Malaysian Island Life


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An eternal optimist, Liu-Yue built two social enterprises to help make the world a better place. Liu-Yue co-founded Oxstones Investment Club a searchable content platform and business tools for knowledge sharing and financial education. also provides investors with direct access to U.S. commercial real estate opportunities and other alternative investments. In addition, Liu-Yue also co-founded Cute Brands a cause-oriented character brand management and brand licensing company that creates social awareness on global issues and societal challenges through character creations. Prior to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Liu-Yue worked as an Executive Associate at M&T Bank in the Structured Real Estate Finance Group where he worked with senior management on multiple bank-wide risk management projects. He also had a dual role as a commercial banker advising UHNWIs and family offices on investments, credit, and banking needs while focused on residential CRE, infrastructure development, and affordable housing projects. Prior to M&T, he held a number of positions in Latin American equities and bonds investment groups at SBC Warburg Dillon Read (Swiss Bank), OFFITBANK (the wealth management division of Wachovia Bank), and in small cap equities at Steinberg Priest Capital Management (family office). Liu-Yue has an MBA specializing in investment management and strategy from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Marketing from Stern School of Business at NYU. He also completed graduate studies in international management at the University of Oxford, Trinity College.

By Keith Hockton, International Living,

On the terrace of the grand, British colonial E & O Hotel, evening light flickers through the coconut grove as a warm breeze drifts in from the Straits of Malacca.

I’m sipping a gin and tonic, watching the sun go down.

This has become one of my regular habits since moving to the island of Penang, off the west coast of mainland Malaysia, over a year ago.

Like other retired and working expats, my wife, Lisa, and I love it here. The cost of living is low, Malaysians are friendly and hospitable, and Penang is the country’s number one tourist destination, filled with restaurants, bars and historic mansions.

We chose Penang because it’s a small island and being near the ocean was important to us as we have a small sail boat. The climate is tropical year-round. On the breathtaking jungle trails leading up Penang Hill, large groups of butterflies and monkeys are common.

And you’ll find plenty of white sandy beaches if you just want to relax. We’re never bored. There are 18 official public holidays a year and just as many cultural events every few months. It’s also close to the rest of Asia and flights are cheap. Internal flights are even cheaper.

Since moving here, we have been to Bali four times and Cambodia once. The roads here are the best I’ve seen anywhere in the world and we’re only a 20-minute drive from the mainland and a four-hour drive from Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur. Penang however, has everything we need—modern shopping malls, movie theaters, every type of restaurant and bar you can imagine…and probably some you can’t.

There was no culture shock either. Here we’ve found everything we had at home and everyone speaks English. The local population is 51% Chinese, 40% Malay and 9% other, which includes us.

The locals are friendly, relaxed and it’s an easy place to live. The expat community is large and extremely active. Alliance Francais shows a free world movie every Friday night, the Irish Association members golf every week and the International Women’s Association seems to sponsor some activity daily.

Penang is famous for its food and well known throughout Asia for its medical tourism. One expat friend of ours is a plastic surgeon at a local hospital and told us that two planeloads of medical tourists arrive daily, 52 weeks of the year. And there’s a good reason. The cost of visiting a hospital here for a minor procedure is one tenth of what we would pay back home and their expertise is second-to-none.

I fell off my bike last week and had a golf-ball sized trauma, as well as a Texas-sized bruise on my inside thigh. The Adventist Hospital’s Emergency department saw me immediately, and 20 minutes later I was on my way, having had a tetanus injection and a prescription for anti-inflammatory ointment. The total cost of my visit was just $8.

We live in a spacious 2,100-square-foot apartment with three bedrooms and three bathrooms (it cost s$1,000 a month to rent). We have a carport, a swimming pool and well-equipped gym. We also have a maid that comes once a week for four hours at a cost of $12.

Renting apartments here is cheap, and a 1,000-square-foot apartment with sea views, a pool, tennis and squash courts and a gym rents for as little as $500 a month. Of course you can pay more, and we do, but you can also pay less. For example, friends of ours rent a 1,000-square-foot apartment without the sea views, with the same facilities, for just $300 a month.

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