Saturday, 12 November 2016

Perspective: Eyes Abroad

BE is in Malaysia on holiday. A quick post reflecting the UK's standing in the world, seen from further away than normal.. 

Plenty of Brits like to say that the UK is a basket case. I do not deny our many problems but the UK is still, after all this time, one of the leading economies. Despite the Asian Tiger era and the self-reflection at that time in the UK about "Asian values" (remember that?) the UK is still miles ahead on all sorts of measures. Malaysia is not a poor country: there is apparently a large and prosperous middle class, the infrastructure is good - albeit not to a European standard by any means, and the economy has been growing at a healthy clip for decades.

But the Malaysians still seem to look West for inspiration. A stupid example of this is that Sports Direct is a premium store here, to be found in the more up-market malls. In the really premium malls you can find M&S. Of course, Starbucks and its clones are everywhere. Coffee is of course pretty well indigenous, but the European cakes to go with it? Not so much. There are fake Hackett shirts and a huge number of people have tshirts and polos bearing the Union flag and/or the word London. Many seem to support English football teams, some more than one. I have just seen a G4S cash delivery man - with a large gun!

The lingua franca seems to be English, despite the official language (and presumably most people's first language)  being Malay. I have overheard Malaysians of different backgrounds communicating in English. There is of course a certain jingoistic joy in hearing tourists of many nationalities having to use their English to get by.

All of this suggests that there is plenty of trade being done by Brits, and plenty of opportunity for more. They could use some of our architects and town-planners, just to start.

We could learn some things too. There are shopping malls everywhere, but a lot of the shops are clearly independent traders. There must be enough capacity to allow relatively low rents. The food courts and hawker centres provide the infrastructure for small operations to run restaurants at presumably quite low cost.

On the social side the Malaysians seem to be adapting to modern urban living. They have not yet got the hang of waiting for people to get off the tube first (in comparison to Singaporeans) but there is little littering and people seem generally courteous. 

16 comments:

Electro-Kevin said...

Getting off a tube first is just common sense and consideration for others. One suspects people who do this drop litter as well.

Enjoy your trip.

Nick Drew said...

happy holiday!

as mentioned here before, whenever I encounter east asians professionally (in situ in HK or S'Pore, or when they come over here) they clearly and explicitly ask us how energy markets should be 'run properly': they pay me to go out and tell them!

at government level I'm sure (particularly the PRC) they'd officially disown this supplicant posture, but at the managerial level they are quite straightforward and unabashed about it: we are just the fount of knowledge and good practices

long may it last: but, errr, I can't help feeling that one day soon ...

Blue Eyes said...

Two of my pet hates in London!! Very little litter, honestly. And the streets aren't as earnestly swept as in Singapore.

Blue Eyes said...

Nick quite right. We still need to go out and Sell. Just I don't think it will be as hard as many negativists say.

Also, forgot to mention that Tesco is one of their big supermarket chains. Now if only we could get India to open up its retail markets...

Nick Drew said...

I enjoyed the headline I saw somewhere this morning: EU warns: will punish UK for trade deal with Trump

dearieme said...

A late-middle-aged Malay acquaintance of my wife: "My late mother was pro-British."

"Why?"

"She could remember the Japanese."

Steven_L said...

How much is a beer there then?

Blue Eyes said...

Beer is outlandishly expensive compared to how much other things cost. It is basically the same price as at home (£4 for a big Tiger in a café), whereas a fairly decent plate of food can be had for about £2-3. It is a nominally-Muslim country with plenty of non-Muslims so I guess they square the circle by taxing it to death.

andrew said...

In Istanbul on hols
(t shirt weather) oh revolted at drinking tea (proper English) out of those silly glasses so we bought some mugs. Talking to the kurdish owner it seems they had a dreadful year and many businesses have closed. They were despairing of erdogan (every business owner we spoke to said this) and what they really wanted was not to send their kids to the UK, but to bring the UK system of govt to Turkey.
So, be is right but...
Is the export of knowledge a sustainable business?

Nick Drew said...

Is the export of knowledge a sustainable business?

well it looks to be set fair to see me into retirement

I stopped dealing physical energy in the late '90s: it's been knowledge (& a bit of software) since then

know what you mean, though: as implied by my comment above, I am constantly surprised (if delighted) that they still think we are the place to go for solid advice on how things should be done

but I've been thinking this for well over a decade and still it continues: sustainable? it's a good question

do any nations ask for consultative advice from, e.g., the Japanese? (who also know a thing or two) - I just don't know

Blue Eyes said...

And also it isn't something the whole UK economy can be based on. Not many Brits even know how we do it...

Anonymous said...

If the doors on a metro rail carriage are wide enough to fit at least 3 people, it is quicker to start getting on while people are still getting off.

adham said...


الشرق الاوسط من اهم شركات نقل العفش بالدمام متحصصه فى نقل عفش واثاث بالدمام ونقل العفش بالخبر كما انها توفر شركة نقل عفش بالجبيل والخبر وشركة نقل عفش بالقطيف والاحساء وجميع خدمات نقل العفش والاثاث بالمنطقة الشرقية بارخص اسعار نقل عفش بالدمام وتقدم ايضا شركة تخزين عفش بالدمام والخبر
شركة الشرق الاوسط
شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
شركة نقل اثاث بالخبر
شركة نقل اثاث بالجبيل
شركة نقل عفش بالخبر
شركة نقل عفش بالقطيف
شركة نقل اثاث بالاحساء
شركة نقل عفش الجبيل
شركة نقل عفش بالدمام

adham said...


شركة نقل اثاث بالجبيل
شركة نقل عفش بالخبر
شركات النقل البري بالدمام
شركات نقل العفش بالدمام
ارقام شركات نقل العفش بالدمام
ارخص شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
شركة تخزين عفش بالدمام
شركة نقل اثاث بالخبر

adham said...


كما انها متخصصه فى النظافة وتنظيف المنازل ونظافة بالدمام والشقق والبيوت والفلل والكنب بالدمام
شركة غسيل كنب بالدمام
شركة تنظيف كنب بالدمام
شركة غسيل خزانات بالدمام
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
شركة نظافه عامه بالدمام

adham said...


شركة تنظيف منازل بالدمام
شركة تسليك مجارى بالدمام
شركة غسيل فلل بالدمام
غسيل عمائر بالدمام
شركة نظافة بالدمام
شركة تنظيف موكيت بالدمام
شركة تنظيف سجاد بالدمام
شركة غسيل مكيفات بالدمام