Just Landed

Expatriate Lifestyle - - Contents -

In­ter­view by Karin Chan

What brought you to Malaysia?

We lived in Melbourne for al­most five years be­cause of my hus­band’s job, but now he works as a se­nior en­gi­neer for a com­pany in Kulim Hi-tech Park. That’s why we re­lo­cated to Pe­nang. It’s my first time com­ing to Malaysia, so I was ex­cited and ner­vous, but I’ve heard great things – es­pe­cially about Pe­nang.

How did you pre­pare for the move?

This is our fourth time mov­ing as a fam­ily be­cause of my hus­band’s job, so we didn’t do any­thing out of the or­di­nary. How­ever, be­fore we came here, we’d al­ready con­tacted some po­ten­tial schools for our son and looked at pos­si­ble places to stay on the lo­cal web­sites.

What Malaysian food or cul­tural el­e­ments are sim­i­lar to In­done­sia?

We have sim­i­lar foods to yours in In­done­sia such as ren­dang, gu­lai, mie goreng, nasi goreng, ikan sam­bal, kueh lapis and nasi Padang. We have slightly dif­fer­ent names for char koay teow ( kue­ti­auw) and kue angku ( kue ku). Our cul­ture is also sim­i­lar; for ex­am­ple tak­ing your shoes off be­fore en­ter­ing a house – def­i­nitely not some­thing you do in West­ern coun­tries!

What do you now know about Malaysia that you didn’t be­fore?

I didn’t know much about Pe­nang be­fore ex­cept that it is fa­mous for its food and in­flu­enced by Malay, Chi­nese and In­dian cul­tures. Just af­ter we moved, I learned about Pe­nang’s cap­i­tal city – Ge­orge Town – and its well­p­re­served cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal her­itage.

Is there any­where you want to go here?

Ac­tu­ally, I’d like to go to Le­goland. My son is a Lego en­thu­si­ast and he’s been beg­ging us to take him there. I also want to go to Langkawi since it’s just a stone’s throw away from Pe­nang.

What sorts of ac­tiv­i­ties would you like to do?

I would love to do some bik­ing and hik­ing here. I also want to learn to make tra­di­tional sweets ( kuih ny­onya). Bak­ing is my first love and I had a home bak­ing busi­ness in Melbourne be­fore I be­came a teacher. I’m very ex­cited to join some bak­ing classes in Pe­nang!

Any tips for fel­low ex­pats in Pe­nang?

Be re­spect­ful of the lo­cal cul­ture and try to do a lit­tle re­search on the area you want to live in be­fore you move. Find­ing a place to live can be ex­haust­ing when you’re not sure which part of the is­land you want to stay in. And you might want to rent a car for the first weeks as it’s more con­ve­nient than tak­ing pub­lic trans­port. But ev­ery­one here has been very nice and help­ful to us, so that’s been great.

If a pack­age ar­rived, what would you like it to con­tain?

I’d re­ally like some home­made sausages. In Melbourne butch­ers sell all sorts of home­made sausages - beef, chicken, Le­banese sausage, tomato and basil, and so on. They are great for bar­be­cues and taste dif­fer­ent from frank­furters. I also re­ally miss the delis with their many kinds of olives, fresh cheeses, roasted cap­sicum and sun­dried toma­toes. EL

Na­tion­al­ity: In­done­sian Oc­cu­pa­tion: Stay-at-home mum In Malaysia since: June 2017

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