First, the inedible flowers. In Bahasa Malaysia, flowers on tyres does not mean the pretty part of a plant enveloped by delicate petals. When a traffic policeman warns you that there are "no flowers" on your tyres, he is actually saying the tyres are so badly worn that he himself cannot see the tread patterns anymore. Oh, oh! You are in trouble with the Malaysian traffic law. At the end of a financial year, employees look forward to "flowers" from Malaysian bosses. Most probably, an extra month's bonus of salary is as beautiful as flowers in their eyes. The same thought applies to "flowers" given by the banks, in this case, it is the interest. The lucky worker who receives "flowers" from his boss and bank can afford to buy "fiery flowers". He ignites the fuse of a "fiery flower" to send it shooting high up into the sky where it blossoms into a grand display of fireworks. As with other cultures, the female gender is considered a figurative flower in Bahasa Malaysia. A teenage girl is a "bud" who soon matures into "a flower in the garden" meaning she is single and available to be picked as a wife. If a man chooses her to be "the flower adorning" his hair, he marries her. By using beauty products flooding the Malaysian market, a married woman doesn't have to go out of shape after having children. She can still be "the flower" of a social gathering, that is, the fairest of them all. A grand social event such as a Malay wedding calls for "assorted flowers". Various flowers are mixed with shredded leaves of pandanus, rough skinned lime and perfume in a small basket. This basket is placed in the nuptial chamber and smoked with incense. Imagine the fragrance that fills up the room. The newlyweds are flanked by replicas of coconut blossoms as they sit together on a dais fit for a king. A gift of "egg flower" is given to the guests to a Malay wedding. Traditionally, it is made by inserting the stalk of artificial flower to an egg. A modern way of making "egg flower" these days is to hang the egg in an attractive way on the stalk of a flower. The flower with the strangest identity is the national flower of Malaysia, namely, the hibiscus. From here, we are talking about edible flowers. The Malays boiled roots of the white hibiscus to cure a range of diseases such as flu, eye and skin ailments. Chinese used hibiscus juice to colour their hairs while the Portuguese used it to colour their shoes. In view of its usefulness and elevated national status, it is strange there fore that "hibiscus" also refers to an immoral woman in Bahasa Malaysia! Folks who love blue cheese should be able to understand Malaysians' attachment to their blue-colour rice salad and desserts. The food colouring is produced naturally from the "pea flower". It is of little wonder then, the mention of "pea flower" in Bahasa Malaysia makes one's mouth waters. To spice up the conclusion, cloves are not "just cloves" but the indispensable " clove flowers" in many Malay cuisines.
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