Langkawi Girls & Dating
By Sam (from Malaysia)
Langkawi girls are unique; they do come from the conservative Malaysian background, but they aren’t quite as reserved as you might expect them to be. In the story that follows, a friend of mine gets romantically involved with one of these ladies, but he gets a little more than he bargained for.
Langkawi is an island that’s part of Kedah. This is an ultra-conservative part of Malaysia for both the Muslim and non-Muslim families. There aren’t many employment opportunities so many people migrate to the bigger cities of Penang or Kuala Lumpur to study and to work.
The Chinese Malaysian women are the ladies most likely to come into contact with western men, particularly those looking for romance. They increasingly meet via:
My recommended Malaysian dating site
Because of this, Langkawi girls tend to become more independent
and less traditional than other Malaysian women. They’re easier to meet,
get to know and even date. The girls who move away tend to embrace
their freedom more, but they can come with unexpected baggage...
you get serious with a local lady, everything will likely get off to a
great start. Any major problems that might crop up later will have a
familiar feel for anyone with experience of Southeast Asian girls i.e.
with regard to the family getting involved.
What's it like dating Langkawi girls
John, an Australian in his late 20s was backpacking through Malaysia and decided to spend two weeks in Langkawi. He was in a food market in Kuah finding it difficult to tell the vendor what he wanted when a girl came over to help with translation. They chatted, exchanged numbers, and agreed to meet again. She was a local girl who had returned home for a long holiday after spending some time working in Kuala Lumpur.
John met her again the next day and they went out for drinks. She came alone, which is unusual on the first date with someone from Malaysia. They had a great time and on the second or third date things went further. Perhaps it’s the beach or the island lifestyle that makes Langkawi girls more laid back in this respect.
The holiday romance was now going at a fast pace. It soon became clear that John wanted more than just a quick fling, but he was also only here for a short time. So, they decided to keep in touch. Their love story is a little unusual. I can understand things being as easy and as smooth as this in Thailand, but not in Malaysia.
Cenang Beach, Langkawi.
So, one day over a beer or two, I asked John about how he dated her. For info, I myself am married to a Malaysian, and I found it to be much more difficult and complicated than John’s experience, or so I thought.
He told me that they would tend to meet in the bars along the beach. At times they would sit on the sand and just relax in the evening. She came back to his room after just a few dates and John thought that this was because she didn’t want to go home to her family. Presumably this was to avoid questions of where and with whom she had been...
The girl always complained about how her family interfered with her life; she was expected to behave in accordance with traditional customs. In fact, arranged marriages weren’t unheard of in Kedah, even for non-Muslims. After moving away and gaining her freedom it was almost as if she was rebelling. This is not an uncommon story, other Langkawi girls are like this too.
To cut a long story short, things worked out. They met again in Kuala Lumpur some time later and after a year something unexpected happened – John asked her to marry him, but it wasn’t the proposal that was the shock.
Langkawi girls and those from Kedah have to follow their family’s wishes and traditions. Dating a foreigner is unheard of and controversial so she kept it all a secret. John found himself engaged to a girl whose family didn’t even know about him!
Something needed to happen; they couldn’t tell her family that
they’re engaged, but marriage is important in Malaysian culture and
saying they’re just together may lose the family’s respect. This is
where the problems and complications started.
It took a
long time to convince the family to accept their engagement and, when it
was finally agreed, John was expected to pay for the wedding, hold an
engagement ceremony, and host another party in their village. Only a few
of John’s family and friends would attend but hundreds of the bride's
would. John had to pay for everything.
The Langkawi Eagle.
This was a major problem that people often forget when they’re
dating Langkawi girls or any other girl from Malaysia. The cultural
difference between the two of you may seem small, but it’s the
differences with the family that start to cause the difficulties.
The Next Shock is on the Wedding Day
Finally, they get married. They did the engagement ceremony, held the wedding and planned to have the party in their village. After the marriage certificate was signed, the family took him to a private room before the ceremony. John was a bit tipsy from the champagne when the extended family boldly proceeded to explain the concept of a dowry. If you don’t know, a dowry is a monetary sum you give the parents when you marry their daughter.
Everyone was happy and in a jolly mood and John expected them to ask for a small amount; just a stipend to follow their traditions and to be polite. After all, he had just spent close to $10,000 on everything else.
Wrong; he was asked to pay a dowry of $2000 and the family were serious about it. John and his new wife were speechless.
This hadn’t been discussed beforehand and was only mentioned on their wedding day, just before the ceremony! Of course, both were unhappy. John took out a loan back in Australia to pay for it but, in the end, they negotiated and he paid only $200. When I was writing this article, I got in touch with John to make sure he was okay with it. I also asked him for some advice from his experience.
He gave a stark warning when dating Langkawi girls regarding how much the family expect you to give, give, give. Everything was about money and him adapting to suit their customs but not the other way around. Why hadn’t anyone told him before or even sent a gentle reminder to his new wife? Dropping a huge bombshell like that just after they had got married was unfair.