Armenians of Malaysia spare no effort to preserve Armenian language, faith and culture

The Armenian community in the distant Malaysia is small, but the trace of the Armenians is large.

When Malaysia was entering a new stage of development 200 years ago, the authorities were trying to attract the attention of merchants and businessmen from all parts of the world in order to promote the development of investments. On the road, Malaysia also sparked interest among Armenians. In the past, Armenians would mainly move to Malaysia from India and Old Julfa, settle and, in a very short amount of time, play a role in the history of the country’s economy, culture and architecture.

This s what leader of the Armenian community of Malaysia Emil Petrosyan stated, adding that the Armenians have left a very significant trace in Malaysia.

“The buildings built by Armenians remain standing to this day. Among them is the Eastern and Oriental Hotel where the names of the Armenian founders are preserved. The suites and buildings of the hotel are named after the founders. Today, there are Armenian streets in Kuala Lumpur, including Armenia Street and Aratoon Road. In fact, these are the most famous roads and always spark the interest of tourists,” Emil Petrosyan said.

Over the years, the local Armenians have moved to other countries. First, they settled in Singapore, and later, during WWI, they settled in Australia and New Zealand. There is no information about the Armenians who moved to Malaysia after the 1930s.

Years later, Armenians started settling in Malaysia in the 2000s. The formation of the modern Armenian community starts from that period. Currently, the few Armenians in Malaysia are mainly based in Kuala Lumpur. According to Emil Petrosyan, there are nearly 45 Armenians living in Malaysia today.

“The local Armenians are from different countries. There are a few families from Armenia. There are also many mixed marriages. The spheres of activity of the Armenians are business, telecommunication, service, education and finance. Most of them are top specialists,” Emil Petrosyan said.

There is no Armenian school in Malaysia. Consequently, the burden of preserving the Armenian language is on the shoulders of parents. There is also no Armenian church in Malaysia, but this doesn’t bother the Armenians from saying prayers in Armenian.

This year, a historic event took place in the Armenian community. On February 4, a Holy Mass was served at the St. Michael Archangel Russian Orthodox Church in Kuala Lumpur for the first time ever. The Holy Mass was served by Rev. Fr. Archimandrite Zaven Yazichyan.

“This was truly a historic moment. For decades, no prayer had been said in Armenian here. This was made possible through the efforts of the Armenian community. Among the attendees of the Holy Mass were all members of the community, guests and friends of the Armenian nation. After the Holy Mass, three children were baptized during a Holy Baptism ceremony,” Emil Petrosyan said.

Touching upon how informed the Malaysians are about Armenia, Emil Petrosyan stated that the Malaysians know about the Armenians, but not Armenia. Many don’t know where Armenia is on the map and what touristic attractions there are in Armenia. There is a lot of work to do in that direction. Emil Petrosyan noted that Henrikh Mkhitaryan has recently been helping get Armenia recognized.

As far as the flow of tourists from Armenia to Malaysia is concerned, the tourists are also passive, and Emil Petrosyan says it is due to the high airfare.

Anna Gziryan

Source: Armenpress

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