are they being sarcastic or not? You wonder about it or maybe their intention flies over your head entirely.

Worst case scenario, they weren’t being sarcastic at all and you got mad at them for absolutely no reason. Oops. Maybe you can belanja them makan?

  1. Short messages vs long messages

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Here’s another doozy. You send a long, meaningful message to your loved one and all you receive in return is a simple one-liner. Or worse, just a “K”.

What the heckie?

You didn’t just spend 20 precious minutes for that kind of response! How insulting.

Okay, maybe they’re busy but still. Ugh.

  1. Lost in translation

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Living in a multicultural country is amazing. You get to eat all sorts of food, celebrate lots of different holidays and have the pleasure of learning different languages a lot more easily!

Of course, most of us end up learning a couple of words here and there. Rare it is to find anyone fluent in English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. So with the different levels of proficiency out there, someone is bound to be lost in translation sooner or later.

Usually because they’ll mistake one word for another in a different language.

Cat? Cat as in paint or cat as in feline? Anyone?

Anyone?

  1. Oh no. Wrong person!

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Everyone makes mistakes. It’s a part of being human. So don’t be surprised if one of these days you accidentally send a message to the wrong person.

It’s all too easy to, especially when certain names are way too close to one another. Exactly how many Fatimahs do you have in your phonebook?

Hopefully you don’t send anything too embarrassing! Imagine meaning to text your girlfriend and accidentally sending that loving message to her father instead. Yikes.

  1. The unsent message

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Let’s say you’ve done your part as the ever reliable friend. You responded to that message in a timely manner, and now all you have to do is sit back and wait for a reply.

And you wait. And you wait.

And you wait.

Wahlao, how long is this fella going to take?

You then check your cellphone and to your horror, you realise your message was not delivered! On top of that, you’re late to meet your friends. Darn it. Time to hustle.

  1. Punctuation, where art thou?

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It might seem troublesome but the use or lack of punctuation can make all the difference in the world.

For instance, it can mean the difference between being interested in cooking and dogs, or cooking dogs. The difference between – yes, you’ve guessed it – inviting your grandfather to eat, or eating your grandfather.

Like dayum son.

So, what do you think? Have you committed any of these blunders? Or have you ever been a recipient of any of them?

Share your experiences below!

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