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Expat Extracts – March 2012

Name: Stephanie Assar
Home country: France
Designation/Industry/Company: Colour & Image Consultant for House of Colour KL Sdn. Bhd.
Marital status/Number of children: Married with 2 boys
Other countries you have lived in: Scotland, Switzerland & Italy.

What brought you to Malaysia and how long have you been here?
My husband visited a friend here in 2005 and loved it. So when a job opportunity arose in 2008, we decided to move to KL with our son. 4 years on, we’ve added a second boy and a new business.

What do you like and dislike most about living in Malaysia?
I love the mixed culture in the food, clothes, and holidays being celebrated. I hate being answered “can can” when they so obviously can’t do it!

Name three typical weekend activities that you enjoy.
Taking the kids to the Butterfly Park, meeting with friends by the pool, and a quick trip to Singapore.

What is your favourite holiday destination in Malaysia or in the region. Why?
We’ve never been to the same place twice, but we loved Tioman.

What do you miss most about your home country?
Seasons!

What advice would you give to a newly-arrived expat?
Find people who have been here for a while… you will need a guide!

How long do you plan to stay in Malaysia? Where would you like to go next, and why?
Since I have my own business here now, I would think for a few years. I would love for House of Colour to become a household name and eventually sell it and start over in another country… but I have no idea which one yet!

Is Malaysia a good country to raise children? Why?
The help you can get here makes a huge difference: whether it is a nanny to look after your kids or a maid who takes care of the house so you spend more time with them… having children is less stressful here.

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Is Malaysia a good place in which to work and do business? Why?
The mixed community of locals and expats makes Malaysia (or at least KL) a very good market for me. There are a lot of opportunities to do business here but you have to be really patient… things tend to move a lot more slowly than what you might be used to.

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Name: Ali Cavedo
Home country: USA
Designation/Industry/Company: Living Food Cafe
Marital status/Number of children: Single

What brought you to Malaysia and how long have you been here?
About a year ago, I went to an international raw vegan culinary training course in California where I met my friend, Emily, who is the owner of LivingFood Cafe. She asked me to come over and help open up her business and the next thing I know I am booking a flight to Malaysia!

What do you like and dislike most about living in Malaysia?
What do I dislike about KL…. hmmm that would have to be traffic, traffic and oh yeah MORE traffic. There are no rules to the road here and you have to be so aggressive not only while driving but as a pedestrian as well! And I don’t really care for all of the pollution. However, I do enjoy how centrally located KL is and you can jump on a plane and be in a fun new destination in a few hours.

Name three typical weekend activities that you enjoy.
I heart Bangsar. I also enjoy going to the local markets and playing tennis.

What is your favourite holiday destination in Malaysia or in the region. Why?
I have only been in Malaysia for a short time but there are SO many places I would love to visit!

Describe a memorable eating experience you have had here.
I have been eating like a queen since I have been in Malaysia. One of my most favourite moments so far was a huge dinner of friends and family sharing a steamboat of fresh vegetables and noodles.

Do you own property here? If so, where? If not, why?
I do not own property.

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What do you miss most about your home country?
I miss friends and family and public libraries.

What advice would you give to a newly-arrived expat?
Beware of the durian!

Is Malaysia a good country to raise children? Why?
Raise kids?! I’m still a kid!

Is Malaysia a good place in which to work and do business? Why?
As far as I can see, Malaysia has been a wonderful place to do business. It feels like a very transient city and I have really enjoyed meeting so many new people from all over the world.

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Name: Parwaiz Win
Home Country: Germany/Burma
Designation/Industry/Company: Director/ Professional Photographer/ Winning Pose Photography
Marital status/ Number of children: Married
Other countries you have lived in: US, Pakistan, Thailand, Burma, Germany and Qatar

What brought you to Malaysia and how long have you been here?
My parents and I migrated here in 1979 when I was only 6 years old. I then left for the USA for studies in 1990 and only returned back to Malaysia sometime in 2004.

What do you like and dislike most about living in Malaysia?
I don’t just like but I love the people, the different cultures and the variety of food available. Dislikes…traffic.

Name three typical weekend activities that you enjoy.
A weekend with my wife in Genting; a road trip to Penang; my wife and I also regularly check-in into one of the many hotels downtown to enjoy the weekend together and to just order room service.

What is your favourite holiday destination in Malaysia or in the region. Why?
In Malaysia, my wife and I love Penang. In the region; Thailand will be our choice.

Describe a memorable eating experience you have had here.
Stadium Negara at Jalan Yap Kwan Seng. The black pepper crab is fabulous and my wife will vouch for the chicken wings.

What do you miss most about your home country?
Family, but we have made friends here in Malaysia that will last the test of time.

What advice would you give to a newly-arrived expat?
Malaysia is a young country; don’t judge and compare. Be open to new experiences and your stay here will be great!

How long do you plan to stay in Malaysia? Where would you like to go next, and why?
My wife and I are leaving for the Middle East soon but because I have family here; we will always come back here.

Is Malaysia a good country to raise children? Why?
We don’t have children yet but I know many expats alike who have raised their children here and are very happy with all that Malaysia offers.

Is Malaysia a good place in which to work and do business? Why?
Personally, Malaysia has been good to both me and my wife. Hence, we have very little complaints.

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Name: Ian Ashenden
Home country: Falmouth, Cornwall, England
Designation/Industry/Company: British PGA Golf Professional, Senior Golf Coach, MST Golf Academy, Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club
Marital status/ Number of children: I have been separated for 2 years and we are going through, thankfully, a very amicable and painless divorce. I have no children.
Other countries you have lived in: Thailand, Saudi Arabia, China, and spent 7 years travelling with the Royal Navy

What brought you to Malaysia and how long have you been here?
Since working in Thailand and China I’ve been trying to get back to Asia since 2008. I was just about to delete all my “Spam” emails in late September 2011 when I noticed an email about “teaching golf in Malaysia”. A few phone calls and emails later I was out here living and working within about 3 weeks. Thank you Dean!

What do you like and dislike most about living in Malaysia?
I LOVE the weather. Every time I feel a little bit hot and bothered I look at the date on my watch and think what it’s like in England for most of the year. I hate the cold wind and rain, give me hot sunshine any time! The only things I dislike are the things I will never be able to change so I try not to worry about them too much.

Name three typical weekend activities that you enjoy.
Errr, how about “work”, “work” and “work”…? Saturdays and Sundays are a golf coach’s busy days; we are basically available in people’s leisure time.

What is your favourite holiday destination in Malaysia or in the region. Why?
It’s Thailand without a shadow of a doubt. I lived and worked there for 3 years and have many friends in the expat community. It’s easy to get to from here and much cheaper than KL for socialising.

Describe a memorable eating experience you have had here.
I absolutely love going in a small crowd to the hawker stalls and sharing a load of dishes. I’ve eaten at some great restaurants around the world but some of the roadside food here is just fantastic.

Do you own property here? If so, where? If not, why?
No. I don’t think I would be comfortable making such a large investment in a foreign country just yet. I’ve invested a fair bit already in the local pub if that counts??

What do you miss most about your home country?
As I write this my Nan is 95 years old and suffering with what looks like terminal cancer, it’s tough not being able to pop round and see her.

What advice would you give to a newly-arrived expat?
If you want to know if the girls REALLY think you’re awesome, stop buying them drinks and see if they’re still all over you…;)

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Source: The Expat March 2012 
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This article has been edited for ExpatGomalaysia.com

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