Jaillan Yehia

The Real Life Brexiter: Swapping the malaise for Malaysia

Written by Jaillan Yehia

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This month’s featured Brexiter lives in Kuala Lumpur

Brexit has caused more Brits than ever to start turning dreams of living overseas into a reality.

So I decided to start a series asking real life Brexiters – those who’ve already left the UK for pastures greener – what life is really like after Blighty.

First in the series was Brexiter Katja – a Somerset girl who now lives in Mexico, and this month I talk to Worcester native Simon, who has moved on to a new life in Malaysia

Before I was offered a job in Kuala Lumpur, I had never even considered visiting – let alone living in – Malaysia.

Now I’m here, it’s hard to believe anyone would not want to try it out. 

brexiter Simon

Simon with some new friends in Malaysia

Whereas in England it costs six quid to buy a sandwich, and you practically have to sell a kidney if you want to live anywhere decent, rent and food in Malaysia are amazingly cheap. I spend the equivalent of just £200 a month on accommodation, and my condo has a pool, a sauna and a squash court. 

Even if I had my own pool in the UK, I would never use it because the weather is so *reader, insert your own word here*.

In Malaysia, there are three seasons: hot, very hot, and hot and wet. Even in the monsoon season, there’ll be a serious storm for a few hours every day but normally and luckily it’s at about 4pm when I’m in the office anyway.

Eating here, too, is as cheap as chips. Well, actually, chips are the more expensive option; if you eat like a local – that is, curry and rice or a big bowl of noodles in a street restaurant known as a ‘mamak‘ – you can get a delicious meal for roughly £1.

brexiter

Malaysia’s high life: the Petronas Towers

This is still true for the area where I live, which is the equivalent of London’s West End, called Bukit Bintang, which is amazing for my social life (although less great for my liver). 

Somewhat weirdly, alcohol is comparable in price to England – but that hurts the wallet a lot less because you’ve saved so much on the essentials (bills and sustenance). And I like booze so I don’t mind paying for it.

It’s a premium you pay for drinking in a Muslim country and who am I to argue against that? There are plenty of other countries that just ban alcohol, so forking out a few extra ringgits to compensate for my sins seems fair.

KL is also a brilliant home base for a short stopover in Asia; it’s wonderfully central so a trip to India only takes four hours and Bali three, all thanks to AirAsia which is, as cheap airlines go, absolutely top notch.

brexiter

It’s easy to see why anyone would Heart KL

You can drive to Singapore in four hours – if the traffic gods are on your side – so you can have a weekend trip to the city state if you fancy or you can take an overnight bus to paradise on earth: Kapas Island. 

brexiter

Recently, Malaysia’s politicians have been massively in the spotlight it’s true, but let’s face it the post-Brexit aftermath has definitely not reflected well on Britain’s leaders either. 

Simon is a freelance writer as well as a real life Brexiter, and can be contacted at siwillmore.com


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