Are you new or moving to the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur? Why not attend one of these fantastic meet-ups!
1 October 2015| Last updated on 26 October 2017
The History of Kuala Lumper International-Minded Women's Group
Shermian Lim is the founder of the group and she explains why she started up this womans group.
It might seem like repatriates have the upper hand in recalibrating back to the cultural norms of a country they once called home. But of course, that is never how it works.
In fact, a repatriate can often face more challenges than an expatriate. Places you once knew have evolved beyond recognition, familiar roads changed or renamed and unrecognizable names in the politics/local entertainment scene can leave you with a feeling of displacement and loss. For me, this was certainly the case, as I hadn’t lived in my home country for more than 10 years when I decided to move back.
And then there’s the part about making friends. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll have friends from your childhood to reconnect with. But with most of my childhood friends happily integrated into their new home cities around Australia, Europe and the US, I had to create my own opportunities to make new friends.
With social web platforms like Meetup, Couchsurfing and Facebook Groups, setting up a group that matches your interests only takes a matter of minutes—and there are many groups catering to different interests: expatriates, foodies, cyclists, going out for singles, nature lovers, book clubs, winos, movie buffs and girls night out groups, just to name a few.
What I didn’t find amongst all the groups that exist out there was one for women like me who were seeking to build a social circle where women—locals, repatriates and expatriates—support each other, so I decided to create one.
The group is about eight months old and I organize events twice a month, but I’m beginning to build friendships with a few women outside group activities, and I believe others have done the same. It’s also created a safer platform, not just for myself, but for other women to find new friends in a strange country.
Naturally, forming close friendships in a new country will take extra time and more effort than usual, considering that intercultural differences come into play here: communication styles, diverse personalities, regional interests, etc.
The common ground that I’ve found easy to start with is the resources of the city we live in. Women who are drawn to the group are looking to discover their adopted city; whether it’s a new café or an activity they haven’t tried. So, from coffee hours and banana leaf lunches, to Chinese temple visits and art gallery viewing, I do think that the ladies in this group have enjoyed getting together to try new things.
I’m looking forward to planning more social events and in the process, meeting more new friends and having new experiences. Keep an eye out for more posts from on me on what it’s like to be a repatriate woman living in Malaysia.
Cheers, and thanks for reading!
Ming Lim is a journalist and former PR professional who spent 11 years abroad before returning to Malaysia. You can reach her at her blog.