Blog 2: Exploring Kuala Lumpur as Teams Prepare for a Big Week
The Class of 2017 landed in Kuala Lumpur Saturday evening after 20+ hours of travel from Ottawa. They arrived the hotel just after 9 p.m. Some of the cohort checked in and found their beds while others took the couple of hours left in the evening to explore the hotel and surrounding area.
Sunday morning began with the exploration of a few key attractions within the city. We were dressed for a typical hot summer day in Canada, but the rising mercury in the Malaysian heat was still quite a shock to us Canadians. Thankfully our tour bus was equipped with cold water and air conditioning.
The tour began with one of the oldest and largest temples in Southeast Asia, the Thean Hou Temple. Candidates explored the temple while observing cultural traditions and many also took part in a fortune telling exercise on the grounds.
It requires deep concentration on your question, while holding a multitude of sticks in your hands. The sticks are then dropped into the holder. One then locates the stick that stands above the rest and finds their fortune in the drawers based on the number etched in the stick. If a stick does not stand above the rest, once can complete the exercise 2 more times. If the sticks all remain level with one another then your answer is unknown at this time.
The next destination was the Kuala Lumpur National Monument. Standing 15.5 metres tall, it is one of the largest bronze sculptures in the world. The monument commemorates those who died in the struggle for freedom, primarily against the Japanese during World War II as well as the Malayan Emergency that lasted until 1960. The National Monument consists of seven soldiers holding up the Malaysian flag. Each of the warriors signifies one of the seven qualities of leadership: command, unity, strength, wariness, suffering, courage and sacrifice.
By this time in the tour the heat was about 38 degrees Celsius with little to no breeze for relief. The pools and fountains encompassing the monument brought back the feelings of the hottest summer days in a Canadian July where the water in local pool or beach seemed to be the only sense of refreshing relief from the hot summer sun. We were tempted to dip a toe or two in but resisted by seeking the shade at every chance in between photo opportunities.
Our next stop was to the Royal Selangor Club, a British elite social club erected in 1884. In front of the club sits the Independence Square of which contains a cricket field. The tour guide, Marie, provided the history of the land from its early ownership by Yap Ah Loy for cultivating vegetables to government buildings then transformed into the social club and cricket field.
The last stop was central market, an indoor and air-conditioned market featuring boutiques, handicraft and souvenir stalls allowing candidates to have some shopping time. A team of candidates searched the the market and selected a special item that will be presented to the Executive Director of the Telfer Executive MBA program at Convocation in June. The presentation of a gift by the cohort to the program is a tradition that began in 1994 with the very first cohort and will continue with the Class of 2017's gift. The gift symbolizes both the cohort and the international destination and will be displayed among other gifts within the Centre for Executive Leadership.
The Opening Banquet
The official launch of the business week Kuala Lumpur began Sunday evening at the Telfer Executive MBA`s Opening Banquet. The program was honoured to welcome Her Excellency Judith St. George, High Commissioner of Canada in Malaysia.
Her Excellency provided opening remarks and welcomed the program to Malaysia. Her speech ended with a quote from the 13th Prime Minister of Canada John Deifenbaker who said
until the snow falls in Malaysia and rubber trees grow in Canada`
Banquet guests included seven senior level client representatives of the International Business Consulting Projects who are travelling with the group as well as contacts on the ground whom teams have been working diligently to develop relationship and secure meetings with over the past few months.
The event provided a social atmosphere and a strong platform for teams, clients and contacts to cultivate a beginning of a relationship which will continue to grow during the numerous business meetings this week.