By: Caitlin E Rams
First Part of my Journey
After 34 long hours of travel I arrived in Malaysia. It was extremely exciting to know that I would be experiencing a new culture for a week. During my journey to Malaysia the Spaceport contacted me to see if I wanted to join their progress meeting on Friday. It was with their resident architect to brief them on the process. I was hopeful that not only I would be able to gather plenty of information but that I would be able to offer them new insight by what my classmates and my professors had learned from Spaceports.
Upon arrival, I ventured to the city in the morning and explored mass crowd sites. I was able to experience some local foods and observe the different lifestyles. I met people on the train who were curious of where I was traveling from and what my thoughts were about Kuala Lumpur. I asked them similar questions- if they had been living here their whole life, what they thought of the city, and other places around Malaysia. Each story varied but I was fascinated how a lot of people were involved in a job in some business setting.
Meeting with the Spaceport Team
The next day I prepared for my first international business meeting reviewing our past projects and preparing questions. I was ten minutes early to my meeting. When I arrived I was greeted by a very nice man named Jamil who I had corresponded with over the phone and via email. He led me to the conference room to begin our meeting.
He sat across from me at the conference table and proceeded to tell me the development of the spaceport since 2004. He told me how they were influenced from other areas and countries and how they were interested in creating something more than just an airport. He told me about the research and the areas they are highly developed and presentations on research they have given on spaceports. He told me about the challenges the spaceport faces with producing enough investors to grow it and the struggles they face with receiving finances from the government. Jamil explained how they have tried to brand their image with their celebrity astronaut because people are very interested in the spaceports when he is around. He explained the hopes the spaceport has as they hope to turn into a commercial industry by designing hotels and universities. I was able to explain to Jamil the projects my classes were doing and how we had hoped to pull all of our projects together to create a website. I told him about our focus on sustainability and safety in mass crowd areas.
The architect arrived to the meeting 30 minutes after it began. He showed me his beginning designs of the spaceport and then continued to add on more levels, detail, and depth. He had 3-D diagrams and showed people inside of the spaceport and the spaceport at different times of the day. It took several hours to go through his work. At the end, I realized that they had great developments but a very long journey ahead of them. We ended the meeting with questions. I had wanted to know a little bit more about how they plan to be sustainable. I asked them if they had any questions for me and they thought for a little while. Then the architect asked me why women were interested in spaceports. I thought that this was an interesting question out of all the questions they could have asked but chose not to. Yet, I wasn’t necessarily surprised by it. I knew that gender roles were very different in this country compared to back at home. I explained the importance of STEM and how the spaceports were a developing industry. I described how it was important for both genders to be involved and to study aerospace, engineering, mathematics, and technology so we could all collaborate to produce the best space industries possible.
Closing the Meeting
As the meeting came to a close a couple hours after it began, we took photos and exchanged business cards. I thanked them again for their time and the opportunity to come here. They thanked me for coming to visit. As we left the office everyone put his or her shoes back on. I still find it interesting how it is offensive, not just in the home, but the office as well to wear shoes. I took the train back to my hotel.
Accessibility of Traveling
That weekend I journeyed to Tanah Rata and Brinchang, which were tiny towns in the rainforests of Malaysia. I wanted to see the accessibility of traveling through the country and the different lifestyles of one area to another. Traveling outside of the city was somewhat difficult. I took a several hour bus ride up winding mountains with luggage falling on you. It would not be easily accessible or safe for everyone to do this. I learned about the tourism and how important it was for their culture. The tourism industry of farms and famous rainforest hikes is a major source of revenue for these towns. This is how they attract tourists to come to their town.
I traveled back to the city on Monday to finish up screeners, and looking at mass crowds sites. I journeyed home the following day sad to leave the beautiful country. Although, I was content because I knew the research trip had been successful. I documented the local areas for preparation of mass crowd events. I learned a lot from my first international business meeting and was very pleased with the information I received and the opportunity to inform the spaceport what our classes had accomplished