Having made Subang Jaya his home, and with a wife originally from Sungai Siput, Perak, Briton Andrew John Collier, 40, visits Ipoh at least twice a year, and may consider retiring in the modest city in the future. In fact, Collier’s parents enjoyed their vacations in Malaysia so much, they are relocating to the country next year under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.

Sharing the happy news, Collier said, “Malaysians are very friendly and welcome foreigners with open arms. They treat us as friends. In fact, we feel like part of the family. Compared to the United Kingdom where it could get cold and dreary, the weather here is warm and comfortable. Also, there’s such a variety of yummy food here, which are very affordable too! Talking about food, I recall the first time I accidentally ate cili padi. It was way too spicy for me!! That experience certainly put me off it for life, I must say. I can stomach a bit of spice these days, but not too much, please!

Andrew John Collier and his family

Andrew John Collier and his family

“Whenever I am back in the UK, I crave for my fix of fried rice with roasted pork or roasted duck, and can’t wait to come “home”. Those available in Chinatown are just not authentic enough, in my opinion.”

Working as the Head of After Sales at Auto Bavaria in Kuala Lumpur, Collier, whose first impression of Ipoh was that it is a neat and square city, loves the hills and caves that surround Ipoh that give off an air of tranquillity and mystery. He said, “The first time I drove in the city centre of Ipoh, I found it amusing that whichever direction I took, I ended up at the same place, somehow. Suffice to say, it was confusing. Luckily, after numerous visits, I have gotten used to the roads already.

“Each time we come to Ipoh, which gives us pleasant memories as we booked our wedding room at Indulgence Living five years ago, I must have a meal or two of my favourite local dishes; chicken rice and char kuey teow, Ipoh version. Funnily, I sometimes miss Western food and so, look for the local attempt at Western, known as Chicken Chop.

“I always try to prolong our Ipoh experience through food and tapau a good amount of delicacies when we leave, from salted chicken to the fragrant biscuits heong peng, kaya puffs and pomelos, if they are in season. These are Ipoh’s signature food – their taste can’t be duplicated elsewhere.”

Seeing that there are not many among his circle of foreign friends who know about Ipoh, Collier suggested that more promotions on tourist destinations in Ipoh and Perak be done overseas to create deeper awareness. He explained, “It is a pity that with all the attractions and local culture that Ipoh has to offer, not many get to experience them due to lack of knowledge and information. With two young children, Aston and Callum, my wife, Heong Chee Mei (May), and I make sure to expose them to their roots.”

Note: An edited version of this article [Malaysia, My Home] was published on 11th July,, 2015, in the now-defunct The Malay Mail.

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