Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Free Dinner ... and the talking goes on

Halfway through dinner ... What's Wrong with this picture?

Ah, the perks of being a Coordinator. I get invitations to free food all the time. Mostly I ask my staff to call up and say, "thank you, but no thank you". But I could not resist the invitation to rub shoulders with a bunch of high-powered academics. These are Vice-Chancellors or their representatives from Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia and even the UK.

When I went for my fruits, desert and coffee (3-in-1), I bummed into the Registrar of USM (Azman), an old friend. How are you? I am great! And the food is great. And then he pointed to all the empty chairs and was very disappointed ... not because of the no show but because of all the food wasted. "Money we can earn it back" but the food not eaten is "going down the drain" (not literally of course). And it triggered my thinking. Hey, we got to include this in our sustainable development policy which we will be working on. And to think that we wasted so much food on Earth Day.

So, what was good at the buffet? Everything, according to all those I bummed into. But I liked the Koay Teow Thng. And recommended it to everyone at the table. I think almost everyone tried it, and love it. But there were some suspicion that the chef may have added MSG (monosodium glumate, better known as Ajinomoto). So, I wanted some more of this lovely noodle. I went back and the chef was standing there so I asked him point blank. "Got use MSG, ah?" The chef shook his head. And my friend the PRO (Mohamad) standing next to me said "they know what is MSG or not?". So I said "Ajinomoto". The chef confirmed no MSG. So, I had my second helping. Notice the way they roll up the koay teow into little balls. Very nice touch.

And these are my dinner companions from the other universities. One of them is a General, can you sport him? Another is someone I got to know from my futures workshops. And as Omar, our Deputy Vice-Chancellor representing the VC in his welcome remarks said "this is an opportunity for networking". That's just academic lingo for us to make small talk ... hopefully it will lead to big things.

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