University of Leeds Alumni Dinner

My university life was an exciting one and full of fond memories. As I will at some point write about it in general, it was 3 years of trying out new things and experiencing things with an international flavour to them. I was very active in my Taekwondo and Formula Student/SAE activities. In the second year however, I helped resurrect the then defunct Malaysian Society. The economic crisis in 1997/1998 meant that not many students were sent abroad and most sponsors stopped sending students abroad. I was luck as I was the 2nd batch such activities resumed. As a result though, the once very large Malaysian community in Leeds had significantly shrunk and the Malaysian Student Society was disbanded leaving only the Malaysian and Singaporean Student Society (MASSOC) in place for Malaysians to find a familiar face. Anyways, I presented the case in front of the student union committee and got our new society, the Leeds University Malaysian SOCiety (LUMSOC) registered as an official Union backed society. That means we could get funding for activities from the Union. This started a whole new chapter in Malaysian student activities at Leeds. I think LUMSOC has grown in size and in quality of activities. I am proud to be a small part of that.

On the Alumni side, we have an "eastern outpost" of the international office here in KL catering for South East Asia (SEA). After I graduated I got in touch with the SEA office and they got me in touch with a few other people, seniors I've never met before and we all started to plan to get the Alumni organisation registered with the Registrar Of Societies (ROS). Unfortunately, the guy heading the whole thing - someone within the legal profession left for work in China and the whole process ended there. All the documents and stuff are still with me! hehehe sorry guys, I seriously can't get this thing running. Recent years has seen the SEA office playing a more active role in the development of the Alumni in Malaysia and we had our first official Alumni get together last year. Last year's dinner was great so this year's alumni dinner was much anticipated.

So, last night was the much anticipated Alumni dinner. The university has only done this once before this, last year and it is hoped that this event would be an annual event. I also hope it'll be an annual event cos usually the food is good! =) To be honest I preferred the indian food of last year but Delicious was good too! hehehe... Also, it seems to be the only time I get to see certain old friends. Yes, in this world of Facebook and Twitter (and also blogs, hehehe) meeting up is not as easy as one might think, esp if you are as anti-social as yours truly.

Anyways, only 4 other people I know turned up, Jiejah, Lini, Farah and Razeiman. Brian and Jasmine we randomly met there. Brian was an old Alumnus from 1976! I was not even born yet! He has a training business in KL now so it's cool that even foreigners keep in touch within the alumni network. 

Next to me clockwise: Jiejah, Brian, Jasmine, Radzeiman, Farah & Lini

I don't know why, but this photo turned out slightly better but we're missing someone here... (the photographer)

Sorry, our resident photographer, Emma was on her way to Singapore so we had to resort to my Blackberry's camera. Not good. So please pardon the low quality photos. The event started with us registering and getting a number. The significance of this number will become apparent later in the night. My number was 17. Then we looked for a nice table for us to "infest"... hehehe.....It was one of the ones against the wall with a nice bench and was behind a separate divider, so theoretically slightly less noisy. Once at the table, we were served with jasmine tea and it didn't take us long to quickly hog all the appetizers the waiters were circulating. This was the appetizers:

The event kicked off with alot of mingling. Well, us 5 were too busy catching up with each other to really mingle with the other erm... "older" Alumnus. When Brian joined our table however, we did start "mingling" and he did start to talk about his time at Leeds and all the halls of residences that we stayed in were not there in the 1970s. He even talked of the chippie (Fish n Chips shop) across the road "Sweatty Betty's" which the student liked to go to but was no longer there. Health and safety would never allow food to be served in newspapers anymore! hehehe... how times have changed...Now the whole row of shops infront of the university is conquered by halal take aways which is good for us muslims =) 

Delicious Mark Residences. The update on Leeds is going on

Anyways, after that the rep from the international office kicked off the evening with a quick update on the new developments of the Uni. I guess they wanted us to be aware of the new goodies at the Uni and i guess be proud of the uni and promote the uni to friends and associates. Leeds graduates do end up as influential people in Malaysia - some of them so word of mouth is a very good promotion method. Most of the stuff didn't interest me, but one: A new Swimming pool! hahaha... one of the things I wasn't to happy with was that Leeds Uni did not have a proper indoor heated swimming pool. Now that they will do in June this year I think finally Leeds is a "complete" university. Also, the law faculty which used to operate in old terraced houses within the Uni compound has now got a new building. well, will get a new building. All shiny and glassy... oooooooh...good for them.. Not that I'd ever use any of these facilities. I did have a walk through my department and University last year on my euro trip and I can tell you this: Alot has changed.
Ok, after that, it was the part everyone was waiting for: Makan! I didn't get to take a photo of the main buffet dinner though. This is a badly taken photo of the buffet table:

 Food was fusion but had a very indian slant to it. Not as good as proper indian stuff but it was good nonetheless. Too bad they didn't have refills on hand as when we came down first time, most of the food was finished! darn! I managed to get a lamb curry thingy piece and some nasi jagung. Selection was not as good as last year but the venue was much bigger that at last year's place. Oh, sorry. I forgot to mention, the venue was Delicious restaurant at the Mark Residences, just opposite KLCC.

Hmmm... whilst we were having dinner the SEA officer, Premilla handed out these "quiz" questions to select people. I wasn't selected but they put my name anyways... sheesh. So I got this yellow piece of paper with this question written: "What was the thing you could not live without at leeds". Hmm... tough one. I wrote down "Internet". This is because we did alot of series and movie downloads back then and alot of YM, MSN messenger, email and most importantly: Ebay! and other online shopping stuff. My housemate, Nick even did his grocery shopping via Tesco online! Lazy bugger! Well, to be honest as we didn't have a car carrying our shopping back was a problem so on second thought his on-line shopping is quite smart.

I had two other people whose numbers were on that sheet to ask the same question. See... that was what the numbers were for! I spent some time trying to find the persons but to no avail. So I just crossed out the numbers and put the numbers of Radzeiman and Jiejah... hahaha.. cheating. hehehe... it was interesting to see what people couldn't live without at Leeds. Radzieman said the "pop corn at The Light". The Light is a cool shopping centre that has the cinema and is very unique. The building is a couple of old retail buildings joined together with glass so you feel like you're walking between buildings but am shielded from the elements. Really cool. I think the pop corn there was biasa je. But I only went there a handful of times though with my housemates as cinema there is expensive and I was a poor student and ehem ehem... i could get the films by "other methods".

Side track abit. Leeds has a famous Sunday market at a place called "Cross Green" i think that's what the place is called - I never went there often. Well, it's an open air market on Sunday (or was it Saturday?). Nevermind, you can get all sorts over there - just like our pasar malam minus all the good food. I remember one thing very vividly. I overheard this guy who was selling DVDs. He was telling his customers that he was selling fake DVDs and that the were "High quality fakes from Malaysia!" hahaha! at that time I didn't know to proud or what... hahaha...

Ok, back to the dinner. Jiejah's answer was more elaborate. She said "Take Aways" and two other things that I don't remember. I think the take away bit is applicable to me too. Delivery was free within the Uni area so take aways were a very convenient alternative to cooking. Most mat sallehs don't cook anyway. The University of Leeds has 30,000 students and there is also the Leeds Metropolitan University and a few other colleges so the student population of Leeds is around 50,000 people. Imagine how many hungry mouths are there to feed! The take away businesses were booming. And best of all was the fact that they were mostly Pakistani owned so they were all halal. U name it. Chinese take away: Pakistani owned. Indian: for sure lah kan... Pizza was halal too. Cool. In Europe people have a tipping culture so these take aways were good in a sense that you didn't have to tip and the food arrives at your door step. Wickid. I kinda miss the take aways myself to be honest... Saya kan suka makan.... 

Anyways, that was the evening. it started at 6.30 and we left at almost 10pm. It was really good night out with old friends. Hope fully we'll catch up more often and not only at other ppl's weddings... hehehe...

I'm knackered and sun burnt from today's sports carnival. Will blog about that soon. Till the next post, pen off. Take care guys.