One Year is Not Enough to Adapt with a New Traditional Culture: Looking into the Cultural Heritage Elements and Practices Among Immigrants in Malaysia

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  • Nasir Yusoff
  • Sabarisah Hashim
  • Hue San Kuay
  • Faruque Reza



cultural heritage, emotion, immigrant, traditional culture, valence.


Adapting to a new traditional cultural environment has noteworthy implications for emotional manifestations, especially among immigrants who migrated to a new place. This study aimed to examine the effect of living duration (one-year cut-off period) among immigrants in Malaysia on their emotional manifestation towards the traditional culture of the ethnic majority. This study also examined the element of cultural items (games, clothes, or food) most affected during their adaptation in the new traditional culture environment. About 119 international graduate students (male; n=72, 61%) from a public university in West Malaysia who met the inclusion criteria took part in this cross-sectional study. They were selected using convenient sampling method. Using visualisation approach, two groups of immigrants with different living duration (less than a year versus a year or more) were asked to respond to the pictures of Malay traditional items (traditional food, game and clothes) that were projected onto the screen. While viewing the pictures, participants rated their emotional state of valence from one (low valence/high pleasantness) to nine (high valence/high pleasantness) according to the non-verbal pictorial measure of Self-Assessment Manikin Scale. Socio-demographic and acculturation scores were also collected. The study found the one-year duration of living in the country as insufficient for the immigrants to adapt to the new cultural environment. Traditional food seems to be the most affected cultural item. The tendency of immigrants to practice the Malay tradition explained 4% of the variance of immigrants’ emotional manifestation towards Malay traditional food. To conclude, the duration of living in a country is crucial to adapt to a new traditional culture. Unsurprisingly perhaps, traditional food in the particular country brought more emotional property than other cultural items.


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Yusoff, N., Hashim, S., San Kuay, H., & Reza, F. (2020). One Year is Not Enough to Adapt with a New Traditional Culture: Looking into the Cultural Heritage Elements and Practices Among Immigrants in Malaysia. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 8(1), 66–84.



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