When Merdeka’s around the corner, it’s only natural for us to reminisce on some of our fondest memories of growing up in Malaysia. From the simplest items like the mini ‘555’ notebooks our parents would have had to scenes of walking by local kopitiams and browsing the bread selection on the roti man’s bike, it’s these little things that remind us of how unique Malaysia’s charm is and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

While it’s rare to spot those kinds of treasures nowadays, we’re thankful that these memories have been preserved thanks to talented homegrown creatives who are not only keen to celebrate our beloved Malaysian culture every day of the year but also keep them alive with souvenirs that any local can enjoy. Read on to see where you can get your hands on some of the cutest and coolest reminders of Malaysia:

1. Slang T-shirts by Apom

If you wore a T-shirt by Apom, chances are you’d have had conversations started, praises given and questions of where people can get one too! Known for its ingenious use of incorporating popular Malaysian road signs, culture and familiar slangs like ‘Abuden’,Dan Lain-Lain’, Wa Lao’ and lots more onto casual tees, A Piece of Malaysia (also known as Apom) has really changed the souvenir game, allowing anyone and everyone to bring a piece of Malaysia wherever they go – in style. But that’s not all; just in time for National Day, Apom has collaborated with 14 local designers from 14 Malaysian states to proudly showcase their home state in their own unique way, and we must say, they’ve each won our hearts!  

Shop Apom here.

2. Malaysian-inspired home decor by Bingka

Founded in 2015, Bingka offers handmade home decor and accessories inspired by Malaysian art and culture. Using silkscreen printing, the brand creates some of the most stunning iconic and original designs we’ve ever seen onto items like coasters, pillowcases, tote bags and more that are guaranteed to light up your homes. The best part about ’em is the use of bold and vibrant colours which bring each design to another level!

Shop Bingka here.

3. T-shirts, tote bags and more by HomeTooMuch

Giving Malaysian influences a modern spin on T-shirts, accessories and collectables, HomeTooMuch has got everything you’d love from kuih-printed tees to ikat tepi keychains and then some! Since its launch in 2009 with statement tees before expanding its collection with art prints and tote bags, HomeTooMuch prides itself on colourful and eye-catching designs that have been designed to bring back childhood memories – and we reckon they’ve definitely hit the mark. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at its old-school snacks pocket mirror or jelly cups and haw flakes keychains – we want ’em all!

Shop HomeTooMuch here.

4. Illustrated stickers by Jacktus

You can never have too many stickers especially when it’s Malaysian-inspired ones! Creating original hand-drawn illustrations of the local culture, Jack Yin of Jacktus sells fun regular and waterproof stickers made out of mixed media that would be great to flaunt on the back of your phones and laptops or in your bullet journals. With a majority of designs inspired by food (and enticing ones at that!), we can’t promise that you’ll be able to control your cravings when you look at ’em! But if stickers aren’t your thing, check out the artist’s wall art selection featuring original artwork of popular Malaysian spots and restaurants that’ll have your guests talking.

Shop Jacktus here.

5. Enamel pins by Lebihlah.

Adding a glossy sheen to what makes Malaysia unique, Lebihlah. creates enamel pins referencing products that are popular among locals such as the Tiger Balm ointment, ‘Supper Ring’ snack, Hup Seng Cream Crackers, vintage rattan chair and even a RM2 banknote. With these icons immortalised and preserved onto pins, they make perfect gifts for your loved ones (or yourself!) who long for simpler days of the past. And although they may be small, these pins are easily recognisable and would immediately bring back those memories of your growing up years!

Shop Lebihlah. here.

6. Embroidery patches by Salang Design

Specialising in Malaysian-inspired embroidery patches, Salang Design was established in 2016 by three friends: Deryin Teh, Jiun Pheng and Wilden Tan. Aiming to keep the local culture alive, the trio set out to offer charming designs from the likes of a Proton Saga car to nasi lemak bungkus, iced gem biscuits (those colourful ones we used to eat when we were kids!) and even the two-toned eraser we used to play with in class – ah… memories. But that’s not all; the brand also offers embroidered tees, socks and other accessories to complete your Salang Design collection.

Shop Salang Design here or here.  

7. Miniature delights by TinyPinc

If there’s one thing we Malaysians equally love, it’s clearly our food, and Ling Hooi Yin – the brains and hands behind TinyPinc – has recreated them into teeny-tiny wearable accessories from earrings to brooches and even cufflinks. What started out as a hobby to explore the possibilities of polymer clay back in 2010 turned into a full-fledged venture to create realistic miniature food (and more specifically, Malaysian food!), and we’re blown away by ALL of them! Whether it’s our go-to comfort food like roti jala, chicken rice or bak kut teh, or all-time favourite snacks like ang ku kuih, apam balik or bak kwa, the amount of detail put into these unique and intricate pieces makes them look real enough to eat!  

Shop TinyPinc here or here.

Featured image: Salang Design/Instagram

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