The bad haze did not stop the British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Her Excellency (HE) Victoria “Vicki” Marguerite Treadell CMG, MVO from visiting the place of her birth, Ipoh city recently.
Primarily on a state visit to familiarise herself and her team with the political, business, educational and social environment in Perak, HE Vicki made it a point to also rekindle some of the old memories and connections she had when she lived here for the first 8 years of her life.
The youngest among two siblings, HE Vicki Treadell was born in Ipoh in 1960 by a Cantonese mother and father of French-Dutch ancestry and resided in Maxwell Road. Before working in Malaysia, HE Vicki spent four years as British High Commissioner to New Zealand and another four years as British Deputy High Commissioner based in Mumbai. This was Vicki’s first visit to Ipoh after she was appointed as the British High Commissioner to Malaysia on October 21 last year and Ipoh Echo was given the privilege to meet and join her on visits around the city.
Visit to Tenby International School
On October 19, HE Vicki with her team visited Tenby International School where she delivered a speech entitled “Big Achievements Require Big Dreams” to students from various schools including her Alma Mater, Tarcisian Convent.
“As usual when I was schooling here, people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. When I was fifteen, I had an idea to become a lawyer, and then the next month I wanted to be an actress, and the following month I wanted to become a doctor. I finally decided to study law and it became my ambition to become a lawyer.”
She further related to the students, that after she finished her A-levels, instead of going straight to university as planned, Vicki decided to take a gap year and travel with some of her friends. Her parents were hesitant at first, but Vicki believed that she needed to break the mold and be different from her older sister.
“My parents were business people. Instead of paying for my trips, they asked me to take a job and for every penny I saved, they will match it. This is when I landed a job working at the Foreign and Commonwealth office and decided to make a career with the British diplomatic foreign service.”
“I didn’t go to university. I know a lot of parents are saying that it is the root of success but there are other ways. It is a slow ladder, but I was working at the right place and I knew it was possible to achieve my dream,” said Vicki.
The session continued with a Q&A session where the students were most forthcoming in asking HE about her dreams, experiences, her favourite country and her upcoming plans.
Perak Youth Ponder Ipoh’s Past, Present and Future
After spending a few hours visiting Han Chin Pet Soo, HE Vicki spent an evening with Perak’s youth on October 20 at Plan B located at Kong Heng Square to discuss about Ipoh’s past, present and future. Through the Successor Generation Initiative programme by British High Commission, young Malaysians are given the opportunity to develop their leadership skills including debates, round-table discussions, mentoring opportunities and capacity-building programmes. The aim is to create a two-way dialogue where the British High Commission can hear from Malaysia’s future leaders on how the UK can remain relevant to Malaysia.
During the discussion, Vicki shared with the youth about her family background including how her family started working in Malaysia and how her parents met each other. The attendees were given a chance to introduce themselves and talk about their opinions on Ipoh.
“Ipoh has so many things to offer especially from the art and music scene. People have been coming to Ipoh not only to enjoy our food but also the art scene. More things should be done to help build the movement ,” said Seyn Jukey, co founder of Projek Rabak, an art collective formed in Ipoh on January 2011.
Visit to Tesco’s Fresh Supplier Facility
On October 22, HE Vicki and her team visited Tesco’s fresh supplier and distribution facilities for a tour. Tesco which is a British multinational company headquartered in Hertfordshire UK, has been a success story in Malaysia. She talked about bilateral trade and investments as well as how UK companies have contributed to Malaysia’s nation building through economic and employment growth.
“Tesco has been a leading retail store in Malaysia and it has collectively created more than 70,000 job opportunities in this country alone. I am pleased to see that Tesco has taken the lead in adopting a sustainable business model,” said Vicki
Tesco’s Corporate Affairs and Government Relations Director, Dato’ Azlam Shah Alias who was at the affair, pointed out how Tesco Fresh Distribution Centre has helped to make a difference to the lives of the community in Simpang Pulai and its surrounding areas with more job creation, a growing population, more residential and commercial development and a growing local economy.
Perak Academy Lecture and Dinner
Following her visit to Tesco, HE Vicki was invited as a distinguished guest by Perak Academy to give a talk entitled ‘The Commonwealth, Then and Now’ at Meru Valley Golf & Country Club.
The rest of the week was filled with private meetings and dinners with leading members of the business community, one of which was hosted by Dato’ Lim Si Boon at his family home.