An Interview with an Expat from New Zealand in Malaysia

Expat Extract #3

Name: Raewyn Vanessa McBain
Home Country: New Zealand
Marital Status: Married
Occupation: CEO of an Advertising Agency
Other countries you’ve lived in: USA, United Kingdom, Hong Kong

What brought you to Malaysia and how long have you been here?
My husband and I were living In Hong Kong and we came to Penang for a holiday. It was during the taxi ride to our hotel that I realized this was the place I wanted to call home – it was an instant attraction. The colonial heritage paired with the lush vegetation was extremely inviting… in my eyes, a tropical paradise.

What do you like and dislike most about living in Malaysia?
The weather is just amazing; give me sunshine and high temperatures any day, but the traffic can be crazy, especially the motorbikes. It’s even more disturbing when you see a bike crammed with an entire family and only the parents are wearing helmets.

Name three typical weekend activities that you enjoy.
Cycling around Penang, capturing memories through my lens for my gallery Rae of Pink, and toasting on the beach.

What is your favourite holiday destination in Malaysia or in the region. Why?
Koh Samui only because it’s easy to get to on Firefly, and Kuantan for its empty beaches.

Describe a memorable eating experience you have had here.
Breakfast at the morning market – dim sum is one of my favorites.

Do you own property here? If so, where? If not, why?
Yes we do, it’s a duplex apartment on Gurney Drive in Penang. My husband John and I designed it – it’s very colourful and eclectic to say the least.

What do you miss most about your home country?
Lamingtons, which are sponge cakes covered in chocolate and coconut icing.

What advice would you give to a newly-arrived expat?
Stay away, Penang is mine…


Is Malaysia a good country to raise children? Why?
Yes it is. It has a good infrastructure, a great selection of international schools, and more than competent healthcare. Furthermore, the diverse cultural makeup of the people leads to a more worldly view.

Is Malaysia a good place in which to work and do business? Why?
I think so. I run a full-service advertising agency in Penang – Pink Tiger Media services the international financial and technology sectors. Its strategic location in terms of the time difference and its low operating overheads make Penang a perfect place to run a business, and the proficiency of the English language among people is a great plus point.

Read more Expat Interviews here.

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