Like a boss: Donald started his own business in offshore drilling inspection and protection services in 2003.
A WORK secondment first brought Craig Donald to Malaysia, and now that his business has its headquarters here, the Scottish expatriate seems likely to stay for the forseeable future.
“A lot of people had trouble understanding this Mat Salleh when I first came here. I think many still don’t understand me,” he said with a laugh, in his thick Scottish accent.
Hailing from the cold northern city of Aberdeen in Scotland, Donald and his wife have been living in Malaysia for 12 years.
He has a son working in Kuala Lumpur and a daughter who is studying in London.
Having been here long enough to know Malaysia quite well, Donald admitted that initially he had trouble adapting.
“Everything about the culture in Kuala Lumpur is just so different from back home but I’ve learned to love it.”
The easy-going Scot, who just celebrated his 57th birthday this week, enjoys a little cooking in his leisure time.
“There is nothing like smoking food for about 12 hours. When it’s ready, the meat simply melts in your mouth,” said Donald, who also loves barbecuing.
He even has his own tandoori oven at home, which he bought for himself one Christmas.
Donald’s love for food helps him fit right in with Malaysians. Surprisingly, local cuisine was not so strange to him.
“Chicken Tikka Masala is actually the most popular dish in Britain,” he said, adding that the origin of the dish was still disputed.
“There are just so many Chinese, Indian and Thai restaurants back home. You’d be surprised, a lot of Brits love their curry.”
However, Donald admitted to having a minor addiction for roti telur when he first came to Malaysia.
“I found myself having it for breakfast every day. Put on quite a bit of weight, I did,” he added.
But most of the time, Donald can be seen frequenting the golf course. He enjoys the sport and finds that there are quite a few good courses in Malaysia.
“I’ve also made it a habit to go to the gym regularly to stay fit and keep my weight in check.”
Aberdeen is also known as the ‘Oil Capital of Europe’ and the Scot has been in the offshore oil and gas industry for most of his life.
With well over 30 years of experience, Donald started his own business almost 10 years ago, providing underwater inspection, engineering and protection services for offshore drilling operations worldwide.
His company employs Malaysian engineers and is based in Kuala Lumpur, with branch offices in Singapore and Aberdeen.
“Business has always been good, so I doubt I’ll have to move anywhere,” Donald said when asked about future plans.
“The best part about owning my own business is that I don’t really have to retire. I don’t think I want to either, because I love what I do.”