Apparently The Experimental Expats won’t be making an episode of a House Hunters International any time soon. If you’ve noticed there’s rarely any episodes made in Malaysia, it’s not your imagination. Overdeveloped condo units owned by almost all foreign investors, mostly from the Chinese mainland means you won’t see very many condo boards agreeing to show their precious properties on television, especially if there’s nothing in it for them. Despite the fact they might actually rent some of the dozens of empty units, we’re told they’d rather leave them empty than take a loss or even a small profit as this would be a huge loss of “face“, the most important cultural aspect of Chinese culture. Welcome to Asia.
For the benefit of anyone considering a tryout for an episode filmed in Malaysia, let me save you some time. The most basic requirement of the casting producers is a signed release by the owner of your property (for renters only) and an authorized representative of building management (obviously not applicable for those who might own or rent a single family home: not very common in Malaysia). Seemingly the easiest step in the process, our western brains thought it’s a no brainer to gain exposure to the unit and is clearly in the best interest of owners on an island that has a sinfully low occupancy rate due to overdevelopment. Wrong. Moving right to the very tedious 16 page questionnaire, I spent several days writing and editing our responses which is an important factor when the producers are considering your overall audition. After constructing a wordy but thoroughly developed Word document, we sent it off to the producer and then emailed our landlord through our property agent. Basically not objecting but refusing to sign the waiver until we get condo board approval, we visited the guy in charge of building management and received less than a warm welcome.