Aug 20, 2009

A Monkey Stole My Peanuts

Today, Thomas and I visited the magnificent Batu Caves just outside of Kuala Lumpur (KL). After walking in circles around the confusing streets of KL, while dodging motorbikes in high heat and humidity we found the bus stop to take us to the caves. It was only a block away from our hostel. After a 45-minute bus ride, we arrived at the bottom of the caves. We walked up 200 steps and passed about a dozen monkeys. At the end of the stairs, we found ourselves in a very large cave filled with beautiful Hindu shrines. It was very cool to see.

Before we went back down the stairs, we stopped to have a snack. I pulled out a package of peanuts and tried to open it. Before I was able to open it, a monkey grabbed it out of my hands, climbed up the cave and ate my peanuts. It happened so fast and it was hilarious. I'm just thankful that the monkey didn't run off with my credit card like in those commercials. My hunger didn't last long because we had a fantastic Indian meal at the bottom of the stairs. One of the best things about KL is that there is fantastic, cheap food everywhere you walk.

We arrived at the hostel just as a downpour started. The rain lasted the rest of the afternoon and into the night. The rain here is heavy, usually accompanied with thunder and lightning. It's exciting. You have to run to get undercover when it happens. And it seems to be happening every day here at about 4 p.m.

So far in my Southeast Asian travels, I have seen Mosques, Churches, Buddhist temples and Hindu temples. There is a lot of diversity here. In Malaysia, the most prominent religion is Islam. There is even a Bank Islam. Many women wear the tudong, the islamic headscarf. Only muslim women are required to wear it. According to my Lonely Planet guide, women in Malaysia had great influence before the country became predominantly muslim. The following website has information on issues facing Malaysian Muslim women

Only one more day left until the start of International Congress.

Aug 19, 2009

A Tale of Two Cities and a Village of 107 Countries

Monday was my last and only full day in Singapore. I started it off with a trip to the beautiful botanical gardens, including the national orchid garden. Then I headed over to Chinatown and walked over to the biggest hawker stall center, La Pau Sat. After eating some hainanese chicken rice, mango juice and an egg tart, I headed to the Merlion statue, perhaps the most famous landmark in Singapore. Next, I visited the asian civilizations museum. It had exhibits on West Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia. It gave me a better idea of how the many different cultures surrounding Singapore have influenced its history. In the evening, I watched the light show at the Fountain of Wealth and walked around it clockwise three times for good luck.

Tuesday, I took a train to Kuala Lumpur. It was a long, slow train ride, with many stops along the way. But the scenery was beautiful and the price was to my liking. I checked in to our hostel by Chinatown. The outside of the hostel is pretty dodgy and hard to find, but inside, I found a cozy space, some funky decorations and some AIESECers.

Kuala Lumpur is very different from Singapore. I don’t even know where to start. There are so close to one another but worlds away. Singapore is unlike any other Southeast Asian city. It’s the cleanest, prettiest, most efficient city I have ever been to and likely will ever see. It puts Victoria to shame. Everyone is incredibly well-dressed. The streets and buildings are in tip-top condition. Rules are in place everywhere. No spitting out chewing gum, no eating on the subway, and no jay-walking. In KL, you have to be careful with every step so as to avoid cracks in concrete. You need to constantly look both ways when crossing the street. There is a complicated matrix of train lines: LRT, MRT, monorail and more. And each and every pass or ticket you buy will only work on one of the lines. Also, the weather here is much more hot and humid. I have gone through six bottles of water today and could have easily drunk more.

Today (Wednesday), Thomas, the LCP of Saskatoon, and I visited Chinatown and the Petronas Towers. We also stopped by the Canadian High Commission to get some giveaways for our Global Village table on the first night of IC. We managed to score some “Study in Canada” flyers to hand out. During Global Village, every AIESEC Member Committee attending gets a booth to promote their country. We are to wear our traditional costumes (in our case hockey jerseys, toques and red and white) and hand out traditional food (in our case maple cookies and candies) as well as little things to promote our country. There will be over 100 countries together in one room celebrating one another’s cultures. I can’t wait!
See a video about Global Village here:

Aug 16, 2009

Getting Ready for International Congress

Before I mention my latest adventures, I should explain the reason I'm travelling to the other end of the world. That reason is to attend AIESEC's International Congress 2009 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This is the biggest international conference in AIESEC with over 600 delegates from over 100 countries. There are five of us will be representing AIESEC Canada, our MCP (AIESEC Canada Member Committee President) our MCVPX (Member Committee Vice President of Exchange) and two other LCP's (Local Commitee President's). We won't be the only Canadians though. There are 3 Canadians on the Congress Committee who are helping run the conference, 2 on AIESEC International, 1 who is on the MC of AIESEC Spain and 1 on the MC of AIESEC Vietnam. Please let me know if I have left anyone out. What we will be doing at this conference is receiving direction and training from AIESEC International, meeting with other countries and local committees in hopes of creating exchange partnerships, meeting with international partners and much more. The conference is from August 22nd-August 31st. I can't wait to truly experience AIESEC in a global level. This is the first year, that our members worldwide who won't be attending the conference, will be able to virtually. Check out these videos for more information:, Everyone is also twittering about this conference with the hashtag #ICMalaysia09. And we will be having IC bloggers writing about different discussion topics at Along the navigation bar on this page are links to the "Youth to Business Forum" which will be happening at IC, as well as links to three topics areas that we will be writing about: entrepreneurship, mobility and sustainability.

Now on to my travels. Thursday night, I took a ferry to Vancouver. Friday, I hopped on a plane to Hong Kong. I had an 11 hour layover starting at 7 p.m. Hong Kong time, so I left the airport, took the express train to the city center and from there hopped on the Star Ferry to the Kowloon Peninsula where I ate late night dim sum (char siu bau, hau gau and rice--my favourites) at the largest mall in Hong Kong, and then walked to the harbour where I took photographs of the skyscrapers across the water (see picture). After that, I hopped back on the ferry, went back on the airport express train and slept at the airport until it was time to check into my flight to Singapore.

I was lucky enough to travel on the fantastic Singapore Airlines. I arrived at noon and checked in at the YMCA International House, which ended up being a great pick. It's incredibly central, clean, friendly and affordable. I spent the afternoon walking around Little India. I checked out a Hindu temple and a Buddhist temple. I bought tevas and a memory card for my camera at the fantastic Mustafa Center. The only way I can describe it is the Indian and more excellent version of the Army and Navy store in Vancouver. I had curry for dinner. Then I headed back home and slept off my jet lag. Today is my last day in Singapore and tomorrow, I will be taking a train to Kuala Lumpur.
There is something about both Hong Kong and Singapore that make me feel at home. Maybe it's because I'm Half-Chinese and I'm from Vancouver. They are both lovely cities that I could see myself coming back to.

Aug 9, 2009

Why it’s cool to be an LCP.

Last weekend was National President’s Meeting 2.0 in Toronto. It was overall, a fantastic conference. There were delegates there from 28 different local committees, most of whom were also LCP’s, as well as our 6-member AIESEC Canada Member Committee Team and two National Support Team Regional Directors. We met inspiring AIESEC alumni who taught us how to sell our internship program to companies and how to manage our teams. We learned about projects, strategic planning and national campaigns. We learned about life on the MC and all felt better connected to our new MC team by the end of conference. We shared our successes and our challenges. We connected to 27 other people all going through the same experience as us. We worked together to solve each others’ problems. And we all re-connected to our personal visions and personal passions. This conference was all about connection.

Most of us had experienced a loss in motivation this summer. Many of us had less members and less activity over the summer. But after this conference, we were all motivated and ready to bring back our weekend’s experience to our LC’s.

I was definitely feeling a decrease in motivation. But now I’m ready to challenge myself to be the best leader I can be. And as an EB we are challenging ourselves to lead our LC to be the best we can be. More than ever, I am realizing just how cool it is to be an LCP.

And here are some reasons I came up with of why it’s cool to be an LCP:

You really get to explore and develop your leadership potential. You are the head of your Local Committee, a non-profit chapter of the world’s largest student-run organization. You also manage about six Vice Presidents who are managing their own teams. You represent your local committee in National Legislation. Personally, I really feel like I’ve developed more self-awareness, awareness of others, resilience, effectiveness and flexible thinking.

The well-rounded professional skill set. You are managing and coaching others in team management, HR, marketing, sales, public relations, communications, project management, event management, finance and more. Even if you don’t know a lot about these areas before you start your term as LCP, you will become very knowledgeable in these areas by the end. As a result of my AIESEC experience I have had amazing jobs. The summer I was Vice President Talent Management, I worked for the federal government and wrote a youth recruitment strategy for inclusion in their annual strategic HR plan. This summer, I am putting my marketing and public relations experience to good use as a development assistant for non-profit.

he external contacts. Deans of faculties. Your Board of Advisors. Companies that hire interns. AIESEC Alumni. Learning Partners. And more. These are all people you get to meet as an LCP.

-The National Network.
VP’s and other active members have 4 AIESEC conferences a year that they can go to. LCP’s get two extra conferences- both are called National President’s Meeting. This year we started a trend of having limo rides just for LCP’s on the last night of National Conferences. In Canada, you’re part of a team of LCP’s representing 28 different local committees. Out of all the Canadian LCP’s, a few I would call good friends, some I would call friends, and others I would call warm acquaintances. ALL are people I intend to keep in touch with for years to come. But it’s not just the LCP’s that you get to know well. You also get to know many other AIESECers in AIESEC Canada. Other members from outside your local committee look up to you as well. And you’re also a part of AIESEC Canada’s National Team. And you get a nice black collared t-shirt that says so.

-The Global Network.
I’ve had someone from China call my cell phone in the morning before classes start telling me about some internships they had. My intern from Mexico gave me a fancy sombrero when he left back home as a thank you for all the time I had spent in helping him feel at home in Victoria. On August 22nd I will be at AIESEC International’s largest international conference. There will be 600 delegates from 107 different countries there. I can’t wait!

-There’s just something in the title. You are the CEO of your local committee. There’s that instant respect you get for being an LCP. My predecessor told me that while not everyone in the local committee will remember the past VP’s, everyone will remember the LCP. When I was elected, a past LCP from my local committee who served 5 years before me told me that I was now a part of an elite group of AIESEC Victoria LCP’s. I’ve met a number of past LCP’s from my local committee….some who served even ten years before me, and we all share similar experiences and pride in having been an LCP.

My next post will be of International Congress 2009 Malaysia! Watch it virtually here.