On the beautiful island of Borneo there lies the Malaysian city of Miri which, with its population of 300,000, is better known for its vast reserves of oil. It was in this tribal region, near to the South China Sea, that Shaun Maloney was born in 1983.
An urbane figure with a Scottish accent, he turned up at Villa Park yesterday, wide-eyed and eager to please, as the latest member of Martin O'Neill's revolution.
Maloney is the sixth player to join Villa since O'Neill took over as manager and the fourth that one might describe as cosmopolitan. It is not known if O'Neill has a predilection for such gentlemen but his track record is interesting.
Maloney is a Scot from Malaysia who could also have represented England and Wales. John Carew, who joined Villa last week, is a Norwegian with a Gambian father.
Didier Agathe, who spent six months with Villa but has been released, is a Frenchman who was born on Reunion Island in Africa. Stiliyan Petrov, O'Neill's first signing for Villa, was born in Montana, Bulgaria.
O'Neill has also signed Ashley Young (born in Stevenage) and Chris Sutton (from Nottingham).
There might be a pattern here, especially when one considers that Maloney, Petrov, Agathe and Sutton played together, under O'Neill, in the Scottish Premier League with Celtic.
Trust is everything for O'Neill and, evidently, he does not see a problem in making a beeline for those players who have done a job for him in the past. Four who worked for him with Celtic now work for him with Villa.
Brian Clough, under whom O'Neill played for Nottingham Forest in the Seventies, was the master of this.
As manager of Derby County, Clough employed John O'Hare, Archie Gemmill, and John McGovern. As manager of Leeds, he signed O'Hare and McGovern. As manager of Forest, Clough signed O'Hare, Gemmill, and McGovern.
O'Hare and McGovern were not widely acknowledged as great players, but there is no doubt that they were great Brian Clough players which, in some respects, is more significant.
If O'Neill is not going down the Clough route to success, the coincidence is striking as, indeed, are the backgrounds of his six new players.
After spending the first four years of his life in Borneo, Maloney grew up in Aberdeen then moved to Glasgow as a teenager. He signed for Celtic in July 1999, at the start of the John Barnes era.
Maloney made his first-team debut in 2001, under O'Neill, and flourished to such an extent that, last season, he became the first player to win both the Scottish PFA player of the year and the Scottish PFA young player of the year at the same time.
The similarities between Maloney and Petrov are interesting. They are comparable players — small, versatile, intelligent — and they left Celtic after failing to agree new contracts.
Maloney might have noted that Petrov's career with Villa has been erratic and largely unspectacular. Speculation is rife that Petrov is missing Glasgow more than he expected. Only he knows if this is true.
But cosmopolitan players tend to settle quickly because they have inherent nomadic characteristics. Carew has played in seven countries and speaks five languages. Petrov's command of English is impressive and nobody could suggest, given his excellent early performances, that he took time to settle.
O'Neill likes these players because, like himself, they are intelligent and broad-minded. They travel well and absorb different cultures.
In some ways, Maloney is a typical O'Neill player and, by extension, a typical Villa player. But you would not need to fly to Miri to discover Maloney's influences. A shorter trip, to Aberdeen, where oil also flows freely, would provide all the necessary information.