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Abbreviated M’Sia


If you were at all familiar with the beautiful nation of Malaysia, you would have wondered whether the name of our country had anything to do with the word “malaise”. It is apparent that we are a nation that loves to cut corners.

From the materials we use in our infrastructure to utter disregard of our zebra crossings, we sure do love taking the quickest route. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, I suppose. Our ‘tak’ becomes ‘x’ when texting, our ‘kata ganda’ is implied with a ‘2’ at the end. But I guess this has been the case since the advent of the SMS.

But one thing we do so well here in Malaysia is coming up with abbreviations for the names of our organizations. We create acronyms, contractions, portmanteaus; you name it, we’ve done it.  There’s a whole science to abbreviations, which I think all Malaysians already have a Ph.D in (Fun fact: Ph.D is a hybrid type of abbreviation).

In honour of our amazing corner-cutting skills, here’s a list of The Bullet’s favourite abbreviations that come from magical land of Malaysia.

1)    M.Y = Malaysia

This has got to be a personal favourite of mine. Sure, we used to go with M’sia for the short form of our country’s name. The Olympics Committee goes with MAS. But boy do we love our MY. We’ve got MyKad, MyEG, MyMetro, MyTeksi – I think it’s the double entendre we love. Yes it’s a MalaysiaKad, but it’s also MY KAD! MINE!

2)    SmartTAG

I know what you’re thinking: There’s no abbreviation in Smart TAG.  Well, this is the part where we go HAH! You are missing out on one of the best acronyms to ever go unnoticed. The TAG in Smart TAG is actually short for ‘Touch And Go”, which if you’re Malaysian, you would know is the card you put into your SmartTAG device to make it work. That’s pretty smart, if you ask me!

3)    Malaysian Highways

A lot of our highways/expressways have very clever contractions that when spoken, denote the purpose of building such infrastructure. LEKAS and SPRINT is just a few of the many! ‘Lekas’ means speedy in Malay, which is what you will be if you take the Lebuhraya Kajang-Seremban Highway. SPRINT, on the other hand, is short of Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat Sdn Bhd. We have NO IDEA how they mustered SPRINT out of those words but hey, it’s catchy and it showcases the value proposition of such highways. These fun abbreviations are definitely a PLUS when droning through your road trips.

4)    BFM

BFM of Business FM is a local radio station that’s built their whole brand around acronyms. Whether you are looking to Bring Forth Money or just looking for Bieber Free Music, this acronym-laden station has got what you’re looking for. They even hold yearly competitions for listeners to create their own meaning behind BFM, and as you already know, us Malaysians are the Best at Finding Meaning behind meaningless acronyms.

We’ve only scratched the surface with the extent of Malaysia’s love for abbreviations. Notable mentions go out to government organisations JPJ, JPN, DBKL, MBPJ, LHDN, EPF and the likes.

I must admit, some of our abbreviations are VERY clever. Others are straight up nonsensical.  But at the end of the day, if it helps us navigate our world more efficiently, I suppose there’s no harm in taking the quickest route.

What’s your favourite Malaysian abbreviation?  

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