Occupation: Owner and Managing Director of Clarisound Professional Hearing Care
Time in Malaysia: 14 years
Coming to Malaysia
I was actually working for a multi-national company in Singapore and part of my job was to set up hearing care businesses around Asia to increase the number of points of sale and increase the general level of competence.
I also developed a business-like approach to the business – which in those days was still pretty much a ‘mom and pop’ kind of model. Whilst based in Singapore, I helped set up a hearing aid business in Malaysia and was subsequently invited to run it. I did, and ended up buying the company in 2003.
Setting up shop
Malaysia was one of the countries in which we found a capable and willing partner to invest in the business, as well as provide the human resource to make it happen. This was around the year 2000 and as mentioned, I then joined the business here in 2003.
Like all businesses we are focused on ensuring that we have stability and are able to cater to the evolving trends and changes in consumer behaviour. We focus on what we do well and improve in areas where we need to work harder.
Home away from home
Apart from the two weeks of summer the UK has in August, there are definitely no similarities here to the weather there. There are many things about Malaysia that many people from the UK would recognise but equally there are stark differences between the two.
The two countries have some shared history and experiences. Of course the British left their presence right across Malaya – as it was known prior to independence. I believe there is still a sense of affinity between the two countries and its people.
I am by no means an expert on the healthcare system in Malaysia – but in my experience the healthcare available to expats here is excellent, provided you have good medical insurance. Costs can quickly spiral if you are dealing with major illnesses or procedures and therefore it pays to ensure that you are well covered.
Advice on hearing loss
The only way to manage hearing loss is to get help for it. Assuming there are no underlying medical conditions that require medical intervention, a properly fitted hearing system is both discreet and perfectly capable of helping people in even the most difficult environments.
Many people put off seeking help for much longer than they should – in the meantime they suffer frustration, irritation and very often strained relationships as a result of this. My advice: get proper advice and make informed choices.
Perks and challenges of working in Malaysia
I think the biggest problem facing many employers is the changing nature of the workforce. The way we interact with and manage our staff is still one of the most challenging areas and something that needs constant attention and monitoring. As for perks – I can eat nasi lemak or roti canai for breakfast!
As one gets older we appreciate peace and quiet a little more – so exploring new bars is not at the top of my list of priorities anymore.
I travel to Penang quite frequently and one of my favourite restaurants there is Kebaya in Seven Terraces – it’s an absolute must. It’s a Nyonya fusion restaurant with splendid food and excellent service – if you are in Penang I highly recommend it.
Top vacation spots
There are so many of them! Last year I was fortunate enough to visit Gaya Island Resort just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu; and of course the pretty much unbeatable Langkawi where I spent a few days at The Datai and it was a superb experience. (Ed's note: The Datai is currently closed for renovations until mid-2018.)
My all-time favourite has to be Tanjong Jara Resort in Terengganu on the east coast of Malaysia – a truly tranquil environment and ultra relaxing experience.