Just Landed

Na­tion­al­ity: Aus­tralian Oc­cu­pa­tion: Ad­vi­sory Di­rec­tor In Malaysia since: April 2017 Con­tact: linkedin.com/in/vit­to­ri­o­furlan

Expatriate Lifestyle - - Contents - In­ter­view by Karin Chan New to Malaysia and want to say hi to the com­mu­nity? Drop us a line at edi­tor@ex­pa­tri­atelifestyle.com! Par­tic­i­pants must be able to pro­vide high-res­o­lu­tion images (1MB and above).

What brought you to Malaysia?

It’s a coun­try I have de­sired to go to since my first visit in 2010 as its rel­a­tively re­laxed at­ti­tude, equatorial cli­mate and grow­ing econ­omy make it an ex­cit­ing place to be. After an at­tempt a few years back, the plan­ets fi­nally aligned when Ernst & Young de­cided to grow the data & an­a­lyt­ics ad­vi­sory busi­ness in Malaysia and ASEAN, and I was in the right place at the right time!

How did you pre­pare for the move?

If mad rush can count as prepa­ra­tion, school ar­range­ments and where to live were the first de­ci­sions to make. Be­sides get­ting ad­vice from fel­low ex­pats, Linkedin and the busi­ness school net­work also helped with the ini­tial con­tacts. The fi­nal, im­por­tant bit was bid­ding farewell to our friends in Aus­tralia.

What did you know about Malaysia be­fore you came?

I knew about the traf­fic and amaz­ing food, but re­alise now I knew lit­tle about it other­wise. An­other piece of his­tory – as a young child, I was told the fic­tional sto­ries of San­dokan, a gal­lant pi­rate cre­ated by Ital­ian writer Emilio Sal­gari. San­dokan de­fended Bor­neo from at­tempts by the Dutch and British to colonise the is­land, even­tu­ally de­feat­ing all his op­po­nents amid plenty of ad­ven­ture. A few Malaysian col­leagues in Aus­tralia helped build on this story with some real facts!

Tell us some­thing you now know about Malaysia that you didn’t be­fore.

The num­ber of pub­lic hol­i­days there are, as well as an­nual leave days. I’m quite sure that dur­ing my first two months here there were more short weeks than nor­mal ones – and just to be clear, I’m not com­plain­ing!

En­coun­tered any in­ter­est­ing cul­tural cus­toms here?

Food and eat­ing to­gether is of great im­por­tance, and a ‘quick bite at the desk’ is not re­ally a con­cept that ex­ists. Talk­ing about what to have for din­ner while at lunch is quite re­cur­rent. In gen­eral, there is lots of buzz and a slower pace, where re­la­tion­ships come be­fore busi­ness. The cus­tom of us­ing the right hand to eat and pass ob­jects isn’t re­ally prob­lem­atic – un­less you are a lefty like me.

Is there any­where you re­ally want to visit?

We have al­ready been around KL in the last two months. Fraser’s Hill is like Lit­tle Eng­land, Pu­tra­jaya is the Can­berra of Malaysia, Port Dick­son is great for a re­lax­ing fam­ily week­end and Gent­ing High­lands – a casino on top of a moun­tain?! Now we plan to cover the rest, in­clud­ing the East Coast, and out­side Malaysia; In­done­sia, Myanmar and Laos to start with.

What ac­tiv­i­ties would you like to do here?

My fam­ily takes up most of my time, hence fer­ry­ing the chil­dren around be­comes an ex­cuse to so­cialise with peo­ple. Per­son­ally, I like to trail run – what bet­ter place than Malaysia? – and prac­tise self-de­fence mar­tial arts. Find­ing a gym was done in no time, and now I am look­ing for some run­ning bud­dies. Let’s face it though; go­ing for a pint is what I have re­ally done the most!

Learnt any use­ful Malaysian words?

“Go makan.” It’s a good way to gen­er­ate con­sen­sus at the end of a late-morn­ing meet­ing. EL

Be­sides Chang’e, it’s said that there are two other oc­cu­pants on the moon: Wu Gang, sentenced to chop an eter­nally re­gen­er­at­ing tree for­ever for an­ger­ing the Jade Em­peror; and the Jade Rab­bit. In some sto­ries, the Jade Rab­bit is the com­pan­ion of Chang’e and ate the sec­ond im­mor­tal­ity pill. In oth­ers, it sac­ri­ficed it­self to feed dis­guised im­mor­tals from heaven and was honoured with a place on the moon.

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