“The Smell of Indian, Malay and Chinese Food is Sublime…”

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Name: Christine Kreplins
Home Country: Australia
Industry/Designation: Retail Consultancy, Training in Frontline Management and Product Sourcing
Marital Status: single
Other countries you have lived: Latvia and Indonesia

What were your impressions of Malaysia before you came?
I had visited Malaysia over 25 years ago but had little idea of how it would have progressed and changed. The country has developed in many ways, but the quaintness of the kampungs remains in some areas. I have a far greater appreciation of the wonderful cultural mix, the customs and, of course, the food.

Can you pick a sound and a smell to describe Malaysia?
The sound of traffic and people going about their daily business is continuous, and I have noticed the traffic becoming more congested. The smell of Indian, Malay, and Chinese food is sublime and I have definitely become a food lover.

What are the three things you like most about Malaysia?
Hearing different languages spoken every day is something I enjoy. I love to speak Malay, even though I am not fluent, and the locals seem more than happy to correct me when I blunder over words. I love that I have a varied group of friends; I can be eating dinner with a group of people from eight diverse parts of the world. St Mary’s Anglican Church has been a constant source of strength in the years I have been here. Also, the social events I attend are varied, which I find is an important factor in enjoying life as an expat.

What are the three things you dislike about Malaysia?
I struggle daily with the lack of energy and poor customer service from staff in nearly all areas of business. I dislike the haze that now stops any hope of a seven-day run of beautiful blue skies. “Tidak ada” (“don’t have”) does my head in. When a shop assistant says that to me, I tell them to go out the back or look under the counter or do anything to find it for me, although saying that in Malay can be difficult.

What do you miss most about your home country?
Crumpets! I love to eat crumpets, so each time I come back from Australia I bring at least ten packets back with me. I also miss red wine. We have a wonderful selection in this country but the price is sometimes over the top. Like many expats, I miss my family; I would love for them to be able to drop over for a drink once a week.

Are most of your friends locals or expats?
I am fortunate to have a wonderful mix of friends. I worked with Soroptomist Club for a year and the lovely, supportive friends I made there are Malay, Filipino, and Thai. I am also fortunate to have a small circle of expat ladies and men who have been my friends for seven years. A few have left over the years – that is all part of our expat experience – but most of them are still here.

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