One of my most popular posts was Why I left Australia and returned to Malaysia. Five years after my return to Malaysia, I’m confident that I’ve made the right decision. Why? Because Malaysia is my home, and there’s so many things I love about my country.
So, tomorrow being Malaysia’s 62nd National Day, and the first after the pivotal GE14 where Malaysians changed the government for the first time in her history, I thought it’s a good time to list the things I love about Malaysia.
Awesome universal healthcare
I’ve accompanied my family members to both public and private hospitals, so I’ve experienced both systems. While the private hospitals are prettier and more modern, the bills are quite painful. If you’re not insured, it could quickly bankrupt you if you have a major illness. Fortunately, Malaysians have access to public hospitals where the bills are heavily subsidised by the government. Therefore that’s why Malaysians can get medical treatment for as low as RM1. However, the wonderfulness of our healthcare was only truly highlighted when Razali Raihayu’s emotional FB post about his experience in a government hospital went viral:
We may still need to improve many things about our public hospitals, but I’m proud that in Malaysia, even the poor can afford medical treatment, unlike in the United States where people can get into deep financial trouble if they get sick.
Improving public transport
Okay, your mileage may vary with this one, but since I live in Klang Valley, I truly, truly love the LRT, MRT and even KTM train systems. In 2018 I started taking the train to work and have loved it since. Sure, it may take me up to an hour (including walking time) to get home, but I appreciate the exercise and not being stuck in out-of-control traffic jams. With the introduction of the RM100 card, travel has gotten even cheaper for me.
Affordable, yummy cuisine
Need I say more? I’ve never missed Malaysian food more than when i was living in Australia. There, we can only get Malaysian food in restaurants, and usually at a high price and not very authentic. And forget being able to hop to your local mamak and grab RM2 roti canai. I once saw roti canai priced at A$15 per piece! It’s pretty much heaven in Malaysia where good food is available cheaply and nearly around the clock. And yes, how can we forget durian? My goodness, I will live in Malaysia for it alone!
Beautiful places to visit
In my youth, I was lucky enough to travel the world. After years and years of travelling around the world, i’m now more drawn to visiting local tourist spots such as Malacca, Penang and even Kuala Lumpur.I guess i’m making up for lost time - having focused on overseas destinations in my youth, I thought it was time to experience what’s in my backyard. Also, I don’t have to spend so much time travelling, it’s budget-friendly and also a great way to support the local economy.
Besides local destinations, we are just a short flight to destinations like Vietnam, Australia, Indonesia, South Korea and more. When I lived in Australia, I felt as if I was so far away from everything, and other nations not as accessible.
Our multicultural heritage
I can speak English, Malay and two Chinese dialects: Mandarin and Hokkien. This, as we Malaysians know, is pretty normal for many of us because we live in such a culturally diverse country. What’s unique about our society is that most of us have retained our cultural uniqueness. We are Malaysian, and yet culturally distinct. Compare that to the United States, where most immigrant children feel the pressure to assimilate and be American. I think there’s advantages and disadvantages to both “systems”, but still, in Malaysia we’re able to retain our cultural heritage, which results in a rich tapestry of culture, cuisines and languages.
So there you go - the five things I love about Malaysia! How about you? What do you love about Malaysia?