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Malay, Chinese and English Proverbs That Share The Same Meanings

Updated on July 4, 2014

The Malays, Chinese and British differ greatly not only in their physical appearances but also cultures, religions, languages, and values.

However coincidentally, they have some proverbs, idioms or sayings that contain the same or nearly the same meanings. This shows that they share some common values.

Translating those sayings in other languages is a tedious task since the 3 races have very different histories, customs and environments.

Attractive Malay woman -  Lisa Surihani
Attractive Malay woman - Lisa Surihani
Foxy Chinese Woman - Kitty Zhang
Foxy Chinese Woman - Kitty Zhang
Lovely British Woman - Miranda Kerr
Lovely British Woman - Miranda Kerr

Some Examples In 3 Languages

These are some of the examples.

Kalau bertepuk sebelah tangan tidak akan berbunyi.


It takes two to tango.

Berfikir sebelum berkata, berunding sebelum dibuat.


Look before you leap.

Batu yang selalu bergolek dalam sungai itu tiada dihinggapi lumut。


A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Berpahit-pahit dahulu supaya manis kemudian.


He that will have egg must endure the cackle of hen.

Biar lambat asalkan selamat.


Better be safe than sorry.

Masuk kandang kambing mengembek, masuk kandang kerbau menguak


When in Rome, do as the Roman do,

Payah-payah dilamun ombak, tercapai juga tanah tepi


Every cloud has a silver lining.

Bagaimana acuan begitulah kuihnya


Like father like son.

Bumi mana tak ditimpa hujan


To err is human.

Cakap sejengkal dibawa sehasta

To make a mountain out of a mole hill.


Nasi sudah menjadi bubur.


Don't cry over spilled milk.

Di mana ada kemahuan, di situ ada jalan.


Where there is a will, there is a way.

Hutang darah dibayar darah, hutang nyawa, nyawa padahnya.


Blood demands blood.

Jiwa bergantung di hujung rambut


To hang by a thread.

Air yang tenang jangan disangka tiada buaya


Still water runs deep

Jangan difikir air pasang sahaja.


All good things must come to an end.

Diberi betis nak paha.


Give (someone) an inch and they will take a mile.

Some Examples In 2 Languages

Biar pecah di perut, jangan pecah di mulut

Bite your tongue.

Berjagung-jagung dahulu sementara menantikan padi masak


Gajah mati meninggalkan tulang, harimau mati meninggalkan belang, manusia mati meninggalkan nama


Ada ubi ada batas, ada budi ada balas


Gunung yang tinggi akan runtuh jika setiap hari digali


Harimau menyembunyikan kukunya


Ini hari orang, esok hari kita


Sebesar-besar bumi ditampar tak kena.



The list does not stops here.I will add more examples in futures.


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