by Maganjeet Kaur
Starting this year, a two-step process will be followed before trainees are graduated from the MV training programme, i.e:
- Trainees, having satisfactorily completed all requirements of the training programme, will be given a ‘Certificate of Attendance’ and they will be paired with mentors who will work with them to hone their guiding skills.
- After guiding for six months, a formal graduation ceremony will be held upon which trainees will become full-fledged volunteers.
Last Saturday (15 Mar 2014) saw 55 trainees from batches 19, 20 and 21 receive their ‘Certificate of Attendance’ in a ceremony hosted by Jabatan Muzium Malaysia (JMM). As the trainees milled around and enjoyed the delicious food, courtesy of JMM, it became quickly apparent that this year’s trainees have become very close knit and have obviously supported each other during the training period. This became even more clear from the speeches made by representatives of the different batches.
In her opening speech, Karen Loh (president of MV JMM) focused on the administrative side of guiding duties including wearing the MV vest and recording attendance. Karen also highlighted a new process due to be implemented whereby guides will need to fill out a short questionnaire after each tour to record the number of people in the tour, their nationalities and how they came to hear of the tour. This survey will provide valuable insight into the effectiveness of our marketing activities. More details on this survey will be made known when the process has been firmed up and the questionnaires have been printed.
Karen also explained that the MV is an entity under the Corporate Communications Division of JMM. This Division is headed by En Zainal and within this division, En Jamil has direct responsibility over the MV. En Jamil is assisted by Fiza who is responsible for preparing the monthly guiding schedules for the English tours as well as for the Bahasa Malaysia and Mandarin tours held during the school holidays.
Representatives from each batch shared their experiences on the training programme and Mayumi from Batch 19 (Japanese Group) was up first. She shared that the first challenge for the Japanese trainees was to relearn the art of studying as the last time they did any serious study was 12 – 20 years ago. They also had language issues as some words were difficult to translate from Bahasa Malaysia to Japanese and they also had problems pronouncing some of the Malay words. Although they were initially nervous making presentations, their experience helped them to overcome this and they are working towards giving a tour that is interesting, exciting and efficient as this is what their visitors want.
The primary message from Batch 20, represented by Frank and Janet, was one of thanks. Thanks firstly to the Malaysian government, through JMM, for trusting them (as foreigners) to represent Malaysian history and culture and this trust will be something that they will have to live up to. They showed appreciation for their three trainers, Hayley, Anne and Lena, for acting as mentors; giving their time and knowledge as well as patiently encouraging them through the use of positive reinforcements and constructive criticism. The museum staff, they found to be friendly, smiling and generally helpful. In short, they enjoyed their Tuesday training sessions which were accompanied by kopi tarik and nasi lemak.
On a lighter note, Janet said that in addition to learning the theory, they also had practical experience in handling the keris and that they practised silat in Melaka and were now ‘dangerous’ guides. Frank expressed admiration for his colleagues whose first language is not English as they did serious academic work and prepared presentations in a language that was foreign to them; showing that courage matters as much as brain power. He also expressed thanks to the Malaysian members of their class who not only brought in a vast amount of knowledge but also helped to put things in context for the rest of them.
In closing, they are looking forward to sharing the knowledge they have acquired with visitors to the museum.
Ee Lin from Batch 21 said that their team was lucky to have the triple J’s (Jo, Jane and Justin) leading them on their Saturday training sessions. She also thanked the MV President and other committee members who dropped in from time to time to offer help and in answering their questions. While Batch 20 comprised many foreign trainees, Batch 21 were mostly Malaysians but were diverse both in age and background. Three decades divided the youngest trainee from the oldest and the trainees comprised accountants, engineers, lawyers, designers, writer and teachers; each bringing their unique perspective on Malaysian history resulting in a ‘kopitiam’ like chat with everyone contributing to the discussion. Batch 21 also formed their own discussion group and Ee Lin felt this contributed to their learning and helped them bond into a family. Although they were nervous and apprehensive when making their first presentations, the support from the team nudged them on till the shyest person in the group became one of their best presenters. In the coming six months, Batch 21 members aim to hone their skills and not only live up to the standards expected of them but to go beyond these and become an inspiration to future guides.
Batch 19 analysed the requirements of their visitors and will be developing their tours to be “interesting, exciting and efficient”. Batch 20 will gratefully share back the knowledge they have received with visitors to the Muzium while Batch 21 wants to exceed all expectations and become an inspiration to future guides. With so much enthusiasm displayed by the trainees, they are going to be very valuable members of the MV and the MV is happy to welcome them into the fold. Kudos to batches 19, 20 and 21!