A LABOUR OFLOVE FOR MALAYSIA

When Regina Fabiny’s hus­band told her they would re­lo­cate to Malaysia more than 30 years ago, she had lit­tle in­for­ma­tion about the coun­try. To­day, the Ger­man-born au­thor has writ­ten guide­books about Malaysia, a coun­try she now calls home. writes.

New Straits Times - - News -

THIRTY years ago, Regina Fabiny knew very lit­tle about Malaysia. When her hus­band told her that they would re­lo­cate to the coun­try, Fabiny said she had to go to book­shops and li­braries to find in­for­ma­tion about Malaysia, which were very few and far in be­tween.

“It was in 1984 when we ar­rived from Ger­many. The mo­ment I got down the plane, I knew I was home,” she said.

Fabiny said she felt a strong de­sire to share her won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence in her new home with her fam­ily and friends back in Europe.

“At that time, there were not many guide­books writ­ten about Malaysia. So, I thought I’ll pro­duce one my­self. In Jan­uary 1998, the first guide­book, Leisure Guide To Malaysia was launched by then Cul­tural, Arts and Tourism Min­is­ter Tan Sri Sab­barud­din Chik,” she re­called.

The book, pub­lished un­der Leisure Guide Pub­lish­ing, was fol­lowed by The Guide To Malaysia Se­ries (TGTMS), com­pris­ing one main book about the coun­try and a se­ries of com­ple­men­tary guide­books for each state.

“For in­ter­na­tional dis­tri­bu­tion, I was told that a branded se­ries was re­quired to gar­ner mar­ket aware­ness and mar­ket de­mand.

“My de­sire, as a pub­lisher, was to at­tract the at­ten­tion and pen­e­trate the minds of peo­ple who were not even con­sid­er­ing Malaysia as a desti­na­tion,” she explained.

Fabiny, who re­ferred to Malaysia as “home”, said she was more fa­mil­iar with Malaysia than her birth coun­try of Ger­many.

“I saw the progress and the huge in­vest­ments here, par­tic­u­larly by ho­tels, theme parks, golf re­sorts, mari­nas and eques­trian cen­tres, and thought it would be help­ful to bring in tourists to sup­port th­ese in­vestors,” said the mother of two and grand­mother of four.

She said most guide­books avail­able in the mar­ket were not pro­duced lo­cally.

“Most of the guide­books on the shelves, in­clud­ing in­for­ma­tion avail­able on­line, were not pro­duced lo­cally. For­eign tourism guide­books, which came into the pic­ture in the early 90s, mainly fo­cused on cul­tural and tra­di­tional sites and scenic beauty.

“It left out the progress, the ex­cel­lent in­fra­struc­ture, the op­por­tu­ni­ties and other as­pects of life here,” Fabiny said.

The first state guide­book, The Guide To Me­laka, was com­pleted in 2004. Three years later, The Guide To Malaysia was picked as the of­fi­cial guide­book for the Visit Malaysia Year 2007.

Her jour­ney to pro­mote a coun­try that she loved, how­ever, was not with­out ob­sta­cles as Fabiny met with a dev­as­tat­ing hur­dle the day her hus­band was di­ag­nosed with can­cer.

“In 2008, we had to go back to Ger­many to seek treat­ment for my dear hus­band. Un­for­tu­nately, he passed on. But I knew I couldn’t stay in Ger­many... I had to re­turn to Malaysia,” she said.

Fabiny re­turned to Malaysia in 2009 to con­tinue with her ef­forts to pro­mote the coun­try she now called home.

“In Septem­ber 2014, my pub­lisher and I re­leased the then eight-part edi­tion of The Guide To Malaysia. A year later, I com­pleted the first edi­tion of The Guide To Sarawak,” she said.

Dif­fer­ent from typ­i­cal tourism guide­books, edi­tions of TGTMS were a source of com­pre­hen­sive in­for­ma­tion, which jointly ad­dressed the needs of tourists, busi­ness trav­ellers and in­vestors.

The books were a vis­ually-driven and en­ter­tain­ing di­rec­tory, which cov­ered all im­por­tant ar­eas, show­cas­ing the coun­try’s best, while pro­mot­ing the coun­try’s im­age and strong brand to­wards build­ing a re­silient global rep­u­ta­tion.

Over the years, var­i­ous edi­tions have even been trans­lated to Ba­hasa Malaysia, Ara­bic, French, Ger­man, Korean and Man­darin.

Fabiny even of­fered the con­tents of the books free on­line via http://lgp.my/book/TheGuideTo Malaysia.html and http://lgp.my/ theguidetosarawak.html

“Any­body can go to the above link or email us at theguidetoma­laysia@gmail.com for the link in a lay­out to­gether with the cover pages. It is not about the money, that’s why any­one can ac­cess it for free.”

Fabiny said she was grate­ful for the sup­port she had been get­ting over the years.

“The ex­ten­sive re­search for our books re­quired a lot of help. While the state guide­books were com­mis­sioned, I had to seek my own fund­ing for the main book.

“I’m blessed to have so many good friends who con­tinue to sup­port me,” Fabiny added.

When she was not work­ing on the book, Fabiny did her part to pro­mote pop­u­lar Malaysian des­ti­na­tions and del­i­ca­cies to her friends and fam­ily mem­bers.

“I al­ways get re­quests for my fa­mous home-made beef ren­dang, fried noo­dles, sweet and sour fish and curry mee. Food is some­thing that can win peo­ple over, mak­ing them want to re­turn again and again.”

The books are avail­able at ma­jor book­stores around the coun­try at a re­tail price of RM75 (soft copy).

PIX BY OWEE AH CHUN

“The Guide To Malaysia” se­ries from Leisure Guide Pub­lish­ing Sdn Bhd.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Leisure Guide Pub­lish­ing Sdn Bhd, Regina Fabiny.

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