Russian tourist criticized for saying Malaysians do not smile as much as Thais

By Hoang Phong    April 16, 2024 | 11:50 pm PT
Russian tourist criticized for saying Malaysians do not smile as much as Thais
Tourists gather in front of a giant eagle sculpture at Eagle Square on Langkawi Island, Malaysia, April 27, 2018. Photo by Reuters
A Russian visitor to Malaysia has faced public backlash online for stating Malaysians do not smile to each other as much as Thais do.

Max Petrovsckii late last week posted a video on his TikTok account with over 167,000 followers while he was walking in Malaysia.

He wrote, "Not really anything bad, I just feel like that generally, the country is really nice and beautiful. I just got one thing, like; people here are not, I don’t think it’s about friendliness, but they do not smile at each other a lot. I mean, like, in Thailand; I’m used to it already, right? I live in Thailand and I’m used to having a lot of, like, attention, maybe? And smiles, people to each other."

"But, people here are still a little bit nervous," he added."It’s not about, like, you being a foreigner and you’re being inappropriate here. But, I feel something weird, you know?"

As of Wednesday, his video attracted over 1,100 likes and 2,000 comments.

His video quickly caught the attention on social media, sparking a wave of criticism from Malaysians online who accused the tourist of disrespecting their country.

"He was thinking he was a main character in another nation," a TikTok user commented in the video.

"Smiles need to be earned. When you smile, surely someone will smile back at you," another wrote.

"Get attention from your parents, not us, we have a lot of work to do anyway," another said.

Many online commentators questioned the tourist’s credentials to pass judgment on Malaysian hospitality.

Malaysia ranked second in the list of Asia’s top five friendliest countries, according to a survey rating by finance website Insider Monkey earlier this year.

Scoring at 2.2 in the list, Malaysia was voted as the 15th friendliest country in the world.

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