I come from a small city in the heart of South East Asia (SEA) and in an ever-changing world, it is not more important now then ever to make sure there is harmony and peace in regions such the South East Asians Country. Its this thought which led the leaders of the 10 SEA countries to set up the ASEAN. The ASEAN was set up on 8th August 1967 in the aims to accelerate economic growth, regional peace and stability, active collaboration, assistance to each other in the form of training and research facilities, effective utilization of agriculture and industries and to maintain close and beneficial cooperation with existing international and regional organizations. To put it in very simple terms: it is similar to the EU in the sense of it’s a organization which represents a lot of countries in a region but does not have the economic or security clauses of the EU. Hope that helps, if not please visit this website to find out more about ASEAN: http://asean.org/
Now you may think, why am I going on and on about this organization. Well, recently the UKSSC organized a young leaders conference in recognition of Singapore (my home country) chairing the ASEAN for the year 2018. This meant another trip down to London! And I thought why not I write about this!
So as usual, I visited by preferred travel websites to find the best way to go down to London, and I thought why not take the train this time (a decision I soon came to regret). So, I booked the 4.30 am train from Glasgow central to London – at first glance you might go “why the hell did you do that?” well, what do I say other than I learnt my lesson. The trip to London was not too bad, the train was pretty empty. I had purchased a ticket in virgin trains and quite likes my ride – it was as smooth as trains could be and I had a friend, so the trip was not as arduous as I imagined it to be. Once I reached the first place I went was of course – Chinatown! it quite close to Chinese New Year and I thought why not bring back some goodies while I am at it. Do watch out for my next post about Chinese New Year!
Right, so I had got the food, had got the goodies now its time to get to the High commission of Singapore, the place where the conference was about to take place. Being the organizing committee, I had to be there slightly earlier to set things up before the participants and guests arrived. I was in charge of the IT part to the conference (*cough*cough*) as usual. Soon enough the conference started, and we had very influential speakers come in to speak about the issues pertaining to the ASEAN region and possible solutions or strategies to tackle them. See below for the full details of this conference. This conference had participants presenting the different countries of the ASEAN, namely: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar, Loa, Cambodia, Viet Name, Brunei Darussalam (a total of 10 countries from the SEA region). If you want to know more about these kind of conferences, please check out: ukssc.org
The conference went great and there was no major hiccups, which is always a bonus. However, little did I know about the surprise I had in store when coming back to Glasgow that night. I started off from London Euston as scheduled but the train came to a halt 30 min into the trip unexpectedly. The conductor when announced over the PA system, that there had been a fatality in the train in front ours and that the train will be suspended till further updates. I was like…..what am I gonna do??? I can’t go back to London now and the only thing left for me to do was just complain while I watched Netflix while I waited till the train restarted. 2 HOURS passed and finally the train was finally on route. Then 2 hours into the trip, the train halted at the Preston station and this time the conductor announced the train had to terminated in this station due to technical difficulties – I mean…what a day huh? We were asked to get off the train and I had to wait for another train leaving for Glasgow. I would not say the way virgin trains dealt with this situation was quite appropriate but given the unforeseen circumstances how much could be done anyway? There was not enough staff to direct a full train’s worth of customers to their respective transfer train to say the least. I did get finally get in another train and was promised a full refund due to the delay which I liked about their service. But I had to get another bus back to Dundee that night since I could not make it for my previously booked bus.
Well, I wouldn’t say it a was a total disaster of trip I did get to meet some important people and get some goodies back home. But it was not the best either. So here are some train tips I felt will be useful:
- Get a seat near a charger point – you will thank me when you get off the train with a fully charged phone
- Get a seat in the direction of travel – not sure if this is something you might find troubling, but I certainly do I like to seat on the opposite side
- Make sure you have good company – be it a very chatty friend or Netflix, make sure you have something to get you through 4.5 hours of train ride.
Hope this helped! Till my next post #udou!