Oops Bunga Raya...
That's the Hibiscus' Meaning?
Bunga raya literally "large flower" in the Malay language. It is a very common ornamental plant grown in Malaysia, throughout the tropics and subtropics for its large and colourful flowers.
The species hibiscus rosa-sinensis was chosen out of seven other flowers to be the national flower of Malaysia. The reason is that the folks privileged to make this choice thought its five petals can be used to symbolize Rukunegara or the five principles of nationhood. Wan wonders if they had also considered the etymology: rosa sinensis means "rose of China". So we can say the "rose of China" has become the national flower of Malaysia?
By the way, to call a woman "bunga raya" is not flattering at all. You see, the hibiscus flower also OFFICIALLY signifies an immoral woman. The logic? Since there's no official explanation, Wan resorts to dark whispers in which the printable version says it's similar to bunga dedap-- something pretty without the virtuous fragrant. The uglier version, a woman who is not faithful to her husband.
Hawaiians will laugh at this because Hawaii has two species of fragrant white hibiscus namely, H. arnottianus ( Oahu white hibiscus ) and H. waimeae ( Koki'okea). "Never heard of'em?" can't blame you. Both species are endangered.
Okay, Wan wants to defend the hibiscus flower against the above linguistic usage. First of all, the Malay people boil the roots of white hibiscus and drink it as a traditional medicine for flu, skin ailment, eyesore, white spots in the mouth and even venereal disease! Terengganu cultivates it to make juice drink. Indonesia calls it "kembang sepatu" or shoe flower because the petals can be used to polish shoes. These are just some virtues of our national flower known to the Malay world. Therefore it does not deserve a bad name from Bahasa Malaysia
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