Note: Mistakenly deleted this post yesterday while trying to amend it.
Every once in a while, you get paid for doing something very unrelated to work. Late one Friday, I received an e-mail at 5:25 PM regarding a scientific conference titled Science for Peace 2016 and organized by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM). My General Manager wanted me to attend and asked my reporting manager whether I had any critical tasks on the 15th and 16th. Five minutes later, I received another e-mail from him declaring that I had nothing important on hand and would be attending. Oh-kayyyyyyy. For some reason, my company was given two seats for the two-day conference and based on the e-mail thread I could see that many of the bosses found it a waste of time and declined to attend. In the end, it ended up on my lap. After my name was officially registered (together with another manager), I received a follow-up e-mail from ASM notifying me that the conference will be officiated by His Royal Highness Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, Sultan of Perak. Protocol dictates that all guests need to wear a formal lounge suit (no batik, no yellow please) hence why I needed to borrow a suit from KH on Saturday. Bloody troublesome having to lug the coat in its dust cover from the LRT BK5 to Monorail Raja Chulan. From Raja Chulan, I legged it to Royale Chulan Hotel. Really worked up a sweat.
I was early. Rested a while before heading over to the counter for registration. They gave me a goody bag of beauty product samples and sent me to my seat. The usher wasn't really sure I should sit. At first, they put me at one of the conference tables, but later they moved me to one of the front rows. The other manager who was supposed to attend was no where in sight (quite usual for him to be MIA, so I wasn't bothered). While waiting for the VVIP to arrive, there was a rehearsal for the prize recipients of Top Research Scientists Malaysia (TRSM). Snacks were also provided at the foyer. At about 9:30 AM, the police came on stage to perform a security inspection. One high ranking officer sat on the chair that was to be used by HRH Sultan Perak and also scrutinized the cup that HRH was to drink from. Human poison detector? Other personnel did a sweep of the area, rummaging through the flowers, etc.
By 10:00 AM, the royal guest of honour arrived and event began. The emcee had to go through a whole lot of 'palace talk'. Basically he started in Bahasa Malaysia to ask permission from his HRH to proceed in English. HRH would look at him, smile and nod his head as a sign of royal assent before proceeding. Loads of merafak sembah, mencemar duli, menjunjung titah, memperkenan, etc. After the keynote address was delivered, we proceeded to have 'breakfast' at 11:00 AM.
When we came back, the hall was re-arranged for first panel session on mitigating climate change risk. The first speaker was Tan Sri Dr. Salleh Mohd Nor, the first DG of FRIM and long time president of MNS. The tone that he set at the start was really quite shocking. It was like a flash card session with very simplistic points:
- Air conditioners - don't use CFC.
- Durian - enjoy durians together, create a peaceful existence!
I did not go home immediately. Walked over to the Pavilion to kill some time as KH was not off work yet. I did not walk around much because it was too tiring to lug my laptop around. Ended up at Nana's Green Tea to enjoy a cup of matcha kanten slushy. It was quite a refreshing dessert.