Occupation: Morning Announcer for Hitz FM/Astro Radio
In Malaysia since: December 2016
What brought you to Malaysia?
I started DJing when I was 15, then worked my way up to assisting in running a station in Salt Lake City, Utah. Astro found me on an American industry site – I was talking to Abu Dhabi about moving to a radio station there, then Malaysia came in at the last minute. I knew that I wanted to do radio outside of the States. I liked the digital aspect of Hitz. FM and it swayed me more towards here than there.
What’s the difference between DJing here and in America?
In the States, as long as you don’t use profanity, you can talk about pretty much anything. Here, I have to watch my tone and maintain the image – it’s not hard, it’s just different.
What do you bring to the show?
I think I bring a little edginess to the programme. I’m far from safe. RD and Arnold have to hold me back sometimes, but I bring it as far as they’ll let me go! From what I’ve heard, I’m the first American to be on Malaysian airwaves. That’s huge and I don’t take it for granted. When I first got on, some people wondered why they picked an American, but I saw it coming. Everyone has welcomed me now, saying “I love Jay, he’s funny,” so that’s a good sign. They’re not running me out of town!
What have you learned about Malaysia?
You have to take your shoes off every time you go into a house. You can wear shoes in your house in America! Sabah and Sarawak is ‘East Malaysia’ not ‘East Coast’ – we had this big 30-minute argument over it in the studio, because by my definition of ‘coast’, that’s the ‘East Coast’!
Come up against durian yet?
I don’t know why people like durian so much. I’d never heard of it before. I couldn’t even eat the little dodol candies, and they tried to get me to eat the fruit as a challenge, but each time I smelled it I’d just throw up. So I had to wear a mask with a durian seed placed over my nose and try to breathe out my mouth for the rest of the show! I’d rather do that than eat it though.
Where have you visited around KL?
Recently I took the train to Batu Caves on an unplanned trip. I went to IOI Mall where there was a train station, got on and just started riding all over the place – and ended up at Batu Caves. Those stairs were so bad, I was sweating and my shirt was drenched. It was totally worth it though – it was so beautiful.
What’s the strangest thing that’s happened to you here?
I’ve had some people just come and touch my dreadlocks; like I was eating and this lady walked by and just touched my hair. I knew what to expect though because I went to China when I was 16, and a girl on the train had dreads, and everyone was just touching her hair for no reason.
Any tips for other new expats?
Leave your long pants at home. Bring shorts and short sleeves! I’m only wearing a jacket because it’s raining. Come with an open mind and embrace the culture, that’s really what it’s all about. And try to learn some Malay!
New to Malaysia and want to say hi to the community?
Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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