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Expat Interview: Paul Castles

Name: Paul Castles
Home Country: United Kingdom
Industry/Job: Retired

What brought you to Malaysia and how long have you been here?
I first visited Penang in 2006 after a friend had moved here and was immediately captivated by the colours, aromas, and mysteries of the island and its city. I visited every year after that and finally decided to retire here early in 2013.

What do you like and dislike about living here?
I love the temperature, the delicious food, the relaxed pace of life on the island, the relatively low prices, and the great cultural variety. I don’t really dislike anything in particular. Name three typical weekend activities that you enjoy. I enjoy making music with friends of all cultural backgrounds; swimming in the clear waters at Pulau Betong, and meditating as I gaze out over the sunlit Straits of Penang.

What is your favourite holiday destination in Malaysia or in the region. Why?
Penang has plenty of attractions for a lifetime of holidays, but sometimes I want a break from domestic chores, so I head for Langkawi to be pampered at the Danna Hotel.

Describe a memorable eating experience here.
While savouring a fresh-cooked oyster omelette at the Gurney Food Court, I was approached by a gentleman with no legs who was propelling himself on wooden blocks attached to his buttocks. He was also doing a good job of performing a favourite song of mine on his harmonica: “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White”. When he finished, I complimented him, and added: “Underwater”, in reference to the movie it was featured in, and he responded “Yes, Jane Russell, 1952.” For me, this incident encapsulates the endless surprises of Penang and itsknowledgeable, highly civilised people.

What do you miss about your home country?
Nothing really anymore, except my dad who is now 91 years old.

What advice would you give to a new expat?
I would definitely recommend staying here. I think it’s important to enjoy everything you can, and it is possible to do so. Forget the rest!

How long do you plan to stay in Malaysia? Where would you like to go next, and why?
I have no plans to move, so I guess you could say I’m staying right here.

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