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Malaysians in Kazakhstan on why Astana is Asian New York
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23.02.2019

Malaysians in Kazakhstan on why Astana is Asian New York

Bilqis Bahari, 32 years old, hometown – Kuala Lumpur, journalist

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About moving


I visited Astana for the first time in 2013 as a tourist, and in March 2017 I moved. There were two reasons for the move: my husband is Kazakh and I wanted to have a new experience in another country in the field of media. Before moving, I worked for four years as a financial journalist for the largest media organization in Malaysia in my hometown Kuala Lumpur.


About Kazakhstan


Now I live in Astana. I like this city for its modernity and opportunities. I personally think Astana can be called as New York of Asia. If you are smart and enterprising then you can create a great business here or quickly climb the career ladder. I also like the organization of the city I can easily find the right street or building.

I personally think Astana can be called as New York of Asia

I work as an English-speaking news producer and host of shows with interviews on Kazakh TV.

Life in Astana is different from Kuala Lumpur. It is a lot quieter here than in my hometown and I'm enjoying it. Moreover, I get used to your winters.

Usually, with friends, I visit restaurants with delicious food. In addition, I often go to Astana Opera and Astana Ballet. I love to walk along the Ishim River — my favourite place in the city.


About culture similarities and differences


After two years of living in Astana, I noticed many differences between Kazakhs and Malaysians. In many ways we are similar but there are a lot of moments in which we are different.

An example of our cultural similarities is the attitude to the family. In Malaysia and Kazakhstan, the family occupies an important place in life, and the respect for the elders is deep inside the traditions and mentality. Malaysians and Kazakhs are also hospitable, which helps foreigners to feel like at home in the new country.

There a lot of differences so I will give only the most striking examples. Our view of the world is very different. Malaysians are more relaxed and soft but Kazakhs a bit more aggressive and manner of speaking is louder. Most Malaysians do not pay attention to the instructions and rules in the work but for the Kazakhs, it is important to follow the instructions and complete the job strictly by the rules.

I accept people for who they are, no matter how different they are from me. I was taught this by my international family and life experience in other countries.


About plans


I plan to stay in Astana for a few more years. I want to find a way to live in two cities at once — in Astana and Kuala Lumpur. Perhaps my husband and I will move to another country or return to Malaysia. I am open to new adventures, ten years ago I lived in Australia, Brunei and the UK. Today in Kazakhstan, tomorrow — the whole world.


Zara Malik, 22 years old, hometown — Penang, teacher

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About trip


I came to Kazakhstan for three weeks to get acquainted with a new culture.


About Kazakhstan


I spent two weeks of vacation in Almaty, visited art and cultural museums, skated and climbed mountains. I spent the last week of the weekend in Shymkent. I got acquainted with the Kazakh cuisine, ate apples and meat dishes.

For all my life I have not eaten as much meat as I tried in Kazakhstan. I fell in love with Kazakh cuisine, it is unusual and radically different from Malaysian.

It was an amazing time, full of fun. I met many Kazakhs and Russians. I felt embarrassed because I didn't understand Russian. However, people tried to speak in English with me despite that they know the language badly.


About culture similarities and differences


Kazakhstanis look cold and seem snobs, while in Malaysia everywhere you see smiling faces. But after I got acquainted with Kazakhstanis, it turned out that they are friendly.

I was amazed by how hard people in Kazakhstan are willing to help a stranger. Malaysians are nice, but Kazakhstanis are incredibly hospitable. In my opinion, it is much better. Many people helped me to find housing and asked nothing in return.

I noticed how hardworking Kazakhstanis are

I noticed how hardworking Kazakhstanis are. Kazakhstanis have a serious and responsible approach to work, unlike Malaysians whose approach to work is calm. In Malaysia, we like to relax and we have a lot of days off.

The most important similarity is the attitude to the family. In Kazakhstan similar view of family values, we are also close to family. This can be clearly seen by the fact that you spend the New Year with your family.


About plans


I plan to return to Kazakhstan in a month, I want to learn Russian and be closer to friends. Three weeks is a short time to explore the country and its culture, so I hope I will be able to get to know Kazakhstan better and visit its most beautiful places.


Arvin Seeva, 38 years old, hometown – Ipoh, product manager

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About moving


I moved to Kazakhstan in July 2009 and left in December 2010. I came to Agip KCO for the Kashagan project, worked there as a project engineer.


About Kazakhstan


I lived in Atyrau in a single-place room in the hotel opposite the office. Most of all I liked the people, their friendly attitude. I made a lot of friends while I was in Atyrau, all of them are wonderful people who introduced me to the national cuisine, music.

I liked walking along the Ural River in summer, going to restaurants and bars.

Since I worked as a project engineer in the field of oil and gas, I had to communicate with foreigners. I learned a lot about other countries, saw the system of work in Kazakhstan and echoes of the post-Soviet era. I had the opportunity to talk with local residents who worked as teachers and doctors, it was useful to learn about the daily life of ordinary Kazakhstanis.

I believe in the economic potential of your country. I would like to help Kazakhstan's economy by introducing a better trading system in the future. I would also like to see more Kazakh products outside of Kazakhstan.

About culture similarities and differences


Kazakhs and Malaysians are strongly attached to their traditions. A culture of respect for elders, large banquets for the holidays occupy an important part of your life like for Malaysians.

Kazakhs and Malaysians are strongly attached to their traditions

I believe that Kazakhstanis are brave and courageous people. This proves your history and active participation in World War II.


About plans


I live in England with my family and we are preparing to move to Australia next month.