With all these celebrations being celebrated, the Malaysian tradition of open houses were alive and well (although the government rethought their involvement in it after the Pak Lah and Hindraf debacle). My observations in all these functions were the ladies and their air-kiss or cheek kissing for those you are familiar with.
There were a time (it shows how old I am) when you just shake hands with both your hands as the normal way of greeting. I had the experience of seeing my more affluent friends who literally cheek kissed their cousins and thought that it was such a big deal. This was in 1990s when Malays were not as assimilated into the western culture as we are now (at least not in Seremban that is).
Air kissing or.... ??? from Cruel IntentionFast forward to today, I did comment on this new 'tradition' to my wife once 2,3 years ago, when the trend was just catching up. As I mingled with VIPs, the trend was more apparent and I remembered my wife complaining that she was always flustered as she didn't know whether it was supposed to be 2 or 3 times that the kiss are exchanged and whether it start from the left to the right or vice versa. To ensure no faux par happened, she just go with the flow.
As for my partner, who is more open in this matter, she seems to do it even if we are meeting someone familiar in a business environment which for me, is not that appropriate. But no one ever complains of it and I think its already accepted as a social
Nowadays, I even see my wife automatically do the cheek kiss even with her friends and it does not look so phony anymore. It does show the sign of time of our culture being assimilated into each other.
I even do it sometimes with ladies friends who seems to expect it whenever we met. As the norm, I let them decide to do it or not before I follow suit. Especially those who seems to have soft cheeks...