Doc Gelo: Beyond Toxicity
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Malaysia, etc.
I’m Doc Gelo, a General Physician, Educator and a Blogger from the Philippines. I started working in Penang, Malaysia as a Medical Lecturer since mid-2010.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I’ve started my blog back in 2007 with a simple reason of documenting my family’s activities and adventures. My posts mostly involve food and our love for eating! Then it evolved since then. My blog’s name & tagline are - Beyond Toxicity: Giving reverence to life’s simple pleasures –family, food & fun. Fun involves traveling of course!
So when I came to Penang in 2010, it’s only the environment that changed but the passion for blogging and the love for it remain.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
I play no favoritism with my blog entries; I am proud to share them all. However, if I have to choose among those that truly made the mark, that would have to be the post about my winning the 2012 Best Expat Blog Award from Ministry of Tourism Malaysia.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Malaysia differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Just like other people who work abroad – leaving the comforts of living in my own country has been one of the most difficult challenges. Homesickness, adapting to the new place, community and people you work with impose a constant effort. Luckily, I have my wife and our son with me in Penang that made living an expatriate life more bearable. Another consolation to me was the fact that Malaysia’s geographically near to the Philippines so some things about culture and even a few words in the local language are similar to what I grew up with. No culture shock for me and my family but being exposed to a lot of diversities in Malaysia (food, culture, people, traditions, religions) has been an eye-opener for the three of us.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Malaysia? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe there’s no school to prepare anyone to become an expatriate. Despite there’s International studies and related courses around, still no books or classroom could make anyone ready for being one. All hassles and problems that come with living and working abroad are all part of the thing called life. To entertain regrets with decision made in the past is just futile.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
I reserve those in my blog. Thank you.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Malaysia?
- Be ready to embrace diversities. When Malaysia says, “It’s truly Asia!” – expect a little of everything about Asia is here in Malaysia.
- Appreciate diversities but maintain the values of your origin.
- Prepare for an awesome adventure! Malaysia isn’t only a cultural melting pot in Asia but a country filled with wonders that certainly please the senses. Get your itchy feet and growling stomach ready!
How is the expat community in Malaysia? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I’m only exposed to limited foreigners I’m working with and to a few people we meet.
How would you summarize your expat life in Malaysia in a single, catchy sentence?
My family and I are grateful for everything but I believe the best is yet to come!