This post was written by Baiq Dewi Yuningsih
Ulan Djusupov, Charge d’Affaires of The Kyrgyz Republic for Malaysia is an affable and charismatic figure. With a contagious smile on his youthful face and an outgoing attitude, he welcomes me with a big smile, at the entrance of his office.
We proceed straight to a meeting room. Proudly he presses the start button of a five-minute video of his country, The Kyrgyz Republic, a small but stunning country surrounded by mountains with its beautiful people. “Dr Mahatir (Mohamad) has visited our country three times, and our own President has visited Malaysia twice as well,” he says.
Since his posting to Malaysia in August 2013, Djusupov admits he loves everything Malaysia has to offer and travels widely in the country. He has visited UNESCO destinations like Melaka, and Penang, as well as other smaller towns and cities.
“These are great places for a holiday!” he exclaims, his excitement shining through. “Malaysia has many beautiful places, and they often have interesting cultural stories behind them.” Another aspect of Malaysia that he loves is its people. “Everyday of my stay here is memorable. Meeting Malaysians here is always very exciting for me, as they are such warm people,” he says.
Djusupov started his diplomatic career in 1994, and his first posting was to Washington D.C., in the United States. “I have a strong emotional bonding with the States because two of my children were born there. It was very exciting, and there are not enough words to explain how much I enjoyed my time there,” he says.
Growing up in Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyz Republic during the Soviet Union, Djusupov recalled his younger days. “I had a great childhood growing up during the Soviet Union; it’s another era now. I remember spending entire summers at the Issy-Kul Lake, known as the pearl of Kyrgyzstan and the second-deepest lake in the world,” he reminisces. “I also went to the mountains to watch villagers feed sheep. Over the long summer days we used to climb up the mountains and stay in yurts, which are traditional huts made of wood. We are nomadic people,” he chuckles.
Having been posted to several countries before Malaysia, Djusupov has had no difficulty adapting to the culture here: “It’s not a big challenge, I feel very comfortable here. We are not only adapting, but also integrating with the people. We also have similar Muslim roots. Malaysian society is a warm and friendly one and this has made my stay pleasant.”
Djusupov shares one of his memorable moments over his political career: “In 1999, there was a reception organised by State Department in the White House. I attended that reception, which of course had very tight security check. There I met Bill and Hillary Clinton, and many other prominent people from other countries. We enjoyed the atmosphere and partied all night long. It was an amazing experience for me!”
This sociable Charge d’Affaires really enjoys meeting new people and admits to making friends without much difficulty. “Many people think that an ambassador’s role is to travel and attend events. It’s true, but there is a lot of work involved between the travelling and events. Meeting new people and making connections is the most enjoyable part about my job. It’s always nice to have a lot of good friends,” he says, with a smile.
When asked about his earliest ambitions, Djusupov says: “I never thought of becoming a diplomat when I was young. I actually graduated from Moscow State University and worked as a political scientist.”
“The desire to help my country and to be recognized by others, globally, after becoming an independent country, was what has led me to join the diplomatic service. After that I decided to join the Foreign Service.”
When asked about the difficulties surround his role here, Djusupov is quick to respond. “The hardest part about my job is when our citizens get into trouble and ask for our help. They often come to us for solutions which can sometime be tricky,” says Djusupov whose duties cover Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Brunei.
Although he recently ushered in the new year in KL, Djusupov misses the feeling of celebrating in his home country. “The new year atmosphere is very different in The Kyrgyz Republic. Everyone goes shopping to buy presents and the celebrations are on a grander scale. The New Year is one of the most exciting times for us,” he explains. “The whole family usually gathers and gets ready for the countdown on New Year’s Eve, from about 8pm. There’s a lot of food, family and laughter – just like Thanksgiving or Christmas in America.”
The busy Djusupov then laughs when I ask him what he does for leisure. “There is no real free time for me,” he says, amidst chuckles. “It really depends on how you define free time, but I’m usually with my family and my children when I’m not at work.”
Source: The Expat February 2014
Read more interviews with Ambassadors:
- An Afternoon with the Danish Ambassador to Malaysia
- An Afternoon with the South African Ambassador to Malaysia
- Japanese Ambassador Enchanted by Malaysia’s Multicultural Nature
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