Settling in – To work in Penang

I have now been in Penang, Malaysia for a few days and I’ve already had my fair share of new experiences both during and outside work.

Every morning I get picked up at my hotel and every afternoon I am driven home. It is chaos with cars weawing in and out and motos (Mopeds – small motorbikes) are everywhere left and right and infront of you. I understand why you don’t just drive a car here but prefer a driver. They also drive in the left side of the road, courtesy of the commonwealth influence.

We are about 2000 employees at the factory but only about 10 of us are socalled ASIC design engineers. We have our own room and as such the only contact i get with the remaining 1990 people is when I walk through the production offices to get to the toilet, wait for the lift, or eat in the cantina. I have a great interest in local life and what other work is being done at the factory and hopefully I’ll be able to get a tour of the remaining facility.

Naturally, everything is very different from Denmark. First of all it’s a factory with people everywhere doing completely other stuff than what I do; In Denmark we are only 30 people and we are all (almost) doing the same. Then there are the toilets – they are squatting toilets

Squat toilet

To many danes, this is a nightmare and most have never seen one before in their lives. Being a guy, pee’ing is easy – doing number 2 takes some getting used to though. I’ve learned that the best way is simply taking off your pants and hanging them on the designated hanger space (which is in every single toilet so far), so as to not get them… dirty. On a sidenote – there is a hose in every toilet aswell good for easy cleaning whether you are part of the cleaning crew or just feel the need to clean before (or after) you need to go the toilet.

For lunch we usually go out to eat which gives me a chance to both experience the heat, the world outside and the delicious Penang food. There are many chinese and Indian people here so the food varies alot and you have the option to try much different food. There is also a bunch of western food shops but they are extremely expensive compared to street food (5-10x more expensive). A local dish is about 5 Ringgit (9DKK/$1,5USD) while at TGI Fridays its more like 50 ringgits for a burger.

The work itself that I do is very interesting. Both because it’s new people and a whole new environment, so in many ways it’s like starting a new job, but also because I am the only *digital* designer meaning that I get all the responsibility for that side of the chip we are making, which is both exciting but all in some ways scary. If I don’t do good, the project will be delayed (or will have errors) and noone is there to pick up the slack.

Yesterday (friday) we went to the cantina instead as it was raining (and parking is hard to get so people park far away). Also, when it rains it pours – it’s usually not raining but then in short bursts it’s raining alot. Alot; So it’s best to stay inside. One anecdote of one of the other guys at the factory was that he left his car at a new parking lot and when he came back to it the car was flooded (everything was wet inside). That parking lot is now closed until they figure out how to deal with the rain 🙂

Flooded "inside" because it rains
Flooded “inside” because it rains

Stay tuned for the next episode where I’ll try to get into life after work 🙂


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