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An Impromptu Holiday In Malaysia

What’s one more holiday …

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia- Today is a holiday in Malaysia. It’s not the typical holiday of the religious type or the type that was created to commemorate a historic date or the life of some dead guy, but this holiday is something different altogether: 

The people of Malaysia were given the day off of work because their national sports team kicked ass in this year’s Southeast Asian Games. 

Basically, the South Asian Games seem to be an Olympics for the countries if Southeast Asia who don’t stand a chance of ever winning anything at the real Olympics. They’ve been happening every other year since 1959. 

This year, Malaysia destroyed Thailand, Laos, Brunei, Myanmar, Indonesia … taking home 145 gold, 92 silver, and 86 bronze medals. Quite the haul. 

“It is not easy to declare a holiday because Malaysia has too many public holidays but since we have achieved an outstanding result in the SEA Games through the unwavering support of the various races and the excellent performance of our athletes, on behalf of the government I declare September 4 as a public holiday,” the Prime Minister said. 

This extra holiday was added onto the Hari Merdeka and Hari Raya holidays, which fell on Thursday and Friday, respectively, creating a five day super weekend. 

By my count, Malaysia has roughly 57 public holidays each year — although many of them are only for specific states or regions — so what’s the big deal to add on one more?

So what did people do that was special on this holiday today?

I have no idea. Almost the entire time I’ve been here it’s been some holiday or another …

Filed under: Celebrations, Malaysia, Travel Diary

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3619 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: Astoria, New York

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  • Eileen Lee September 5, 2017, 8:47 am

    Hi Wade, indeed we Malaysians are experiencing a flow of holidays for the month of September. We love our diversity, and we definitely love celebrating together whatever reasons they are. Welcome to Malaysia! Nice to see you finally step foot into this part of the world.

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    • VagabondJourney September 6, 2017, 12:58 pm

      Thank you! That last line was kind of hyperbole … I’ve been to Malaysia before and had days that we’re holidays 😉

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