Synonymous with British Malaya was the Kopitiam, which literally means coffee shop or café. Kopitiams were commonly found all over Singapore and Malaya and was a place for people to go to eat and drink and to chat or gossip about the latest happenings and read the newspapers passed from one hand to another in the days when there was no Internet.
British Malaya loosely describes a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the Island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries.
Unlike the term 'British India', which excludes the Indian princely states, 'British Malaya' is often used to refer to the Malay States, which were under indirect British rule, as well as the Straits Settlements, which were under the sovereignty of the British Crown.
Before the formation of the Malayan Union in 1946 and the Federation of Malaya in 1948, the territories were not placed under a single unified administration. Instead, British Malaya comprised the Straits Settlements, the Federated Malay States and the Unfederated Malay States.
Under British rule, Malaya was one of the most profitable territories of the British Empire, being the world's largest producer of tin and rubber. About 30% of Britain's economy at that time depended on British Malaya.
Today, the Kopitiam has become an institution and is part of Malaysian culture and you can find Kopitiams all over the world, owned and run by Malaysians, where overseas Malaysians who are homesick can meet and keep in touch with their motherland.