Posts Tagged ‘malaysia’

A map would be a good idea.

July 5, 2014

Final day in KL. Had a very productive time so far and will certainly be coming back. There is a huge amount of business to be had and I want my fair share for m2r Education.

If you recall, we had the ‘privilege’ of having a tour guide with us on the KL part of the mission. Shame he couldn’t actually find anywhere. On our final day, Columbus was again with us. I was particularly looking forward to our first meeting, with the Ministry of Human Resources and Skills.  Working in recruitment this would be a perfect meeting and one I would get a lot of information from. The rest of the delegation also felt the same way. We boarded the bus with a huge sense of anticipation and Marco Polo put us all at ease as we headed off to Putrajaya, located 25 km south of Kuala Lumpur. Putrajaya serves as the federal administrative centre of Malaysia. Did you know that Putrajaya has nine bridges and 14 different designs of street lamps? Well, our intrepid guide filled us in with extremely fascinating facts as we headed to our first meeting.

Putrajaya. One bridge and one set of street lamps.

Putrajaya. One bridge and one set of street lamps.

Now. this first meeting was scheduled for 9am.  Excitement on the bus was building as I am sure you can imagine. Vasco da Gama was in complete control. After all, he was a tour guide, assigned to us and obviously knew his job. We put down his indiscretion the previous evening to nerves. 9am came and went and a high degree of deja vu was setting in. Putrajaya is very stunning but do we really need to see the same bridge 50 times? Maybe he was ensuring we saw every single street lamp before we alighted.

10am came and went. So did 10.15am. Hmmmm. Maybe our tour guide wasn’t all he seems. Surely not as it would make no sense whatsoever that we had been given a guide who couldn’t even find his way out of a paper bag, would it? Well, let’s put it this way, don’t buy him a paper bag for his birthday.

We were lost. He had no clue where the ministry was. Brilliant. His comeback was that he was a ‘tourist guide’ and the not a business tour guide. Oh cheers. Great planning then. No meeting but at least we saw 5 million street lamps and bridges. Less Columbus and more Columbo.

Off to the next meeting in that case! Thankfully he knew where this one was. Just. He also managed to successfully negotiate his own locale and find the rest of the day’s meetings too.

President's Palace, Putrajaya

President’s Palace, Putrajaya. Had worse meetings…

Being able to have a meeting in the above building was incredible. We were all seated in a UN style room which gave some of the group the opportunity to grab forty winks. No names mentioned and if I showed you the picture I would pixelate their  faces anyway….

Almost the UN

Almost the UN..

Very good meeting though, extremely informative and came out with information overload. Thoroughly impressed.

The final meeting was rather odd, only because it started in a manner to which none of us were accustomed. I have no intention of being derogatory to our hosts but it really showed how different cultures express themselves. As usual we all had to introduce ourselves, I have no issue with this and of course, makes follow up meetings a lot easier to arrange. What we didn’t expect was that each and every one of the 28 delegates received a hearty round of applause by the 5 company representatives who were hosting the meeting. As you can imagine, the introductions took some time to get through and we had to stifle laughter for fear of appearing extremely rude. Again, I must stress, I would never ever denigrate a host, especially one that was gracious and gave us food and gifts, it was just not what we were used to, that was all!

After what seemed like an eternity in getting back to the hotel it was decided that we should spend our last night exploring the sights of Changkat. We did. This is all I am saying on the matter. Click the link!

So it was farewell Malaysia, a thoroughly mind blowing trip for me and one which gave me tremendous confidence that we could secure a lot of business there. The group were bonding very well and although we were all very tired, struggling with jet lag and the humidity, no one was grumbling or complaining. So far so good.

Before I sign off I must tell you about my own Columbus / Columbo experience as we left for Indonesia. Now, suffice to say and in my defence, most people almost followed suit. I stress the almost.

Picture the scene. The airport for the Air Asia flight is literally bolted onto a shopping mall. You therefore drag your case and carry on bags past all the shops before you arrive at departures. Very few signs, it is merely stumbled upon. I wonder how many people have gone out for a leisurely shop and ended up on a flight to Vietnam…

So, I ended up in the airport and like most overseas airports I have visited, the first thing you do (or so I thought) is get all your bags scanned before check in. So, scanned and through, I wandered, somewhat aimlessly and also alone, through the airport looking for check in. After 10 minutes of walking I began to notice that I was the only one pulling a 25kg suitcase. Still, unfazed, I pressed on in true British style. Until I saw the gate. Then sheer panic set in. I had somehow managed to get all the way through immigration and 2 security checks with my suitcase that contained items such as razor blades, aerosols etc etc. Rather worrying when you think about it!

At that precise moment my thoughts we not about the lack of proper airport security checks but more of how on earth am I going to get my case on the plane!!! Some rather bemused Air Asia staff took pity on me, the way they looked suggested I was the first ever person to commit such a level of idiocy. I was assured that if I took my case all the way to the plane it would be manually tagged and essentially treated like a pushchair. Thankfully it was and arrived safe and sound in Jakarta. The only thing that didn’t make it was my dignity……

So seasoned and unseasoned travelers alike, take heed. No matter how much you travel, new ‘interesting’ experiences will always find you. It’s how you deal with them that counts.

Adieu.

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27hrs to Kuala Lumpur. Just another crazy trip in the life of m2r…

June 28, 2014

The calm before the storm…

It is rare that a blog starts with an apology, unless you are a member of the current England football team. I am not and never will be. Thankfully. Anyway, apologies. This blog post is 2 weeks overdue but read all the following posts and you will understand why.

On the 11th June I embarked on our most ambitious business trip yet. A mere 6000 mile ‘hop’ to Kuala Lumpur, crossing the Equator via Jakarta on the way. The journey would last 27 hours. The same time it will take to read these series of posts (joke). To be fair, this didn’t phase me, mainly because I had not done such a journey for over 10 years and that was to Oz for a holiday. So, I had no recollection of what to expect and although I was warned about the humidity, again, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to face.

This trip was another trade mission, organised by the marvelous Training Gateway and UKTI. If you recall, I was part of a delegation to Oman, Qatar and Abu Dhabi in December of last year. If you have no idea what on earth I am going on about, search the blog. If you are already bored, then go make a sandwich.

This trade mission would last for 10 days, span the hemispheres, be mentally and physically taxing but ultimately spawn new clients and a new network of friends.

Day 1

After 25 hours via Dubai, I landed in Jakarta, along with the trade mission leader. Within a millisecond of clearing immigration I looked as if I had my own comedy rain cloud following me. It was not pleasant or easy on the nose. My traveling companion on the other hand, looked no different, as if she was walking around in permanent air con. It cost $25USD to sweat profusely in Jakarta for all of 2 hours. Well worth it. Following an uneventful if slightly niffy Air Asia flight to Kuala Lumpur and therefore crossing the Equator for the second time in 4 hours, the epic journey was over. Just the matter of a 90min drive to the hotel. In air con thankfully.

We stayed at the Grand Millennium Hotel in KL, lovely spot for 6 days. Slap bang in the middle of everything which is great, unless you want to sleep. Luckily I was jet lagged to high heaven and therefore sleep, unfortunately, was not on the agenda.

Day 2

After all of 3 hours, I awoke to a brand new view in my quest to develop overseas education for m2r Education.

The view of Kuala Lumpur from my hotel room

The view of Kuala Lumpur from my hotel room

As we are in the business of expatriation, it is very important that I get a good vibe as we, as a business, need to be confident that our teachers will enjoy their new surroundings. So far, so good. I arrived in KL 1 day before I had to do any actual work and 3 days before the actual mission was due to start. I used the time to get a good feel for the city, basically a fact finding mission. It also gave me some time to acclimatise, essential when about to embark on a packed programme which lasts from morning til night, every day. As you know from my posts, no names mentioned, but I suspect certain people will follow my lead next time and not arrive the evening before the mission begins, especially when the journey and time difference can be your enemy. You know who you are!!!

KL is a very interesting city and I was very impressed with how they look after the walking community. There are air conditioned, covered walkways which make crossing some parts of the city an absolute doddle. Generally when I travel overseas for work, I cannot walk anywhere for too long due to the heat, but here, there were no issues. Which was good because I had visions of resembling the witch from Wizard of Oz. You know, the ‘I’m melting scene…..’ I was advised to go to the Petronas Towers. When I arrived, I understood why. Simply stunning.

Petronas Twin Towers

Petronas Twin Towers

To take this photo, go the Traders Hotel at night, obviously. Watch out for the pool when you get out of the lift…..

I had the pleasure of using KL’s very good monorail system, it is pretty straightforward to use but for some reason, a 15 min trip to Little India for lunch turned into scene from Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Still, not complaining as I got to see more of the city which all helps in my line of work.

KL certainly is a melting pot and I never felt uneasy at any point. Everyone was very friendly, the city is clean and food, well, stunning and incredible value for money. I was certainly confident of being able to promote the city to would be Teachers and Trainers looking for jobs in Malaysia.

anana Leaf Curry in Little India. £2 and stunning.

Banana Leaf Curry in Little India. £2 and stunning.

At this point the rest of the 28 person delegation had yet to arrive but that would change pretty soon…….