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Malaysia - haze - to go or not to go??

(17 Posts)
flymo79 Thu 14-Jan-16 15:56:02

Hello, can anyone help me with this query, I'm brewing over it a bit.. My DH has been offered a job in Penang, malaysia. We're really excited about it and have thought long and hard. I've read a lot about living there and have started to get concerned about the haze from forest fires in indonesia, it seems to have been the worst year ever (2015) and I just wanted to know if it's a massive no-no with kids. Obviously we would be staying in an a/c appartment but I really don't want to be trapped indoors for days - weeks - months, if this will be something to consider in our options of where to start out our amazing Asia adventure, I might have to reconsider....
So, does anyone have any real life experience, hints or tips?
Thanks so much

Barbie1 Thu 14-Jan-16 15:58:19

We have just left... Haze pretty bad and lots of parents took kids out of school and left Malaysia in the height of it all. It's wasn't pleasant to be honest but plenty of expats do live there and will continue to do so. Battery about to go, will charge and come back later

flymo79 Thu 14-Jan-16 16:02:27

Thanks barbie, appreciate your time..

Barbie1 Thu 14-Jan-16 17:07:34

The haze started to hit just as we had the news to pack up and relocate elsewhere. To be honest it was a relief. Most of my friends were booking flights out at the earliest opportunity and pulling children out of schools.

All three of mine suffered eat and chest infections and there were days that masks had to be worn when outside. It even got to the stage where mask were advised to be worn indoors. Try telling a three year old that hmm

Schools were closed on random days, thankfully I was a sahm so it didn't really effect me but lots of working parents found this was a pita.

That said I loved kl, and would return in a heartbeat grin

flymo79 Thu 14-Jan-16 18:00:18

Erk. Persistent ear and chest infections sound pretty grim. Thanks for the info barbie. I'm not sure if we need to reconsider or just stick it out... confused

flymo79 Thu 14-Jan-16 18:00:21

Erk. Persistent ear and chest infections sound pretty grim. Thanks for the info barbie. I'm not sure if we need to reconsider or just stick it out... confused

NatD1 Sat 16-Jan-16 00:57:25

Hi Flymo
We're just about to move to KL and of course the haze worries me. Also dengue and security. We've lived in Japan for a long time and went through earthquakes, floods, nuclear concerns etc. now in South Korea we live very close to the border, had last year's mers drama and haze problems at certain times of the year. Writing that down sounds like we're nutcase parents!

My advice would be to read everything and prepare yourself for things. Only you know what kind of person you are - (although you do quickly become resilient dealing with problems). Always have a backup plan b (all the way through to z)!

Life is an adventure. Id prefer to give things a go for myself than sit wondering what might have been.

My plan z is a credit card, passport and flights out of here. Luckily I've never had to do that yet! Xx

Barbie1 Sat 16-Jan-16 02:56:49

Nat I was in South Korea before kl and was willing to put up with all the crap just to get away from Korea wink
Yes it's unsafe, this week a lady got mugged outside of the mall I used to go to daily, the video is doing the rounds on fb...but if you take precautions it is a fabulous place to be smile

NatD1 Sat 16-Jan-16 04:57:12

I'm chuckling Barbie. Korea is an interesting place to live (putting it politely). I've learnt a lot living here - namely patience and a thick skin. confused

I saw the video too, outside gardens mall? I've jumped out of the taxi there before and slung my bag over my shoulder thinking it's safe because the guards are next to you. I'm revising that opinion now!

That's what I mean by do your research, take precautions but don't let it be the overriding factor when making a decision. Nasty stuff can happen anywhere in the world and it's a shame to miss out on the all the positive experiences by being too nervous to go.

And if it's not for you. Nothing wrong with saying 'hey at least I tried'.
^ which I have done with Seoul wink

flymo79 Mon 18-Jan-16 15:30:18

Thanks ladies, I'm so delighted to have had some responses, these are really helping me to weigh things up... Do you have any advice about meeting other mums when you move abroad? smile

Barbie1 Mon 18-Jan-16 15:35:04

I have done 6 moves in 6 years...making friends is easy especially if you have children.

You find expat life is easier as everyone is in the same boat so as soon as someone notices that you are new they will probably come over and introduce themselves! We have all been there so know how important it is to help others settle. You will find forums and fb pages full of expats asking all the questions your are too shy to ask, join them now, get to know the area...

Accept every invite you get, you will soon find a group you fit into.

It's exciting! I love starting up

NatD1 Mon 18-Jan-16 22:59:41

We went on holiday to Penanag and stayed in a private apartment complex for a week. Most of the neighbours were expats who lived there. They were so friendly and welcoming. Telling us the best places to eat. Ordered us some cheap beers on one of their alcohol runs. When the school buses pulled in during the afternoon. All the kids came straight to the pool and the moms chatted. Then the dads came home from work and the beers came out. It was a really lovely atmosphere. I wouldn't hesitate to move there.

Also there is another expat website for Brits - the friendly members seem to be mainly based in Penang. A lot of them on the mm2h visa but could still offer you lots of advice.

Good luck. Let us know how you get on.

(I'm looking at air purifiers - not ideal way to live but better to be prepared for bad air quality).

NatD1 Mon 18-Jan-16 23:01:26

Oh and there was a huge tescos at Penang. Shopping was pretty easy.

flymo79 Tue 19-Jan-16 04:47:16

Gosh Nat, that does sound good.... Thank you!!
Is an air purifier like a dehumidifier?

Laptopwieldingharpy Tue 19-Jan-16 05:31:18

A purifier extracts small particles from the air ( dust/heavy particle pollution) while the dehumidifier dries your athmosphere ( just as important as mould spores that grow on settled dust in tropical climates are major irritants)
I would say you do not need either in penang if you keep the house well ventilated or run the aircon regularly. When the haze hits you need both full on. Is it enough?
Well, there are billions of people in Asia living under these conditions. For a standard healthy person, it is not a big deal. The damage is real but not necessarily imminent nor certain. For the very young, elderly and with chronic health issues, it can be a problem.
The thing is patterns are changing. The haze is now recurent and persistent. It is not getting better anytime soon.

You have to consider the bigger picture for your family. How old are the kids? How long will you be there? Can you afford to repatriate if it is really bad? Etc etc....( these are rethorical questions! No need to answer here)
We are in Hong kong. It's bad. The air, the water, the food. We make expensive lifestyle choices where necessary to counteract but all in all our family life is here. There are no better job opportunities elsewhere right now, kids education is good so we count our blessings.

flymo79 Tue 19-Jan-16 09:03:26

Thanks laptop, my sister was in hk for ten years, she had kids there so I know of some of the pros/cons. Dh is a teacher so we feel very fortunate that we can give it a go. Did will be two when we arrive, I am (naturally) most concerned about her, health wise, and occupying her. But of course I realise that millions live with worse and we balance out our concerns with the knowledge that we are very privileged to be able to take this opportunity

flymo79 Tue 19-Jan-16 09:03:52

Dd not did!!

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