Are you happy in Malaysia?

Hello everyone!

According to the 2016 UN World Happiness Survey, Denmark, Switzerland and Iceland are the happiest countries on earth.

How about you? Are you happy in Malaysia? Do you feel happier today in your host country than before in your home country? What has contributed to the change?

In your opinion, are locals in Malaysia happy? How can you tell?

Please share your experience!

I am feeling happier here than staying in where I am from. But I think locals are not particularly enjoying, just okay?

Yes definitely I am very happy in Malaysia. People of Malaysia I found very friendly, nice food, lot to visit and overall relatively calm environment.

I'm extremely happy here, the food is great, dealing with Malaysians has been very enjoyable, the COL is very low compared to the US, the healthcare I've received at the local clinics and hospital has been excellent and almost free compared to the US. I had some surgery done a few months back, total bill was RM14K including 3 days in the hospital (2 in ICU), the surgeon, anesthesiologist, OR costs, follow up and everything else. The same surgery in the US would have cost well over $60K (RM250K).

Same thing with eating out, at McD's in the US I never pay less than $5 (RM21) for value meal - here it's about RM12 about 1/2 the price. Go to local food (which is MUCH BETTER than McD's) I can get by for RM5 for an excellent lunch, about 1/4 what a mediocre lunch would cost in the states.

Again the same with having work done. I had my AC units serviced and paid about RM85 each for a complete cleaning. The US it would have been about $150 (RM600) each.

The only issue is the heat, boy I could some cool weather once in a while, and the price of a good cigar. In the US I could get a decent cigar for about $5 USD, a good one for less than $10. Here the cheapest is about RM40, and anything good is more around RM100.

definitely Happy, though I miss my home country but life in Malaysia is priceless. I have great respect to local people here and recieve same respect in return. Cost of living is cheap though salaries here has a limit seems may be job market is not vibrant these days.
In total I can compare this being one of best life i have spent in several Asian countries.

iskandarhack :

and the price of a good cigar. In the US I could get a decent cigar for about $5 USD, a good one for less than $10. Here the cheapest is about RM40, and anything good is more around RM100.

Have you tried this tobacco shop...its in Kepong in a little strip center, inbetween  Carrefour (Carrefour is  called BIG now?) and the Kepong Police station. Its been a while since I was there but they had everything, including walk-in humidor.

cvco :
iskandarhack :

and the price of a good cigar. In the US I could get a decent cigar for about $5 USD, a good one for less than $10. Here the cheapest is about RM40, and anything good is more around RM100.

Have you tried this tobacco shop...its in Kepong in a little strip center, inbetween  Carrefour (Carrefour is  called BIG now?) and the Kepong Police station. Its been a while since I was there but they had everything, including walk-in humidor.

No I have not, the best one I've found thus far is Cigar Lounge in Publika (near Ben's Independent Grocery). I will check it out, you wouldn't know the name of the shop?

Ok I would say not happy but that might not be completely fair. My situation is different than most and im unhappy because im worn out from my particular problems. I just want to sell my Sdn Bhd and move on.

When you first come here everything is new, wonderful, you learn the ways, learn to adjust and eventually you WILL settle down to happiness. But I think the very long prospects of happiness for expats is general unhappiness and Ive heard it before. The small irritations you adjusted to and accepted in the early days never go away and in fact grow very slowly until you wake up one day and wonder, my god what have I done?

Some people are sensitive enough to this and when they start to catch an unhappy phase they pull up stakes. Others plod along in a so-so life and take what comes. By then you have given up your dreams and expectations and simply become another malaysian, especially if you speak malay.

Whats very interesting is that the average malaysian is happy. I dont mean they all love their government but they really feel OK and dont wish for another life somewhere. Their pain threshold is very high. Sometimes I look at them in wonder! Where westerners are whiny and fussy, malaysians take everything like a cool breeze and that amazes me.

That said, I enjoy the same things other do and aside from my problems there is much to like in general. On the other hand, im not personally satisfied with a life of just OK. I want better than OK. Besides wanting better museums and music, I want to be around people trying to up their life in education, manners, and stop chasing money as the end-all to everything.  You learned basic english, why not add to your vocabulary now so that we can speak more deeply? Why not teach me better words than street talk? Why not read foreign news and learn about whats going on in the world so we can talk more topics than "whats the best mamak" which gets very tiring? Why not take a week or two and work on those potholes??

Happiness is relative, some people are very happy with almost nothing at all. I figure that since the whole world has so much to offer, why not learn about and enjoy more of it?

But this is Malaysia and the way things are so I only have laments, not criticisms. But imagine the best and worst day of my life here when I met a very educated German and we talked and talked all topics of the world. Imagine that I couldnt have that same conversation with a local. Thats among the small irritations that grow.

Good luck in your time here!

Local people is nice and kind & very friendly, food delicious, mutual respect of the people, easy to  communicate, easy to make friends, sunshine whole year, no winter, extremely beautiful nature, cost of live appreciable (for a foreigner) etc....   Compared to EU or US my choice is done no regret. I will never change my  ID  Ilikeasia  ;)

not happy to stay in Malaysia now.  because economic is solely goind down.I want to try other country.usa.canada .norway.

The economy is going down everywhere.... but the salary are lower here so Malaysia will keep his competitiveness regarding western countries  ... then jobs will remain here

yes .it's right every country economic is becoe down. but Malaysia living is nice .ther people is very friendly .

Im happy to live here.  But have some problems. Local agent and company cheat workers. No action for cheating agent. As a result many workers become illegal. No workers want to be illegal themselves. Visa nevi also very high now if compare with salary.

Hi all,
I am happier in my homeland than in the host land. I think that holds good for most of us. That said, depending on the individual, Malaysia can be a very happy experience should one make an honest attempt to connect with the locals. I am part of a running group which is a mix of locals and expats and it's quite fun. I found the locals really friendly and helpful.
I don't know Malaysia enough to say whether the Malaysians are happy or not they are certainly more prosperous than countries like India.
And those were my two cents!

Not really. ***

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I am proud to be a Malaysian.
However things have changed so much .
Our livings were not easy as before.
As everybody knows what is happening in Malaysia.
Hope things will change as before in this such a beautiful
& harmony country.

Not happy.  I was born and raised in Europe and spent most of my adult life in Australia. For a single mum with a teenage daughter it is extremely "difficult" environment. Locals are friendly, I agreeb. I live in Damansara and work in Puncak Alam. Definitely don't like food.  After a year i still could not find a single  restaurant in Puncak Alam where i could  have a nice lunch, or just have a coffee, not to mention driving through the villages to get to work in the morning.

I think the faster and more deeply one can adapt, the happier one will be--at least for a while,

From the first day I didnt look for other expats or my home country food, I asked new local friends to teach me everything including how to make local food at home. It wasnt force but just acknowledging where I was and where I was not and happiness grew quickly because of that.

I said it before, one can be happy here if in retirement and no worries. One can also be happy in a two-year work stint if the salary is high and the person isnt shy to make new friends. But if the trek here was for anything else its going to be a rough go and that will promote unhappiness.

Ive become tired and jaded. I dont really think anymore about trying to get PR status. My work income comes from outside Malaysia and as time went on I have felt less and less of a connection here.

But its not only about my specific situation but in general too. The Health Ministry is now reporting there is no more medical subsidy, now everyone has to pay FULL, just like a private hospital would charge. This is going to hurt everyone, especially kampung folk who depended on RM1 office visit charges because they have no money. Najib claims he is forcing Malaysia to adhere to Vision 2020 so its only three more years before prices are first-world level. Actual Vision 2020 cannot be achieved so they are forcing a caricature of it by saying, "Hey we are first world country now because our prices are the same as USA and Singapore!!" Does this mean everyones salary will triple? Of course not. But it means business closure and downsizing because business cannot pay those new salaries. Rough times ahead and its no different in any other SE Asia country. People coming here to enjoy lower prices will only find the promotion of unhappiness on that topic. Who knows, in three years roti canai could be RM15.

For some people, money isnt an issue and they think money can buy happiness. For the other 95%, including those with money, economics greatly affects their happiness level. Everyone wants the same thing, to have enough money to pay for their life, and when you dont have it, the smiles, the friendliness, the nice climate, the nice beauty, the nice food all turn sour and dont mean anything. When was the last time you heard, Hey im living in a storm drain with two  plastic bags for a roof but i love the food, climate and people here!!

I lived here before (early 1990s)  for 8 years when Mahathir was PM. I think things were better then. Everyone knew there was a certain level of institutional racism but there was enough pie to go around and everyone got on with what they were supposed to do. There was also less tension between the races, everyone intermingled, went to each others houses, worked together, etc. I came back here for work over 5 years ago and to be honest, things have become much worse. The politics, the racism, the racial tension, the corruption, etc is all rather overwhelming if one has any interest in the economic/political environment here. There is a clear divide between the races, the increase of hard Islamisation, the suppression of freedom of speech, the insidious diminishing of human rights, etc. Malaysians are not happy about all of this but are so busy trying to make a living, they let it fly. The waste of resources, the drop in oil prices, the is creating a dangerous scenario as those who are on the bottom rung of the social ladder struggle financially and look for scapegoats to blame but refuse or are too blind to take on the real culprits. This country is a beautiful country, it has so much in terms of natural beauty, natural resources, beautiful people, diversity, etc but it has been squandered and it is beginning to show. Personally, if I do not inform myself about current affairs I could live here and just get on with my life but I don't want to live in a bubble. I cannot leave due to commitments but if I had a choice I would prefer to be back home, to be honest.

goldencik thats a great post and all true.

Actually it was Mahathir who started the racial and increased the corruption.

If you talk to very aged people, i adore them, you will learn that the dream life in Malaysia hasnt existed since the 50's, or we could say PRamlee's time. The tensions all came later.

In a larger sense globalization can be blamed because it later (which is right now today) caused a huge backlash in which now people are fighting each other over race, sovereignty, rights, borders, the rest of it. Now people are ultra sensitive whereas just 15 years ago they didnt care so much. Now suddenly everything matters and hence the rising tensions which Najib does nothing to quell.

I love your post.

My problem is more internal than external. I am without family here and there's no faulting Malysians for that. I am not sure what's a good salary but it is adequate and it's the most money I have ever made.
I was out of sorts when I first landed here and very honestly, didn't like staying here. I forced myself to warm up to the locals and soon began to like Kuala Lumpur. However, my loneliness has caught up with me and I'll soon be bound homewards. Broadly speaking, Malaysians are friendly, food is good, the landscape is excellent but it's up to the expat to seek happiness.
Terimah Kasih!

I have been here since november of 05 (1 year).  I came here because I had met a woman that I fell in love with and initially came in November to stay 6 weeks and see if it was a place I would like to live and if my feelings for this woman were genuine or if it was just an internet love that would not be sustainable in real life.  I found her to be everything I thought she was and more.  We married in September and I am now staying in Malaysia on a spousal visa.  The best part of it all is that while in the US I just started collecting my SS benefits.  If I would have stayed there I would never be able to retire on such meager pension.  Here, cost of living is between 25-50% of what it was in the states when you look across the board at all the cost.  Technical stuff will run you nearly the same, but meds, foods, lodging and general cost of living is way below what it cost in the states.  All in all, I've accomplished several goals in my move here.  I have started a life with a woman that I can enjoy life with being fully retired.  I can only think that it would be hard for those coming here that have to work and earn a living, wages are more in line with local economics and that makes it extremely difficult to get by, let alone getting settled in and establishing a life.

Mathathir was a bad person in his own right but on a few points he excelled in a good way. One is that he controlled inflation, he basically didnt allow it. He is said to have had more eyes than a pineapple and one way they were used is when a shop raised its prices he would learn about it and the very next day he would come out in the newspaper and order that shop to roll back its prices. Another was tension. These "red shirt Jamals" and Perkasas and all that, they were trampled without delay and never allowed to rise. One might say he was repressive but there was peace. He would not be able to stem long term tensions simmering underneath but was right to say, "maybe one matter at a time." Today, its running amok and the rise of tensions from Malay are causing absolutely everything to be stirred. Where does that lead?

Point is, there was a time not long ago Malaysia tilted on the joyful, softer, more peaceful side and today everything, together with the rise of /!\ I AM A STUPID SPAMMER /!\ and aberrant elements within Islam one almost feels right to escape the country and never turn back. That wasnt the evolution I expected when I first came, it wasnt the sort of new frontier I plainly saw. Hmm. Now what?

Stan, I agree with you very much and we have a similar story and plan. Its just that in the past few years you had to notice the changes and I couldnt recommend Malaysia the way I might have before.

Im also from US and well, you know that story. I for one dont want to go back.

Hi, yes Mahathir planted the seeds and due to suppression of the media people didn't know as much as they know now. However, there was some form of control and a sense of fairness. The minorities were still in a position to make good lives for themselves, that is changing, their rights are being slowly eroded on every front. The governing elite is getting richer, bolder and more corrupt with religion being used as a divisive tool to keep the majority (some of whom are educated and able to think for themselves) in line. Wonder how it will all end?

Hi everyone,

Thank you for your comments so far, your participation is very much appreciated.

However, we should be careful here, the topic is treading towards political comments/comparisons which should be avoided on the forum. I request everyone to please share their views on the few questions asked on a more personal basis.

Counting on your  understanding,

Yes, I am very happy here in Malaysia. I am actually born Malaysian but moved to Melbourne at a young age. In all honesty, I felt like an outsider there and I was the subject of racial discrimination on a few accounts. Now that I've moved back here, I feel normal. I don't feel like an outsider and I feel like I am finally a part of something. Besides the hotter weather, I am definitely happier in Malaysia.

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