I have just spent a week with the CIArb training commercial mediators in Malaysia.
The CIArb Mediation Training Programme co-organised by the CIArb Malaysia Branch and the KLRCA (28th Nov – 4th Dec). Pictured here; Datuk Professor Sundra Rajoo, Director of KLRCA and President of CIArb with the faculty and candidates of 2016’s programme.
It was a great experience and I am always impressed by people being fluent in my language whereas I can speak none of theirs.
It was an intensive five days – I set off at 5am on Saturday and arrived their time at 11 am Sunday, going straight into a pre-course meeting. There is an eight hour time difference but that still meant 22 hours on a plane, taxi or airport lounge. The return journey started at 23.30 Friday and I arrived home around 15.00 on Saturday – so I missed the start of the England/Australia rugby test at Twickenham! We worked 08.30 to 18.00 each day, followed by a faculty meeting, so having a soak in a hot bath afterwards, followed by a Hendricks and tonic, was a (double) treat.
I had two inexperienced colleagues leading with me and four local shadow trainers, the intention being that they are eventually able to run their own course using local faculty, and there were twenty-one participants, mainly from Malaysia, some from Singapore and one from Hong Kong.
Unfortunately I saw nothing of Malaysia, except from the taxi drive to and from the airport and one visit to a Chinese restaurant. Otherwise, with the hotel being opposite the KLRCA building, I just saw a dual carriageway full of cars and motor bikes daring me to cross the road. However, I did experience some of the local food and realised that eating is a major part of Malaysian life. There was food at the venue to greet participants, food at coffee and tea breaks and at least four dishes to choose from at lunchtime. Not a time to think about my expanding waistline!
The course made me realise how much I miss training mediators. In Malaysia, which hasn’t really adopted mediation enthusiastically (yet), it was like the pioneering days of the 1990’s in the UK. Seeing lights of understanding being switched on in people is a real privilege and makes all the travel and missing home worthwhile. The CIArb use a DVD of a case study, mediated by me, which participants must watch before coming on the course. This saves time on the first day by replacing what used to be a demonstration case study. But the eerie thing was that all the participants greeted me as if they already knew me, and in some cases they had watched the DVD so often that I was watching Richbell clones mediating the case studies! Poor souls!