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A Chat with an Expat from The Philippines

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Name: Marion Jay Bonilla
Home Country: Philippines
Designation/Industry/Company: Senior Manager
Marital Status: Married
Other countries you’ve lived in: Singapore

What brought you to Malaysia?
My decision to move to Malaysia was due to a newly opened project by my company. Having worked in Singapore for a giant telco for six years, I have always been open to relocating here because of the lower cost of living and better work-life balance. So when the right opportunity came along last year, my wife and I packed our things and flew here.

What do you like and dislike about living here?
Almost everything is more affordable here in Malaysia – the food, petrol, housing, and basic necessities. Life is more laid back compared to where I came from, where everything is a rat race. With no natural calamities, it gives a sense of worry-free living. I think one thing that Malaysia can improve on is its level of customer service. Every fellow expat that I have spoken to has an experience or two on the not-so perfect service that they receive from the staff while dining or shopping.

Describe a memorable eating experience you have had here.
One that comes to mind is when I was in Melaka, at Jonker Street. I got my first taste of the best cendol in town. My wife and I joined the long queue on that one small stall out of curiosity, and were not disappointed. Now, it is one of our must-eats when we are driving to Melaka during weekends before heading to the Portuguese settlement for their freshest Nyonya cuisine and seafood.

What do you miss most about your home country?
We would always mis s our families in the Philippines especially during Christmas season. This year will be the eighth Christmas that I am celebrating away from my home country.

What advice do you have for a newly arrived expat?
As a foreigner in this country, be always mindful of your actions and respect the culture. Malaysia is an open country to foreigners but it does not mean that we are exempted from their rules and laws. Bahasa Melayu is not difficult to learn, and knowing how to speak a few words can help you a lot. I suggest signing up for an expat magazine to widen your social circle as they have frequent invites to expat gatherings.

Is Malaysia a good place in which to work and do business? Why?
The good work-life balance, lower cost of living, and great infrastructure gives Malaysia the competitive advantage for expats to work and invest. Its proximity to other Asian countries also makes it a hub for business and leisure. With these, Malaysia is a good choice to work, live, and play.

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Source: The Expat magazine September 2015

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