Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.



Published on

  • Fact: Penis Enlargement CAN Work. Here's How. ■■■
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • Sharpen your mind with brain pill. learn more info.. ■■■
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • How can I improve my memory before an exam? How can I improve my study skills? learn more... ➤➤
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • SECRET: Men usually out of emotion, not logic. Take advantage of this and get your Ex back today! See how at: ■■■
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • I recovered from bulimia. You can too! learn more... ■■■
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • Be the first to like this


  1. 1. |february | DISCOVER MORE ABOUT YOUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME PP// ()
  2. 2. J. Andrew Davison E HITHERE!Publisher J. Andrew Davison Consultant Director Marybeth Ramey Group Editor William Citrin Staff Writer Milan Sadhwani Art Director Chai Siew Kim Senior Graphic Designer Charles Lee IT Director Rusli Arshad Online Content Editor Sarah Rees IT Rozalin Mahmood Saiful Safuan Media Director Timothy Mcvey Commercial Director Bill Cooper Project Development Director Nick Davison Business Development Director Zareena Alwee Sales Team Olivia Yap, Emily Tang Joey Tan & Jessy Lou Events Manager Antoinette Perera Membership Manager Michael Thorp Distribution Suriah Ali MM2H Manager Farzana Ali Finance / Admin – Senior Manager Khoo Poh Lian Group of Companies Tri-Concepts Sdn Bhd (204389-P) JAD Management Services Sdn Bhd (286845-U) Borneo Vision Sdn Bhd (295020-P) Borneo Vision (MM2H) Sdn Bhd (735406-W) Hemsworth Limited (536626) TEG Singapore Pte Ltd (200920711M) PUBLICATIONS WEBSITES EVENTS MEMBERSHIP MM2H Reaching the International Community since 1996 printer Print Scope Sdn Bhd (596276-T) No. 38 & 40 Jln PBS 14/3, Taman Perindustrian Bukit Serdang, 43300 Seri Kembangan, Selangor for more information: Borneo Vision Sdn Bhd (295020 P) 7th Floor, Tower Block Syed Kechik Foundation Building Jalan Kapas, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 03.2093 9539 / 2094 9664 Fax: 03.2094 9690 / 2094 9670 e-mail: xpats have seen significant changes over the years, both in the degree of hardship they endure living here as well as the size of their expat compensation packages. Perhaps equally revealing is the increasing number of expats who want to extend their stay in Malaysia. With most developed countries seeing increasing unemployment and the implementation of various austerity measures, life in Malaysia is looking more and more attractive. While historically expats were attracted by a combination of the adventure and opportunity to increase their savings today they are motivated by the desire to experience new countries and often the dismal economic outlook in their own country. The adventure element has decreased, as many Asian countries including Malaysia have developed their infrastructure so much that in many cases the facilities are at a similar level to those in expats’ home countries. The lifestyle offered in Singapore is often better than that which the expats enjoyed back home and Kuala Lumpur is moving in the same direction. The generous expat packages, however, are becoming a thing of the past. When I first came to Asia, forty years ago, the compensation packages were very attractive including first class travel even on annual home leave, generous housing allowances, extra vacation days, paid education for children, hardship and cost of living allowances and various other benefits. Approximately every five years, during the period I worked with a major multinational, the head office human resource team conducted a study to determine the total cost of all the expats and review their packages. Inevitably, they concluded that expats were a lot more expensive than their counterparts back home and they appeared to be enjoying a much better lifestyle than their head office peers. Naturally the recommendations were always the same - cut back or eliminate some of the perks. Of course, we were quick to explain all the hardships and deprivations we suffered being so far from home and made a big deal about the various risks we took by living in Asia! It rarely worked. When they threatened to reduce the hardship allowance given for working in Malaysia, I was quick to point out the risk of dengue fever, snakes, driving and anything else I could think of to support my case. They still decided to reduce it. Today very few companies (or expats if they are honest) consider this a hardship posting. As expats moaned and groaned about the loss of benefits, multinationals discovered that not only were there plenty of talented Asians, but many were more than happy to take assignments in other countries without the full packages. This was an appealing option to many multinationals. Western expats found themselves replaced by Asian expats who were less fussy about the packages. Over time even that dynamic changed as many western expats also decided they were willing to work on local packages. A recent survey of 200 multinational companies in Singapore revealed that 21% of their expat employees were on local packages. Many more companies offer a local-plus package where the base salary is commensurate to that paid to locals and then the expat receives some cash contribution toward other expenses such as housing or kid’s education. This trend has also been observed in Hong Kong and other countries. Today Malaysia has a growing number of expats wanting to extend their stay here and willing to accept local packages in order to do that. There also appears to be more expats setting up their own businesses as a means of staying on here and taking advantage of the improved economic environment. Given the Malaysian Government’s more liberal attitude to expats wanting to work here, we can expect a growing number to come here with either a straight local salary or some cash contribution. Very few expats will enjoy the full packages which were once the norm. However, based on our research most expats are not complaining too much, and with the options in their home country often looking distinctly depressing, Malaysia becomes that much more attractive. Publisher J. Andrew Davison Consultant Director Marybeth Ramey Group Editor William Citrin Staff Writer Milan Sadhwani Art Director Chai Siew Kim Senior Graphic Designer Charles Lee IT Director Rusli Arshad Online Content Editor Sarah Rees IT Rozalin Mahmood Saiful Safuan Media Director Timothy Mcvey Commercial Director Bill Cooper Project Development Director Nick Davison Business Development Director Zareena Alwee Sales Team Olivia Yap, Emily Tang Joey Tan & Jessy Lou Events Manager Antoinette Perera Membership Manager Michael Thorp Distribution Suriah Ali MM2H Manager Farzana Ali Finance / Admin – Senior Manager Khoo Poh Lian printer Print Scope Sdn Bhd (596276-T) No. 38 & 40 Jln PBS 14/3, Taman Perindustrian Bukit Serdang, 43300 Seri Kembangan, Selangor for more information: Borneo Vision Sdn Bhd (295020 P) 7th Floor, Tower Block Syed Kechik Foundation Building Jalan Kapas, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 03.2093 9539 / 2094 9664 Fax: 03.2094 9690 / 2094 9670 e-mail:
  3. 3. 6 THE EXPAT WWW.EXPATKL.COM The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily the views of Borneo Vision Sdn Bhd. The publisher shall not be held liable for any omission, error, or inaccuracy. No parts of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the publisher’s permission. TO GET YOUR FREE COPY OF THE EXPAT DELIVERED EVERY MONTH, VISIT WWW.EXPATKL.COM TEL: 03.2094 9664 OR FILL IN THE FORM ON PAGE 62 40-41 67 69 CONTENTS | FEBRUARY 2012 VOLUME 173 63 EVENTS 8 Events 9 Clubs and Associations 11 Expat News 18 Around The Expat Group 22 Expat Extracts COLUMNS 13 Musings from Malaysia by William Citrin 15 My View by Marybeth Ramey 17 The Bright Side by Mr. J 90 Locally Yours by Lydia Teh FEATURES 28 Thaipusam Thanksgiving 30 Tiger Tracks - “CAT” Walks 33 Profile – Hughes de Courson 34 Industry Insider – A Tale of Tin 49 Business Profile – Kai Schlickum 50 Expat Homes 65 Property – Residential Projects THE ARTS 37 Theatre for Seniors – klpac 38 Artist Profile – Calvin Chua 40 Capturing Captivating Moments – John Ishii TRAVEL & TOURISM 42 Get Smart about Art – Malaysia’s Museums 44 Margaret River – Surfing the Vines 46 Expat Airline Travel and News EDUCATION 55 School Snaps 59 Education News PENANG PROMENADE 61 The Sensei of Place – Tan Twan Eng Plus 30 pages of EXPAT INFORMATION 67 Dining Promos 69 Restaurant Reviews and Dining Guide 80 Shopping and Services 86 The Expat Directory 88 Bulletin Board The Expat Card Monthly Specials page 64 24 50-51 Cover: CALVIN CHUA |february | DISCOVER MORE ABOUT YOUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME PP// ()
  4. 4. 8 THE EXPAT WWW.EXPATKL.COM FEBRUARY EVENTS 1st Feb - 12 Feb The World Press Photo Exhibition 11 will make its first appearance in Malaysia during its world tour with a show at the KL Convention Centre, where visitors can see a striking collection of over 160 award- winning press photographs from all over the world. Visit events for more details. 1st Feb -19 March Shalini Ganendra Fine Art will present award-winning photographer’s Nirmala Karrupiah’s interpretation of Chinese opera in a series of images set against the backdrop of Karuppiah’s art film, ‘Capturing Twilight’. Karuppiah has been fascinated with this ancient dance form for a long time and has been provoked by the fact that it’s a dying art. Her black- and-white photography will leave an impression on you. For more information, visit or call 03.7960 4740. 12Feb KLPAC will be starting their ‘Shakespeare on Film Season’ this month and kicking off will be Julie Taymor’s film interpretation of ‘The Tempest’, done with her usual liberties in favour of women’s equality. Starring Helen Mirren and Djimon Hounsou, admission to the film screening is free and starts at 3pm at KLPAC. For more information, please visit 16Feb -17 Feb World-famous Cloud Gate dancing troupe will be gracing our Malaysian shores with their performance entitled “Songs of the Wanderers”, which will evoke the cheerful memories of Buddha’s trip to Bodh Gaya. Cloud Gate hails from Taiwan and its dancers are skilled in martial arts, Chinese Opera, modern and classical dance and more. The performance will be at Istana Budaya, KL for two nights and tickets are priced from RM68. Penangites will be able to catch the troupe on 10 February. For tickets, please visit 18Feb - 19 Feb Noted as the conductor who conducts with his fingers, Nicholas McGegan will lead the MPO in concert ‘The Cuckoo and the Nightingale’ on Saturday, 18th February at 8.30p.m, which will then be repeated on Sunday, 19th February at 3p.m. Presenting works by Handel, Bach, Corelli and Rameau under the Age of Elegance series, the concerts will also feature organist Jennifer Bate on the majestic Klais Pipe Organ. For reservations, please call 03.2051 7007 or visit 22Feb - 5 March Come and experience a day of unique crafts during this 2-week long exhibition at the Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex. Hand-carved wooden furniture, beautifully-dyed textiles and clever ornaments will be on display, all of which are Malaysian-made. For more details, visit or call 03.2162 7459. 24Feb -4 March February brings a very exciting event to one of Malaysia’s most beautiful islands - le Tour de Langkawi will be celebrating its 17th edition with the tagline: Ready for the World. The tour will feature 22 teams from all over the world and the race will start in Putrajaya. Don’t miss out! For details, visit 25Feb & 26 Feb The young and dashing bass- baritone Philippe Sly will present works by Mozart, Massenet, Borodin and Wagner, amongst others. Hailed as an exceptional opera singer, Sly’s performance is under the MPO Special series and the orchestra will present concerts themed Great Baritone Arias with the great conductor Karen Kamensek. Concerts are scheduled on 25 February at 8.30p.m and 26 February at 3p.m. For tickets, please call 03.2051 7007 or visit for more information.
  5. 5. WWW.EXPATKL.COM THE EXPAT 9 CLUBS AND ASSOCIATIONS AAM Bingo at Little Sisters of the Poor Date: Thursday, 2 February Time: 10am – 11am Venue: St. Francis Xavier Home for the Elderly Cost: N/A RSVP: E-mail Description: Every first Thursday of the month, you can help spread the joy in this home for the elderly with a game of bingo! We will bring prizes for the winners. First Fridays Date: Friday, 3 February Time: Noon – 2 pm Venue: Ben’s @ Pavilion Mall, Level 6 Cost: Price of own food and drinks RSVP: E-mail by Thursday, 2 February Description: This monthly social activity is especially for newly arrived expats and provides an opportunity to ask questions, gather information and to meet and relax with new friends over lunch. Thaipusam Festival 2012 Date: Monday, 6 February Time: 7:30pm - Midnight Venue: Batu Caves Cost: RM55 (Members); RM70 (Non- Members) RSVP: E-mail by Tuesday, 31 January Description: Angie Ng of Heritage Travel will lead a guided bus tour to Batu Caves to see this unique religious festival of Thaipusam. Beginners’ Bahasa Melayu Classes – New Classes! Date: Wednesdays starting 8 February Time: 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Venue: Meet at entrance of Central Market Cost: RM675 (Members); RM775 (Non- Members) plus RM50 materials fee RSVP: E-mail by Thursday, 2 February Description: Now is the time to start learning the language of your host country. This series of classes is led by Puan Mas from Applied Language Systems who will not only teach you the language but also share knowledge that will make your time in KL richer. RSVP by 2 February 2012, to the AAM office to start this learning experience. Coffee Morning Date: Thursday, 16 February Time: 10am – 11am Venue: AAM Villa Cost: N/A RSVP: E-mail by Wednesday, 15 February Description: Wondering how to convert your US driver’s license to a Malaysian license? Join us at the February Coffee Morning, where guest speaker Yeasmin Chain will give tips on all procedures and processes related to expats’ needs in Malaysia, such as work permits, maids’ permits, dependent passes, MM2H, setting up businesses, and conversion of driver’s licenses. Lunch Bunch Date: Tuesday, 21 February Time: Noon – 1pm Address Book American Association of Malaysia Address: Unit G-3A Villa Seavoy 7, Lorong Titiwangsa 8, Taman Titiwangsa, 53200 KL. Tel: 03.4021 4367 / 4368 Web: Email: Association Francophone de Malaisie (AFM) 34, Jalan Dutamas Raya, 51200 Kuala Lumpur Email: Web: Association of British Women In Malaysia (ABWM) Address: 88, Jalan Terasek 8 Bangsar Baru 59100, KL. Tel: 03.2284 4407 Web: Canadian Association of Malaysia Address: CAM Mailing Address c/o Canadian High Commission, 17th Floor, Menara Tan & Tan, 207 Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur. Web: German Speaking Society Of Kuala Lumpur (GSSKL) P.O. Box 707, Jalan Sultan, 46670 Petaling Jaya. E-mail: Website: International Women’s Association – Kuala Lumpur (IWAKL) Address: P.O. Box 269 Jalan Sultan 46670 Petaling Jaya, SDE. Web: E-mail: Ibu Family Resource Group 78 Sri Hartamas 18, Taman Sri Hartamas, KL. Tel: 03.6211 0666 Web: E-mail: Japanese Club Address: 2, Jalan 1/86, off Jalan Taman Seputeh, Taman Seputeh, 58200 KL. Tel: 03.2274 2274 Fax: 03.2274 3584 Web: KL Cobras Ice Hockey Club Contact: Website: KPC Melati Indonesian Women in Mixed Marriages Web:, Email: Contact: Rika O’Hanlon 017.601 7718 Malaysian Australian New Zealand Association (MANZA) Address: 38, Jalan Tempinis, Bangsar, KL Tel: 03.2284 7145 Fax: 03.2287 7151 Email: Web: South Africans in Malaysia Contact: Mrs Dorne Sherwood, email: H/P: 012.9168506 Latin American Ladies Association Web: Email: / The Royal Society of St George William Addington (President) E-mail: Michael McIver (Hon Sec) Web: Scandinavian Society Malaysia (SSM) Scandinavian Society Malaysia Suite 303, F139, BSC, 285 Jalan Maarof, Bangsar 59000 Kuala Lumpur Email: Web: Swedish Women’s Educational Association Web: E-mail: St. Andrew’s Society PO Box 6210, Pudu Post Office, 55720 KL. Web: Turkish Malaysian Friendship Association Contact: Ms. Nilufer Senyuva 019.396 4086 Venue: TGI Friday’s, Level 6 Pavilions Mall Cost: Cost of own food and drink RSVP: E-mail by Monday, 20 February Description: Familiar food in a great location! A reservation will be made under “American Association.” Indian Cooking Class with Sheela Kalaivanan Date: Thursday, 23 February Time: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Venue: AAM Villa Cost: RM85 (Members); RM100 (Non- Members) RSVP: E-mail by Thursday, 16 February Description: Learn how to make classic vegetarian dishes like jeera rice, paneer mutter, mixed vegetable kurma, raita, and mango kulfi (Indian ice cream). The class includes demo, printed recipes and followed by lunch. Annual Ball – The Magic of Motown Date: Saturday, 25 February Time: 7pm – 2 am Venue: Hilton Sentral Kuala Lumpur Cost: RM325 (Members); RM375 (Non- Members) RSVP: E-mail to purchase tickets Description: Don’t miss the American Association of Malaysia’s annual ball, “The Magic of Motown”! Tickets include a gala dinner and open bar. Dress code is black tie or national dress. ABWM For upcoming events, please check out our web site at KLOGS (KUALA LUMPUR’S OTHER GOLFING SOCIETY) The KLOGS gentlemen golf group meet on the third Wednesday of each month, playing prestige courses in and around KL. For details please email ‘El Pres’ at: mike. KL COBRAS ICE HOCKEY CLUB Day, Time: Mondays at 9:30pm at Sunway Pyramid. We have over 50 players who participate in our league. The Cobras also play in tournaments around Asia Pacific, have regular social and charity events. Contact: Web: SOUTH AFRICANS IN MALAYSIA South African Coffee Morning! We meet every second Thursday of every month. Call or email Dorne Sherwood at 012.916 8506 or SWEDISH WOMEN EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION 9 February - Coffee Morning 13 February – Cooking class 21 February – Lunchen 29 February – CPR course All activities are open to members only. Please visit web site for details: www.swea. org/kualalumpur
  6. 6. WWW.EXPATKL.COM THE EXPAT 11 In recognition of the Malaysian Government’s plans to attract more foreigners to Malaysia and liberalise the rules on visas and work permits, we are introducing this news section to keep resident and prospective expats updated on news affecting them working or living here. Expat News MALAYSIA RANKS AS TOP ASIAN RETIREMENT DESTINATION International Living once again rated Malaysia the best place in Asia to retire. It ranked fourth in the world in their 2012 Retirement Index behind Ecuador, Panama and Mexico. Thailand was the only other Asian country which received high rankings, coming in at ninth place. International Living has been going for some 30 years and primarily focuses on American retirees, which may be the reason they tend to give such high ratings to Central and Latin American countries. However, they do offer a lot of information about the countries and claim to have over 400,000 people on their mailing database for their e-newsletters. Interestingly, once again the weather negatively impacted Malaysia’s ranking. With a score of just 66 out of a 100 for climate, it was even lower than Thailand which scored 75 points in this category. We find it rather confusing that Malaysia frequently gets penalised, as a place to live, because of its climate. We know it can get hot and humid here, but our own surveys repeatedly show that expats living here rate the weather as a major plus factor – not a negative. It seems that the people who do these surveys usually live in colder climates and focus heavily on the humidity factor to conclude the weather is very unpleasant. BROADBAND PENETRATION RISES The Government has announced that 62% of Malaysian homes now have broadband internet access up from 54% in 2012. This is good progress towards achieving the target of 75% by 2015. A key focus is those areas with limited access – mostly parts of Sarawak, Sabah, Pahang and Kelantan. This translates to around 6.5 million households now enjoying broadband access. One negative aspect of this growth has been cyber security with increased cases of spam, phishing, hacking, cyber bullying and other related problems. There were over 7000 cases referred to the Incident Centre at Cyber Security Malaysia last year. This is an agency set up by the Government to focus on cyber security issues. They operate a help desk for people facing problems. ISKANDAR REGION TAKING OFF There have been various positive announcements about the Iskandar Region (IR) since it was decided to develop this huge area around Johor. There are frequent news items about massive Arab investment although it is not always clear how much has actually come through. However, the cumulative foreign investment has been substantial. Our own efforts to get more information from the management, as well as suggest they might want to tell the expat community about their efforts, have never come to anything. The result of course is that many expats are not aware of some of the developments down there. Some of the big property developers have created some attractive developments in Nusajaya which is part of IR. They have been selling quite well, particularly to Singaporeans or expats living in Singapore. The cost differential from that country is enormous. The new Administrative centre for Johor is completed and the buildings are certainly attractively and creatively designed. Part of the overall plan is to set up a regional education hub in an area they are calling Edu City and that is making progress. The University of Newcastle has already opened its medical campus and the University of Southampton is recruiting students for its engineering campus. Marlborough College will also be opening their Malaysian private secondary school this year. Towards the end of this year, Legoland will open its first Asian theme park in the Iskandar Region. It will take up 76 acres and is targeting around one million visitors a year. INVEST KL NOW ESTABLISHED InvestKL is a new entity which has been established to help attract more foreign investment in Kuala Lumpur. The Ministry of International Trade and Industry has been doing this for many years. However, under the Economic Transformation Programme, the government is keen to see some big names enter Malaysia. Invest KL is specifically charged with attracting 100 of the world’s largest multinationals to set up operations in the Greater Kuala Lumpur area. It is headed up by Zainal Amanshah who was brought in from the private sector to become Chief Executive Officer at the end of last year. EARLY ELECTIONS There has been considerable speculation that the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition may call a General Election in the first part of this year. The parliamentary term is for five years, so the election must be called not later than 2013. Various parties have expressed their view that an earlier election might be on the cards to avoid being forced to hold an election if the Malaysian economy is negatively affected by the global economic slowdown which shows no signs of improving. The impact on expats would most likely be felt if the opposition gets in and decides it does not want to pursue the Transformation Programmes which the current government have introduced and which are now well underway and already showing some encouraging signs for the economy.
  7. 7. WWW.EXPATKL.COM THE EXPAT 13 MUSINGS FROM MALAYSIA In one book, the head of the victim is impaled by the lethal spikes of a falling fruit as she walks through a durian orchard at night. As any Malaysian will tell you, durian has “eyes” and will never fall from a tree onto a living thing. Who, then, fatally dropped the durian onto the woman’s head? In another story, a man dies after consuming excessive amounts of durian together with beer, causing his bowels to explode. Is this a tragic accident, or is it foul (fruit) play? In another one, a large suitcase of durian is smuggled onto an airplane and opened mid-flight, precipitating a wave of panic and a stampede in which an elderly billionaire heiress is tragically trampled to death. Was she just in the wrong place at the wrong time or is something suspicious “afoot”? You get the drift… I also had an idea to concoct a durian cologne called “Spiky Spice” and a perfume called “Forbidding Fruit”. Not sure if these will repel or appeal to the general public. Until one of these or one of my other durian-based business schemes comes to “fruition”, I will just be content to be an editor and a durian connoisseur, perpetually in search of the ultimate durian high. I would encourage my fellow expats to plug their noses and partake. Durian may smell like hell, but it tastes like heaven. Ode to the Odorous Fruit WITH DURIAN SEASON UPON US, WILLIAM CITRIN DECIDES IT’S TIME TO PAY HOMAGE TO THE “KING OF FRUITS” Malaysia ten years ago, and an assembled crowd of local friends watched me with great (and morbid) fascination – as if I were a monkey strapped into a rocket ship being blasted into outer space – to see if I would simultaneously combust upon consumption. They were shocked to see me gleefully sucking the meat of the fruit from its seeds. It was finger-lickin’ good (and durian literally sticks to your fingers), its taste complex and indescribable (although Anthony Bordain famously described it as being like “French kissing your dead grandmother”) and unforgettable (mainly because it lingered on my fingers and breath for days). It was unlike anything that had ever entered my mouth before (and you can’t even imagine what has been in my mouth) and I knew, from that first encounter, that I was hooked – or, in this case, spiked. Durian is not just a food, it is an experience. Like lovers and crabs (but not lovers with crabs), each and every durian possesses a unique personality which can only be discovered by breaking through the hard exterior to reveal the pods of flavour within (although the Borneo pygmy elephant eats durian by rolling the fruit in mud and then swallowing it, spikes and all, whole). Each and every durian begins as a mystery and ends as a memory. Speaking of mysteries, I once had the idea to write a series of books entitled “Death by Durian”, each about a murder with durian as the weapon of choice. Like Justin Bieber, motorsports and leather pants, durian is something you either love or hate. The mere mention of the name of this polarizing fruit – not to mention its smell and taste – has the capacity to unleash paroxysms of pleasure or disgust. But one thing both lovers and haters can agree on: durian has power, undeniable power. Unlike beer, jazz and monogamy, durian is not an acquired taste. Most people, it seems, don’t have the “durian gene” and are predisposed to detest it; their senses reflexively rebel against the smell of the king of fruits upon first encounter. These legions – and 97% of expats, I think, fall into this category – loathe the pungent produce with fanatical zeal, pursuing a campaign of utter segregation by banning durian from most buildings and enclosed public spaces. One time at a hotel in Kota Kinabalu, for example, the manager and two security guards knocked on my door late at night in search of the forbidden fruit – apparently its pong had seeped into the centralized air-con system and offended one of the guest’s olfactory glands. I suspect that most of these haters are unfairly judging durian by its spiky cover and, of course, its off-putting stench, and have never actually ingested it. With durian and me, it was love at first bite. I will always remember the first time its creamy, dreamy flesh touched my lips. It was during my maiden voyage to Even though he wrote this column, the views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of William Citrin, the Editor of The Expat. Email him at with your views.
  8. 8. W W W . M A R L B O R O U G H C O L L E G E M A L A Y S I A . O R G The best of British boarding and day education in 90 acres of Malaysia Senior School: Boarding and Day for children aged 11-15. Preparatory School: Day for children aged 4-11. To learn more about the School and for details of admissions, please email: or visit our website. An Invitation to Explore O P E N IN G A U G U ST 2012
  9. 9. WWW.EXPATKL.COM THE EXPAT 15 MY VIEW Blinded by Social Boundaries An award winning writer, Marybeth is The Expat Group’s Consultant Director and has lived in Malaysia for 13 years. Her adult children grew up in Malaysia and now reside in the USA along with her grandgirl, Raya-Rosine. She welcomes your feedback @ I have two sisters who went blind when they were about 10 years old due to a rare recessive gene disorder. My sister, Sue, who is just one year younger than me, is married to Artie, my husband’s cousin, who keeps a Blind Bloopers Book of Sue’s funniest, most “Helen Keller” moments. Yes, our family on both sides has what is probably the largest repertoire of Helen Keller jokes anywhere. I love this because although, of course, very sad and shocking, she can laugh about it and does so quite publicly demonstrating to others that she is not her disability but just Susie who happens to be blind. Although she is blind, she functions almost normally and is in fact a school teacher. The State of Massachusetts is very supportive of its disabled citizens and went through their home putting special Braille labels on switches, stove and teaching them some tricks of the trade. But things happen and instead of stressing or getting or upset, the entire family, the extended families and now you dear readers all over the world will all know too and laugh with them about her Blind Bloopers. My favorite one is Artie buying a gallon of Hawaiian Punch which feels just like the plastic gallon of Tide laundry detergent. Two weeks later, my niece, Meghan, discovered that her mom had been washing the family clothes in Hawaiian Punch all that time. I asked if they had been drinking that tasty, refreshing Tide, but evidently no. Another instance was her recent status on her Facebook page saying she had just taken the dog’s medicine and had given Sophie her hormone pill. Within hours there were dozens of catty (sorry Sophie for the feline reference) but hilarious comments on her page about her having to go that evening to her in-laws and to be sure not to bark, drool on the furniture or sit on her tail. Never mind the hormonal hell poor Sophie was probably going through, hehe On numerous occasions, she has attempted to get into the wrong vehicle when being picked up, only to realize once the door opens that it’s not her ride. Her descriptions of the varied reactions of the drivers are truly hilarious. One of her own favourites is the time she was walking with her dog in a new neighbourhood in very deep snow. She thought she was asking a young teenager directions but she was in fact conversing with a fire hydrant. Sophie the dog looked quite puzzled at this exchange as related by a person passing by who assisted her home. Then there was the fancy Thanksgiving Dinner with the extended family that particular year at their house. In this case, she had stored the casserole dish where she always had under a drawer near the kitchen sink. Nephew Eddie noticed the short silver nails first and much (American talk, of course) ensued about the lawsuit they would be slapping on the manufacturer at the green bean company. That is, until Artie went to wash up and realised those were HIS nails in HER cooking dish. He had moved them a drawer over without telling her not realizing they might drop into her casserole dish. Not only does Sue have a full time white collar job, she also has a second source of income; she crochets all kinds of baby and toddler apparel, bedspreads, carseat covers, etc. A few years ago she kept being annoyed at the clicking sound her diamond was making with the fast moving needles. So she extracted the diamond and plunked it in a wine glass where it lay forgotten until 6 months later at Easter Dinner, again at their house. Artie’s sister Audrey announced she believed she had a diamond in her mouth after taking a sip of a harmonious red wine. Very quickly she was ordered to spit it out or else risk having an enema on the dining room table. I’ve come to find out over these many years that if you can’t laugh at even the worst situations you might find yourself in, then you might as well go in the closet and die. Laughing at yourself is the best medicine there is. It is sad for me to see throughout many parts of Asia families still filled with shame over a family member with a physical or mental disability to the extent they keep the person inside the house all their lives. What a terrible waste of human capital knowing that one of those young children could be someone like my sister Sue. And even though it’s been five years now since my spine surgery which had some serious complications, taxi drivers who know me, office workers in our building and other local Malaysians who at first would actually tear up looking at me and race over to help, now just see my happy nature. This is why I refer to myself as a cripple. To me, it is a funny sounding word that is the opposite of being politically correct plus it is a fact and makes me laugh, resulting in the person I am with laughing too and we all relax. I always hope that if the older, more traditional Malaysians who know me might themselves have a family member who is not physically perfect understand better now that it is the person you are inside your physical structure that really counts.
  10. 10. from USA Sheraton Imperial Hotel KL 129, Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 KL Hotline : +6011 1507 7663 WWW.SIXT Y3KL.COM Supported by :
  11. 11. WWW.EXPATKL.COM THE EXPAT 17 Good morning/afternoon/evening, or whenever it is you happen to be in your day. And whenever or wherever you are, I’m sure you had an interesting time getting there. Because of course one of the unadulterated joys of living in a city such as Kuala Lumpur is the public transport system. From the exciting Russian Roulette of happening upon that honest taxi driver to the sense of fellowship you develop with your fellow inmates as you stand at the KTM Kommuter platform, there’s a whole world of experience out there just waiting for you to… erm…wait for it. Ladies and gentlemen, if I have to pick a favourite - and apparently I do – it’s the LRT system. The next train to Gombak will be a two-carriage train! Oh, you jolly pranksters! Imagine the hilarity and sense of companionship as the assembled passengers try to guess where those two carriages will stop and then cram themselves in together, like it’s all just a big game of Sardines. I especially enjoy those times when you’re standing on the train and it just doesn’t move. After a large enough percentage of the day has passed, I generally give up and treat myself to a 45-minute sauna by attempting to walk home. And imagine how boring life would be if our LRT actually linked up to the Monorail. Who wants it to be that easy to get to Bukit Bintang? No. I for one would much rather relish the challenge of transporting a small child in a pram from Dang Wangi LRT to the Bukit Nanas Monorail without any visible signs of an elevator, before giving up and deciding to walk there from KLCC. Unfortunately, by the time you read this they may have confounded all this by opening the blasted Citywalk, which on paper and in theory all looks a bit too convenient and twee for my liking. And talking of convenient and twee, well lookee here – it’s the KTM Kommuter! Bored? Nothing to fill your day? Wondering what to do with the weekend? Then come on down to the platform at Mid Valley or any of their other 45 waiting rooms and marvel at the passage of time. You’ll feel the growing companionship as you give your fellow strandees a look which says they’ve cancelled the trains, haven’t they? They’ve cancelled them and they haven’t told us, haven’t they? I’m just waiting for you to leave – once you leave I’ll leave. Are you going to leave? Then when the train eventually does arrive, the sense of joy is so overwhelming it’s like Christmas and your birthday rolled into one. And don’t even get me started on the buses. Gasp at the sheer genius of these bus operators as you realize that the only way to avoid the pollution being belched out of these iceberg-melters is to actually get on one, whether you need to go anywhere or not. Don’t panic though, because not only does climbing on board give you access to the only fresh air in the vicinity, but for a mere RM1, you get a soft drink, a slice of cake and your own personal video screen. No, wait a minute, I think I might be getting confused again. Which is what happens whenever I get a taxi here in the Malaysian capital. Those nice drivers just get me so giddy and flustered! You see, I have a thing for the smell of digestive gases and the thrill of being conned out of the contents of my purse. If I’ve had a good day, and am feeling like a particularly happy boy, I’ll occasionally even splurge, by letting one of the boys in blue give me a ride. Of course, if you’re still not convinced about all the wonderful options we have here, then all you have to do is look South West, where the Melaka Monorail sits like the world’s biggest - though least well put together – train set. Laters. THE BRIGHT SIDE WITH MR. JMr J lives and works in Kuala Lumpur, and is ridiculously optimistic about the future. His latest novel Stranger in Taiwan is available on Amazon, and will have sold well over a million copies by the time you read this. GETTING AROUND KL USING PUBLIC TRANSPORT CAN BE QUITE AN ODYSSEY AND AN ORDEAL. MR J. RECOUNTS SOME OF HIS TRAVELLING TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS The Run around, around Town
  12. 12. 18 THE EXPAT WWW.EXPATKL.COM AROUND THE EXPAT GROUP A Scrumptious Success A Wine Dinner needs a few things in order for it to be a success: a scrumptious and hearty spread of food and luscious and full-bodied wine flowing throughout the night. The recent Expat Wine Dinner delivered just that at the newly opened Morganfield’s at Pavilion. Canapes were served to start off the lovely evening and these were paired with the pale Penfold’s Private Release Chardonnay. Guests were then treated to a pork gumbo soup bursting with vegetables. The option of a tropical fruit salad with fresh lettuce and mint yoghurt was available for non-pork eaters. Morganfield’s is renowned for their pork ribs and this was the main course – a delicious half slab of baby back ribs with a choice of hickory BBQ, Tuscan or peppercorn sauce. Penfold’s Thomas Hyland Cabernet Sauvignon was served with this dish, along with French fries and coleslaw. A choice of roasted lamb or honey-glazed turkey was then offered; both came with generous servings of meat and all the trimmings. There was also an option for blackened Norwegian salmon, spiced up with Cajun and shrimp sauce. The Wine Dinner aptly concluded with a helping of Christmas pudding served with whisky sauce. It was an eventful and satisfying night to be sure.By Milan Sadhwani TheExpatWouldLikeToThank: Morganfield’s C4.03.00, Level 4, Pavilion KL Shopping Mall, 168 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03.2141 3192
  13. 13. WWW.EXPATKL.COM THE EXPAT 19 Next Time: Date : 23rd February 2011 Time : 7pm to 10.30pm The Event : Sit down dinner Address : Chinoz on the Park G47, Ground Floor, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur. Price : RM120 (Expat Card, MM2H and Wine Club Members) RM145 (Non-Members) Cosmpolitan Cuisine Suria KLCC is now becoming known not only for its sensational shopping, but also for its excellent eateries. One such establishment is Chinoz on the Park – a sleek, modern well designed lounge-restaurant, with great views of the KLCC fountains and park. There is also an al fresco area to better appreciate the view as well as a classy private dining area. Chinoz offers a Mediterranean-based menu as well as a good selection of seafood. Opened since 1998, Chinoz on the Park continues to attract a large number of expats and tourists, and to dazzle and surprise foodies from Malaysia and beyond. For reservations, please call Anis at 03.2094 9664 View more pictures of the The Expat Mingle at our Facebook page:
  14. 14. 20 THE EXPAT WWW.EXPATKL.COM AROUND THE EXPAT GROUP TheExpatWouldLikeToThank: Finnegan’s Irish Pub & Restaurant @ Mid Valley Lot No.G(E)-003, The Boulevard Lingkaran Syed Putra 59200 KL. Tel: 03.2284 8157 W I N E S SINCE 1698 Ushering in 2012 the Irish Way! Touted as one of the best watering holes around Klang Valley, Finnegan’s played host to the last Expat Mingle of 2011. Woods in warm colours and spacious couches greeted the crowd upon arrival. Cozied up in this Midvalley outlet, guests enjoyed Strongbow cider sponsored generously by Guinness Anchor Berhad and delicious Cronier wines. Minglers of the night were also treated to delicious finger food, like the roast beef and asparagus canapes, camembert and strawberry on crackers, Danish blue-stuffed mushrooms and pork sausage rolls. Other snacks on the menu included green mussel roulette, roasted pork belly with tomato jam and homemade potato crisps. For the non-alcoholic drinkers, delightful Parisian fruit cocktails were available. There was a prize draw of two round-trip tickets to Jakarta compliments of KLM. It was a great night and definitely a great end to 2011. Do come and join us for the next Mingle and be a part of this fantastic monthly gathering! By Milan Sadhwani
  15. 15. WWW.EXPATKL.COM THE EXPAT 21 Register online at or call Limited space only. Please book early/register online to avoid major disappointment! Another event by Jointly brought to you by 14 February 2012 (Tuesday) 7pm – 9pm Lot G-02/03/03A, Ground Floor, Cap Square Centre, No 7, Persiaran Cap Square, 50100 Kuala Lumpur. Regular Entry Free Flow Beer + Fingerfood The Expat Card Holders: RM40 Non Card Holders: RM55 Add on Wine Option Free Flow Beer + 3 Glasses of Wine + Fingerfood The Expat Card Holders: RM50 Non Cardholders: RM65 @ ® View more pictures of the The Expat Mingle at our Facebook page:
  16. 16. 22 THE EXPAT WWW.EXPATKL.COM Expat Extracts Name: Grant Corban Home country: New Zealand Designation/Industry/Company: Owner of two successful Sdn. Bhd. companies. One focused on photography ( and the other on web solutions ( Marital status/Number of children: Happily married with 3 kids Other countries you have lived in: Hong Kong and New Zealand are the big ones. I spent working holidays in Niue, the Cook Islands, Indonesia, South Korea, India, Spain and Greece. Every country was unique and beautiful. What brought you to Malaysia and how long have you been here? Permanent home here since May 2006 but first arrived, as a schoolboy, in April 1962. Was always keen to live in Asia. Toyed with the idea of Indonesia, Hong Kong and Vietnam. Would choose Thailand as the next best destination now. What do you like and dislike most about living in Malaysia? Insanity on the roads and the poor state of repair of most by-ways. Name three typical weekend activities that you enjoy. Golf, wining and dining and travel. What is your favourite holiday destination in Malaysia or in the region? Why? Bangkok for a change of pace and some variety. Name: Paul Tyminski Home country: U.K. Industry: Aviation Marital status: Divorced with four daughters. Other countries you have lived in: Singapore, Indonesia, New Zealand, El Salvador Describe a memorable eating experience you have had here? Jalan Alor in KL, the Hawkers Market in Penang and the Roast Duck in Bangsar Village 1. Do you own property here? If so, where? If not, why? Yes in Kenny Hills. What do you miss most about your home country? Nothing except my daughters. What advice would you give to a newly-arrived expat? Keep an open mind and just jump right in. Is Malaysia a good country to raise children? Why? Wide choice of schooling, good healthcare, no shortage of affordable home-help and a splendid climate. What brought you to Malaysia and how long have you been here? A beautiful young 5’2” sweetheart I met while I was living in Hong Kong. I arrived nearly 20 years ago and received my PR 3 years ago. Coupled with my 6 years in Hong Kong I have lived longer in Asia than in New Zealand! What do like most about living here? I like the friendly people, great food, ease of doing business, and respect for other races and religions. Where else do you get so many holidays! Name three typical weekend activities that you enjoy. If I am not shooting pictures of beautiful people somewhere in the world, it is family-centric. Eating a meal, watching a movie, playing a board game, or just chatting. If it’s not with the family something is missing. Do you own property here? Yes. Our house in Petaling Jaya, and some tracts of land in Shah Alam and Rawang. What advice would you give to a newly-arrived expat? Get out and meet people. Malaysians are friendly and helpful and you will enjoy getting to know the ins and outs of the culture and Malaysian humour. How long do you plan to stay here? I have no plans to leave. I like it here and my social network is rich and entertaining. Rebuilding anything as deep and rich elsewhere would take years. We do plan on travelling but Malaysia will always be our home. Is this a good country to raise children? Yes because of the closeness of the extended family and respect for older people, and no because for many Malaysian professionals affordable quality education for their children has become a growing concern. Is Malaysia a good place in which to work and do business? Why? Malaysia is a good place to do business as English is still widely used as the lingua franca. Make sure you have a good company secretary to walk you through the ropes of setting up a company to avoid complications later. There are a lot of opportunities for an entrepreneur.
  17. 17. WWW.EXPATKL.COM THE EXPAT 23 What brought you to Malaysia and how long have you been here? A long cherished desire to emigrate to this wonderful country and build a life here with my wife. We wanted to wait until our kids had flown out of the nest, but they took so long that we ended up pushing them out. They flew! We finally emigrated in July 2011. What do you like and dislike most about living in Malaysia? I like much more than there’s space here, but to name a few: the people, the trees and flowers, the food, the business climate, the weather. Only one dislike I can come up with: the driving style of cars and scooters: suicidal. Life here is much too good to die prematurely in a silly accident. Describe a memorable eating experience you have had here. Just last week my wife and I had the honor to be invited at an intimate family gathering of the famous and lovely Shirley Zecha, who had prepared a superb Indonesian-Dutch dinner that would sustain a small village for at least three weeks. We had such a wonderful time! What advice would you give to a newly-arrived expat? Dive in, nose first, just swim or tread water and enjoy, try the food from every cuisine, go to Jalan Alor, pick the joint where you don’t see any tourists, meet as many locals as you can, don’t go for a drive on Friday afternoons, visit the KL Bird Park, the Orchid Garden and the Butterfly Farm, never try to get a cab at Bukit Bintang, avoid Petaling Street. If all else fails: call me and I’ll show you how it’s done. What is your favorite area for your shopping sprees? Name: Ladislava Dundekova Home country: Slovakia What brought you to Malaysia and how long have you been here? It was work - boring! I got transferred (voluntarily) to Malaysia from Prague in April 2010. What were you impressions of Malaysia before you came? How have they changed if indeed they have? I knew virtually nothing about Malaysia which is quite unbelievable now because I’ve been to places that many Malaysians never visited or even heard of. Back then I knew this: Kuala Lumpur, PETRONAS Towers, Malaysian tiger and Malaysia Truly Asia. If you had to pick a sound, a smell, a taste or a touch to describe Malaysia, what would it be? Sound - either prayers (I live just above the mosque… but who doesn’t?) or manglish conversation – still can’t decide if I love it or hate it but it is definitely contagious, or birds chirping in Bangsar. For smell, of course, all kinds and type of makan; it attacks you on the streets and there is no escape. What are the 3 things you like most about living in Malaysia? Possibility to travel easily and frequently around the region; many public holidays – love that especially and the pool in my condo and the fact that you can enjoy it 365 days a year. What are the 3 things you dislike most about living in Malaysia? Traffic jams; the fact that you can’t go to the movies until the last moment unless you want to queue up and end up with a bad or no seat. Name 3 places you would take an overseas visitor. Chinatown and Central Market; Batu Caves on Thaipusam; Pavilion shopping mall. Name 3 typical weekend activities that you enjoy Travelling around; shopping and movies; going to the gym (this is plan for 2012!). What’s your favorite restaurant and bar in Malaysia? Sushi ZanMai. Are most of your friends Malaysians or expats? Expats. What do you miss most about your home country? Wide selection of delicious and cheap cheeses and yoghurts! Name: Jaap Snoeck Henkemans Home Country: Holland Marital Status: Married with 3 children (all living in Holland) Designation: CEO of Kewlox Cabinets Asia ( Other countries where I lived: India, France Bangsar in general, Sungai Wang Plaza and Publika@Solaris Dutamas. The latter because it’s so unlike your regular shopping-mall and a challenge to the mind to find your way around. Is Malaysia a good place in which to work and do business? For me it most certainly is! My company is Southeast Asia’s sole importer and distributor of a unique brand of high quality colorful storage furniture from Europe, and fortunately there’s really a great demand for it here. It’s hard work right now, but I’m not complaining! What’s more: all my local Malaysian business partners are very helpful and forthcoming. Name three typical weekend activities that you enjoy. Weekends? Apakah ini?
  18. 18. 24 THE EXPAT WWW.EXPATKL.COM T he Magical 1 Malaysia Festival promises to be the largest Celebration of Wonder ever held in Asia! From March 22nd through 25th, 2012, over a dozen of the world’s finest magicians will appear at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. There will be two International Gala shows daily, “The All-Star Magical Matinee” and “The Concert of Illusions”. Both of these will showcase the finest in Magical Artistry, from Close-up and Stage to Grand Illusion. The All- Star Cast for the Festival includes many acts that have never been seen in Asia! Producing this spectacular event is the dynamic duo of Jay Scott Berry and Mahdi Moudini, who have spent over three years in planning and preparation. Berry is an internationally renowned Master Magician, Recording Artist and Producer who has created and performed thousands of shows from Las Vegas to Monte Carlo. He will also be one of the headline acts and compere of the evening gala, “The Concert of Illusions”. Moudini is a 3rd generation Master Magician and now living in Kuala Lumpur. A multi- talented showman, he performs everything from intimate close-up magic to dazzling stage illusions. Since arriving in Malaysia, Moudini The Magical 1 Malaysia Festival has taken the country by storm and his stellar reputation is spreading rapidly around the world, He is constantly in demand for high class parties, performing for royalty and international dignitaries. He is the Founder of the Festival and also one of the headline acts. In addition to the Gala shows, the weekend’s schedule includes four magic lectures by Michael Ammar, Dirk Losander, Rafael Benatar and Tom Noddy. We are very pleased to announce that our Official Guest of Honour for this 2012 Festival will be Grandmaster magician, Johnny Thompson, direct from Las Vegas! We are also very honoured to welcome a host of International Magic VIPs, including Domenico Dante, 2012 FISM President, Derek Lever, Producer of the annual Blackpool Convention England, Tony Hassini, President of the International Magic Society and Irene Larsen, Founding member of the Magic Castle Hollywood. And, that’s not all! By special arrangement, Tony Hassini will be presenting the very first “Grandmaster Merlin Awards” live on stage during Gala dinner. This is a world premiere event - Only at the M1M Festival 2012! For more information, visit
  20. 20. WINNER OF THE MOST INNOVATIVE TOURISM PUBLICATION AT THE MINISTRY OF TOURISM AWARDS Malaysia: (50% Discount) : RM72 RM36 Asia: RM168, Europe: RM240, Rest of World: RM288 AMOUNT TO BE BILLED: RM Please enter your credit card details here Visa Mastercard American Express (tick one) Name of bank: Credit card number 3 digit CCV2 code (on back of credit card) Expires on Month Year Your name as printed on the card: Signature: Alternatively, you can enclose a cheque or money order payable to BORNEO VISION SDN BHD. NEWS W e are thrilled to announce that Senses of Malaysia received the Innovative International Tourism Publication award at the prestigious Malaysia Tourism Awards 2011, picking up the prize for the second time running. Established in 1987, the Malaysia Tourism Awards – organised by Tourism Malaysia – take place every two years and recognise and reward the achievements of those who “excel in the development of the nation’s tourism”. There are 12 different award categories and each is judged using a stringent set of criteria to ensure that the best tourism operators, products, and Senses of Malaysia Wins Malaysia Tourism Award again! CEO of The Expat Group and Publisher of Senses of Malaysia Andy Davison (second from left) with Tourism Malaysia officials at the 2011 Tourism Malaysia Awards services are selected as winners. Senses of Malaysia was recognized as the best tourism publication in 2009, and took home the award again at the 2011 awards ceremony held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre – much to the delight of the dedicated team at The Expat Group who produce this magazine which showcases everything that makes Malaysia a great place to work and live. Look out for more, in-depth coverage of all of the 2011 Malaysia Tourism Awards winners in the March issue of The Expat. SENSES OF MALAYSIA SUBSCRIPTION: Please tear out or photocopy this page. Alternatively go to and sign up online. Full Name (Mr / Ms / Mrs): Mailing Address: City/Town: Postcode: Country: Telephone: E-mail address: P a y m e n t D e t a i l s Senses of Malaysia is a new breed of tourism andtravelmagazine,whichhighlightsMalaysia’s bestbeaches,finestfoods,mostluxurioushotels and the many unique holiday destinations and adventures which makes this country fascinating. This bi-monthly magazine covers a host of topics from relaxation and recreation to education, from world music to flora and fauna, horse riding to golf. It also covers other aspects of life in Malaysia including property, foreign investment, the Malaysia My Second Home programme and health tourism. This publication also makes a unique gift subscription for friends or family overseas. Limited-time 50% Discount on subscriptions to residencies in Malaysia
  21. 21. WWW.EXPATKL.COM THE EXPAT 29 FESTIVALS I t may seem like an unusual way to “celebrate”, but if you find yourself among throngs of people with shaved heads with spears through their cheeks or hooks in their backs while around them crowds smash coconuts against the ground, you know you are in the right place. Thaipusam – full of light, colour and music – is an important yearly Hindu observance that attracts over a million religious followers and visitors annually. The celebration in Malaysia is unique with its eclectic mixture of multicultural participants who join together to celebrate on this very important occasion. Thaipusam always falls on the full moon of the month of “Thai”, which in 2012 means it will be celebrated on 7 February. Hindu devotees believe that observing prayers and often painful piercing rituals will demonstrate gratitude and exonerate their transgressions. This festival, which is celebrated by devotees and tourists alike, honours Lord Murugan, the Tamil god of war. With his golden spear he won a victory over evil and he is seen as the granter of favours – if a wish is granted then he needs to be repaid through sacrifice. Some excellent locations to observe Thaipusam as it is being celebrated are at the Balathan Dayuthapani Temple or Waterfall Hill Temple in Penang, the Sri Subramaniya Swamy Temple in Sungai Petani, Kedah, and the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple in Gunung Cheroh, Ipoh, Perak. However, the largest and best known festivities occur a stone’s throw away from KL, at the Batu Caves Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple in Selangor. THE PROCESSION Thaipusam at Batu Caves opens with a splendid display of colour that winds through the streets of Kuala Lumpur in an eight-hour demonstration of devotion. Incense bearers precede the image of Thaipusam Thanksgiving Lord Murugan. A five-tonne silver chariot adorned with jewels and hauled by two specially chosen bulls carries the deity to the Temple Cave as devotees pay their respects along the way. Following the chariot, priests, musicians, and dancers create an electric atmosphere with sound and movement. Intermingled are the followers, moving forward in an intent, trance-like state, attached to their kavadi, paying their penance and respects to their revered Hindu god on the 15-kilometer walk to the Batu Caves. The sound of drums and flutes herald their coming and people line the streets to support them on the journey and thousands of fresh coconuts are cracked on the road in the wake of the chariot along the route, which is lined with refreshment stalls playing devotional songs. GRATITUDE THROUGH DEVOTION Devotees show their devotion, atone for their sins or give thanks for answered prayers in numerous ways, from shaving their heads or smashing coconuts to piercing their tongues or bodies. Many carry silver pots of milk on their heads while others carry a heavier load by wearing kavadi. Kavadi, which means an altar or burden, vary in shape and size but are often elaborate and festooned with ornaments and paintings. Often they are attached to the skin with steel hooks through the chest, face and back during a special ceremony with an offering of ritualistic prayers. The more devoted undertake a regime of vegetarian fasting and general abstinence in the month preceding the festival to cleanse their bodies before being a part of this important event. Standing and watching tens of thousands of burdened, punctured bodies struggle by, it may seem that payment for favours granted is steep. However, Thaipusam is indeed a celebration, anticipated, appreciated and remembered by participants and visitors alike. BATU CAVES The Batu Caves is a network of 400 million year old caves located in the Gombak district of Selangor. The main cave is inhabited by a 100 foot golden statue of a Hindu god and is the main venue for the Malaysian Thaipusam Festival every year. With three main caves and several smaller ones visitors need to traverse 272 steps to reach the top of the limestone cliffs and enter the caves. Devotees carry out different acts of devotion as they climb the steep manmade staircase carrying their kavadi to the Temple Cave. Though by far the most popular time to come is during Thaipusam, the awe- inspiring Batu Caves are worth a visit any time of the year where any visitor can immerse themselves in the caves’ opulent history spanning centuries and enjoy the picturesque temples and colourful wooden sculptures that lay within the caves interiors. Batu Caves during Thaipusam BY AMY DE KANTER
  22. 22. 30 THE EXPAT WWW.EXPATKL.COM GETTING INVOLVED “W hat about that?” says Shirley, pointing to the deadly trap at the base of a small tree. We turn and look. It is a cunning snare designed to slip over then grip an animal’s neck. The tightened noose chokes the animal by a homemade bungee cord of rubber strips connected to the wire when it tries to escape. The bait is a salt water drip made from a bamboo tube that keeps some fruit moist and salty. We record the time and location then photograph the trap before Shirley deactivates it and Azura hurls the salt dispenser far into the forest. Had it not been found it could have taken the life of a tapir, wild pig, barking deer or even a tiger. We cut the wire into short useless lengths and scatter it in the forest. I have joined volunteers on a CAT (Citizens Action for Tigers) walk. It is a “recreational walk with a difference” enabling ordinary people concerned about declining tiger and wildlife populations to actively participate in conservation. Research shows recreational use of wilderness areas can be beneficial to wildlife in a number of ways. Apart from jobs for guides, spending in local economies, and Tiger Tracks: Walking for Wildlife CITIZENS ACTION FOR TIGERS OR “CAT” WALKS SERVE THE DUAL PURPOSE OF HELPING AUTHORITIES TRACK AND CONSERVE WILDLIFE POPULATIONS AND ENABLING PARTICIPANTS TO ENJOY THE WONDERS OF NATURE. ASHLEIGH SEOW TAKES A “CAT” WALK ON THE WILD SIDE providing locals with a stake in conservation, the presence of hikers protects wildlife from poaching indirectly. Poachers are disturbed by seeing people around who might notice them and their traps so they move further away. But many are local people and do not travel far. If it becomes inconvenient to do so, some will look to other sources of income. CAT walks go beyond establishing a presence and deactivating traps. Volunteers also learn to recognise and measure animal tracks and scat (faeces) and record their location. Data is sent to the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT). Volunteers who see signs of illegal human activity report through the Wildlife Crime Hotline. Plotting the sites and signs enables MYCAT and the authorities to understand the human and animal activity in the area. The snare Shirley found led to the discovery of 51 others, some with decomposing carcasses, by Wildlife officers following up. This carnage is not rare. In another area I found a 5km trapline. That’s what is facing wildlife today – not a villager catching dinner but poaching on a near industrial scale.
  23. 23. WWW.EXPATKL.COM THE EXPAT 31 We head for a rocky outcrop that juts into a lovely small river and have a leisurely picnic, compare impressions and swap stories about places we’ve been. There is enough time for a refreshing dip in the creek and even a short snooze and sun bathing. The Sungai Yu (Yu River) wildlife corridor links the Main Range to Taman Negara National Park like the cross stroke in a capital H. It is a vital route for wildlife, particularly big mammals like elephants, gaur, tigers, bears and tapirs, moving between those two large tiger landscapes (habitats) and also serves as a genetic corridor for their long term survival. It is however too late for sambar, the largest deer in Malaysia. Due to its highly prized meat, the sambar have virtually disappeared outside the park. Highway 8 from Bentong to Gua Musang runs North- South and development from both directions has left a 12 km wide forest linkage. This might seem like a lot, but effectively it is even narrower as there is sporadic settlement along that stretch and metal railings, steep embankments and wide drains are barriers to many species. The corridor is a choke point conveniently concentrating wildlife for poachers. Buoyed by our success, we continue walking along the Sungai Yu looking for tracks by the river bank. Since animals have to drink, the soft soil around water sources is an excellent place to observe signs. We do not see any on the bank but several metres away someone finds a cat print. I lay out the rulers in an L - shape and photograph the paw print while another volunteer saves the coordinates to the GPS. We decide the print is too small to be a tiger – it was probably a leopard. Tracking is exciting work. At a small stream, we see many tracks and our guide explains what happened: at night a moon rat came down to look around and left; two otters walked on the bank then went into the stream; later a monitor lizard came out but some dogs harassed it and it ran back into the water. On another trip, we found the main prize. While following an elephant trail with its unmistakable footprints, we saw tiger tracks and record them. The tracks went on about 4 km and we realised they were also following the elephants’ route to a river. But the track size differed and it seemed there were two tigers, perhaps a mother and her cub. After we handed in our co-ordinates, a MYCAT team installed cameras on that trail and within a few weeks a “new” tiger was photographed. Its stripe pattern did not match any of the tigers already on the database so it was a new arrival. This is good news. What about risk? We do not want to be eaten by a tiger or fall into a poacher’s trap and get impaled by spikes. These are common misconceptions. A tiger will avoid us and will dash into the jungle, especially during the day; noisy people are intimidating. So far volunteers have been attacked by wildlife only once - by wasps. The snares we find are variants of the simple noose and are not set on human paths but near the intersection with game trails. They are also quite obvious to another human since the poacher also needs to find them. They are designed to snare a paw or a neck and, in the latter case, the noose is no higher than knee height, and none of us are crawling around the jungle on all fours anyway. Pit or box traps are labour intensive compared to snares (how many deep pits could you dig in a day?). There is also no need to fear battering rams or nets that lift you upside down into the trees like in the movies! MYCAT does not seek adversarial relations with villagers. It is looking for more volunteers for its Outreach programmes with communities and schools recognising that a “poacher-turned- gamekeeper” strategy is the best way to eliminate the problem. This is their most successful programme and their presence at local markets has been invaluable in finding supporters and useful intelligence on poaching activity. Besides the CAT walks, MYCAT also conducts Trailblazer – a 5-day boundary trek in Taman Negara to check the boundary markers of the park, clear an inspection path and look out for illegal entrance sites. This is a tougher, but immensely rewarding, undertaking done with Wildlife Department officers. CAT walks are a way to wander the forests and streams, not as a tourist, but as a contributor to the conservation of wildlife by helping to monitor the tiger population. It’s not all work as the walks combine recreational activities like bird watching, trekking, camping or visiting caves as well. It is also great fun and a chance to meet new friends or bond again with the old one- Mother Nature. Those interested should contact MYCAT at, find them at themalayantiger or visit Medium cat printCAT walkers on the trail
  24. 24. FOR SALE 04 953 3108 100% Available to Foreign Buyers Completion May 2012 SEAFRONT LUXURY APARTMENTS
  25. 25. WWW.EXPATKL.COM THE EXPAT 33 F rom the moment I shake hands with Hughes de Courson it is clear that he is going to be something of a surprise; one of those people that defies stereotype. For starters, he is not your average Frenchman. Though he may have been born in France, he moved to Spain at the age of five thanks to his father’s job in the military and spent 12 very happy years living in Madrid – “it is my second country,” he says, “sometimes I feel I am really Spanish.” The unexpected doesn’t end there. He is introduced to me as a composer, but his work is quite unusual, as are the instruments he seeks out to create his works. “Classical instruments are like domestic animals,” Hughes tells me, “but ethnic instruments are like savage ones; uncontrollable and wild.” His face lights up as he tells me about all the far-flung places he has visited, all the instruments he has come across and just how rich the cultural music he found along the way can be. “I am fascinated by that which I don’t understand,” he says with a smile. “I sometimes find Western people are stuck in a mind-set that classical music is superior,” he says sadly, “I want to show them that music is rich everywhere.” His first steps to re-educate the Western world on the intrigue of ethnic music saw him creating an African version of Johan Sebastian Bach, following it with an Arabic Mozart and an Irish Vivaldi. By taking the scores of the classics and incorporating the notes and the instruments of different cultures, he creates what he describes as “more surprising music; it gives life to classical music.” “It started with flamenco,” Hughes explains; an unusual admission in itself. “I started playing the flamenco guitar when I was six or seven and I was fascinated by it.” His interest was more musical- than flamenco-orientated and even at a young age he flitted from instrument to instrument, including a stint in a rock band as a teenager. “Like everyone” he jokes. He had a natural musical talent and a huge interest, and yet it was never something he considered as a career. He settled for studying political science to please his parents and harboured dreams of being a novelist, “I actually wanted to be a writer” he admits with a shake of the head. During his years of study in France he penned a few songs with a school friend and, by a curious coincidence of circumstances, one ended up in the hands of a powerful music producer. Suddenly 19-year-old de Courson was listening to his songs on the radio and finding himself propelled into the music scene. “I was lucky, I never had to work hard!” he jokes. And while it may have been the mainstream music industry that gave him his first break, he couldn’t shake off his fascination with the off-beat and the unusual that had started with his love of flamenco all those years ago and has now led, via a stint with a successful mediaeval folk band, to his work being commissioned by the rich and powerful all over the world, and he continues to spend a lot of time travelling throughout the region and the world to perform his work. And yet despite his composition work taking him around the globe, it was his Bulgarian wife’s job at the EU Embassy that brought him and his children to KL, and as with all things, he embraced the new experience; he even enjoys the traffic jams. “I love to get lost,” he beams, “once I spent 3 hours in the car with no idea where I was. It was very poetic.” Musically, Hughes was thrilled to discover the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) – “such a good quality orchestra! And the hall where they play has the best acoustics I have ever heard” – but was a little disappointed to find popular music so commercialised. “All they do is copy Western songs,” he laments, “it is a good copy, but still…” It is clear that while his family and home are here in Malaysia, his heart travels the world with his music and de Courson most often finds himself in the Middle East, where his work on Arabic music has garnered much admiration from some highly-influential people. Within two weeks of our chat, Hughes was jetting off to Qatar for a performance of a piece he composed after a commission from the Qatar Royal Family. “I am getting plenty of offers,” he admits, “my music goes well with their [Qatar’s] ambitions to be cultural.” But the truer reason for the prolific demand on his time is that Hughes is a man who has given his life to his music, and since he picked up a flamenco guitar 60-odd years ago, he has loved every minute of the journey and revelled in the unexpected places and people it has lead him to. “I love to play a game of surprises,” he says, musing on his years in the business and the lucky break that allowed him to pursue his passion rather than follow the path his parents’ envisaged for him. “And you know what that first song was called? That they played on the radio? ’Surprise Me.’” He smiles delightedly, and says “and now surprises are what I am all about.” PROFILE BY SARAH REES A Life of Surprises
  26. 26. 34 THE EXPAT WWW.EXPATKL.COM INDUSTRY INSIDER T in has been in existence since the Bronze age when the mix of tin and copper gave the world its yellowish-brown alloy. In its raw, unrefined state, tin looks like tiny rough grey-black pellets some perhaps a little larger than bird seeds, others more refined. Whereas the first area of prominence for the industrialization of tin was Cornwall, England around 1500 B.C., the country from which tin eventually dominated the world was Malaysia. Along its spine Malaysia has great mountains formed from granite or quartzite, and tin ore owes its origins to the granite of those huge ranges. Historians suggest that tin mining near Sungei Lembing, Pahang probably dates back to pre-historic times but mining in Malaysia on any industrial scale did not begin in earnest until around the 1820s, following the influx of Chinese immigrants to the country. Two centuries earlier, Dutch and British traders had introduced the natives to tin and taught them how to barter it on favourable terms. The Tale of Tin AUTHOR PAUL CALLAN TRACES THE FASCINATING DEVELOPMENT OF THE TIN INDUSTRY IN MALAYSIA Mural – Kampar mining As far back as the 16th century, Westerners were already displaying a lack of understanding towards mining in the East: they believed that machinery was the most efficient way of extracting tin ore from Malaysia’s soil. Even Thomas Raffles got it wrong! In the early 19th century he believed that British skill and capital was the way forward when in fact Malaysia’s tin industry cried out for cheap labour in great numbers. Chinese traders first visited Malaysia in the 14th century and whilst tiny clusters of Chinese settled in Melaka, where tin was eventually mined, Chinese immigrants only arrived in numbers after the 1780s. Indeed, by the 1840s, a time which stands out in the annals of the Malaysian tin industry as the period of great discoveries of tin riches, many Chinese arrived in Malaysia at the invitation of Malay rulers. Although Sungei Lembing saw one of the largest underground tin mines in the world, excavation of tin largely took the form of deep open pits with the perimeters of a football pitch. This was because the Chinese labour force had a superstitious dread of working underground, hardly surprising when they had to face the perils of flash floods, falling rocks and suffocation. Another popular form of tin mining was dulang washing – a method where the tin was separated from the soil by sieving it in water with the aid of a wooden conical-shaped pan, a task usually performed by females. Smelting (heating and melting) of the tin often took place on site when the liquid was poured into small boxes to form an elongated pyramid shape known as a bidor. After the 1840s, more and more Chinese immigrants arrived in Melaka and moved on to Negri Sembilan and Selangor, where some became wealthy tin miners or businessmen. In 1860, the mines of Melaka were abandoned because of their poor returns, at which time mining flourished in Lukut, Kanching and Ampang in Selangor. By 1865, Chinese miners were swarming all over the mines in the Malaysian states and Straits tin was in popular demand in the British and European metal markets because of its improved quality. In the
  27. 27. WWW.EXPATKL.COM THE EXPAT 35 The Dulang Washer, a novel by Paul Callan, takes place in the tin-mining camps of Perak’s Kinta Valley, where only the strongest and bravest survive ... and the strongest and bravest of them all is Aisha, the beautiful solitary dulang washer who labours to support two families.The Dulang Washer is available in all good local bookstores. For more information, visit www. Dulang method of tin mining 1880s, when Malaysia was the number one producer of tin in the world, the Kinta Valley in Perak had become its most important tin-mining region. In the pioneering days, and long before the late 19th and early 20th centuries when construction of proper roads and rail began, transport of the tin out of the jungle was by means of internal waterways, human porters, bullock-drawn carts and elephants. Because of the reluctance of Malays, farmers contributing to the food chain, to work for a set wage heavy reliance was place on Chinese labourers. During the 19th century and early decades of the 20th century, repeated drought, famine and flooding drove tens of thousands of men to Malaysia annually. Chinese mining methods was labour-intensive and the miner’s life was a harsh one in a brutal and unforgiving jungle terrain where the death rate was high: miners were unaccustomed to the tropical heat and suffered greatly from such diseases as malaria and beriberi (a nutritional disease) and were encouraged to smoke opium as a means of helping them through their daily lives. Needless to say, vast numbers became addicts, and opium soon reached the status of the highest tax revenue earner, after tin. Most miners travelled to Malaysia with the help of loans from agents, they were then bound to mine owners for a year or more and all were paid six-monthly in arrears. In effect, they became economic slaves to the mines. Upwards of 3 million men immigrated and since most never returned it has been said that they died working the mines. In the mines of Larut, Perak alone, the death rate was put at 50 per cent annually! By 1890, the position of the labour force had so improved that miners were able to save substantial sums and by 1895 the Malaysian tin industry had reached the position of world dominance. Other forms of mining that came to prominence much later on were opencast mining using mechanical shovels, gravel pump mining, where the pay-dirt was blasted with jets of water and the material driven to the surface by means of pumps, and dredging, where a huge mechanical contraption operated like a massive bucket, which was first introduced to Malaysia in 1913. Just before World War I, the limestone caves of Perlis came to the attention of European miners who introduced more modern methods of mining to those employed at the time. Using dynamite they blasted open small crevasses to enable the workforce to get at the tin. In the early 1930s, laws were passed restricting the immigration of men, but did not exclude women so that between 1933 and 1938 the number of Chinese women arriving in Malaysia was placed at 190,000. Ironically, for such an industrialized nation as Japan, during the Japanese occupation of Malaysia from 1941 to 1944 Malaysian tin production was at its lowest. The Japanese actually dismantled the railroad from Ipoh to Tronoh and used the tracks on the infamous Thai-Burma railroad. In the mid-sixties, and when Malaysia still retained its 1880s status of the world’s largest tin producer, the country had over 1,000 gravel pump mines, 600 of which were in Perak and 200 in Selangor. Also in that decade, the world’s largest dry-excavated opencast tin mine (extracting the pay-dirt mechanically and treating it at the surface) was to be found near the capital city, Kuala Lumpur, which had its origins in tin. Whereas in the late seventies Malaysia was supplying the world with over 60,000 tons of tin annually, a figure that represented 30 per cent of world output, and employed over 40,000 in the industry, by 1994 the country was producing only 10 per cent of this tonnage. In the mid-eighties the world price of tin crashed by 50 per cent and Malaysia’s tin industry declined dramatically. The crash was largely due to low deposits and escalating operating costs. One of the great survivors of Malaysian tin however, and a source of much pride to the country, is pewter which contains over 90 per cent of tin in its alloy, and is produced by the world renowned Royal Selangor company, which came in to being in 1885, at the very height of the tin industry. With its global brand and unique decorative and artistic products, the company serves as a wonderful reminder to the world of the ability of Malaysia to achieve number one status in areas to which it sets its sights. Kampar mining
  28. 28. 36 THE EXPAT WWW.EXPATKL.COM Rawa Islands that dreams are made of, secluded white beaches and palm fringed; images which can be found here in Malaysia, to add to the dream blazing sunlight and never ending circles. Visitors on the beach wallowing in the sunlight. Ah! The simple pleasures of Rawa Island is 16 km off Mersing Johor, a gem of an island discovered by the lucky few. Pulau Rawa is truly a paradise island. There are many caves for exploration and offshore coral reefs rich with marine life. Rawa Safaris Island Resort Tourist Centre, 86800 Mersing, Johor, West Malaysia. Tel : +60(7) 7991204/ 7991205 Fax : +60(7) 7993848 Website: E-mail: KL International Jazz presents the David Sanborn Band Live in Kuala Lumpur Following the successful launch of the KL International Jazz Festival 2012 recently, KL International Jazz is presenting David Sanborn Band live in Kuala Lumpur on 6 March 2012. With six Grammys, eight Gold and one Platinum album David Sanborn is an inspiration to countless other musicians. He continues to be one of the most highly active musicians of his genre and is an artist who pushes the limits and continues to make music that challenges the mind and goes Straight to The Heart. The David Sanborn Band Live in KL is a prelude to the KL International Jazz Festival to be held from 18-20 May 2012. For further information, please contact the producers, KL International Jazz at 03.5637 7742/ 5637 1539 or visit KL International Jazz presents the Live in Kuala Lumpur Following the successful launch of the KL International Jazz Festival 2012 recently, KL International Jazz is presenting David Sanborn Band live in Kuala Lumpur on 6 March 2012. With six Grammys, eight Gold and one Platinum album David Sanborn is an inspiration to countless other musicians. He continues to be one of the most highly active musicians of his genre and is an artist who pushes the limits and continues to make music that challenges the mind and goes Straight to The Heart. The David Sanborn Band Live in KL is a prelude to the KL International Jazz Festival to be held from 18-20 May 2012.
  29. 29. WWW.EXPATKL.COM THE EXPAT 37 THE ARTS BY MILAN SADHWANI T he inaugural sessions last year of “Theatre for Seniors” were a resounding success. Two more sessions are planned for this year, the first intake being in the month of February and another one in June. The course fee is RM400 and there will be a registration fee of RM50. This workshop will limit its participants to 18 people. This programme is specially designed to meet the numerous requests from retirees, parents and those with time on their hands for a theatre appreciation course – particularly for those who have not had any, or only remote, experience with the local performing arts scene, the facilitator for Theatre for Seniors, Mano Maniam, tells me. Interestingly, expats were a specifically targeted group when discussions for the workshop initially took place. “Many expats, particularly MM2Hers, by law cannot work and are of any age and maybe they’d like to do something which back home, they probably had easy access to. Unfortunately, even watching a play is a big deal here,” said Maniam with a smile. Maniam’s own motivation for deciding to facilitate was his desire to bring the people who watched Malaysia grow and develop into a space together. According to him, there is a very small percentage of living people that have lived through that. Theatre for All in “Theatre for Seniors” Programme Klpac had been successfully doing runs of theatre for young people so it seemed like a wise and natural decision to set up something similar for the other extreme of the age spectrum. However, Maniam stresses that the workshop is under no circumstances only for senior people. The course is three weeks long, every Thursday and Friday plus Saturday on the 3rd week when participants will perform for their families and friends. Mano Maniam likens this to community theatre, which he describes as a bastion in established societies. Prior to the advent of technology, it was always performance arts, performed live to carry the message of history and the values learned. On the state of arts in Malaysia, Maniam says that Malaysian theatre is new as Malaysia is a young society that will have to develop its own signatures through storytelling, song and dance. It will take the bright young generation of today to develop and hone this art. This is essential as Maniam points out performance arts are vital to any society. “Theatre is what keeps the memory of culture, and the memory of people,” stresses Maniam. The outcome of this theatre course is for participants to get theatre-savvy. “You get to read Shakespeare scenes, understand what a musical is, what they mean when they say mime,” says Maniam. What is done in the workshop covers a broad spectrum; where there is something for everybody, even for first timers, like those who have never been to a play. It is to de-mystify theatre and to dispel the idea that theatre is highbrow. There is also learning about what a director does and the role of a stage manager plays. The participants who attended the first workshop are allowed to attend the workshop in February for free, in the hopes of amassing at least eight people by the time the fourth workshop comes along to participate in a major production – one that people will pay to see. Fact File: Intakes for Theatre for Seniors in 2012: 1st intake class dates : February 16,17,23,24 March 1,2,3 2nd intake class dates : June 14,15,21,22,28,29,30 Time: 10am - 2pm Maximum participants: 18 pax For more information, please visit or call 03.4047 9060.
  30. 30. 38 THE EXPAT WWW.EXPATKL.COM W hen Calvin first sent me some photos of his paintings, I knew he had to be on our Expat cover. He is another example of a highly talented and skilled artist coming out of a small, rural village and getting a Diploma in Art iin the big city of KL, then going on to great international success. I love the effects his watercolour combination portrays, especially the exceptionally well drawn faces of his subjects. You can tell he has a deep connection to the local Malaysians he paints and it is that personal connection is what makes his paintings poignant, compelling and beautiful. One feels as if they were too taking part in the activities and the play. Calvin would like as many of you as possible to enjoy his work so he is offering his lowest rates for purchase. If you have an Expat Membership card, you may deduct a full 10% off. Please call me on 017-654-4858 or email me at to set up a meeting with Calvin or for more information. THE ARTS BY MARYBETH RAMEY 2.1. 3. 4. The Artist Profile of Calvin Chua CALVIN CHUA CHARMS1. Purest Smiles Media | Water Colour Size | 56 x 76cm Price | RM8000 2. Sweet Memory Media | Water Colour Size | 56 x 76cm Price | RM7500 3. Twins Media | Oil on Linen Size | 73 x 73cm Price | RM7500 4. Swing Media | Mix Media Size | 72 x 72cm Price | RM7500 5. Splash Media | Mix Media Size | 72 x 72cm Price | RM7500 5.
  31. 31. WWW.EXPATKL.COM THE EXPAT 39 6. “ I grew up in a quaint village in Alor Setar, a town in the state of Kedah. I have always enjoyed drawing and painting from a young age. Growing up in northern Malaysia, my early works featured mostly village scenes and my childhood friends. My friends and I would go fishing by the river after school, or hop onto our bicycles and make our way to the nearby orchards during the fruit season. Other times when I was alone, I would pick up a brush, and start painting these scenes – making my very own visual records of those days. Until today, the depiction of rural life remains the central theme of my art pieces. I treasure the close ties between man and nature in our daily lives, and I enjoy expressing this symbiotic relationship in an artistic form. Painting subjects that I hold close to my heart gives me a tinge of nostalgia; old but gold. Urban development today has made these sights and sounds rare, and I wish that through my art works, I would be able to spark a change and heighten awareness among people. Our world is changing, and it is our duty to conserve and preserve what is left of Mother Nature. They say a picture paints a thousand words; I think paintings do more than that. Every stroke of the brush is a message from the artist’s heart to the viewer. The only limitation is one’s imagination. A free mind and a vibrant play of colours could weave together a vivid tapestry of memories – making them art. - Calvin Chua ” 6. Here Is My Heart Media | Acrylic on Linen Size | 73 x 73cm Price | RM7500 7. Season’s Greetings Media | Oil Painting Size | 132 x 132cm Price | RM8000 8. Morning Bath Media | Oil on Linen Size | 73 x 73cm Price | RM7500 7. 8.
  32. 32. 40 THE EXPAT WWW.EXPATKL.COM THE ARTS BY RAVINDER KAUR I first had the pleasure of meeting John W. Ishii, an Asian American, at a photography workshop held in 2011 at the Equatorial Hotel Kuala Lumpur. Olympus Malaysia had successfully organized the comprehensive photography workshop. John shared his experiences and secrets concerning outdoor shoots. He captivated the participants (present company included!) with his spellbinding photographs and generously shared important key points in photography, things that had taken him years to master. A former AFP (Agency French Press), and freelance photographer for Associated Press, John’s images have appeared in major international media outlets Capturing Captivating Moments including CNN, USA Today, Washington Post, BBC World News, ABC news, NBC News, and Associated Press. His work has been published in many of the major newspapers throughout the Asia Pacific region as well. John’s life in Malaysia began in 1965, when his family moved here from Washington DC. His father was an economic advisor to Malaysia’s first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman and Malaysia’s newly formed government. “I attended school at the International School Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) and my older sister was in the first graduating class of 1967. We lived in Petaling Jaya in Section 16 and at that time we could only watch TV after 5pm so the rest of the day was spent out in the hot sun playing in the jungle or playing lots of football. My favorite food was Wan Tan Mee (noodles with soya sauce) at Ruby’s coffee shop in new town PJ, costing as little as 50 cents for a small bowl and 80 cents for a large bowl. Then my buddies and I would ride our bikes into KL to have a nice cold Chendol (shaved ice with sweet syrup and coconut milk) for only 15 cents. Of course my favorite drink was Kelapa Muda, (fresh coconut) so refreshing,” John reflects. Life in Malaysia in his younger days was most historical indeed for John had the great privilege of knowing the Malaysian Prime Minister at that time. He also witnessed history in the making.
  33. 33. WWW.EXPATKL.COM THE EXPAT 41 “When I was growing up in Malaysia, my most memorable experience was when I met Tunku Abdul Rahman. My sister and I climbed up to his house and there he was sitting on the porch reading the paper and he gestured for us to come to the gate. We went up to the house gate and his guards told us to come in. Tunku came down and presented us each with an autograph on his personal stationary. I tell many of my Malaysian friends that I know more about Malaysian history than they’ll ever know. I lived and experienced it and have met all the founding fathers. I was even here during the 13 May riots, where I could see KL burning. Time goes by and I’ve been able to capture it on film,” says John. John attended school at Seattle University and owned a business on Capital Hill in Seattle for many years. He returned to Malaysia in 1995 and worked for an American company. As a trained photographer, John decided to get back into photography after the Asian economic crisis. “I’ve been here so long it feels like I’ve melted in with Malaysian society. Being Asian American is a big plus for me, I just blend in to the society and nobody sees me otherwise. I think I’m the only Japanese American in KL, but of course as soon as I speak then I’m exposed. My Manglish is not too bad though,” John jests. In 2004, John was most fortunate (and most unfortunate at the same time) to be holidaying in Phuket Thailand, on the day the Tsunami had hit the region. It presented him with a rare opportunity to depict the disaster graphically to the world. “I was the only professional photojournalist there when the Tsunami hit. Since I freelanced for AP I had the very first images out for the breaking news. By 5pm that day my images were in every major newspaper in the world,” John recounts. Besides photojournalism, John is an established commercial photographer and he has serviced big names such as Westin KL, Tanjung Rhu Resort Langkawi, Equatorial Hotel Group and ATSA Architects. “My favorite assignment was when I did a job for Insight guide books on Langkawi and Penang. It was great to spend weeks in Penang and Langkawi taking photos and experiencing the travel aspects of these two beautiful places,” John reminisces. John’s photography has been exhibited at the National Art Gallery of Malaysia, the 50th Anniversary of US and Malaysia’s Relationship Photography Exhibit. He has also staged solo exhibits. John is the editor for and he conducts many photography workshops for all aspiring photographers out there. To view more of John’s work, visit John W. Ishii
  34. 34. 42 THE EXPAT WWW.EXPATKL.COM MALAYSIA TRAVEL Get Smart about Art WHETHER YOU’RE INTERESTED IN ANCIENT KHMER POTTERY OR EDGY PERFORMANCE ART, MALAYSIA HAS A LOT TO OFFER TO ART LOVERS OF ALL TASTES AND PREFERENCES. KATRINA MELVIN TAKES US ON A TOUR OF SOME OF THE COUNTRY’S TOP ART GALLERIES AND MUSEUMS NATIONAL ART GALLERY Malaysia’s National Art Gallery was established in 1958 after a campaign spearheaded by Tan Sri Mubin Sheppard and Frank Sullivan, who became the first administrator of the gallery. In 1998, with a need for additional galleries and storage, it was moved to its current location on Jalan Tun Razak. This modern building is one of the largest national galleries in South East Asia. The National Art Gallery houses a large collection of more than 2,500 works of local and foreign art, as well as several temporary exhibitions. More than just a venue, the gallery is committed to restoring, preserving, documenting, promoting and improving art and artists in Malaysia. It regularly hosts art competitions, seminars and workshops for art practitioners and students as well as numerous art-related events for the general public. The gallery is open from 10am – 6pm daily (closed on Friday from 12:45-2.45 pm). Guided tours are available. Admission is free. Contact: ASIAN ARTS MUSEUM Located on the campus of Malaysia’s oldest university, the University of Malaya, this museum aims to preserve and promote Asian arts and cultures. There are currently over 6,000 artefacts spanning 4,000 years of Asian history. Main collections include Malaysian, Indian, Chinese and South East Asian objects, including Tzu Chou and 9th - century Khmer pottery. The gallery is open from 9pm to 5pm Mon-Thurs with reduced opening hours on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is free. Contact: +603 7967 3805 PETRONAS GALLERY Petronas Gallery, also known as Galeri Petronas, is located on the 3rd of floor of KLCC Shopping Centre. It is owned and funded by Petronas, Malaysia’s national oil & gas corporation. The primary aim of the gallery is to provide a venue for current local artists to gain exposure for their work. There is a well-stocked art resource centre, regular local and foreign Petronas Gallery Textile Museum, KualaLumpur