Malaysia Airlines ‘Looking in’ feature on Hilary Craig – Feb 2010

Name: Hilary Craig

Nationality: Irish

Profession: Teacher and owner of a specialised learning centre for children with learning difficulties

Years in Malaysia: 13

  • I arrived in KL in 1997; my husband Victor was working as an airport planner for KL International Airport (KLIA), and I was a teacher at an international school. After five years at the school, I started doing freelance teacher training in the city and all around the region. My clients began asking me to help their kids with learning challenges, ranging from dyslexia to Asperger’s syndrome.


  • I started Hils Learning (Tel +603 6203 0029 in 2004 after realising there was a huge need for individual support for children with learning differences and difficulties.


  • Teachers cannot possibly do it on their own – I’ve been there. We currently give around 50 children, some coming twice a week, an opportunity to have someone who listens, focuses and really hears them. I stared the business at home before moving to an office in Plaza Damas; we outgrew that space in less than two years and in 2008, shifted to a bigger place in Solaris Mont’ Kiara.


  • In 2000, my husband started his own aviation planning business in KL.Victor had spent the previous decade working on the mega airports of Asia, and felt that this was the region to be in. We’ve both had a truly international life. Victor was born in Egypt and, to date, has worked in over 54 countries. I have lived in seven countries on four continents and been educated in England, Ireland, Australia and Canada.


  • KL is probably the best expatriate posting in Asia; most Malaysians speak English, which makes conducting business easy. You’ve got all the services that you need and there is a wonderful mix of nationalties that make up the city. I am always learning something new about Malaysia and its people, so every day is a surprise.


  • When we first arrived, we travelled around Malaysia quite a lot. Melaka makes an interesting weekend getaway for its history and interesting cultural mix of the Portuguese, Chinese and Peranakans. We always stay at Hotel Puri (118 Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Melaka Tel +606 2825 588


  • I have a few favourite eats in the Mont’ Kiara area. For Italian, I recommend Sure Pizza for Italian (P37 Plaza Damas, Ground Floor Hartamas Shopping Centre, Sri Hartamas, KL Tel +603 6201 6014) and Little Collins Bakery & Florist (17 Jalan Solaris 4, Solaris Mont’ Kiara, KL Tel +603 6204 9986) has a great lunch menu.


  • When I entertain our foreign guests, I like to ensure they enjoy the Malaysian food experience. I recently took a British guest to Fatty Crab (2 Jalan SS24/13, Taman Megah, Petaling Jaya, Selangor Tel +603 7804 5758) for chilli crab, and to Suzi’s Corner (Jalan Hulu Kelang, Ampang) for Malay food. They are both casual, stall-type restaurants but I think these are the sorts of places to which Europeans want to be taken to, especially if they have not had great exposure to Asia.


  • Retiring here is always a possibility. If I didn’t have children living overseas, I would say KL is a good place to retire.

Published in: Malaysia Airlines Going Places February 2010