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Forbes Lists Penang As An Island “So Cheap You Might Not Have To Work”, Draws Backlash

Forbes Lists Penang As An Island “So Cheap You Might Not Have To Work”, Draws Backlash

When the foreigners come, what happens to the locals?

Anne Dorall

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In a display of extreme tone-deafness, Forbes published an article titled: Quit Your Job And Move To An Island: 15 Places So Cheap You Might Not Have To Work.

Yes, your first assumption is correct: the author is white.
(Credit: Forbes)

The article is aimed at affluent Americans looking to enjoy “a permanent vacation” by moving to an island “so cheap you don’t have to work”.

The article is based off of a new report by International Living, a magazine and website devoted to good-value living, travel, investment and retirement abroad. (Funnily enough, it always includes travelling somewhere cheaper, like Southeast Asian countries.)

The article notes that one can stay in Penang Island, living a luxurious life with just $1,500 (about RM6,500) a month.

Wrath of the islanders

Naturally, this drew the ire of actually citizens living on such “cheap islands”.

Not surprisingly, these first-world country fantasies of living in a tropical island and being rich simply due to exchange rates, spurred on by the idea of being “digital nomads”, lead to many hopeful colonists breaking the law.

Just earlier this year, an American individual, while showing off her luxurious lifestyle in Bali while working as a freelancer earning USD, implied that she overstayed her tourist visa and does not pay taxes for money earned while staying there.

READ MORE: American Digital “Nomad” Kicked Out Of Bali After Her Post Hinting On Visa Abuse Went Viral

As a result, she and her partner were deported back to the US.

However, this is only one such example of foreigners living in “cheap” countries, sometimes illegally, and taking advantage of the cheaper exchange rates offered, often leading to more inflation for locals who actually live in those countries.

This is happening in Malaysia as well, where property prices are sky-high and unaffordable for locals.

There is a massive overhang of luxury properties, priced out of reach of local Malaysians, which is why property developers are turning to foreigners in richer countries to incentivise them to buy properties here, while our local Malaysians struggle to buy a home while earning local currency.

READ MORE: M’sians can’t afford property so Hong Kong steps in

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