Put twenty high-ranking business people from Malaysia, ten Malaysian-students and one English woman into an Italian Restaurant. Quintessentially it’s the whole country in one building, but officially it’s called a ‘networking event’. The University had organised this dinner to give students a chance to make contacts with the business group who were visiting the Cotswolds area from Malaysia.
Food, pictures and conversations were plentiful. An air of nostalgia casually drifted in the air. It reminded me of times when I used to hangout at the mamak (an outdoor food-court that runs 24/7) with my friends, except we all suited up, dressed to the nines and having dinner with a lot of datuks (the Malaysian equivalent of aristocratic titles). We even received business cards if some us are brave to contact them in our free time. It was honestly a big shock and warm surprise to see how easy-going and approachable these highly ranked business people were to us, the students.
There was advice given out: some about the business; some about growing up. The importance of working in a western society once university is over, and how to bring it back in Malaysia and merge it with the cultural mind-set of my home country. It’s not something revelatory to me as a university student, but in all honesty, it was very refreshing to hear from these individuals who are dealing in high-pressure businesses back home a daily basis.
Consequently, I should point out, that these people were a mixture of Chinese, Malays and Indians. There was no sense of hostility that would rival between ethnic groups in America and UK, and as one datuk pointed out: If only problems in Malaysia were solved with food…
I agree. Food is a universal problem solver. And selfies too!
You can read more on the official story of their visit here.