B is a young vibrant Cameroonian gentleman, and a Tax accountant living and working in Malaysia as an expat. He shares his time between the office, his dance group and recording studio. He is currently in the course of recording an album titled ‘Finding Self’ with his first single being Miya Tah
Thank you Futi for sharing your Malaysian experience.
Can you tell me more about yourself?
I am an extroverted person who is ready to exploit every opportunity to expressing myself, be it dance, music, art, excel sheets etc…lol. I am super bubbly, love to laugh and play around in other words using all the aforementioned outlets to put a smile on someone’s face.
How did you find yourself in Malaysia? And which part of Malaysia do you live in?
I was recruited by an Oil Field service company with a global finance centre in Malaysia. I live in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, in an area called Setiawangsa.
How did you land yourself such a job in a country which hardly has a place for Africans??
I would say blessed because my contenders were from two of the big fours namely , KPMG and Deloitte. All the same after the interview with the recruiting manager in Kuala Lumpur via phone I was chosen amidst the other accountants. It was actually a two phased interview , first with the finance manager in Cameroon then a phone interview with the Malaysian team.
What was your biggest challenge moving from Africa(Cameroon) to this South east Asian country???
Hmmmmm it would be leaving my comfort zone, that is friends, family and Ndole..lol (a special Cameroonian delicacy)
How has it been working with the company so far as a foreigner or black African to be precise??
It’s interesting working in a multicultural environment because without emotional intelligence, retreating will be the obvious word to use but hey, we keep soaring .It’s an interesting phase.
How do you balance work and your passion?
Well, I see it more like completing a cycle. In other words it’s analogous to photosynthesis or digestion. Input, process, output. My essence comprises of doing what I am passionate about if not I will just have an existential experience instead of living life to the fullest. I devote two days every week for What I am passionate about which is my dance and music. It helps me remain sane in this reclusive culture.
I know integrating into the society can be a little challenging. How has it been for you?
The racial profiling here is appalling, the things I’ve seen here like the norm are quite jaw dropping. I think in terms of accepting other cultures, Malaysia is several light years behind. Let me give you a few of my experiences.I
One time at Church, I forgot my phone on the seat after a conversation with someone. On going back to get it, actually as soon as I picked up the phone, One lady grabbed me by my shirt from behind and said “why are you stealing someone’s phone?” I told her it was my phone. Then she went ahead to say “that’s what you guys (blacks) do in this country. Prove that it’s your phone.” I opened the phone and showed her my pictures before she believed me. Which was ok. The annoying part was that she just walked away without any apology.
On this other occasion, One of the local banks gave me no concrete reason not opening an account for me despite the fact that I have been going there countless times for months. On this particular day I got very angry and created a scene. Then this white guy (also a customer) came to the scene to act as mediator. He sided with me and told the Malaysian bank officer that they were being unfair to a fellow customer bla bla bla. He said it took him just about 15mins to open an account but this guy just because he is black has to go through all that. You won’t believe that without any further verification an account was opened for me. What else can that be?
what’s the most challenging part of being an expat in Malaysia?
For me, it would most probably be integrating with the people and making legit friends.
what’s your favorite thing about living in Malaysia?
Wow I don’t know where to start from. This country is very cost effective, very clean and developed, in fact I would say it is the perfect blend between civilization and nature. The city is saturated with greenery, the modern accommodations called condominiums. I will dare to say Kuala Lumpur is more beautiful than London where I spent three years doing my Masters and placement.
How do you find the cost and standard of living in Malaysia?
The cost of living is low and the standard of living is high. That is the perfect description of a prosperous country.
How do you find the Malaysian way of Life? Does it excite you?
Unfortunately the culture is very reclusive, Chinese with Chinese , Malay with Malay etc.
Do you have a favorite Malaysian meal?
I like Tandoori Chicken.
Are there any African restaurants or some kind of market where one can find familiar food stuff?
Yeah you can find almost everything in Chow kit market.
What’s the major difference between Malaysia and Cameroon?
Malaysia is way more organized and advanced in almost everything.
What’s your best advice to any African who plans to move Malaysia?
See Malaysia as transition, this country is not foreigner friendly. Lol