A Malaysian minimalist in Adelaide


When I applied for my visa nearly five years ago, I did it mainly because I felt desperate to change my life. I had no idea what I wanted to change then, but I thought getting out of home base (ie, Malaysia) was the way to do it. A funny thing happened on the way to the immigration centre – after signing the papers, I began changing my life anyway.

So much so that by the time I got my visa in 2011, I thought I would ruin all the changes that I’ve made by moving. By then, I realised that I didn’t have to move countries to change my life. All I had to do was change my mind.

Nevertheless, I did decide to come to Australia. That journey that I thought would be scuttled because of my move to Australia? Well, that never happened. If anything, moving to Australia has changed my life even more. Sure, I’ve been through agonising times, but I’ve also discovered new things about myself, I’ve done things I never thought I’d be able to do, I discovered a new strength in myself, and am finally pursuing my dreams with a gusto.

Why is living in Australia so awesome?

Not just because of the weather, the exchange rates or the fact that I’m free from the negative buzz I’m constantly subjected to in Malaysia.

It’s mainly because of the lessons that I’ve learned since I’ve got here. It’s because of what I’ve discovered about myself. For one, I never thought I’d:

  • Cycle 60km a week by commuting everywhere with a $50 bike I bought from Gumtree.
  • Ride that bike at midnight in winter, and in freezing, pouring rain.
  • have my own vegetable garden and eat from it.
  • Live on very little and still be happy about it.
  • Take care of very ill and frail people.
  • Be confronted with blood, other kinds of bodily matter and remain unaffected. Looks like I’m not the type to faint at the sight of blood – and I did see someone covered in blood once.
  • Comfort relatives and cry with them when a loved one passes away.
  • Write a novel. Sell stuff on Amazon.
  • Get published in an anthology back home.
  • Give hugs to people daily and tell them it’s mandatory to get one every day.
  • Be getting myself ready to study nursing in 2015.

If I’d stayed in Malaysia, I would not have experienced any of these things.

I’m so glad that I turned down four high-paying jobs to come here. The money I would’ve earned would not be enough to pay for the lessons I’ve gotten here.

From now on, on Sundays, I’ll be blogging about an area of life that I’m really passionate about: Simple living. Or Minimalism, or Minimalist living. I was on that journey even before it became a trendy word. And being in Australia helped me further along the way. Being a minimalist in Australia is a lot easier than in Malaysia for many reasons.

Why blog about Simplicity in a blog about being a Malaysian immigrant in Australia? Well, most of us left Malaysia to change our lives, and I was no different. These simple living principles have made my life in Oz such a joy. And I hope to share them with you and with that perhaps you can see how it can change yours too 🙂


12 thoughts on “A Malaysian minimalist in Adelaide

  1. Simple living is good, looking forward to your next posts. I have just migrated to Sydney, work and stay in CDB. Just wondering can I stay simple living like yours or this only can only be done out of CDB area?

  2. Yes!! Finally Google is playing nice to me. I have been searching “Malaysian in Australia blog” for weeks, and Google has been pointing me to Singaporeans blogs. Not that their stories are less inspiring, I just wanted some pointers on how Malaysians do it.

    I just started the process (waiting to take the IELTS, preparing the documents for skill assessment), am gonna stalk your whole blog now 😀

  3. Just take 1 step at a time. If you prepare upfront it should be OK. Invest in some test materials over the net eg british council ones they are quite useful just to get a hang of the test before the actual day. I got my visa 190 last december 13. It has been quite an experience. If you need some migration arrival notice pm me there is a malaysian guy i heard he is good. I’ll be using him in may next month for first entry to SA.

  4. So glad that we got the internet. Found your blog and it is very helpful for migrants from Malaysia like me. Just took my ielts and waiting for results. I have always wanted to move to Oz but the more I researched the more doubtful I am now on jobs availability over there especially IT field. Any good chance for someone that is holding malaysia local degree is only a middle range level?

    • Hi Hopeful Migrant, it is not impossible but it is very challenging. you have to be open about retraining even. A lot of us end up doing things out of our fields. some become cleaners, some nurses. It really depends on why u want to be here.

  5. Pingback: Minimalism in Malaysia is Lonely - A'ishah K.

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