Archive for the ‘UK Working Trip’ Category

I smiled as I gazed through the window of the meeting room. And yes, there it was, the 35 student leaders from 20 public universities which have gathered at the Minister of Higher Education Office at Parcel E Putrajaya for the all day briefing. It was the anticipated moment as the delegation would be leaving to United Kingdom on the very next day to gather up data for report on the UK students perspective and to widen our horizon on educational issues.

su menteri

I thought to myself that this would be a great opportunity to tell Malaysians our story, as we were about to embark on a 10 day journey of meeting corporate leaders, academicians, Malaysian and UK students and many others in order to learn the culture, management, educational system and practices which have made UK a hub for educational studies. They say “write and tell them the world”. Therefore I write for the bypassers on my blog but not to write to tell you the world, but to broaden your minds and perspective as we are student leaders which are responsible to pass on knowledge for the betterness of our students and as a whole, to our society.

27th November – DAY 1

We reached the KLIA airport by the morning as our flight was departing at 10am. As we walked pass the immigration counter, I could see a sign of Malaysia’s progress. For Malaysians departing to an international destination, we need not the immigration officers to bother us, but just to slide our passport in a box and get our fingerprints scanned. All done in a matter of seconds. “a great triumph on technology usage” I thought and it was. The Schipol Airport at Amsterdam nor do Airport De Paris utilized such technology and it displayed Malaysians aspirations to lead and contribute in the scientific civilization today.

We hopped onto the aerotrain to get to the terminal building where the international airplanes would depart. And there I was at the gate, as usual, ensuring everything went well for the delegation as I was given the responsibility the day before with the help of encik sukairy from the ministry of higher education, encik wan and puan norlynne. I snapped a photograph and off I was on the plane.

Malaysia Airlines improved the first class and business class seats as they announced many years before. Features of luxury and comfort in the sky was apparent as seats could be changed into a bed and you could even have dinner much like the restaurants you visit. Nonetheless as a delegation we enjoyed the comfort of Malaysia Airlines by settling on the economy class which was much to our delight. As promised, meals are of good taste and for those that really love salad, yeap Malaysia Airlines did great. I’m a fan of jamie the cook and boy was I glad to be eating the salad and at the same time watch his tv show on the plane. After a 13 hours journey, we arrived at Heathrow airport.


Heathrow airport, one of the busiest airport in the world. Lines and lines of planes are there. For the aristocrats a plain sight it was, but for newcomers to London, it was a sign of success and progress of the economy. Enter the terminal and chill felt all over as the tempreture was 6 degrees. A wet day and unpredictable as winter was well on it’s way. We passed through immigration and there I was greeted by Encik Zaki, the education attache of the UK Malaysian Students Department. We took our bags and headed for the bus while I laughed as Encik Zaki reminded me of the old times when I lost my souvenir bag at the baggage area. My fault tho I was so obssessed of waiting for the luggage that I only noticed the bag was not there outside the airport.  Ah, nevermind that.

We reached Malaysian Hall shortly after and it was 8pm. For those UK graduates during my mom’s time, Malaysian Hall has bought a new building quite recently at Queensborough Terrace 2 blocks away from Queensway and a 3 minutes walk to Bayswater (near Hyde Park). A briefing was given, and as anticipated, programme to programme and it should be that way, we are writing a report anyway.


Yes for those important highlights, i’ll underline them for my readers.

Functions of Malaysian Students Department

The MSD as in it’s short form is located at Queensway in London. It has many rooms. So much for information hehe. It’s like a hotel with 20 rooms per floor in which consists of around 60 rooms with 2 beds per room. It’s relatively cheap compared to hotels but are available to Malaysians only (non students price and subject to availability: around 11 pounds for double room) and can be booked online via the Malaysian Hall website. In short, should you be a Malaysian student studying in the UK, the MSD would be responsible to facilitate the welfare and activities of the students. The ambience in Malaysian Hall is just like home and you can very much feel the caring atmosphere and rest assured parents, you’re students are well taken care of by the attaches;)  So if you do have any questions on studying in the UK, contact em at http://www.masduke.net.


UKEC – United Kingdom and Eire Council

After the short briefing I met Kamalnathan again and yeap as he has always been generous by volunteering to bring the group around London. He’s very proficient on all those public transport times;) The others headed to Queensway while I spent some time exchanging ideas on national issues with Khairizul in his UKEC room. Khai and I were classmates during our time at VI and it’s great to see that Victorian spirit of taking the lead and making a change. UKEC is known as United Kingdom and Eire Council in which it is the main executive body of all the Malaysian Societies in UK and Ireland. The executive body is extremely active in getting things done and one of the event that deserve credit is the 1st Annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit at Nikko Hotel recently. If you’d like more info on UKEC visit: http://www.ukeconline.com

Arrived at Malaysian Hall around 11pm and I was off to bed. Can’t get use to the time difference tho but tommorow will be another packed and hectic schedule.

huhu.. sabar. sabar. I wrote till the 3rd day and wordpress saved nothing and overwrite everything! arghh.. write again I shall. sabar.

28th November – DAY 2

We started the day off with Nasi Lemak at the Malaysian Hall. Yeap for all first timers or soon to be to UK, you will never miss Malaysian delicacies. The cafe at Malaysian Hall is open everyday and is located at the basement of the Malaysian Hall. You can get nasi campur, roti canai and mostly any malaysian dish at the cafe. the price is reasonable according to the local currency not ringgit of course. We were later in the Great Hall for Encik Nazri speech, the Director of MSD. The functions of the MSD are explained above for most of the important part so I’ll skip this one.

Off we went to Seashells Grove for our fish and chips lunch. It was rumoured that the late Princess Diana of Wales loved the meal there that she went there many times. Well, the potato jacket, fish and chips, salad and everything was great but give me Jamie Oliver and I’ll tell ya it’s even better hehe. I’m a great fan of his dish. Nyway most of us hurried to finish our meal to take pics outside of the restaurant.


I headed off across the street with my mpp family (yeap i call my friends in mpp my family) and we saw one of the great sights in London. There it was, a primary school where many schoolchildren could be seen playing around the compound and most of them are from diverse nationalities and yet they mix around well together. London is very much an international city in which if you read ancient text on Baghdad during the Abbasid era, I think it would look very much similar as it is today in London. Soon after we bumped into a Labanese guy which looked like a bus station controller and yes he was.

That’s where we asked on the transportation system. He explained to us that all the buses in the city of London was equipped with a GPS tracker which is the small device attached to the bus. The GPS would report all the time schedule and location of the respective buses. And yeap the bus controller was there to ensure the bus was right on time according to the schedule. The bus was very much punctual according to their time and it is great to see everyone accountable on the things that they do.


The Malaysian High Commission – Malaysian SRC Delegation Meeting

Next we get on our coach and Collin we were scheduled for the Malaysian High Commission meeting. It was an honour to be given the prestige and opportunity to meet up with the Deputy High Commissioner at the main meeting room. The High Commission building was an old bulding, and it looked small from outside but once you entered the premises, it was huge. Mind you, the British really does maximize all the space they have and it’s a wonder such a small building could accomodate so many rooms and my friends got lost in the building searching for the surau hehe.

The meeting was very much a diplomat meeting where the diplomatic structure and the commission role in serving the government was the main topic. Encik Rustam Yahya explained to us that Malaysia and UK enjoyed a very close relationship as we were in the Commonwealth and our history of diplomatic independance made our relationship intact with the British. For Malaysian nationals, should you need any visa, documents pertaining to malaysia can be obtained at the High Commission. The high commission also does explain to us the high number of imports and exports of between KL and London.


This may attract your attention should you wish to be a Pegawai tadbir diplomatik. PTD is one of the prestigious civil service areas for Malaysians in which you get to be promoted to various administration roles within the government bodies. Nonetheless, for those which has ambitions to be ambassadors, you need to master diverse languages which would be an asset to be located in the respective countries. I may not know much of the PTD but my question was answered and here it is. for more info go to http://www.spa.gov.my The Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Awam would tell you more on the career as a PTD. it is lucrative and one of the best should you have dreams to be the Ketua Setiausaha Negara. Be sure to check it out.

Malaysian SRC – UKEC Presentation and Forum

It was dark when I left the High Commission and we rushed back to MSD for our presentation and forum with UKEC.


The presentation was very much about the the higher education system in United Kingdom from the UK students perspective and the higher education system in Malaysia by the Malaysian IPTA students. At the end of the presentation we exchanged ideas on many topics to improve the education system in Malaysia. From the forum it could be seen that a mix of breed between the UK graduate and the Malaysian graduate could very much be profitable for the country as a mix of ideas according to the situation we have in Malaysia could be achieved. UK graduates enjoy the prestige of the UK government where education is a business and it could be a great standpoint to create such culture in the hearts of the Malaysian perspective. From a personal perspective to improve the higher education, industries need to see universities as the main research facility through colloboration to enrich their products in order to gain competitive advantage in the global economy. Once funding could be obtained from the industries, government funding could be put elsewhere to benefit the society. In return, university will be much more of a business where value added products (quality graduates) are produced and the students will be treated more like a client/customer rather than just a student in its entirety. Nonetheless, all these are pointed out in the Higher Education strategic plan and I really hope it would be a reality. Funding will forever be an issue that limits us, but a positive culture, patriotism and mindset to serve with sincerity to the nation above ourselves are not mere catalyst but the judging factor which sets no limit.

Such a packed schedule. Off to bed, not because of time difference but fatigue.

29th November – DAY 3

hyde park

I started an early day as we rushed for breakfast and head out to Hyde Park across Bayswater Road. It was just a 4 minutes walk there (london walking time hehe). The main pic for my blog was taken around 7.30am in the morning and mind you, it was cold because it was raining last night. We rushed back to get on board our coach where our ever friendly tour guide, David was extremely welcoming. Those words “sit down please” is very memorable to our group.

Westminster Council Chambers Meeting

Westminster Council House

This is one of the best part for the tour. We were given the opportunity to visit the Westminster Council itself. Not the House of Commons at Westminster Abbey do not get confused. We arrived at the council house where we were given a presentation on the council finances, adult education, education trips and transportation system. It was great to be given the prestige of sitting on the chairs of the councilors. I do dream my mpp have such a nice board room one day but counting the 10 months I have left, oh well, i’ll just have to wait till I get to establish a university of my own, God willing one day. Credits to Mr. Nigel for his accountability and I am extremely surprised on the transperancy of the British officals in admitting that Westminster ranks as the 39th most deprived area in London and largely concentrated in the north west of the borough. In my perspective, it does not show a sign of weakness, but you get to gather many ideas from the public to improve the system. It does display progress in the long term from such thought.

Westminster city is a part of London and is populated only a quarter of million but reaches a million during working hours. The city introduces the congestion charge system where vehicles which enters the city would have to pay a fee to increase the usage of the public transportation.  A matter of highlight is the Westminster OneCity programme in which the city is governed by many policy to benefit the public. CCTV are everyone in the city and it is extremely safe in London except if u do bump across some ‘orang gila’ which I did when my uncle brought me to Edgware Road for dinner. As a whole, London is a great city to live in despite the rising residential prices with the adult education as a priority. Additional skills such as Mathematics, DIY and many others are a priotity with the Lifelong Learning concept adapted.  A user-friendly-intertactive-website should be created for Malaysians on the lifelong learning concept to increase knowledge among our society. It would be profitable in the long run for cities to adapt policies such as the Westminster OneCity policy.

council chambers

For more information, visit: http://www.westminster.gov.uk/onecity . We had our pictures taken outside the Council House in which David dropped my N95. Yeah i took my phone away and no pics for that unfortunately. I’ll claim a new phone from him should I get to London again.

Get back for lunch at MSD with the Malaysian food and next comes the MIDA and MATRADE presentation at the Great Hall.

MIDA and MATRADE Presentation

MIDA is known as the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority while Matrade is the Malaysian External Trade Development. Both these agencies facilitate the process of export and import of companies to increase Malaysia’s financial growth.

For those entrepreneurs which would like to acquire more information on exporting and importing products, Matrade provide a number of services from consultation and advices on such issues. Many grants are given by the government such as the Brand Promotion Grant which focuses on brand promotion and such grants are for the purpose of encouraging exports for Malaysian companies. MIDA on the other hand acts as the consultants for foreign companies to increase the FDI and invest in Malaysia.


On a side note, I would like to highlight the prosperous growth of malaysia and UK relationship in which electronics was the main contributor where in the year 2006, the Malaysian Trade Balance was 582.1 million pounds. That is an enourmous sum and it showed that Malaysian products are very much favoured by the public in UK. For more information on matrade do visit: http://www.matrade.gov.my

We ended the Matrade talk and headed over to Oxford Street for our short trip at Primark. The clothes were in abundance and yeap do buy your stuff there it’s cheap and the quality is above average. For students looking for shopping heaven in London without those Zara or Armani type boutiques in Picadilly Circus, primark is the place. You can even find it at Manchester and Nottingham. It’s practically everywhere over the UK.

Tahlil at Malaysian Hall

Rushed back for our tahlil at the Malaysian Hall. It seems that Malaysians in the UK will be heading for umrah at Mecca and we were given the opportunity to meet up with the Malaysians in UK and get to know them well. Most of em are professionals from Petronas to Government agencies officers. There was also senior Malay citizens reisiding in London during the tahlil. We read our yassin and said our prayers together. None of the experience could be told but only felt as it is great to know that Malaysian Muslims do practice our religion despite being in a foreign country. In short, Islam is a way of life no matter where we may be.


Should you be in London, worry not of Friday Prayers. You could get the atmosphere of Malaysia’s khutbah at the Malaysian Hall or get to the Edgware Road mosque. The street is very much the little arab town where all arab delicacies and supermarket are there. Arabs are everywhere there so in London you actually don’t have problem with getting halal food. Ustaz Erfino was our ustaz at Malaysian Hall and I really do look high up upon him. As the education attache / religious representative, he had great command of english, wide knowledge on many aspects of Islam and educational issues yet maintain a decent feature. Praise for those that go great lengths for knowledge in the path of Allah. You can visit his blog at: http://erfino.blogspot.com

Yet again, I rushed to see my uncle in front of Queensway Station. I told him earlier I was meeting him up so I walked london style which was extremely fast like those people you would observe at King Cross Station. Londoners have a habit of walking fast and it’s a display of effectiveness. Actually he’s not my uncle if u look at my family tree as he was an Irish. My aunty married him when she was pursuing her medic studies at Ireland and my cousins speak both languages in their local accent. Yeap seronok gak tengok anak orang puteh jawab english but was questioned in Malay:p Nyway he brought me to an Arab restaurant at Tarbush and we had a great dinner. Sorry for not finishing the lamb shank ‘uncle’.

Hehe in UK, it’s not a custom to call people uncle nor any names like kakak or abang.. they just call em by names. It’s their culture, i’m not used to it but oh well, when it comes to global culture just like I learnt in Business Communication taught by Dr. Kenny, you have to eventually adapt it, for business purposes.

I got to bed and prepared my bag for the next 5 days at Nottingham and Norwich. I would be writing them in parts. Off to bed.


Read Full Post »