September 16th is Malaysia Day and is not to be confused with Merdeka Day (Aug 31st). Merdeka Day celebrates Malaya's independence from British rule in 1957. Malaysia Day acknowledges the merging of Sarawak and Sabah with Malaya, becoming Malaysia.
People here may go on holidays either in or out of the country, particularly if it coincides with a school holiday week. Or, people flock to the nearest shopping mall to spend the day, and money, on discounts!
Today I decided to spend some time thinking what Malaysia has given me and why I'm so thankful to be living here. So here is my
Top 10 things Malaysia has Given Me:
1. A beautiful wife and family
|Horne family photo in Kuantan, May 2014|
First and foremost, the reason why this Englishman is here in Malaysia today, is my beautiful wife. After meeting my Malaysian beauty on the island of Borneo, we soon engaged and married a year later. In addition to being the woman I love, she is a great help to my cause as a local Malaysian.
2. 4 sisters-in-law
|My wife with her 4 sisters at home in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia|
Get that! Not only has Malaysia given me a gorgeous wife, but the family extends to four fantastic sisters-in-law (though I hate the 'in-law' part. I refer to them as simply 'sisters'). How lucky can one guy be?
3. A family company
|Our company logo|
Malaysia has given us our own family company. We registered Horne Learning Services through Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM, or Malaysia Companies Commission), and in no time we had our own business. We are able to work from home, giving us the pleasure of being with and raising our children simultaneously. Our website can be found at HLS English Classes Kuantan
4. Long-term visa with permission to work
The Kuantan, Pahang Immigration has over the years relaxed its policies and has allowed me to receive a 4-year visa with permission to work. This is a huge blessing for me which I am ever grateful for. Long gone are the days where I had to go to Singapore every 3 months to get a new stamp in my passport.
5. A love of hotels
|Meeting the Chief Minister of Pahang at Vistana Hotel Kuantan in February 2014|
Through my blog and living in Kuantan, I have developed quite a love of hotels, which has seen us stay inside most of the notable hotels in Kuantan, and some of the smaller ones. We have often stayed there for free in exchange for positive blog reviews, while also taking the opportunity of combining our English classes with the hotel industry. We have gained many new friends in hotels in Kuantan and KL which has enhanced our lives dramatically.
6. An appreciation of health
|In my hospital bed with dehydration and food poisoning at HTAA Kuantan|
Malaysia has given me a more vivid awareness and appreciation of my health. Coming down with food poisoning has taught me to be extra careful what I eat and making sure it's clean and safe before consumption. Severe dehydration has alerted me to the need for drinking PLENTY of water and electrolytes, and also taking rehydration salts from time to time. Living in this hot and humid climate has created a much greater importance to looking after my health. Coupled with my long-overdue dentist appointments to correct a number of problems at extremely low prices, Malaysia has definitely brought about an improved sense of good health.
7. A new outlook on life
|with friends in Ipoh, Malaysia, May 2004|
Malaysia has reinvigorated me. It has given me a whole new outlook on life. It is a combination of living a different culture, adapting to a new climate, appreciating the appearance of the sun every single day, interacting with really friendly people, serving others and experiencing new opportunities. Thank you for these wonderful things, Malaysia!
8. Nasi Lemak
|A gorgeous helping of nasi lemak|
Mmmm, nasi lemak. The greatest food ever! Malaysia boleh!
9. Beautiful beaches
|Teluk Chempedak beach, Kuantan|
Malaysia has given me a beautiful beach just 15 minutes drive down the road. Teluk Chempedak beach is the most popular place in Kuantan. I love going there and walking across the bridge through monkey territory to the next beach. What a luxury this is!
Astro is the Malaysian equivalent of Sky TV in England. Man, I get to watch more BPL football in Malaysia than I ever did in England. There are 14 channels dedicated to sports, with additional channels on top of that for special sporting events (ie. FIFA World Cup, Olympics etc). Malaysia has spoilt me!