HAVING lived in Malaysia for almost 14 years, the Smith family from Australia proudly call Malaysia their second home. They set foot in Kuala Lumpur in 1997, left the country in 2003 but then returned in 2005 and have been here ever since.
“I work for a supply chain solution organisation based in Los Angeles, so I travel a lot. But it’s always good to come back to Malaysia,” said Steven Smith, 47.
Steven, who hails from South Australia, lives here with his wife, Ros, and their three children Harry, 19, Stuart, 17 and Molly, 14.
They consider Malaysia a great country for vacationing and holiday spots.
“Malaysia is fantastic and is central enough on the map for easy access to other countries. We enjoy trekking around Penang, Redang and Cherating.
“The only place we haven’t been to yet is Taman Negara,” said Steven, when met at his house in Sungai Buloh.
Being in Malaysia, the Smiths are always busy with activities, which include a lot of sports.
“We always keep ourselves busy and it’s easy to get around the country. I like to play golf but I can’t do it as often now since I travel a lot for work,” he said, adding that he and the family also dive.
Their favourite dive spots include Redang Island and Bali. “Perhentian and Sipadan are next on the list.”
For oldest son, Harry, who is just completing his A Levels, Redang is his favourite “chill out” island.
“I will be back in Australia in February to start university. As I spent most of my life in Malaysia, I feel Malaysia and Australia are similar in some ways.
“Sporting facilities and infrastructure are, of course, better in Australia as they have more sports clubs and organised leagues. It’s something Malaysia has room to improve on,” said Harry.
Ros, 46, on the other hand, partial to jungle trekking.
“I drop the kids off at school in the morning and then head for jungle trekking in Mont Kiara with friends. The authorities should definitely think about planting more trees as lots have been cut down to make way for development. Maintaining pockets of green lungs and proper footpaths in the Klang Valley is important,” she said.
The Smiths also participate in various marathons like the KL Marathon and King of The Road.
“We missed the recent PJ Half unfortunately. These are things which gets us up early on Sunday mornings and keep our weekends ticking,” jested Steven.
“The year has already gone by pretty fast. Weekends are mostly spent with the kids and going for their sports activities at school. Other than that, we will catch up with friends for dinner. On Sundays we might organise trips to the beach.”
Schooling in Malaysia has also been a good experience for the children.
“We are really impressed with the private schools. We see a lot more local students as well.
“It’s good that our children get to experience the different cultures here and they have friends from multi-racial backgrounds,” said Steven.
The Smiths are impressed with the advent of new highways and advanced infrastructure in Kuala Lumpur.
“If you compare to maybe two decades ago, I remember it taking about two hours to get to Kuala Selangor, for example. Now it’s less than an hour.
“When we returned to Malaysia in 2003, we were quite lost with the different highways, but eventually we got the hang of it,” said Steven.
What is Malaysia without the food? “We love the food here. Did you know that there is even a good Malaysian laksa shop in Australia? It is amazing.”
The Smiths love to indulge in mamak and Indian food in KL.
“I cook sometimes during the week but on the weekends we eat out or have a BBQ at the house,” said Ros.