(Photo submitted/Kitt Othman)

A dream of travelling realized

In Our Valley: Kitt Othman

Kamarozaman (Kitt) Othman, 42, was born in the small town of Bentong in Malaysia.

Othman had a large family and is the youngest of seven.

“I remember I didn’t have much new when I was growing up everything was a hand-me-down. That taught me a lot about how to really appreciate things and how to take care of things; that’s one of the first few lessons I learned in my life.”

Othman was very active in his childhood but he was not a great student in class. He found success outside of the classroom, joining a variety of teams including drama and debate teams.

Biking was a big part of his early life and he spent a great deal of time outside with his friends. He describes going outside and venturing out into the jungle and not coming back until the sun was down. He eventually got the opportunity to go off to a junior college.

“When I turned 13 I moved to a boarding school which was also in a small town in the same province as where I grew up,” said Othman.

He spent most of his time at the boarding school only returning home for holidays. He describes his time at the school as a life experience as it taught him how to be independent.

Although he describes himself as not academically inclined, Othman was offered a scholarship upon graduation to go to college at the Dublin Business School in Kuala Lumpur for accounting and finance.

“I did the program but I never practised because while I was studying I didn’t like it. I knew I wasn’t a big fan of accounting,” said Othman.

Even though he didn’t like what he was doing he still graduated and decided on a change by trying to break into the communications industry. He applied to a number of different companies but without any training or experience, none were willing to hire him.

Eventually, Othman got an interview with Symphony Company Limited, something that resulted in a rigorous process.

“They didn’t believe I could do the job because I didn’t graduate with a degree in communications and public relations,” said Othman who wound up speaking with five company representatives. “I’m interviewing for a communications role so let’s communicate, so I went up and closed their files of me.”

Othman wanted a chance to prove himself that he could do the work that he applied for. The interview that was scheduled for 30 minutes ended up being over 45 minutes long and he spoke with the five hiring people. Though Othman can’t remember exactly what they spoke about he remembers talking about topics including family.

He left the interview unsure of how it went but then received a phone call and a job offer leading to him spending several years with Symphony.

That was followed by another phone call from his current employer. “Petronas called me up and wanted to meet with me and they said that they have this open position they thought I would be great for,” Othman said.

He jumped onto the opportunity and ended up doing four interviews before being hired as a stakeholder engagement officer in Africa and the Middle East. As of now, Othman has been with Petronas for 16 years.

Watching TV when he was younger, Othman had always dreamed of travelling around the world and now he had the opportunity because of his job.

Othman went to Myanmar following the 2008 Nargis cyclone to help manage humanitarian efforts and spent two years in Sudan dealing with Petronas affairs after that country split into two parts.

Othman has also had the opportunity to host an internal company TV show called “Today’s the Day” in which he interviewed Petronas officials and people from outside the company.

Eventually, he became the head of stakeholder management for Asia Pacific and Americas and then became the head of issues management.

Then another opportunity to travel presented itself for Othman thanks to the ownership stake Petronas has in LNG Canada. Petronas wanted Othman to handle communications during construction.

Othman was sent to Kitimat to get familiar with the area, a trip that took place in the middle of winter and which provided a shock compared to the warmer climate of Malaysia.

“It was about a week before Christmas in 2018, it was snowing and it was extremely cold it was terrible weather,” Othman said.

The position of constructions communications was new and Othman didn’t know exactly what the job would entail but has now developed it into one which ensures everyone is kept fully informed of issues and activities.

Othman enjoys the work he does with LNG Canada and has even fallen in love with Kitimat. He has taken up many of the hobbies typical to the area including hiking, camping and even skiing.

“The first time I went backcountry camping I packed deodorant and my friend laughed at me asking me who I was trying to impress,” said Othman. “Secondly it’s an attractant to the bear but I didn’t know that.”

Since that experience, he has taken to the outdoors lifestyle learning all that he needed to know about staying safe. Othman has also had the chance to be the announcer of the Skate Canada regional figure skating competition, the Kla How Ya 2021.

“I may or may not hold the world record for being the first Malaysian to announce a skating competition in Canada,” he said.

After that skating competition, he was then invited to announce and emcee the Zanron Christmas Skating Gala.

“It was so much fun for me to be involved in community activities and it is another example of how awesome the Kitimat community is,” said Othman.

He has climbed Mt. Clague and enjoys his time in the backcountry. Othman describes Kitimat as the first place he was really able to adapt but soon his work here will be done and he will head back to Malaysia.

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