Sam (from Malaysia)
Malaysian and Kuching girls have a reputation for being kind, loving, and sweet. They tend to be girly-girls, very feminine, but at the same time they can get jealous and temperamental. I can confirm that these generalizations have some truth to them, and I should know, because I'm married one of these ladies.
Before delving into my personal story, let’s have a quick look at what makes Kuching girls different to those in the rest of Malaysia. The country as a whole is a melting pot of nationalities; West Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur, has a larger number of Muslims. Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia, where Kuching is located, tend to have more Christians.
A lot of Kuching girls are Christians, and they take it seriously, attending regular church services. My wife and her family attended every Sunday; most of my friends in Sarawak did the same. So, you can expect that going to church will probably play a big role in the life of a typical lady from this area of Malaysia, and this can be both good and bad for westerns.
Kuching girls are usually trustworthy and monogamous, which played an essential role in my relationship, as you’ll see later. It also means they have a familiar set of values and treat their partners well. The downside is that the whole kissing on the first date is a lot less common, and one night stands even less so. Sex or fooling around is usually saved until later in the relationship when things are much more secure and long-term focused. Don’t be surprised if full intercourse is off-limits until after marriage.
You can find a quick fling if you want; there are some girls who are loose, and finding a lady of the night isn’t difficult in the bars.
I was living in Kuala Lumpur at the time working as an English teacher. I was in my late 20’s, single, and living my dream. I met a few Malaysian women, but nothing worked out. Then one day the phone rang and I was transferred to Sarawak. Two days later I was on a plane to Kuching.
My experience with dating in Malaysia up to this point was unsuccessful. In Kuala Lumpur, different nationalities stick to their own groups. The Malays stayed with Malays. The Chinese and Indians stuck to their own groups and didn’t mix well. I found it hard to make friends there, let alone find that special someone.
On arrival I checked into my hotel and then went straight downtown for a beer and a bit of scouting; it was the early evening and quite crowded. The bar I chose wasn’t seedy and there were a lot of young girls hanging around and laughing. After my second beer a girl from the table next to me walked over looking embarrassed. Her friends, a mixture of different races, were giggling behind. She told me that I looked lonely and that I should join them… so I did.
The standard of English was a lot worse than in KL; the girl who invited me over could speak English well but the others couldn’t. I practised my Bahasa, the local Malay language, and they were all so impressed by the few words that I knew. It was an enjoyable night and we exchanged numbers at the end of it, promising to meet again and then going our separate ways.
It started off with texts and then meeting up again with her friends. We were about the same age and she worked as an English teacher. After a while, it was just the two of us that would meet up and there was definitely a spark between us but, when I broached the subject she looked a little embarrassed. Dating was slow progress.
Sarawakian and Kuching girls tend to be shy and conservative; it took a few months before we made our romance official. We played the usual dating games e.g. romantic dinners, trips to the movies, and days out. One thing that was very different to what I was familiar with back at home was no-kissing on the first date! Not until we’d been together for some time in fact, and sex was out of the question. I tried it on a few times and got nowhere. She later explained that things need to go slow. She was a Christian, she had to be sure I was the one. Whenever we went away for a few days, we had to have separate beds in the hotel!
I liked this girl and so I respected her decision. At the time, it was frustrating to have to put in all the effort to woo and amaze her and not see much progress. But, it was worth it in the end. I was quite lucky compared to other friends. Most of them had to wait until their wedding night to consummate things. Of course, not everyone is like this, but if your girl is reticent at the start and wants to take things slow, it’ll last.
Everything was going great until I had to return to the UK. We had been together for almost a year and it was serious but I went back for almost six months. The thing is, I trusted her completely. She was worried that I’d leave her and not return to Sarawak. After days of convincing, she finally came around. She was clingy, but not in an obsessive or insane kind of way.
We had to Skype every few days for hours at a time. We also messaged each other all the time on Facebook. She wanted daily love and affection and I had to show that her man was there, even though he was far away. This was different. We had to be in touch more often than you would expect when you’re in a relationship with a Western girl. After speaking to other friends who dated Kuching girls, they agreed on the need for this lots of Skype contact.
The relationship is more co-dependent than independent. Just for the sake of comparison, an old friend married a girl from Finland; they each take a separate holiday every year with their friends – not something that would endear you to many Kuching girls!
When I came back to see my girl, we got engaged.
It didn’t take long to be accepted into the immediate family – her parents had lived in Australia for a while and so they were familiar with Western culture. The extended family was a different story though. Gossip, rumours and criticism spread around the aunties and uncles, especially from those who lived outside of the city. I was their favourite topic of conversation for months. It took about six months for some of them to even accept that we were getting married and even at our wedding I was expected to follow their customs and traditions rather than my own.
This wasn’t because they’re nasty people, it’s because they live a basic and rural lifestyle and know no other way. Marrying a foreigner is completely unorthodox.
A few years on, everything is fine and wonderful. Well, we decided to move away from Sarawak to stop the questions and prying eyes of family members! We’re in a happy, stable marriage. The relationship was slow to start and I had to be patient to have certain needs fulfilled but it did lead to a marriage that is full of love and affection, and we trust each other completely.
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