Not so Shabby

On September 30th, 2014, I decided to give blogging a shot for the first time. Horribly unskilled at coding, websites, and almost everything else technical, I spent two months self-tutoring on WordPress basics and another few weeks picking a theme. Figuring out to start an expat blog a half-year before actually leaving the country also proved challenging. Finally deciding on a theme that combined our decision to retire early due to an unexpected layoff, the challenges of moving overseas to a destination we’d never visited and some stories of “expat destinations research vacations“, I didn’t expect to garner much interest. Seventeen months later and eight months into the overseas experiment, somebody must be reading even though my comments page is sorely lacking compared to many other similar blogs. Having just passed 50,000 page views I’m grateful to anyone that visits our page and extend a big thank you for taking some time out of your day to read our stories.

Trying to craft the blog a hit differently than typical expat blogs that talk endlessly about tourist destinations, restaurants and budgeting, I always try to be a storyteller and inject some more insight into the topics. While trying to keep negativity out of the stories, anyone who’s lived overseas can tell you there’s good and bad so I like to inject my own sarcastic overtones but still keep it lighthearted enough. Hoping I’ve succeeded most of the time, it’s been fun, challenging and often very interesting hearing from so many people. Life in Malaysia is always interesting to say the least and for now, I leave you with the most ridiculous product we’ve seen sold in this nation.

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Understanding not everyone can appreciate what’s an obviously silly product, let me fill you in. Keeping in mind these are observations and not judgements, we’ve learned that Malaysians park anywhere and everywhere. Double and triple parking, blocking traffic, buses, and pedestrians is routine. No Malaysian would ever care about blocking your driveway and asking them to place a sticker on their car so someone can call them is a ludicrous notion. Motorbikes drive on the sidewalk and think nothing about driving on the wrong side of the road if it can save a few minutes. Although laws probably exist, they’re never enforced, there’s no penalties or ramifications for driving recklessly and parking illegally and even if there was, nobody would listen anyway.

That’s part of the fun of living in Southeast Asia. Basically a free for all where anything short of violent crime goes, it often feels like living in 1950’s America before anything we take for granted today became law. Sometimes it’s even like the Old West when law and order was mostly an afterthought (minus the guns of course). They also love making noise. Fireworks galore all year long, mysterious popping explosion sounds that sound like cars backfiring, putt putt motorbikes with no exhaust and who knows what else. Fortunately, it’s safe and inexpensive so putting up with little things like horrible drivers, daily poisoning of the air from burning garbage, and lack of tissues, toilet paper and clean bathrooms is just part of the experience.

Thanks for Following along !! We love comments and insights 

 

9 thoughts on “Not so Shabby

  1. pareddownlife

    I love your style – it’s what makes the blog worth reading. Positivity and negativity should go hand in hand – otherwise blog posts exist as uncritical, unrealistic songs of praise to everything… which gets to be highly boring.

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  2. Sastri

    Congratulations! I enjoy reading your posts. I just got off the phone with my dad, and he mentioned that more Canadians are retiring in Penang under Malaysia My 2nd home program. I thought that was interesting 🙂

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  3. Eam

    Thks for your explanation. I have no doubts at all that you are telling it like it is. It all depends on which part of the island one stays, I suppose. I do empathise with you and agree that law enforcement is sorely lacking at times but generally-speaking, Penang is a nice place to spend one’s retirement. It is my hope that things will improve to make your stay a memorable and pleasant one. Your insightful observations are indeed much appreciated. Keep it up! Warm regards to you and Diane.

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  4. Merrill

    I laughed out loud about the scooters driving on the sidewalks and down the wrong side of the street, because they do that here in Chiang Mai as well. The roads are divided and we have to go way out of our way to do take a u-turn to visit the coffee shop across the street from the entrance to our sub development. Cars park where there’s no shoulder. Lots of countries don’t have the parking/driving laws like we had in the USA, but it seems to work.
    As for noise, it’s been quiet here, but South America was noisy! And I smell garbage burning sometimes.
    But, the Thai people are sweet and honest and hard-working.
    Thanks for sharing your stories.

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  5. Eam

    Congrats and thank you for your frank insights into our Malaysian way of life. Admittedly,we have our flaws but the majority that I know do not drive horribly, park anywhere and everywhere, burn garbage, dirty bathrooms, enjoy making noise,etc,etc. In fact, Penangites are very well-travelled people whose knowledge of other countries exceed that of Americans, many of whom are in the dark about the existence of our little island.Hope you get to know more of the people to realize that Penang is indeed a lovely place for retirees.

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    1. rodi (Rob and Diane) Post author

      I will agree with you 100% about most Americans being ignorant. After all, Trump looks set to become the leader of the free world. But I stand on the other things. In Batu Ferrenghi they routinely burn stuff every single day. I know this because I see it from my window then I smell it as the strong winds blow into my kitchen table. Construction sites do it; the water sport guys do it and the military installation across the street is the biggest offender proving that air pollution is not understood and condoned officially. As for the drivers perhaps I will send some photos from our bus stop where the bus can’t ever stop because there’s a cafe in front if it. The fireworks for 15 straight days are not my imagination. It’s part of Asian celebrations and I accept it if I want to live here. I’m used to all this but not pointing any of it out would be like you moving to America and writing a blog based on cultural differences and observations and never mentioning obesity, problems with guns and violence or all the other shit we put up with. Yours is just different shit. No better no worse

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  6. MrFireStation

    Congrats – 50,000 page views is AMAZING! I bet it really feels good to hit such a milestone. I’ve had over 10K in February (with a lot of interest because this is the month I formally quit my job). That is more than double what I had all last year. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts – such an adventure to move to Asia!

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    1. rodi (Rob and Diane) Post author

      Thanks for the comment. I must admit it’s more than I thought I’d get since I have less than 300 followers. When I started and took the time to read a lot more blogs I didn’t understand how the young generation can write such fluff and shit yet get thousands of followers and hundreds of likes on every post. But then I realized they also participate in every social media medium and their lives are controlled by it. I write because it’s fun, comes easy to me and a lot do people seem to enjoy my style. If I can help a few people and give some advice that’s even better. I’ve had views from over 95 countries which fascinates me. Thanks again !!

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