Life of An English Expat in Malaysia

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Name: Andy Newland
Home Country: UK
Industry/Designation: Regional Sales Director – Asia Pacific, for Sensus
(German manufacturer of Water Meters)
Marital Status/Number of children: Married
What brought you to Malaysia?
My new company wanted me based in Asia Pacific, and it was entirely up to me where I chose to live. I had travelled the region for more than 20 years and decided on Malaysia on the basis that it was very “English friendly” and it seemed to be the best place to start up a regional business in relative sanity! It was a good choice, as I met my wife four days after arriving. That was in January 2010.
What are three things you like most about living in Malaysia?
The weather is great if you like the heat. Food of all varieties is plentiful and cheap if you stay out of the Western restaurants. It’s also a wonderfully central location for long weekends, in or out within the country. Also, my standard of living here is far better than in UK, and it’s a happy place to live, lah!
What were your impressions of Malaysia upon arrival?
Clean, reasonably well-organised, good transport links, great food. What I didn’t factor in was the friendly people and the value placed on family, which are positives. The downside was adapting to Malaysian pace and mentality (in certain cases).
How easily did you adapt?
Far better than I expected, actually. I managed to get set up extremely quickly and was working normally within two weeks. I had some in assistance in that a friend of mine was already here, plus my then-girlfriend was Malaysian; that sped things up to no end.
What are the three things would you change about Malaysia?
Not much to change really; the challenges are part of what gives the country its character. If I had to pick three, they would be the price of beer/wine price. I would also change the standard of driving; it borders between erratic and insane. Lastly, I would change the tax; for a naturally wealthy country I think the government takes a little too much from the people. 
How long do you think you will stay?
Nothing in life is ever certain but I have no plans to live anywhere else. I hope to stay working and based in KL as long as necessary, then retire to Sarawak.
What do you miss most about your home country?
A cold chill in the air on an autumn or spring morning; my friends (all the family are overseas now); and English pubs! I’m lucky because I work for a European company so I get to pop back two or three times a year; that’s enough for me.
What one memory will you always treasure when you come to leave?
We married in my wife’s kampung, just outside Kuching. The family tented off the whole main street and we entertained more than 800 people. The tent was open to the rainforest on one side so it was a the wedding in the jungle! None of us from foreign shores had ever experienced anything like it.
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