Tag Archives: expats


29 Aug

london 12.11pm 16C sunny wednesday 2018

today i got to see what is actually happening to expats in europe, esp spain. the statistics are in. they are leaving . it is not surprising, when u consider the twin factors of brexit and the £ becoming almost equal to the euro. the latter alone will be enough to push people to leave and if not come back to the uk, which will apply to the majority;  then, less likely…to go to other countries outside the eurozone.

i think they would consider their time in spain a nice time while it lasts, even though when they first went there, they would not have thought that brexit would happen.

and once brexit is going to happen, then exchange rates will assume a big factor in their calculations as to how affordable living abroad means to them. the £ will be affected and it will always influence their stay wherever they are in the world.

maybe if u are an expat, consider your life as a nomad. which will be what it finally amounts to.  go where £ exchange rate is the best. and that means moving once in a while as the £ moves up and down. in other words, reconcile yourselves to the idea that you will have to move constantly as the fortunes of the £ ebbs and flows. now, turkey is a good country to go to for its exchange rate. as well as the constant favourites like india, malaysia, indonesia. 

personally, i always think that moving away to live will always be a short term goal. eventually, you will come back to uk, because health reasons! will push you to move back here. sooner or later,you will get too many illnesses, that would require you to come back and use the nhs.


16 Jul

london 2.29pm 31.2C highest so far. sunny monday 2018

i am surprised to see the temperature is so high. i had just come back but though warm it did not feel that hot outside. but then most of the time i was in buses which even though it is not cold , the airconditioning at least struggling to keep it cool so it was bearable inside.

all this heat reminds me of s.e.asia. thailand especially. i got an email from someone in a gaywebsite asking if i accommodate. it was an old website, since revamped with the accommodation section removed, that is why i was surprised to hear from him. he is writing from pattaya.. later after my reply, he told me he actually lives in rio de janeiro, is british, comes to uk once a year, and is currantly on holiday in pattaya. he said he will be in paris in september and thought of taking in  london. i had thought he was an expat in pattaya when i got his message. just goes to show not to assume anything. he is 57yrs old.

we have brits living abroad, and we have foreigners all clamouring to come to uk, its a topsy turvy world, with people not living where they are born, restless all of them and always thinking the grass is greener elsewhere. i am one of them, really.  circumstances have cast me on these shores, and on the whole i am happy to be living here.

whilst my friend, who is holidaying in uk now, has made his life in chiang mai, and seems happy to be there. he has i went on saturday for his 75th birthday , hosted by his sister in her house where they are staying whilst here. it is in west london, way out , near west drayton. which is the limit of my freedom pass. i have not been that way before. it is quite flat country, and built up. not a lot of green parks. it was very hot, and even though they have a back garden, it looked too hot to be sitting out there in the sun. there was no shady trees, so i stayed inside. there was a transparent roofed conservatory at the back of the house, which is south facing, which might be really pleasant in winter, but that day it was too hot to be sitting there. 

coming back the train stopped at southall, which i have heard a lot of , and even wanted to visit just to see if i can see the indian life there. i have heard it is like india, and i had visions of it being like little india in singapore, full of indian businesses… but i googled it and had a look at the google images of the streets, and none of it is very indian… i mean  it looked like a british high st, not that many indian shops. i was thinking of a place like brick lane, in london, where every shop there is indian. (that is in the past, now i think other shops have made inroads and many of the indian businesses have gone.)

expat life

1 Feb

london 3.31pm 15.1C cloudy/rain. monday 2016

i was walking through leicester square earlier today, and got a flyer from someone giving it out. 

Digital StillCamera

Digital StillCamera

it is very tempting… mainly because u can try all the different types of pizza as many as u like.

i am not into pizzas, yet it even tempts me.

when u consider it is normally £9 for a all you can eat buffet in a chinatown restaurant, or if it is about £7.50,   the selection of food is not that great, full of carbohydrates instead of meat, and very salty to boot, this offer from pizza hut is a good one. it sounds like i am advertising them, but i hope not. haha. i wonder if this offer is a one off or is it a regular thing.

i googled it and found out that other pizza hut chains charge £6.99 , only central london and blue water shopping centre charges £7.50… just goes to show how expensive other restaurants are in central london . so might be worth it to eat in the pizza huts out of the centre of london. it just goes to show how unfamiliar i am with pizzahut and pizzas in general that i am not aware of all this until i see this flyer given to me.

(i saw some comments by customers, and they were complaining of lack of choice of pizza and slow kitchen. so maybe the central london pizza huts are better ,as they are always busy and so the kitchen can keepup a smooth and steady flow of pizzas and so dont have to wait too long for a favourite topping to come along. )

i suppose one of the things about living in a big city is the junk food u can get haha.

dont laugh, there are some who cannot do without a macdonalds, or a burgerking, or a crispy creme. haha.

and i know that people in the far east, and asia, make it an occasion to go to a macdonalds, or kfc. wasn’t it japan where the whole family celebrate christmas by going for a meal in the kfc? its seems it is a tradition. 

There, one goes to the shopping mall for entertainment, and the choice lies between chain stores, national franchises whose offerings are highly predictable. There, I would probably spend hours glued to Facebook, and watch a movie a day on Netflix. I do the same here.

the above is a quote from this post why go home? by this blogger expat in chiangmai, thailand. the cheap cost of living is the big draw for this expat and that seems to be the deciding reason for him and also for majority of foreign expats who are from the first world deciding to settle in a developing country.

i wonder myself what i would do different if i were to be in malaysia, or thailand, instead of here in london. in my case, it is the opposite of them, here i am,  a malaysian who is expat in london, whilst they are people from america being expat in thailand.

i like where i am because i like western culture… english films, etc. and the way in these western cities run their buses and tubes. it runs smoothly and often.

that there is no sudden breakdown of electricity or power.

that there is no need to bribe anyone, if u want something done.

no need to haggle when buying things. everyone gets charged the same.

and lots of books , newspapers etc to read without too much cost, free books and newspapers and wifi,even, if u use the library.

no floods, or droughts, or mosquitos , or shortage of foodstuffs, or hot and monsoonal weather.  

oh well, every soul shall live in a life of their own desire. and if someone wants to uproot and go to s.e.asia, so be it. whilst all those who want to come here to uk, shall do so , even if it means smuggling themselves in by hook or by crook. 



life in the south of france, and london

26 May

london 12.45pm 2015 tuesday

there is a tv program called london live and i am looking at it now, and had the thought that they should have a live update on the traffic in london.

for eg, i have just come back and seen the long queues at vauxhall bridge road, going south, (due to road works to do the bike paths) and the queue stretching right up to victoria, and victoria itself is jammed with a taxi demonstration against uber,(around this time, the taxi men are crowding and staying in the streets round victoria and jamming them up).

now when i see that program and no mention of these jams , i thought london live should be doing a running strip at the bottom of the screen telling people of the long delays there and to make up their minds whether to avoid it. it would make the program more relevant to us londoners.

added 1.01pm oh i spoke too soon, i see they have said coming up is the cabbie strike in victoria… technology is altering the landscape. uber and airbnb is making the home owners and car owners a chance to make money without the handicap of paying a license to let out their homes, or cars. 

i myself decided to take the tube on the return journey.  i earlier took the bus to marble arch, i saw the long queues and  when i want to get back i decided to take the tube to pimlico from marble arch instead of the bus.

so that is a taste of life in london haha. but it is more than that. like i got an email from the korean culture people telling me that i have got a place at their free lecture with food prep of how to make bibimpap tonight. i only asked in an email on sunday so it is quick of them to reply and to make a place for me. i got notice of it happening from this blog dosirakbento

now to get to life in south france. actually it is something i thought about when i finished this book i borrowed from the library. it is celia imrie’s ‘not quite nice‘, about expats from uk living in Nice and the area round it. i used to wonder what these expats do all day …. nice weather is all very well, but when u get it all the time it can get taken for granted and anyway life is not all the time sitting in the sun soaking up the sun. you have to do something else… so what do they do? well, it is a novel, so i suppose it must show a cast of eccentrics and troubled people but the basic story of them being targetted by crooks out to cheat them or steal from them and stealing their husbands or wives is what the plot is about. it makes me think ya, i guess it is something that expats can get bothered with… i would find it boring, drinking and eating and doing highly dramatic interactions with each other fellow brits expats.

there dont seem to be any interaction with the local french people except as servers and tradesmen…. since none of them know enough french to be fluent in it. so there are no french characters.

well, if that is what expats do to while the time away in their sunny hideaway in the south of france, i think i prefer to stay in london, where everyone speaks english and so do i , even the visitors to london speak english so it is easy to interact with everyone. also british tv is very nice, unlike french, which even if very nice i wont be able to understand at all. in the end, if ever i had any yearnings to go there and live , i can strike that out right now. the book is quite nicely written, and considering celia imrie is better known as an actress, this is a good first effort.

added 1.6.15. i am missing all these books about the south of france, written in this fashion. light gossipy read , and i hope she will write more in this vein, and bringing in the atmosphere and sunlight and heady way of life there. i am reminded of the lucia and mapp books but there must be loads of characters living in the south of france, they could all be added to the mix and aspects of their lives there can be included to make some kind of story. 

its raining outside

6 Apr


thank goodness, though it would have been more welcomed 2days ago, at the height of the sand smog from the sahara. in fact by yesterday the smog was clearing. i know because i can see the clouds and sunshine was getting through . during the smog, the whole sky was a uniform hazy brightness. it certainly brings us an experience of what it is like for malaysia and singapore when they got the haze from the peat fires in sumatra wafting over them. or people in chiangmai area when the farmers start burning their fields every feb-april.

what i find surprising is that the sands can remain suspended till they arrive in the uk. how come they dont fall in europe for heaven’s sake. even the sand wants to settle in uk, travelling all the way over the vast expense of europe to drop in here.

 it is the first time that we got this sand. at least for as long as i have lived here, i have not seen this before. the scientists are saying dont be complacent, it will happen more often in future. hope they are wrong. And i think they will be wrong, because our prevailing winds are from the west. it must take a once in a blue moon strong wind that will shoot the sand fr the sahara so high into the stratosphere that it lands so far north. that cannot be usual so i would not expect it every year no matter what they say.

i read in todays paper that the brits wont pay more than £6 for wine, that the govt takes 60% in duty and so there is no money to be made selling wine in uk. i know now why wine is so cheap in europe, it is the govt tax here that keeps the price high. no wonder all french cooking involves wine, it is so cheap there. i used to think what a waste of wine to cook it, the alcohol gets driven off so what is the point of it? right? but when u realise that wine is really very abundant in europe, so much of it is produced that if u dont find ways of using it up , u will have to pour it away. i bet in europe they dont need to use beef,or chicken stock , they use wine instead.

the brits drink more instant coffee than anyone else.

Yesterday i took the bus to trafalgar square, because i was restless and just wanted to go out. there were lots of young people carrying pillow cases. and there were lots of feathers on the ground and a large group were flailing their pillows up by the entrance to the national gallery. the central square where the fountains were have been closed off and cleaners spraying the area and sweeping the feathers.

I asked one of them what was going on. she said it was a pillow fight. is it a protest or something? I asked. no she said. what surprised me is that so many of them were using pillows filled with real feathers. i see many pillows being carried with the primark brand, and those dont have feathers, but since there were so many feathers about, i imagine quite a number of them must use feather filled pillows and that must cost a bit.

ah well, the exuberance of youth u might say. haha. nowadays with twitter and such it is easy to get a crowd going .

i have to say it is very efficient of the cleaning company to be cleaning away so quickly. just as well otherwise the wind will blow the feathers about and spread it wider. these guys dont realise somebody have to pay for their bit of fun. it will be us council tax payers i guess. Or maybe we council tax payers many not be affected… it might be included in their cleaning contract.

Generally,  i think it will be to london’s advantage… see,this event brings them to central london on a saturday, they will go out to eat and go shopping and generally patronise the businesses in london and pay through the nose for the food, goods, entertainment etc and london will make its profit and also make sure people keep coming to london .

London is always busy with lots of people on the streets. when u consider an equal if not more people are in the shops, u can hardly imagine the numbers of people in london . and it is all good. it makes the place so vibrant, keeps business tills ringing away and gives it a good atmosphere. I love the hustle and bustle of it.

i was looking at the crowds of people from where i am in the bus and i see so many are dressed so drably. all dark clothing and the uniform of the day… duvet style jackets and jeans, and trainers. everyone , even the women. considering they must be buying lots of clothes where do they put them since they are not wearing them in their daily lives.

I have finished reading ‘bangkok days’ by lawrence osborne, ‘eat pray love’ by elizabeth gilbert, interesting to me because they talk of expat life. both depict expats who have fallen into a lotus land where time is forgot and they stay so long they are in suspended animation.

added 13.4.14. here is an interview with osborne in the observer today.

‘quote from pray eat love. ‘I’ve been watching the expatriate society in Ubud… Everywhere in this town you see the same kind of character- Westerners who have been so ill treated and badly worn by life that they’ve dropped the whole struggle and decided to camp out here in Bali indefinitely, where they can live in a gorgeous house for $200 a month, perhaps taking a young Balinese man or woman as a companion, where they can drink before noon without getting any static about it, where they can make a bit of money exporting a bit of furniture for somebody. But generally, all they are doing here is seeing to it that nothing serious will ever be asked of them again. these are not bums, mind you. This is a very high grade of people, multinational, talented and clever. But it seems to me that everyone I meet here used to be something once (generally ‘married’ or ’employed’); now they are all united by the absence of the one thing they seem to have surrendered completely and forever; ambition. Needless to say, there’s a lot of drinking. ‘ unquote.

that really sums up expat life in these places very well indeed.