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Expat Interview: Andreas Vogiatzakis

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Name: Andreas Vogiatzakis
Home Country: Greece
Other countries you have lived in: Greece,
USA, Japan, Taiwan
Marital status: Married with one child

What brought you to Malaysia?
I was recruited to run the Omnicom Media Group here in 2006. We always liked Malaysia, so when the opportunity knocked, we did not hesitate one bit. We’ve been here seven years now and we love it.

What do you like or dislike about the country?
I love many things: The people, the food, the atmosphere, the living, the sounds, the sights. Malaysia is not clinically sterilised nor immaculately organised, and therein lies its charm. Malaysia has adventure, tranquillity, city living to tantalise your senses, and places to go, unwind and recharge. You can live a life that is to your measures, and people will embrace you for who you are, not what your earthly possessions are. I dislike the traffic jams. But we learn to live with it and adjust our driving schedules whenever we can.

Name three weekend activities that you enjoy.
Driving a short ride to Kuantan and enjoy the beach and food there. Hiking in places around KL/Ampang and enjoying nature, the rivers and a picnic after the hike. Shooting a couple of hundred golf balls with my son at the driving range.

What is your favourite holiday destination in the region and why?
I must say Kuantan. It is such an easy drive and is the ideal getaway for a short weekend. The beach is by far my favourite, and the sunsets are beautiful. In two hours, we are back home without the hassle of catching a flight.

Describe a memorable eating experience you have had here.
Eating laksa at Pasar Air Itam market in Penang is just out of this world. The old man, whose stall it is, makes about 500 bowls of laksa a day, and each one is divine. I had three in a sitting last December, but I am going back. It is calling out to me. Durian is my other favourite. I love some durian fests, and my record was five fruits in a sitting. I took three home but left the car windows open though, so no one would complain about the smell! I get a kick out of my local friends’ expressions when they see a “mat salleh” eating durian with such passion.

Is Malaysia a good country to raise children? Why?
Definitely, it teaches them cultural diversity, and self-perseverance. Depending on your family values and habits, it is a wonderful place. My son Alexi’s classmates are from Europe, Africa, India, and Malaysia – all in one class. He celebrates Deepavali, Hari Raya, Christmas, and Chinese New Year with equal excitement and anticipation – that is priceless.

Do you own property here? If so, where?
We bought a house in Ampang, right by the forest in the mountain, and we love it. It’s 10 minutes from KLCC, but at the same time waking up to the sounds of the mountain and the forest is more than I can ask for.

Is Malaysia a good place in which to work and do business? Why?
Yes, it is affordable and very dynamic. I have many friends who have established and are operating their own businesses in Malaysia, and they are happy campers.

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