PETALING JAYA: On rapidly evolving social media platforms like Twitter, hashtags on some topics tend to diminish as quickly as they are created.
However, one local hashtag not only survived for three years, thanks to tweets from Malaysians, but made it to Twitter’s worldwide trending list on Jan 28.
The hashtag #youknowyouremalaysianwhen was first used on Nov 5, 2011 when user @ashrafhilmy tweeted “#youknowyouremalaysianwhen you eat fat rice (nasi lemak) for breakfast”.
Since then, many other users have contributed their tweets using the hashtag, sometimes to comment on typically Malaysian attitudes and quirks and, at other times, giving a comic twist to current affairs.
On the day the hashtag was trending, many users reposted an image which lamented a lack of “freedom to tweet”, as users had to think many times before posting something “for fear of someone trying to spot our mistakes”.
Other users also took a swipe at the recent spate of jokes related to “kangkung”, as user @hri_my tweeted “#youknowyouremalaysianwhen you laugh at all the kangkung jokes”.
Although the hashtag was created in 2011, it took a dip the following year, with only two tweets linked to it in 2012.
The hashtag regained popularity a few weeks after the 13th general election, when user Niresh Kaur tweeted “#YouKnowYoureMalaysianWhen you can swear in Chinese, Tamil, Punjabi and Malay #multiracial”.
Usage of the hashtag escalated in November last year, with more comments focused on Malaysian practices.
Tobias Eaton (@NarryAllDWay) commented on the practice in schools where students were expected to stand and greet teachers as they enter the classroom.
“#youknowyouremalaysianwhen you have to stand up and greet the teachers every time they walk into your class and wait until you are allowed to sit,” he said.
One recent tweet by user Mohd Ameer was “#youknowyouremalaysianwhen you put your handphone over your ears to hear a song, instead of using earphones”.
The hashtag is an adaptation from similar ones used by other countries, such as #youknowyoureamericanwhen (United States), #youknowyourebritishwhen (Britain), and #youknowyoureaustralianwhen (Australia).