Accustomed to Malaysia
Stella Jang Bu Yeoun has been in Malaysia since 2008, following her parents who were looking for a place to retire.
Hailing from the city of Daegu, South Korea, the 34-year-old accountant now lives with them in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, along with her daughter, Cestie, seven.
“We considered many places, including Singapore, before finally deciding on Malaysia. It is mainly because our countries have good relations and Malaysia is a nice place for retirees and young children,” she said.
She said there were many educational opportunities here.
She said Cestie now attends a local Chinese school and speaks four languages — Korean, English, Malay and Mandarin.
Having been in the country for a number of years, Jang has also picked up some basic Malay.
“I know enough to order food at restaurants,” she said.
“I have become used to the way Malaysians like to add ‘lah’ to their sentences. It is a very unique part of your culture and language,” she said, adding that there were no problems communicating with locals as most Malaysians speak English.
Jang finds the weather in Malaysia pleasant compared to her home country.
“It is sunny most of the time and my parents like it as they can go golfing every day.
“The people are also very friendly,” she said.
“Most Malaysians make an effort to understand and respect each other’s cultures and differences. It is something you won’t find in many other countries.”
What Jang enjoys most about Malaysia is the wide variety of food from different cultures.
“I have gained a lot of weight since coming here because the food is so good,” she said, listing nasi lemak, mamak food and economy mixed rice as some of her favourites.
While some foreigners avoid the durian like the plague, Jang loves the fruit and has it regularly.
“Koreans like pungent food such as kimchi and bean paste. Maybe that is why I love the taste of durian,” she said.
Between juggling her career and taking care of her daughter, Jang paints in her free time.
She majored in ceramic arts before entering the finance sector.
She is also an associate of Art of Min Hwa, an art association for Korean expatriates living in Malaysia, dedicated to Korean art.
Her work was part of a showcase at the Malaysian Tourism Centre in June.
Jang hones her creativity by taking on art projects.
For the upcoming Hari Raya celebrations, she has made decorations comprising ketupat for her company’s in-house project.
“I learnt to make it from Youtube and am now teaching my colleagues to make them,” she said.
She said there were things she missed about home, including strawberries.
“The strawberries from South Korea are usually big, sweet and juicy. It is quite hard to find the same type here,” she said.
Jang also misses the snow and cold weather during winter back in her homeland.
On her future plans, Jang said she looked forward to continue living in Malaysia.
“My husband works in South Korea, so we travel back and forth to spend time together. But I will be here at least until my daughter completes primary school,” she said.