It must be hectic for expats to move from one country to another when they’re assigned for a new position in a different country. Can you imagine moving almost everything (including your family) to a total new culture? I could but it would be one heck of a job consider all the packing, relocating into the right area, finding school for kids, fitting into the new community and too many things on the lists to think about.
Organize Your Move
If you’re moving to Malaysia, leave your worries to the tigers. Asian Tigers Transpo (M) Sdn Bhd has been established since 1992 expanding its presence to 13 countries in Asia. With every aspects of relocation services such as corporate relocation, finding new homes for transferring families to managing household goods packing and shipping, arranging schools, providing orientations and cultural briefing.
This Asian Relocation Management or ARM by Asian Tigers has successfully carried out assignments for many major international corporations by relocating their employees to Malaysia.
“It is actually an intense job and you can’t really relax when there’re 20 houses in a day waiting for us to be there and pack their stuff,” says Peter.
“There’re always fragile ornaments like crystal glasses or valuable tea set. But we are very professional and our employees are among the best and most experienced in this industry.”
Meet the Tiger
In 1991 Peter Karlsson was a young lad of 21 years old when he first stepped in Asia. It was in Taipei where destiny brought him together with his wife. He started trading business with his friend by buying things from Taiwan and export to sell in Sweden. Later on they set up a company in Taipei at world trade center importing drinking water and also export.
“At that time around 1991-1993, all the manufacturing in Taiwan moved to China to set up factories,” says Peter.
“The business in Taiwan became really bad but I decided to stick around because I didn’t want to go back to Sweden. I took Chinese language class for one year and now I know mandarin pretty well.”
Peter started his career in the moving industry in 1995 and he joined Taiwan’s Asian Tigers in 2000. Later on he was transferred to Malaysia in 2004.
“It was a great 13 years in Taiwan but we also like it here in Malaysia,” Peter explains.
“My seven years old son, Jesper, he loves it here. I think he likes Malaysia more than Taiwan because here has more green scenery,”
“Though KL is a big city but to me I feel like it’s a small town. The road is very nice and wide, it is fantastic to drive and the traffic is not bad compare to a big city like Bangkok. The population is also not too crowded or intense so overall we are pretty happy living here.” Peter continues.
Peter’s son goes to Mont Kiara International School where they have a Swedish class once every week for kids from Sweden.
The Tiger’s Job
Peter is responsible for all operations in KL and Penang.
“We do relocation for expats when they’re transferred to a new assignment. We go to their house and do the packing, shipping and then deliver to the destination,” explains Peter.
Asian Tigers also have the orientation programme for the new movers. So when the family moves from Sweden to Malaysia, it is very important for them to start things right.
“We set up a programme that usually last two or three days. We pick them up at the hotel for the look and see trip. We show them different expats area and the first thing we try to do is to take them to see different schools so they can decide what is best for their kids. Then we recommend the area of the house that is suitable for the kids and not too far from the work place. Later we take them to do groceries shopping so they’ll know where to go and we also take them to the expats club, golf courses, anything they like,”
“It is crucial to start things right when you just move in a new country,” says Peter.
“Most companies are paying more attention to the moving process because they see that it is important to keep the employees and their family happy in order to be successful at the workplace.”
“So it’s worth paying money to give the family the right start because there have been some cases that the wife was not happy with the new place, she said forget about the new assignment I’m going home. When that happened it did cost a company a lot more.”
Moving in and out Malaysia
According to Peter the peak season for moving is when kids have their school break which is usually from June to August. It is a good time to move to a new assignment. During that time there’re a lot of families moving in a month and the number has been quite steady these past couple of years.
“They are some Scandinavian families because we also do the jobs for a few Scandinavian companies in Malaysia such as Ericsson,” says Peter.
“When they move in we introduce them to the Scandinavian Society in Malaysia which they are quite relieved to know that there will be people they can communicate in their own language, so they can catch up with things that going on in the community. I also give them ScandAsia magazine so they can see the big picture Scandinavian community in South East Asia.”
Malaysia My Second Home
Malaysia has something that is very good for foreigners according to Peter and its called Malaysia My Second Home Programme. It is for people from all countries recognized by Malaysia to stay in this country for an indefinite period of time based on a multiple-entry pass with visa. This multiple-entry Pass is renewable every 10 years.
The programme is open to foreigners with minimum age of 40 years old. They are allowed to bring their children (below 18 years old) and a maid to live in a country. The participant’s children are able to attend any reputable international schools or colleges in Malaysia. The participant can also purchase properties and purchase a car locally with tax incentives or import a personal car from his home country with tax exemptions.
The participant can also invest in all common classes of assets in Malaysia i.e. property, shares of company, bonds and fixed-deposits. However he/she cannot work for a salary in Malaysia.
Peter Karlsson is also an advertising sale for Snofida (The Magazine for the Scandinavian Society Malaysia). He feels great helping out Scandinavian community in Malaysia.
“It’s always good to have a new member and it is important for them to know what’s going on in the community e.g. events like clay fish party in September which is always a good time,” says Peter.
When expats move out from Malaysia sometime they leave a lot of stuff behind like toys, clothes or Furnitures said Peter.
“So we took those things and gave it to the charity organization or an orphanage centre,”
“Two years ago Scandinavian Society in Malaysia had a Christmas party and we told the kids to bring extra gifts to the party and they put those gifts in the box which later on delivered to an orphanage centre. It is a good thing to do because sadly the kids at the centre they have nothing. It is also good to the Scandinavian kids because they will learn how to give and share what they have to someone who is less fortunate than them.
Despite the fact that Peter is 40 years old, he’s still out there riding racing motorcycle and playing ice hockey. He’s living life to the extreme.
“In Malaysia we have Sepang which is a five star International Circuit. The opportunity is right here, you can’t miss it. And I manage to lose some weights from riding there because it is so hot,” says Peter with laughter.
“My enthusiasm for hockey started when I was Sweden. Back in Taiwan I was also a Goalie for a team there. Every Sunday we used to fly down from Taipei to Tai Zhong, just to practice for two hours and then flied back to Taipei. It’s absolutely crazy when I think about it now but that’s how must I love hockey,” Peter continues.
“So one of the first things I did when I move to KL was to find a Hockey team and that’s when I found out about KL Cobras. Now I’m a goalie for the team and we actually have some other Scandinavian people in the team as well. We play in a league and we also play in an international tournament all over Asia. In October we will be in Bangkok to play with the team there,”
“We usually have expats team and local team from all over Asia competing in the tournament and this year is the first year Malaysia sent a hockey team to the winter game in China. We try to practice every Mondays and have a game every Wednesdays.”
Going back to Sweden
Peter didn’t go back to his hometown Varnamo Sweden for two years when he left for Taiwan. Now he realizes that it was very important to keep in touch with the family back home.
“I was young and stupid. I though that there’s no need to go back to Sweden but when I did go back home after two years, I felt lost, it was too long being away and it’s not fair to my family because they’re worried a lot when I was oversea. So after that I decided to go back to Sweden every year,” says Peter.
Due to his business it is almost impossible to visit Sweden during the summer because that’s when all the moving starts. Still he manages to take his wife and kid back to Sweden every December to celebrate Christmas.
“It is very important to keep the relationship close to the family back in Sweden.” Peter insists.
When being asked about the future Peter said he would like to take it one year after another.
“But you’d never know what will happen in the future so basicly what we’re trying to do is to keep an open mind,” says Peter.
“We just moved our new office to Shah Alam at the end of last year and the warehouse is still under construction so that’s one of our goals right now to complete the construction of the office.”
“Beside that I would like to see as many expats as possible and keeping our standard high in helping customer with their relocations.”
Peter also plans to hike up Mount Everest together with his son when the boy turns 15, talking about living life to the fullest, you count him in.