I was fortunate enough to be asked to attend BettAsia this year as a MIEE fellow but also as a panel speaker on the roll of social media in teacher professional learning. It was a full on trip, but I had an amazing time, learned some new things, made some new connection and strengthened some old ones, and also had a bit of fun exploring Kuala Lumpur… which is what this blog post is about. There is another one on my experiences from the conference.
I arrived late on Sunday night, and after waking up at 3am with my brain telling me it was 8 am and breakfast time, I got some more sleep in and then went on a ‘Country’ tour.. KL and NZ have quite different perceptions of Country it would seem 🙂 The tour included the pewter factory, the batik factory and the Batu Caves, and then on Thursday I went to the patronus towers. While none of the excursions was billed as especially Sciencey, there was lots of Science on display
WAS AWESOME. A weird type of chemistry heaven combined with a history lesson of the factory and settlement of the family to Malaysia, and an interesting display of different health and safety standards. The tour started with a walk through of the museum. To be honest, I was not that interested until I saw some old school Bunsen torches and burners and other Scientific equipment – To think what they made and had done!! There were some posters on the composition of pewter and how it was made.
Then I nearly lost my mind where there was a demonstration of the molten pewter being poured into a mould and being made into handles. The poor tour guide nearly lost her mind when I reached out to touch the freshly made handles – just like in where the wild things are, they were still warm 🙂 I still can’t get over the fact that there was just this cauldron of molten metal and the skill of the lady working on the counter. She had no barriers between her and the molten metal – and neither did the tourists. I could have watched it for hours. Sadly I got hustled along the tour (they really were very nice, and just trying to stick to the schedule, but I seriously could have stayed for hours – there was an option to do a class to make your own tankard, which I so wish I had had time to do) to see other amazingly skilled workers hammers, ingraving and doing all sorts of cool things to make the figurines, cup and trinkets that the factory produces.
As such tours tend to do, the tour finished at the gift shop. I was quite taken with an amazing silver sawn but at $100K NZ it was a bit much. There were also AMAZING chess sets, star wars figurines and all sorts of cools things.
Batik is a method of putting patterns onto cloth by blocking with wax and then painting over them. This stop was a little short on the Science than I would have liked (it wasn’t a Science tour, but there was plenty of Science there… I am totally thinking of stealing this idea for solubility next year) but it was still really cool to watch the workers painting the cloth and seeing the patterns come to life. There were also amazing scarves, which were duly purchased.
The caves were such a juxtaposition. Sadly, there were repairs going on when we were there, so scaffolding meant we could not enjoy the Gold statue to the full extent – but we could watch the monkeys scramble all over it. The caves were reached by a concrete stair way – and the geology of them was amazing. I couldn’t not get my head around it, there was no water source, no stream or beach. All the caves I have been to in NZ have had water in them, but not this one. Maybe it used to be there and has been diverted somehow…. Also, all the caves I have been to in NZ have been left to nature (with the exception of a few parties in the caves in long beach) and so the natural beauty is clear to see.
We were lucky that when we went the caves were not too busy. They were absolutely beautiful naturally, but also had shrines installed. Some shrines were beautiful and intricate, others seemed a bit tacky, and the temple with flashing lights inside the caves just seemed out of place to my NZ sensibilities. Also, the monkeys (I hope it was the monkeys) like to thrown things so there was litter down the sides of some cliffs, which also took away a little of the majesty of the experience. But it was still really awesome.
The Petronas Towers
Where ridiculously high!!!! Scarily so. I wasn’t so keen on going up them, but subtle peer pressure and a want to hang out for as long as possible with some awesome peeps, meant I went up. After nearly loosing it in the lift, the view was worth the trip!! It was fascinating for me to be up so high – it really was a feat of engineering. So with this trip in mind, my next technology challenge might be to build two towers with a bridge and see if the position of the bridge alters the strength of the towers.