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Lunch with Malaysian Ambassador

BYUH Malaysia Students

Yokke Kokkonen | University Relations | 18 May 2010

Datuk Seri Dr. Jamaluddin Jarjis, Malaysian ambassador to the United States (pictured right with BYU–Hawaii students), visited with Malaysian students studying at universities in Hawaii. The ambassador came to meet Malaysian students from UH, HPU, and BYU–Hawaii, which was arranged by the Malaysian Embassy Students Department in California for networking purposes.

Royce Tai, a senior in accounting and business management from Malaysia, was contacted by the vice consul of education, who also attended the meeting, from the Malaysia Embassy to organize the group of BYU–Hawaii’s Malaysian students for the luncheon.

Ambassador Jamaluddin Jarjis, or “Ambassador JJ,” as he is affectionately known among Malaysian students, gave a motivating speech, encouraging the students to study hard and become a bridge between Malaysia and the U.S.

The ambassador represents the first prime minister born after Malaysia gained independence from Britain, Tai said. “[The prime minister] represents the new generation. He’s challenging us to adapt to change. He has the same mission as BYU–Hawaii, to go and study and return back and build up the nation.”

One of the changes Malaysian students are adapting to is the education system. In Malaysia, the education system is “teacher centered, not student-centered,” said Li Mei Low, a senior in TESOL from Malaysia. “The ambassador pointed that out himself,” Low continued.

It can be a real culture shock for students coming to America to learn and grow despite making mistakes or asking the wrong questions, said Tai. The ambassador commended the students for their courage.

-Photo by Royce Tai