Meet the neighbours
Calum Leah O’Hearn talks to the Piries, a funny, warm and energetic Scottish family who lives in Bangsar, KL. Although Wayne had to work, mother Nicola and their two boys Liam and Calum were available for a free-for-all chat. Here’s an excerpt:
You were in the Middle East before this, how does Malaysia compare? Nicola Well, I loved it there because I made some amazing friends. We had a beautiful home and I had Liam there so it was quite a special time. Calum Yeah and I wasn’t born! N No, you weren’t born. [ Laughs] So it wasn’t that special.
You were a twinkle in your father’s eye. N Absolutely! [ Calum looks at us suspiciously] But in terms of place, this is a much more vibrant, lively, more exciting place to live. Outside of Doha itself, Qatar is pretty dull. There aren’t any other cities to visit. Here, you can visit Penang, Malacca, Ipoh...
What do you think about raising a family in Malaysia? N I think it’s an easy place to live.
Nicola When I came here, I didn’t know a soul. I looked up playgroups on the internet and found Ibu. At that point they were meeting near Bangsar Village I. We were staying in the Ascott in the middle of KLCC. The first time I went, I just jumped in a taxi – no seatbelts, nothing. Terrible! – with this baby and got myself to Bangsar, which was quite a brave thing to do I suppose. C Who, me? N No, this one. [ Gesturing to Liam] C But Liam wasn’t a baby, he was like a year old. N Well, he was 14 months old – a little baby, he’d not been long walking – and I rocked up there and the girls were just amazing. I made so many lovely friends. So I started doing that twice a week… and medical care is great. I had Calum here. I had an amazing obstetrician, who was just fab. The care in Doha was quite good but there was a much bigger language barrier there. And I had no backup care after I had Liam. I had no help at all breastfeeding or anything like that, whereas here it was wonderful – I had a girl who came to the house once a week for six weeks. C Oh who was that again? N [ Laughs] You were just a baby! C But I remember who it is! I just can’t remember what’s her name. N I can’t even remember her name. A lovely Chinese girl, very thorough. She helped me with breastfeeding and weighing the baby and just made me feel like I was doing everything right.
Seriously, you remember her? C I dooo… Liam No, you don’t! You must be remembering that other one… [ The phone rings and it’s Wayne] N It’s our wedding anniversary and Daddy’s on call so we can’t go away! That was Wayne wanting to know if we want to check into the Mandarin Oriental. But if we could’ve gone away I’d have said ‘Let’s go to LEGOLAND!’ L Yeah but Daddy doesn’t like
Liam theme parks very much… well not nearly as much as you. N He does! L He likes really, really, really extreme roller coasters that no one goes on. N Remember the one in LEGOLAND? L Oh my god! So last time we went, we were the last ones in. And there was this really nice Malaysian man, right? There was this massive ride... C There were dinosaurs and, like, LEGO people. C & L And you go up... C Into a pyramid temple thingy… L And you shoot down and get absolutely soaked. N Good fun wasn’t it? L And we ended up doing that six times round because the man let us. N I love how in Malaysia the people are so laidback. That would never happen in the UK – they’d be like ‘Get off! What are you doing? Get off!’ L Six times and he’s like ‘Oh I think maybe you should get off now.’ N We were absolutely soaked.
This is a much more vibrant, lively, more exciting place to live
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