Thursday, July 21, 2011

Expat Clubs in Penang

   Many of the expat websites regarding life in Malaysia, that I have seen, have posts regarding social clubs in Penang or other parts of Malaysia. It seems that there are British clubs, German clubs, Australian clubs, American clubs etc. I was never one to join clubs back home and I certainly did not move to Malaysia to spend my time with a bunch of other Americans drinking and talking about things missed from back home. There are plenty of nice local people of different ethnic backgrounds in Penang to get to know and share life with, so why limit yourself to the folks from back home. I realize that this is a personal preference to hang with others you have more in common with, but for me I now live in Malaysia, and I don't want to form a little USA community here.

    Most of these social clubs I have seen center on meeting, drinking and sharing your home country culture. Other than these three activities I see no purpose in them. There is one club here in Penang that was a mystery for me for a long time. Every time I would to to Island Plaza to take the elevator up to Fitness First I would see a big sign advertising "The Coconut Club". The rest of the writing on the sign was in Japanese so I had no idea of what the club was about, until just recently. I have a couple of Japanese friends who are on the MM2H program and live in my complex. They don't have a car and get around the island by bus. They don't speak a lot of English but they do manage to tell me about the many and various places they go.

    They tell me they go to Tesco's, Justco's, Queensbay Mall and numerous restaurants and points of interest  on the island. I finally asked how they get to go to all of these places. There reply was by bus. So I asked about how they managed to take Rapid Penang buses to all of these places. They relied "Coconut Club" bus. I learned that the Coconut Club is a club for Japanese people that provides buses to local shopping centers and other attractions for a small fee. The buses pick people up at the condos where they live. They also have organized trips to KL, Langkawi and other places of interest in Malaysia.  This concept is a great idea. Why aren't there other expat clubs here that do the say thing?  Or if there are, why don't we all know about them. Sad to say, but I believe only Japanese people can take part in the activities of the Coconut club.  If anyone knows of similar clubs for other expats please leave a comment and let us all know.

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