Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A Year After Moving to Malaysia

Yes, Christmas is around the corner. To a Catholic like me, this is "THE HOLIDAY". It's like the most major thing, especially in Manila where majority of the population holds the same religion. One of the jokes I used to share with non-Pinoy people is that whenever the month ends with "-ber" (e.g. OctoBER), to us Filipinos it's as good as almost Christmas. Christmas countdown and music starts playing, business slows down towards the end of the year, and people just get into that giving (and party) mood.

Now, December to me holds many things ... things of the past and things to come.

I remember not too long ago, when we just first arrived in Malaysia -- we were clueless about most things, like really basic things. We had to start from scratch. Where to go, how to drive (on the "right" side, recognize & memorize (painfully) foreign sounding street names, and so on. As December crawled in, I became nostalgic and remembered our situation last year. How things have changed so quickly!

1 year -- yes, 1 year in Malaysia. So, as an expat who has lived in KL for a year, what have I learned? What have I achieved? Discovered? Love? Hate?

Let me sum it up with a few statements.

In the first month, it's all about survival.
Renting a car. Groceries: where to buy and best bargains. Oops, I gotta bag my own groceries! And oops! I gotta push my own grocery cart to the (rented) car! Opening an account. Wiring our money! Apply for Visa / Mastercard. Should I get a local driving license? Which malls are worth going to? Do I need to "tip" at restaurants? Where are the Catholic Churches hidden? Christmas eve : shocking revelation because all the shops were open! (unlike Philippines where everything will be so, so, so closed because it is the most sacred holiday of all) Visiting KLCC.
Number of friends in Malaysia -- very few :(

Several months later ...
Braving the traffic and taking adventures. Got a "Touch and Go" card! Usually hanging out in Bangsar. Having a list of your Top 5 favorite restaurants! Been to gazillion malls -- 1 Utama, Pavilion, Sunway, The Curve, Mid Valley Megamall, The Gardens, Bangsar Village 1 and 2, Sri Hartamas Shopping Center, Low Yat, Sungai Wang, Lot 10, Starhill, Times Square, Centerpoint, etc. Discovering 2 Catholic churches (and know their Mass schedules!) Umm, got 2 police tickets (they call it "summon" here) only because of illegal parking, haha! Talked my way out of a speeding ticket. Tried driving in the SMART tunnel (alone, and I was NOT at all petrified that I don't know where it leads to). Know how to switch lanes easily and avoid those motor bikes! Having a regular place for regular massage, pedicure and haircut! In my wallet : Ikea membership card, Times Bookstore membership card ... you get the picture!
Number of friends :) - it's more than what I expected and the list is still growing!

And of course, it would have not been as colorful if not visiting the sites! In less than a year, we made time for Malacca, Langkawi, Cameron Highlands, Bukit Tinggi (Colemar Tropicale), Sabah, Kuala Selangor, Genting Highlands, Penang, Redang ..... and still so many places to go to!


  1. hey,

    im wondering if the lifestyle in cyberjaya is lower than KL?

  2. Cyberjaya got no life, only office buildings :p

    And hi Anabelle, glad that you enjoy the stay in Malaysia :)

  3. I heard lifestyle in Cyberjaya may be lower than in KL (e.g. rental)... but mang0 is correct, it is a ghost town in weekends... i witnessed it myself. But if you enjoy peace and quiet I guess one will not mind that. I have seen a number of real estate being developed around that area and being marketed very well. Maybe it'll be different in years to come.

  4. oh.. really.. i see. i'll be working in one of the offices in cyberjaya soon. is it really true that approximately, the expenses will be around 10K per month?

  5. Hi! average cost of living in cyberjaya is from 1.5K to 2K if your going to rent a room including your meal and transportation. However if your planning to rent the whole apartment it will cost you RM900 (unfurnished) to RM1500 (fully furnished) alone. anyway I assume your a filipina so if that is the case I've met some filipinas who are working here also. If your ok with renting a room in their place then it will be cheaper on your part. nga pala I'm Yron working and staying here in Cyberjaya. you can reach me at if you need more info. 0163642438




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