Recently I had the opportunity to speak at SCU APAC in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This was a whole new experience for me as this was the first time that I have been in Asia and only my second business trip overseas (see here for my blog post on my first trip to SCU in Europe). This blog post is a summary of my insights from the trip, some travel tips from a Texan and a few other odds and ends.
Here were the top 7 insights from my trip to Malaysia:
1. Vaccinations/shots: These are a requirement when visiting Malaysia from America at least. I went to PassportHealthTexas (http://www.passporthealthtexas.com/) and they made it easy to understand what was required and recommended. You need to make sure that you get on these prior to when you need to leave the country as in some cases there may be multiple rounds of shots required or recommended before leaving the country.
2. Jetlag is still real, it’s a beat-down, but there are tricks which help to negate itJetlag is still real, it’s a beat-down, but there are tricks which help to negate it. I know that this is obvious to those folks who have been traveling overseas for a while but it’s one of those which is amazing how challenging it can be when you are shifted by more than twelve hours. Tricks which were useful to negate this included sleeping on the plane as much as possible, and staying awake after leaving he plane until it was the end of the day locally. If you have the option I will say that hanging out on the beach and scuba diving kills jet lag very nicely! J
3. My language skills are still pitiful, however it’s incredible how much of the world speaks English. I was amazed at the significant percentage of people that we talked with who had excellent English and the signs throughout the country which were in English. These two facts made it relatively stress free to be a visitor in Malaysia. If you are going to go to the Malaysia I recommend travelling with someone from Malaysia or with friends from the Netherlands as they seem to speak every language required regardless of where they are travelling (shout out to Ray, Vincent and Maarten here).
4. Tourist locations. We spent a good amount of time in Kuala Lumpur (called KL). There were some excellent spots to tour while we were there some of the highlights included:
We scaled the heights (272 stairs up) and visited the depths of the oceans (ok, it wasn’t all that deep in the ocean since most of us aren’t scuba certified yet).
The Malaysians love their malls which means that my daughter would feel completely at home visiting. The picture below is part of the 6 story mall that we were visiting. The largest one we drove past reminded me of a Nebraska Furniture Mart!
Some of my favorite shop names were:
And you can’t forget to check out both the Fish Spa and the DC comic’s store:
5. Food and Drink. The food in Malaysia was excellent and if I stayed for a long enough period of time I would be much more round than I currently am.
For those not interested in local cuisine there was everything from Subway, McDonalds, Starbucks and Chili’s in Malaysia so there was no fear of going hungry.
We even caught a rare photo of Alex having a beer on his 21st birthday! (MVP joke here, Alex is older than 21 but when he shaves he would be carded anywhere he goes)
6. Transportation. I believe that Malaysian cab drivers could retire in New York. It’s hard to imaging but you are driving on the left side of the road, passing motorcycles driving on the shoulder to your left, them passing you on your right in the middle of the road, oncoming traffic on the other lane and motorcycles going the other direction on the other shoulder. The traffic patterns felt like an insane but fluid dance going every which direction at the same time.
The motorcycle drivers had an interesting approach when driving which was wearing their jackets backwards. I will admit, it does deflect the wind more effectively! There were lots of motorcycles and scooters in Malaysia and the helmet laws aren’t what we are used to in Texas. It was not uncommon to see a father and mother on a motorcycle with a child or two seated between them.
7. IT Community. The technical community in Malaysia that I had the opportunity to spend time with are really a great group of folks. They are just as passionate about System Center as myself and my colleagues and they nice folks to get a chance to know better.
It was interesting to see that IT attendance at the conference in Malaysia had a higher percentage of women to men than I have ever seen at an IT event. This appears to be directly related to the percentage of women in IT in Malaysia and the countries where were in attendance at the conference. At a glance this would appear to be about a 70%/30% split here in Malaysia (70% male, 30% female). In America and from what I have seen in Europe the percentage is closer to 90%/10% (90% male, 10% female).
The Malaysian audience was not very interactive in that when polls were made or questions were asked audience response was minimal. However, while the audience was not as interactive as we are used to in America, they appeared to be paying more attention during sessions as they were not actively working on their laptops during the sessions but were instead focused on the presentations.
Travel tips: Don’t assume that things will be the same as they are in America. The idea that the toilet flusher might be on the wall and have two different buttons was initially a bit of a head scratcher…
And note that when you are travelling in more rural sections of Malaysia don’t assume that the public toilets will be what you expect in even in rural America…
Speaking at SCU APAC 2014:
Speaking at SCU APAC 2014 was an excellent experience. It was great to get a chance to meet people from other countries who have the same love of System Center that I have. Here’s a few of my favorite photos from the event:
Thank you to all of the attendees in my sessions and to the coordinators of SCU APAC 2014! I am looking forward to seeing everyone at SCU 2015 in Dallas and don’t forget about the upcoming SCU 2014 Europe event!
It was a great life experience to have the opportunity to go to SCU in APAC. They have taken the SCU theme and combined it with their own flavor to make it their own. If you are in proximity to this event and want to know more about System Center, Azure and other technologies you should definitely check this out in 2015!
Goodbye to SCU APAC, I hope to visit again soon!
I wasn’t at SCU APAC – how can I see what happened (or I was there – how can I get the videos or decks?)
The PowerPoint decks are now available at: http://tinyurl.com/SCU2014APAC
And the videos will be available and I will update this blog post with the these when they are available!