Sunday, December 30, 2012

Moving to Canada (Part 1)

Are you a fellow Malaysian contemplating on moving overseas? I don’t claim to know all the answers but I do know that depending on your background, age and ethnicity, the answer and the reason to this question may differ.

Chances are, if you are an average middle class non-bumiputera (non-sons of the soil) person like me, you might share the same reasons. Is it worth it? I can’t answer that right now as I am still on this journey. For me, I feel strongly that I want a better future for my children and giving them a level playing field compared to what they would have should they be brought up in Malaysia. No matter what the reasons are, I am sure you can agree to some extend that some of the recent happenings in the political landscape in Malaysia have put off lots of people and that includes me myself.

Having made this move, I’d like to share the different avenues towards coming to Canada, a place I chose instead of the usual places which most Malaysians would prefer to go to (e.g. Singapore, Australia, New Zealand or the UK).

The easiest step of course is if you are patient and much younger (note this is for an average joe. of course it is always easier if you have a tard load of cash – then you could go ahead an apply for the business class PR). So, let’s assume that you are a fresh grad with a few years of working experience under your belt. One move is to try to get into a masters degree course here in Canada. Of course, money would be a concern. But if you had good results from your degree, then, chances are you can apply for a stipend from your faculty and hope to have part or all of your education funded (if you are lucky, you might even have enough for your living expenses). Rough it out for a year or two and when you are done. Go and apply for a graduate work permit. Work for a year and by then you are qualified for CEC (Canadian Experience Class PR). Yes, with the recent change implemented this year, you’d only need 1 year of Canadian working experience to qualify to apply for the PR under this scheme. Prior to that it was 2 years.

Coming next, I’ll furnish with other methods to get here and perhaps provide some links.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Having been in Canada for more than 3 years now has changed my point of view on many things. I know the title says going to Canada but infact I’ve already been in Canada for so long. However the process of integration is still ongoing and thus the name still has its value.

After a long absence, and also from the previous 2 posts, I’ve decided that I shall begin sharing my experience in terms of my process in acquiring landed immigrant status. That’s another phrase for PR (permanent resident) for folks here in Canada. So expect some additional resources and thoughts on a personal level from my site on the matter of Canadian PR, from time to time.

Chow for now!

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Caution: This blog post may not be suitable for some folks.

To the Malaysian / Singaporean or South East Asian Chinese, I say be prepared, be really prepared. Why? “CHINA” that’s why!.

Having been here (in Halifax, NS particularly) for 3 years, it has only gotten worse. Gone are the days when Malaysian/Singaporean or South East Asian Chinese enjoyed the recognition of being different and coming from a country that is multi-lingual, multi-racial and some might say a mini version of America. Folks over here (the maritimers/ Canadians) and also immigrants from other countries from South Asia (e.g. India) and Middle East, mostly do not know of the existence of our progressive country. And therefore they naturally think that we folks are from China, per say.

Furthermore, having an oriental look doesn’t help either. They almost readily single you out you as a person from China. Don’t get me wrong. Its not that I don’t respect China. Infact, I have great respect for the country and its history. Hell, my roots, dates back to age old China. My forefathers came from Fujian province. Infact a lot of Chinese immigrants that left China before world war 1 were either from Fujian or Guangdong province (although the former was more than the later).

Many came to British controlled states like Malaya or Singapore to find for greener pastures. Others did travel further to the shores of North America (for helping out in building rail tracks). My forefathers from my maternal side came way before that – during the Ming dynasty and traded with local in the then famous Malacca port. They mixed and inter-married with the locals. So, yes, Chinese were keen maritimers themselves just as in other cultures from the west. What is different was that the Chinese were into trade and not did not fixate into expanding their land mass across the seas like the Spaniards, or the French and much later the English.

So, yes, I have a great deal of respect for China and its history because of my roots. But, not China as it is today! Particularly the young (those who are born 1986 or later) who come over to Canada to study due to the following reasons: (1) These are young Chinese who have in their entirely life lived in luxury. They do not know hardship one bit – ergo they come with the knowledge that they deserve better because they should. (2) Generally lack less than stellar mannerism.

Coupled with the fact that sleepy Halifax is quite a (WASPY) place – yes lots of White Anglo Saxon – these 2 combine makes it hard for any other oriental looking folks out there such as myself to assert their cultural difference. We (along with those such as Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, and some lighter skin Thais etc) might find it hard as locals tend to think that we all are from China and thus get treated as folks from there. I sincerely hope that more youths from China could improve their image. The other solution of course is to leave sleepy little Halifax for larger cities where there are significant number of Asians there and thus locals would be open to different types of Chinese.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Do You Really Need Cable?

As a student, you'll find ways to trim wherever you can. Well, even if you're working you might also think twice of spending the extra $. Here's one tip you can use for your entertainment needs. Instead of subscribing to expensive cable channel providers like Eastlink or Bell, pay the extra for a decent broadband connection (ensure you're getting at least 5Mb/s or more). With high speed internet, you can watch your favourite shows online at anytime you want. What's more, you don't have to worry about missing a particular show at a particular time. You simply have to visit the website to replay the show. Now, if you're into the flat screen TV and don't do online, then you might want to just get a digital dish and digital converter to hook up to your TV because basic channels are free anyhow - just like TV3, RTM, and 8TV back home. But better than that, they actually screen up to date shows. My only beef on TV channels are that they have extra long advertisement. Here are some links to sort you out if you choose the internet route.

Under the Showcase brand of Media products are a suite of channels to fill your appetite, simply head to and lo' and behold, you'll see a list of channels like Global, Showcase, Foodnetwork, SliceTV, HGTV, History Channel. (Note: some of the links are just website for the channel but do not have any streaming services)

And if you're heard of CTV, they are under another BIG media giant in Canada - Bell Media. There's no point going to each of their specific channel sites as they usually consolidate everything under Besides, they don't let you see everything for free only - although they are a some fair bits too as they have to compete for advertising space with the rest.

Last but not least the RTM equivalent of Canada is CBC. Play around with this link, You be surprise as sometimes they do have quality series too. Although some of the series have very dry Canadian sense of humor to it, so its hard to appreciate.

All major media mentioned above have their own news channel too. I prefer CBC, as they seem to have a broader spectrum of things as well as better local coverage for each provinces.

So, there you go, before you decide to sign the dotted line for a 2 year or 3 year deal for cable, think again.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Revelation

When I started this blog a long time ago (yes 3 years ago), I did it out of secrecy. I didn’t want my identity revealed for many reasons. However, over the years that fear has somewhat diminished. But, it is not because the fear is no longer there. It is because somehow, I believe that both of us have grown in strength and wisdom. As such, I am no longer using my psuedo name to submit an entry but my original id itself.

It is a breath of fresh air. I think there is more to write here in time to come. I expect to be more open. But as to the name of the blog which is goin2canada? Somehow, I wish I had a hold on gone2canada, but that’s already taken. So for now, I’ll stick with what I have.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rising Temperatures

Technically winter is officially over. Although most folks on the ground won’t complain about the rising temperatures, the weather forecast has predicted a drop in the temperature to about 2C in the coming weekend.

Well, spring is finally here and sooner or later, I’ve got to change my winter tires back to the normal ones.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Strike Season Is Here!

First it was the HST increase to 15% after NDP took office.
Then gas prices started to rise.
Power goes up and up…
No wonder everything is increasing in price.

It is not surprising that everyone is asking for more. That’s we are hearing folks like HRM Transit, Dal, etc. are going on strike. Sigh! Tough times ahead for those living in Halifax, NS – one of the most expensive places to live in Canada.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Buying Groceries Pt 2

Another thing you need to know when shopping for stuff in the store besides getting discounts or bargains are what to buy and how to buy things:

  • Before you feel that you are getting ripped-off, it is important to understand that unlike most developed ASEAN countries like Malaysia or Singapore, most items do not carry a expiry date here. Unfortunately Canada’s government does not have a very strict enforcing mechanism to ensure that retailers and producers come up with expiry dates for perishable products. So, sometimes you’ll have to bite your tongue and get with it.
  • Confusing labels, yes it is a common sight here in North America that product labels and the offers shown in the brochure may appear the same!!! But do not be easily fooled, check and double check!!!
  • Fish and cold cuts – if you’re buying fish, sometimes it is better to head to the fish monger and ask them to weigh it for your, rather than buying the fish that has been readily packed. That’s because the packed fish is weighed with the packaging itself and thus cost more than if you were to get the fish off the counter. The same applies for cold-cuts like your ham or prosciutto. Take for example, Atlantic Superstore’s PC brand 125g of prosciutto cuts in a package cost CAD$ 4.99 but may cost your CAD$ 3.44 over the counter. The same applies for things like bacon, tilapia, salmon, etc. as well
  • If you need to buy nuts or bulk items like oats, choose to shop at either Costco where these items are sold in large containers but are way cheaper. Or if you’re not a costco member, then head to the store called “Bulk Barn”. Students get 10% discount on Wednesdays.
  • Sometimes, you may want to look at shopping in stores like No Frills.

Buying Groceries Pt 1

So you’re a newcomer to Canada. Here are some useful tips when going shopping for groceries:

  • Elderly shoppers would be able to get discounts when shopping at most of the stores like Atlantic Superstore/ Sobeys – but you may need some kind of identification for that
  • Students do get some break as well. For example in Halifax NS, students can shop on Tuesdays at either Sobeys or Atlantic Superstore to qualify for a 10% discount on top of total amount spend (p.s. doesn’t not apply to pharmacy products and for Sobey’s, you’ll need a minimum purchase of CAD$ 25 for it to apply). Of course you’ll need to show your student ID first.
  • Pete’s frootique store in Spring Garden Rd or @ Bedford has a Pete’s customer loyalty card which gives a discount upon the tenth transaction using the loyalty card.
  • Look out for bargains. Go online or check out the weekly brochures from the stores itself.
  • Collect coupons and use them at the counter. Don’t worry, most coupons can be used as many times on the same item which means that you can use 2 of the same coupon on a single product. And most of the time, you can still use the coupon despite the fact that the product is already on store discount and/or you apply your student/elderly discount. Where to get coupons? Besides the coupon section of stores, you can subscribe online to and order your coupons. Check out magazines as well.
  • NOTE: its pretty common that stores personal do not update their price tag from time to time  (be it on the shelf or in their system). Thus always make it a point to check your receipt after making payment to make sure that you that you’ve paid the correct amount for the items you’ve purchase. When you realize that you may have overpaid for e.g. your apples, take it to the customer service outlet and point out the mistake. Most large supermarkets like Sobeys or Atlantic subscribe to fair price policy in which if they have overcharged you, then you are eligible to the item for free!!!