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10 Tips for Living in Malaysia

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adminee
11/25/2008 12:08 EST

We're going to be putting together an article entitled, 10 Tips for Living in Malaysia, and we need your help. Please post a reply to this thread with as many tips as you'd like (or as few) for expats living in Malaysia. Whether you're a newcomer yourself or a seasoned expats whose lived abroad for many years, share your favorite tips for expats living in Malaysia. If you want to discuss or expand upon someone elses tip, feel free! We'll use your posts to compile the articles.

Thanks, in advance, for your help!

Betsy Burlingame
ExpatExchange.com

comdoc
12/3/2008 22:23 EST

1. Be prepared for 24 hour loudspeaker noise from mosques. Malaysians have no sense of nor respect for aural privacy. Various Malay, Chinese, Indian holidays are celebrated, complete with most intrusive noise--including powerful fireworks (think small bombs), electronically amplified 'music', yelling, screaming, offkey barage of chants. Sensory assault that feels like you're living in a war zone. Bring good earplugs.

2. Poor traffic controls, signs missing or misplaced, maps outdated and inaccurate, haphazard 'design' of roads and highways. Aggressive drivers of all races whose behavior would get them fined or arrested in any Western country. You literally take your life in your own hands if you ride a motorcycle in KL. Best transport vehicles for travel are BIG, tall, and nasty looking. *LOL*

3. Zoning mostly nonexistent, except for super rich developers who bribe public officials, and indiscrimately scar the natural landscape, stealing precious lands from the natives. Putrajaya, the national government capital, is a prime example.

4. Real estate prices blown out of proportion by speculators whose modus operandi is to erect huge towers on relatively small lots, with as little infrastructure as humanly possible. As an expatriate, if you want to purchase a home, you will face a calculated endemic price discrimination (shared with most other SE Asia countries) system designed to gouge and ripoff foreigners. Search for a recommended local multilingual real estate attorney. Freehold properties are relatively rare, and expensive. Kuala Lumpur pricing resembles that of Los Angeles region, but without the amenities and benefits.

5. If you're a smoker, you'll feel like you died and went to smoker's heaven. NO protection from secondhand smoke for babies, children, adults, or seniors. Beligerant discourteous sociopathic indoor and outdoor air polluters who maintain their right to poison and destroy the health of anyone who gets in the way of their foul addiction. They love polluting elevators, enclosed rooms, building entries and exits, trains, buses, restaurants, and any other enclosed space. I've had many unpleasant encouters with nicotine addicts who verbally and physically attacked me when I asked them please not to smoke around me and my children.

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adminee
12/4/2008 15:03 EST

Great tips! Anyone else have any advice to add? If you got a call from an old friend or colleague who was moving to Malaysia, what advice would you give them?

Betsy

steveso
12/23/2008 22:39 EST

You sound so miserable and critical. Why are you still in Malaysia? I agree with many things but you have to realize you are living in a different culture. I actually try to dismiss the annoyances and enjoy the different cultural practices.

comdoc
1/7/2009 02:36 EST

Critical? It's all my personal experience after expatriating here 4 years ago. I've enjoyed many cross cultural exchanges in my travels in SE Asia. However, nobody enjoys being a target of discrimination, drug addicts, fraud, robbery, thoughtless drivers, polluters, etc.

Have you visited Malaysia? YMMV. In all fairness, I've experienced some of these conditions in US...but most not to the same degree. I'm stuck here at least for a few more years until my home can be sold without a huge penalty.

Every country has its own set of challenges for foreigners who visit or relocate. I wish these tips had been posted before my relocation.

aidam
1/12/2009 09:13 EST

I deplore the person who wrote these tips, am staying in the UK and I wouldn't say that it is any better than Malaysia! Have some sensitivity before you start giving inaccurate tips for living in Malaysia!!!

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gearchow
2/9/2009 13:39 EST

comdoc, you apparently don't like Malaysia very much, hope your time there is short!

I don't like Malaysia very much either, but for other reasons - I just hate hot, humid climates. Very odd that I married a kampung girl (or that she married me! We live in Oregon and the poor woman wears a down coat around the house in the winter!). But I do like the Malay people.

You think "loudspeaker noise from mosques" is something, how about the kampung roosters going off before the muezzin does the adh?n. I don't know what this "24 hours" is your talking about, the adhan is called 5 times daily? It just fades into the background if your allowed to (I wasn't).

"Aggressive drivers of all races whose behavior would get them fined or arrested in any Western country."

I first met my wife here in the US and I let her drive - scared the hell out of me. But in Malaysia, her driving seemed so normal and just right. A perfect Malay driver! A stop sign - Just a suggestion! Lines on the road - only if your inclined! Single lane - more can fit, come on lah!

Yep, the smoking is horrible, everybody does it, there is no consideration. Oh wait, I'm talking about here in Oregon. None of my wife's family smokes. Her mom fries some damn good ayam though.

oneasia
2/18/2009 17:59 EST

Having living overseas for 5 yrs make me miss and appreciate malaysia very much. I know that malaysia is not perfect nor any country are perfect in the world. There is pro & con living in any country It all depends on what your purpose of living and how happy r u living there. The list you put in seems too much on the negative view which isnt fair because there cant be all bad. For me my 10 tips liiving in Malaysia is:-

1. The Malaysia Food
2. The People
3. The Culture
4. The Petronas Twin Tower
5.The weather (no extreme disaster)
6.The beautiful beaches
7.The 1 million year old rainforest
8.The Orang Utan
9.The Shopping paradise
9. The tropical fruits (fruits that u can grow at home which is fresh from the tree)

i witnessed many crimes around the world. No country can say they dont have crime. Malaysia is a tolerant multi-cultural country even i do admit there is racial issues but we able to 'TOLERANT' and accepting others religiions and background but not to the extend of 'gay marriage'.

I love my country now and always.

I think human regarless of race and country have similarity in attitude. Not all malaysia people smoke inconsiderate, drive recklessly.

Anyone that read ur critic will have to take with a pinch of salt.(where some may be true but not all true)

bintang
10/2/2009 06:40 EST

Hi oneasia,

I very much agree to your post! I live in Malaysia for 2 years now and I really like it!

But one thing is important, donĀ“t compare your home country with Malaysia! With constantly doing so, you will never be happy (in any country). Enjoy the difference.

redgirl
10/10/2009 06:32 EST

I am an expat living in Malaysia and I think this very upbeat article sums life up best. (Although I do think Malayisians over-rate how good their food is! Penang is definitely the best for food!)

the noise factor is a problem==beware if you are hospitalized here, you will not sleep due to noise made by staff, patients and part. visiting families! However, my family has had the best care ever at Damansara -- unbelievable!

The other thing foreigners need to remember is that anyone with a white face is often charged extra. This doesn't just apply to markets, but also to national attractions. For example, if you1 take the Big Bus trip or visit Aquaria, which I highly recommend, the admission will be 38 rm for you if your skin is white, but probably half or 2/3 the price if you look Malaysian. So always travel with your identity card -- it's the law -- and show them you're here working and living on a legal visa Then I get Malaysia price.

I love Malaysia; yes, the driving is crazy -- but hey, nothing is as bad as Dubai or Africa -- yes, there are roosters and fireworks, but the people, beaches, etc. are fantastic. I really enjoy it and will miss it when we move to our next posting. KL is a vibrant, beautiful city with tons to do, whether you enjoy jazz, theatre, jogging, biking, charity work...there's plenty!

And Malaysia costs less ... so save your money and enjoy!

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