Thursday, January 27, 2005

Conference Blues

Before people think that we misused public money for the Delhi trip, let me assure you that we did go there for a conference and we paid for the sight seeing trips, from our own pockets. The thing is that I hate talking about work.

About the conference, it was held at the Grand New Delhi, which is really GRAND and is considered as one of India's newest and finest luxury hotels. For those who think that things are cheap in India - we couldn’t afford to stay there.

I noted one interesting phenomenon if I can call it that. The conference was like a gathering of Indian diaspora. A number of the participants from the US were of Indian origin. There were Indians from UK, Indians from Australia, Indians from Kuwait and so on. Among us also, there was even a Malaysian lady of Indian origin via Sri Lanka (she is a Tamil whose ancestors came to Malaysia long time ago from Ceylon now Sri Lanka). We had a surprise when my wife’s colleague (also her Head of Dept.) confessed that he has some Indian blood. His dad is Chinese, his mum is Tamil and he is of course Melayu. Interesting isn’t it. That’s Malaysia for you – “Truly Asia”.

Anyway, there were five of us from Malaysia and I am proud to say that we did Malaysia proud by winning 2 awards. I say we even though I didn’t win any, because one of them was my wife and I have to say she deserves it. Her paper was good, the presentation slides were very professional and she handled the questions like a pro – that she is.

We were surprised to learn that many of the participants were admirers of Tun Dr. Mahathir. Being a long time fan, it was nice to hear people heaping praise upon praise on Dr. M. Of course there were an ignorant few who had very wrong ideas about Malaysia. One of them queried me about the oppressed minorities and women. I pointed out that one of our group was a Tamil and two were women – including my wife. I asked him whether they looked oppressed and that seemed to stump him.

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