Raj Sacaran’s smiling face has greeted patrons at the Hotel Grosvenor in Victor Harbor for nearly 20 years.
In the lead up to Harmony Day on March 21, The Times interviewed the popular Raj.
Raj is a proud Malaysian/Indian, but has appreciated the freedoms Australia offers and believes a chance meeting with Victor Harbor woman Julie Cooper and her mother Liz was the best thing to happen to him.
“In 1999, Liz and Julie Cooper were dropped off by mistake at Cherating Holiday Villas on the east coast of Malaysia where I ran the karaoke pub, which was very popular with visitors from all over the world,” Raj said.
“Julie and I were immediately attracted to each other and we both made many trips back and forth, until I moved to Victor Harbor and (we) were married in her parent’s garden.”
It all happened very fast for Raj and Julie, as in 2001, they had twin boys, Praveen and Jordan. They were born nine weeks premature, which was a tough time for Raj and Julie, but once they were four months old, the family went to Malaysia.
“We visited my parents and were married in their private temple, as they are of the Hindu faith,” Raj said.
“Before coming to Australia, I travelled extensively throughout Europe and Hong Kong, so I did not really have a culture shock coming to Australia. Australia is a beautiful country, an honest country, and Victor Harbor has welcomed me.
“The Chigwidden family gave me the opportunity to work at the hotel and Andrew Hill has given me great support too.”
Working in a pub, Raj has grasped some good old fashioned Aussie humour and had the chance to meet the characters in the community. He was awarded a Pride of Workmanship Award in 2002.
“The big difference in Malaysian culture to Australia is the freedom this country has. Malaysia is very strict and I am very happy Julie and I have raised our two beautiful boys here. Victor Harbor is my destiny.”
Raj has a love of cooking, a keen fisherman, loves his family and calls Victor Harbor home.