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EXPATRIATES IN MAURITIUS
» 28 Feb 2013
NIK JOHARRIS, THE MAN WITH A SENSE OF DIRECTION !

HI NIK, THANKS FOR FEATURING IN THIS MONTH’S LIFESTYLE, SO WHERE DO YOU HAIL FROM?

I was born in a state called Kelantan in Malaysia. I did my primary and secondary education in Kelantan. 2 years of my secondary school was in a Govern-ment boarding school. Thereafter, I did my A-Levels in Kuala Lumpur, under the sponsorship of the Malaysian Govern-ment and read law at the Coventry University, UK. Finished my law degree in 1997. In 2005, I did an MBA in Islamic Banking and Finance at the Interna-tional Islamic University of Malaysia, whilst working. I completed my MBA in 2007.

AND HOW WAS YOUR CHILDHOOD LIKE IN MALAYSIA?

My early childhood has always been quiet. It is part of the privilege, at least for me, living in a quiet environment. I came from an average family. My father and late mother were school teachers. We lived a moderate life. My parents put a lot of emphasis on honesty, it’s mainly “Don’t take ANYTHING which is not yours” and live a moderate life. That applies to my daily life either so-cially or at work. My father keeps on reminding me of this till today

WELL SAID, LIVING IN PEACE & QUIET IS VERY MUCH A PRIVILEDGE! WHEN DID YOU MEET YOUR BETTER HALF IF WE MAY ASK?

I got married early, on the 31 st of October 1995, when we were 21 years old and in the UK at Stoke on Trent mosque. It is the best decision I have made so far. My proposal to her came in a letter – that’s how reserved I was when it comes to heading-on with the ladies! Anyway, we have known each other since we were 12 years old. Our relationship got serious after our high school. My wife, Nerisa, came from the same hometown of Kelantan. In fact, her house is merely 5 minutes away from my parents.

We have 3 active children. They are 14, 11 and 3 years old. Our eldest son is currently studying in a full boarding school in Malaysia called Kolej Tuanku Jaafar. There is a view I share about boarding schools – it brings the man out of a boy.

DO YOU HAVE ANY  LIFE-CHANGING LESSON TO SHARE WITH US?

There was a small incident that put me on the bridge in late 2008, when my previous employer in Kuwait de-cided to cut down operation due to global crisis. I left Malaysia in Septem-ber 2007 because I thought I would do better elsewhere. I was 33 years
old. It taught me a big lesson on sur-vival. I had my family with me. It re-minded me also about my father’s advice of being moderate. A lot of people would have gone back to their home country but we decided to fin-ish the journey we started in 2007. I
survived the global crisis and landed a job in Bahrain in April 2008. However, this incident hasn’t stopped me from striving harder in my career and I won’t classify this as life-changing lesson. It slowed down my momentum a bit but for a good reason.

INFO ABOUT YOUR JOB OR COMPANY IN MAURITIUS:

When I started as the CEO of the Century Banking Corporation Ltd (“CBC”) on 15 December 2010, the bank was not in operation yet. We launched the bank on 31 March 2011. I started the bank with 2-3 staff, an office and license from the Bank of
Mauritius. My job is everything from business, human resources, branding and procurement.

WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT?

I am a keen golfer. I try to play every weekend but it does not necessarily happen. If I were to have more time, I think I’ll spend a lot time at the golf course.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING HERE?

Moderate living condition. Some peo-ple would not like it especially when they are used to better infrastructure and more choices around them. I spent half of my life in my hometown which shares the same environment as Mauritius. This is what makes me love most about living in Mauritius.

WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF HAPPINESS?

A good colleague of mine very recently shared a quote from Mahatma Gandhi which says “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony”. I told him that I totally agree with him.  Unfortunately, in life, when money
and power rank higher than dignity, people don’t do what they think or say anymore.

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