Destination: Homeland – Malaysia


the time has come but all too soon for us; we’re finally going back to Malaysia for good this Sunday. it’s been nearly 2 years (come August) and just when we thought we’ll be here for another 1 more year (we’ve prepared our hearts for it), God has other plans for us.

it’s so disheartening when we first got the confirmation; one of the main reason for me was because i just got back here in Brats with the kids in March and we just got to know better the lovely and wonderful people from Citylights! we spent our first year here being so lonely (we only have 1 close family friend – the Dale’s) and ‘unhappening’ and then suddenly we joined this new church and we found a Family. Just when it seems like everything is going well, we’re being sent back. sighs~

even so, we trust that God has great plans for us back in Kajang. on the other hand, Ayl and i are both looking forward to building our own home (finally!!), a place we can call our own. we’ve been renting and staying at other ppl’s houses since Uni…

so what have i gained from this blessed opportunity to live abroad:

1. Family > Work

– people here leave work sharp, few do OTs and when it’s a major public holiday like Easter or Christmas, everybody (and i really mean EVERYBODY) spend time off work. Malls/Shops/Restaurants are closed, much to the misery of ppl like me because oftentimes on holidays, i’d rather celebrate these occasions out of the house i.e. the beach (there is no beach here), the mall, the eateries… you get my drift. well, you Brat friends can argue that there are the many beautiful parks or the Slavin memorial 😛 but we can’t go there at night with kids right? come to think of it, the honest truth is we just don’t want to be home alone; it’d be nice to get invited to join in with a family. so for those of you looking for triple pay income during the holidays, there’s no such thing here.

– women who has just given birth are given 3years maternity leave, after 3years the company will take you back. (wonder what happens if you have one baby after another??) meanwhile, the state will provide a certain financial amount to the family. here, it is an unwritten rule for women to stay at home with their babies till they are 3years old; leaving the babies for work earlier will be deemed as ‘a bad mother’. imagine that!

after nearly 2 years here, we’ve caught on this priority; Ayl and i agree that we should put family first before work. now that we’re heading back, i would like to stay home to take care of the kids rather than going out to work until they start going to pre-school. however, this of course will depend very much on Ayl’s income, if it should be sufficient for us.

2. Cooking with the Oven

– yeaaa… sad but true. i only got to know how to use the oven when we got here. i didn’t grow up with an oven at home and never got to know how to use it; that’s coz  (i think it’s safe to say) 80% of the Malaysian households do not use the oven to cook or even own one. what we used to use was a small round plug-in electric oven whenever we wanted to make a marble cake or kuih bankek (a type of traditional cookie) during the Chinese New Year. so, after getting this chance to fully use a modern ‘full-fledge’ oven, i think stir-frying comes second best. it’s convenient (don’t have to keep checking up on it or stir it), cleaner (no cooking oil splish splash everywhere) and some of the recipes are soooo easy and healthy.

[can’t believe this has been sitting here for 2+ weeks now, i better finish up]

3. Encounters with God & His people

– i remember just sitting by myself and tears will come; i was so depressed and lonely when we first came here, esp during the dark winter days when we would only get sunlight for 4hrs a day. God has been extremely good to me (and to us). i really can’t begin to tell each and every experience that i’ve personally had with him, there are just so many esp after we have joined Citylights. BLESS THE LORD O MY SOUL!! i have been strengthened in my faith 🙂

– even when i was away from Aylwin in Kuching, He has strengthened our bond and has revived Ayl’s spirit. i feel that he has a new level in faith and that is extremely good for me and the family. God is awesome!!

i think i better end here and post this up before i’m caught up with the daily motion of things at home again and this post might end up not being posted at all… 🙂 shall write more when i’ve the time and thought of something more.

3 responses »

  1. this may look like a full on blog post!

    I can see the point you’re trying to get across about putting family before work/career. The Europeans are experts in focusing on the family, and I must say that is lacking in our Asian way of life—be it in the havoc that is Hong Kong or our fast paced neighbour Singapore.

    I know it is difficult to even consider those things you mentioned being possible in our country—BUT—I must say it is. It is not a privilege only a certain few can have; everyone is entitled to it; it is just how we realign our goal and direction towards it. We need to begin by taking action ourselves AND not complaining or harping on why our country just cannot be like these other countries.

    Firstly we have to change our mindset. The problem is we are stuck in this preset work culture of working overtime. We equate working overtime not as being inefficient but more like “I have so much to do I can’t possibly finish it during regular working hours”. In this scenario, we equate overtime to “hooray, extra money for the month!”. This is what an expectation from a traditional job is—exchanging your time, for money. If work/life balance is to be achieved, we need to steer away from this mindset! Work your strength and competence; sell your expertise; step out of your comfort zone—and score the job that gives you the best of both worlds. If we don’t take the initiative to change, we will never know what opportunities we are missing out on.

    Extended maternity leave would be great but I think we are still fairly behind on this matter. It would be selfish to blame it on the government; at the moment I can see why it remains a challenge—again it has to do with the culture. It also doesn’t help that we’ve been conditioned to accept the 60 days as the norm. And think about it this way, most working moms have managed thanks to the numerous (affordable) childcare options we have here. I have a girlfriend in Perth who is an accountant with Deloitte—she has taken time off work to take care of her daughter not because she’s entitled to it, but because childcare is pricey! Imagine that! All that said, I have to give credit to the public sector as they are fighting for a 90 day leave (baby steps, but at least we’re going somewhere!) and also kudos to the private sector as more employers are offering extended maternity leaves to their staff—another sign of moving towards a better work/life balance.

    I’m a Focus-on-the-Family advocate and I wish you and Aylwin all the best—grab those opportunities as they come! I trust that God will light the path; and it’s up to us to make the most of the journey. Welcome home!

  2. Welcome back, Li Anne. Looking forward to see you all four together again 🙂
    Give thanks to the Lord for He is good and His love endures forever!

  3. Ooh cooking with the oven. I’ve read that food cooked that way are much healthier, I used to bake pumpkin for baby food, but stopped already. U gotta teach me some recipes!!

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