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8 things Malaysians say to hide their broke-ness

8 things Malaysians say to hide their broke-ness

Anne Dorall

There’s no need to be embarrassed- we’re all not as rich as we would like to be. Yet for some reason, we can’t actually say that we’re struggling to make ends meet and therefore cannot actually be baller and throw down the bills.

So, Malaysians have come up with all sorts of creative ways to say we’re broke – but nicely. (We’re not kiam siap okay! We’re just smart with money!)



With the rise of diets that promote short-term fasting, it’s so much easier to feel validated to skip meals.

You can also avoid the lectures from your parents/concerned aunties on skipping meals, because it’s “intermittent fasting”, not “being too poor to afford a meal”.


Going vegetarian

Even the meat dishes at mamaks and banana leaf rice places have increased in price. Often times they’re much more expensive than the main meal itself (which is carbs, yes, we know).

It’s easy to bypass that extra meaty expense entirely when you just… claim to be going vegetarian. The plus point is that you are already participating in #MeatlessMonday, but like, everyday.


Craving mamak

You know that moment when your gut shrinks internally when you’re out with friends and they suggest a ridiculously expensive restaurant to eat and you know you will have to eat air for the next week if you go? You can’t get out of it because, well, it’s a social dinner.

The best thing to do here is a diversion. Say that you’re absolutely craving for a maggi goreng or roti telur. Suggest a mamak closest to you, and 9 times out of 10 someone else in the group will agree and the dinner will move to the mamak.

(No need to thank us.)

You may or may not fail.
(Picture credit:

“Something else” is not worth it

When your friend suggests a kinda pricey place and you actually really want to go but you need to simultaneously fool your friend and yourself:

“No la, the wait is not worth it. Let’s go to the mamak instead.”

Saving up for something expensive

“Hey man, Air Asia has a flash sale yo, let’s go to Thailand.”

“Bro no man, I’m saving up to go solo-travelling in the UK next year.”


I’m busy

…busy staying at home and not going out to spend money, that is!

You know, they’re the friends who are always available online. You can text them, call them, play online games with them at 3am. The minute you ask to hang out irl, they are “busy” and suddenly offline.

Of course, they might possibly just have severe social anxiety (but they’re probably just broke).


Ask for a full itinerary (then decline anyway)

And then there are those who, if you want to jio them out, require a full itinerary on where to go. This is because they are doing mental calculations, a pro/con list, and assessing the risk of overspending in their head.

Usually, after calculations, they will politely decline, unless you invoke I Belanja, Got Discount or Free Food.



The plans are made, everyone is super excited in the group chat, and then there’s always that one person who decides to just fong fei kei.

Usually, it’s also the one who’s always saying “Eh jom pergi!” and ends up standing everyone up.

But hey at least you save some cash, even if you may lose a friendship or two.


We don’t actually encourage the above behavior, but we totally understand if you do it.

What other truly Malaysian ways do you save money? Let us know on our Facebook or Twitter!

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