Putanga – Life on the Road

Stories from my journeys around the world…

Rush Hour in Malaysia

Posted by Monica Johansen on February 18, 2009

This week I am working on an emergency assignment in Kuala Lumpur. On Friday afternoon my manager asked me to jump on plane first thing Monday morning to assist a customer with a massive virus infection, and initially he wanted to me spend just 2-3 days on site to map out what needed to be done to ensure that technical support could assist the customer further. Hence, I was planning to return to Singapore on Wednesday night and I packed my bags accordingly. Frankly, based on previous experience I should have known better than only bringing clothes for 3 days, and now it turns out that my stay has been extended and I will not be returning to Singapore before Friday night. Luckily, there is always a hotel laundry service…

The Hotel Buffet

The Hotel Buffet

This week I am staying at a different hotel than usual, so I haven’t had a chance to catch up with my favorite concierge in Le Meridien. But I am pleasantly surprised by the new hotel, One World, which is located in Petaling Jaya, a satellite city outside of Kuala Lumpur. It is relatively close to the office where I am working, so it makes the traveling between the hotel and the office a lot easier. One of the great things about being a traveling consultant is the comfort and extra service you don’t enjoy when you are home (of course unless you are rich and have servants). Last night I tried out the hotel restaurant, and I had an amazing buffet with food from Italy, Japan, China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. As usual when I have dinner at a buffet, I ate too much, but it was definitely worth the uncomfortable stuffed feeling. In addition, the restaurant staff was exceptionally friendly and helpful, and they recommended different dished I should try.

Malaysia reminds me of Singapore in many ways, which I guess is no big surprise considering that both territories used to belong to a single country known as Federation of Malaya. But since Singapore gained its independence in 1965 the two countries have evolved separately, and today most people would say that there are some significant differences between the small island and its old “mother ship”. First of all, the most striking differences are that Singapore is more westernized than Malaysia, the crime rate is lower, and the country is a lot cleaner and more organized. In Malaysia things in general appears to be more chaotic, but I find people to be genuinely friendly, as opposed to Singapore where people’s friendliness seems to be related to whether they are making money on you or not. To me, working in Malaysia has most of the time been a good experience with regards to getting in contact with customers and people I am working with.

Although it usually applies some additional stress when plans are changed in the last minute, I am happy to be able to stay longer and ensure that the customer gets the required assistance. I know that most customers tend to think that they are the most important in the world, but this is in fact a very important customer to my company, and hence, I don’t like leaving them in trouble. At the end of the day, happy customers are all that consulting is about, and when customers are happy I tend to be happy too.

Selamat Datang ke Malaysia! 🙂


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