In the magazine publishing industry, 15 years is an eternity. Periodicals have short life spans, often coming and going like fashion trends. All the way back in 1996, Andy Davison and Nora Marzuki started a black-and-white newsletter called “The Expat” and it is – against the odds – still going strong. The publication has evolved and progressed over the years, and – with its current, perfect-bound, thick and glossy look – bears little resemblance to its initial manifestation. The premise of the publication, however, still remains the same: to provide a vehicle to communicate with the international community in Malaysia and a voice to those wishing to reach expats residing here. The Expat is, in essence, an informational magazine, seeking to educate and enlighten those foreigners who have made Malaysia their home away from home.
The Expat is a free magazine for all expats residing in the country, sent out each month to thousands of foreigners at their places of residence. Marybeth Ramey, the former Editor of The Expat and now Consultant Director of The Expat Group, remembers receiving the magazine for the first time back in 1998, when she was an expat living in Seremban: “One day an envelope arrived in my mailbox and when I opened it there was a black-and-white newsletter. As I read it, I thought, ‘This is amazing. There is a community of people here that I can relate to.’ The magazine was a treasure trove, and it gave me my bearings as a newly-arrived expat. The Expat had and continues to have a very strong communal and personal element for our readers. ”
Marybeth goes on to reflect on how The Expat has grown and changed over the years: “The magazine started at 26 pages, and gradually expanded into the vibrant and voluminous publication that it is today. However, The Expat has always stayed true to its core values and purpose which is to provide information to the expat community here, and to foster bonds within that community.”
Chai Siew Kim, who has served as the The Expat’s Art Director for over 10 years, has seen a “huge change” in the magazine in that time. “When I first came on board it was a two woman show – me and Marybeth (as Editor). But now we have a big team here working to produce the magazine each month, and working to reach the resident expats in Malaysia in many different ways,” she says.
Just as the magazine has grown and flourished, The Expat Group has expanded and evolved as a company. It is now a multi-faceted media company which communicates and connects with the expat community in the country in many different fashions and on many different levels beyond the printed page including events, websites, membership cards, MM2H services, e-newsletters and social media.
“The Expat Group has made a quantum leap over the years and has evolved into a multi-channel media company,” says Marketing Director Linga Rajan, “We have established ourselves as an advisory body to the international community, catering to all of the needs of the resident expats in the country.”
Media Director Timothy McVey, who joined The Expat Group after 25 years of working in the media industry in the UK, reflects: “We are truly creating something special here at The Expat Group. All expats have similar needs; they need community. We are helping to build and grow the expat community here. We also play an ambassadorial role, acting as advisors to foreigners and others, here and abroad, seeking information and advice about Malaysia. Media is all about communication, and we at The Expat Group have reached out – through our magazines, websites, events, and programmes – and established trust and confidence in the international community here.”
Everybody knows that a company is only as good as its people. And The Expat Group, from top to bottom, is blessed to have a group of amazing and dedicated individuals, each of whom contributes to making the company a success. “We are like a big family,” Marybeth commented, “All working together to ensure that The Expat and The Expat Group continue to survive and thrive.”
This article was written by William Citrin
This article has been edited for ExpatGomalaysia.com
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