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Saturday September 7, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday September 7, 2013 MYT 7:48:55 AM
by farah fazanna zulzahaphotos by izzrafiq alias
Bundles of joy: Paula and portraits of her two sons Ryan and Lucas at their home in Setia Alam
THE first time she stepped into her house in Setia Alam, Shah Alam, Paula Rajarat-nam felt right at home and knew she would be staying in Malaysia for a long time.
Eight years later, the Briton now considers Malaysia home instead of her birth country that she left 26 years ago.
“I left England when I was 14 and grew up in Singapore where I met my husband. Since then, we have been moving around in Asia quite a lot before settling down in Kuala Lumpur,” she said when met at her house.
It was fate that brought the family to Malaysia.
Her Singaporean husband, R. Rajaratnam was scheduled to start work in Phuket, Thailand a week before the tsunami hit the island in 2006.
“After three months in Phuket we decided to move to Kuala Lumpur and I knew instantly this would be home,” said Paula.
Before moving here, her family had lived in Edinburgh, Scotland and Bangkok for most of their lives.
Only her sister is still living in England while her parents live in Spain.
Even though her husband is currently working in Singapore, Paula has no plans to move to the island republic any time soon as her two sons are studying at an international school here.
“Singapore is a great city but Malaysia is perfect for us, especially in terms of education,” she said.
She also loves Malaysia’s multi-racial society.
“Of course now and then we hear about racial tension but at the end of the day, we are still living together and the 1Malaysia concept is a reality,” she said.
Paula also organises “It’s Only Dinner”, an event where she gathers a group of expatriates and Malaysians for a dinner in town. She does it as a hobby.
“I used to go to expatriate gatherings but those events would usually be attended by hundreds of people and we do not get a chance to have a conversation.
“But with ‘It’s Only Dinner’, there will only be eight to 12 people and we can interact better.
“It is a way for expatriates to meet people other than their colleagues, and share experiences,” she said.
She also shares her knowledge of the city as sometimes the dinner is attended by tourists.
“Once, a couple from England came to join us after three weeks in the country and I took them to Klang for seafood, which was cheap and delicious.”
She added that Malaysia was blessed with beautiful scenery and she jumped at the opportunity to house-sit a friend’s villa in Langkawi for a month.
“The island is beautiful and the weather was amazing, I did not want to leave!”
When asked if she has any plans to go back to England, soon she swiftly replied, “No. Malaysia is home.”
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Community, Central Region, Lifestyle, People, Family & Community, expat@home, paula, expat, uk, singapore
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