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An Interview with a Canadian Expat in Malaysia: Sarah Lian

Name: Sarah Lian
Home Country: Canada
Industry/Job: TV personality & Actress
Other countries you have lived in: USA, Hong Kong

What brought you to Malaysia and how long have you been here?
I was born in Taiping, Perak but my family moved to Canada when I was quite young. Collectively, I’ve been in Malaysia for about seven years. I decided to learn more about my roots after I finished university and assimilate back in my motherland. And I’ve been really enjoying it thus far!

What do you like and dislike about living here?
I love the food and the weather in Malaysia. Those are probably the major reasons that have kept me around. My friends and the network I’ve built here have also played a huge role. What I dislike most about living in Malaysia is the disparity between the haves and the have nots. Although it isn’t as drastic as some of our other Asian neighbours, it can be felt in some parts of the city.

What is your favourite holiday destination in Malaysia or in the region. Why?
I recently took a short trip to Kuching with a couple of friends and really loved the vibe there. I can’t believe it was my first time there but I definitely want to try staying there a little longer and checking out some of the nightlife. People were super friendly and the food was fantastic! East Malaysia is definitely a gem.

Describe a memorable eating experience here.
I love durian. There’s a specific stall I visit in SS2 (in Petaling Jaya) and the owners and everyone that works there knows my name. Recently, I took one of my Canadian friends over there to sample the King of Fruits and a torrential downpour hit us like a ton of bricks! Signs were falling down, gusts of wind toppled things over and the staff made a barricade of plastic tables to shield themselves from the strong wind and rain. They also gave us clean T-shirts to wrap around our bodies so that we could keep warm from the rain ricocheting. Throughout the entire time, the lovely people at this stall fed us unlimited mangosteens and only charged us RM5 in total! I told my friend the whole experience was Malaysian hospitality at its best!

What do you miss about your home country?
I miss the humour that I get from dayto- day interactions. Customer service is usually not the best here, but I have to admit that Canadian humour can make it much more digestible. I also miss eating Jamaican food. I’m from Toronto and it has such a varied multicultural flavour, you’re able to get the best of virtually everything in that city!

Do you own property here? If so, where? If not, why?
I do indeed! I recently purchased a small condominium unit near MidValley Megamall and I’m excited to take possession in the later part of the year. It’s a huge step and I can’t wait to start this next chapter of my life!

What advice would you give to a newly arrived expat?
Get ready to loosen up those belts because you’re going to be filling up your bellies with a lot of delicious food that you won’t be able to get anywhere else!

Source: The Expat Magazine May 2014

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