06 October 2010

2010 BlogFest.asia (Day 1)

[continued from Day 0]

The actual conference was held at Wawasan Open University. I really like this place thanks to its large grounds, colonial mansion in front, and the sea directly behind it. The place is well maintained and it really gives me a peaceful, out-of-town feel even though it is merely 5 minutes from the CBD.

I want to study here when I grow up

In my Day 0 coverage I lamented that I didn’t meet anyone new, especially foreign friends. Well, I shouldn’t have worried. As I was queuing up to register my attendance, someone stood behind me who was obviously not a Malaysian.

I immediately offered a handshake and introduced myself. Borey is a Cambodian IT student, and through him I got to know his hotel room mates, all 4 of them (5 of them squeezed into a single hotel room!). From one handshake I got to know Cambodians (Borey, Both), Vietnamese (Ami, Duy), and a local guy too (Lex). I stuck around them for the rest of the event.

Back to the conference…

It was obvious that the schedule was very organic and agile. Sessions could change in the last minute without prior notification. The best I could do was sit back and be herded like cattle through the day because it was impossible to predict if a particular session will change!

The structure for both days was similar – mornings were spent in the lecture theatre while afternoons we are free to attend our choice of 3 breakout sessions. I won't reprint the program which you can view at their website. Here are some photo highlights from Day 1:

Keynote by Prof. Peter Herford

An example of a panel discussion

Day 1's breakout session ended about 5, and since dinner started only at 6.30, I took the chance to go home to catch 40 winks. When I returned, the field in front of WOU has been turned into a garden party (one can fantasize). While food was not as tasty as the night before, Bamboo Catering is one of the better known caterers in Penang and they did a good job of introducing foreigners to cafeteria-quality food.


Sarcasm aside, at the very least they had fresh Char Kuey Teow but the queue extended almost 10 minutes for a measely plate and I gave it a miss. The Ais Kacang contained the bare minimum of red bean, sweet corn, and herbal jelly but managed to impress my international friends anyhow. If only I had the chance to bring them to Penang Road's Cendol and Ais Kacang...

Critical review aside, I should be grateful to the state government for sponsoring this dinner and the performance that followed (cultural dance and Chingay demonstration).

Dinner sponsored by Penang State Government on WOU grounds

Queueing up for dinner, catered by Bamboo Catering

Belacan Chicken, Fried Spring Rolls, Shrimp, Chicken Coctail, Vegetables, and Fruit

Chingay performance with WOU in the backdrop

The night continued with the MyBloggerCon awards, which honoured Chinese blogs. Since I can't read and write in Chinese (my conversational skills are elementary at best), I gave it a miss. Also, I had another birthday dinner to attend.... (yes, I had 2 dinners that night!)

[Day 2 continued]

1 comment:

William said...

What was the mansion before WoU moved in?