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Penang: Internet cencorship and freedom for women

Hi all,

My husband and I are planning to move to Penang. All the info we have so far confirms our desire to settle there. We still have 2 big doubts to solve though.

Is there internet censorship? Especially for social networks like facebook and youtube. I saw that many movies and series are censored for TV, is it also the case on Internet or can we watch streaming freely? Go on news sites, etc.

Do women have a minimum of individual freedom? I heard Penang has many tourists and is very mixed, so I guess walking outside with shorts and tank top is ok ?! Can I go on beaches wearing bikini? Etc.

Thank you for your responses
Johanne and Patrick

johanne24 :

Do women have a minimum of individual freedom?

Women can do pretty much as they like, run businesses, drive cars, go to a bar and get drunk (Non Muslims only), even go out of the house without having to ask a man.

Maybe you've been reading too many horror stories about Muslims when the vast majority of the rubbish is silly newspapers cherry picking stories about some Muslims in some countries.

You'll be fine with everything you mention. Internet is not censored, although my US, Canadian or UK websites geofilter their content. You can't use Netflix, BBC iPlayer or such services because the source, not Malaysia, block it. Shorts and tank tops in public are fine, esp in Penang because of the large Chinese population. To be honest bikinis are not well received anywhere in SE Asia. I've seen them at various resorts, but not common and lots of stares. It's not really anything regarding the Muslim population be Asian culture in general. Even in Thailand (the land of everything goes) you don't see locals on the beaches wearing bikinis.

Err - am I allowed to say this...... well here goes..... unless you are on the MM2H programme or have work permit/dependent pass, because of your enthnicity you may experience a few problems with immigration officers at border controls....... Some issues at Penang airport have been reported. There are also some negative impressions in the country associated with drugs and crime. Penang is quite a gossipy place (I live in Penang most of the time and people like to put foreigners in boxes according to religion and nationality.....just saying.)

Gravitas :

Err - am I allowed to say this...... well here goes..... unless you are on the MM2H programme or have work permit/dependent pass, because of your enthnicity you may experience a few problems with immigration officers at border controls....... Some issues at Penang airport have been reported. There are also some negative impressions in the country associated with drugs and crime. Penang is quite a gossipy place (I live in Penang most of the time and people like to put foreigners in boxes according to religion and nationality.....just saying.)

Never thought about that aspect, can't argue about it.

I guess if you've already decided to move to Malaysia then you'll adapt very quickly to what is censored and what isn't.

Something I noticed is that some movies are censored in the daytime, but then later during the night they are not. For example, in the movie "Blades of Glory", the bit where John Heder and Will Ferrel first ice skate together as a couple, during the daytime that 90 second clip was censored but at night it wasn't.

I can't say for Facebook or Youtube or Daily Motion, but I have never really noticed anything being censored. I don't search for extreme stuff so that might be why.

Yeah you can wear a bikini in Malaysia no problem at all. Some locals prefer to wear shorts and T-shirts over their swim suits but it's really up to them. As for tank tops and shorts, it's very common so no issues there.

Gravitas :

Err - am I allowed to say this...... well here goes..... unless you are on the MM2H programme or have work permit/dependent pass, because of your enthnicity you may experience a few problems with immigration officers at border controls....... Some issues at Penang airport have been reported. There are also some negative impressions in the country associated with drugs and crime. Penang is quite a gossipy place (I live in Penang most of the time and people like to put foreigners in boxes according to religion and nationality.....just saying.)

That's a good point. I'll have a dependent pass from my husband's MM2H Visa.
Also, I'm quite aware that my ethinicity is not always welcome depending of the country I am, but I'm used to it. Racism does exist everywhere, what to consider is "at what level?".
Finally, I'm aware that I come from a country, known from many people, especially in Asia, for being just a movie. So I'm used to things like long waits at airports (banks, etc.) to verify if my country does really exist, if my passport is fake, etc.

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