Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Asian Eyes' Malaysia - Tour Guiding

PC Chin (left) with Datin Chen
from Selangor Pewter

         Today is my first blog entry in 2015. This year, I decided to go back to school for a change. I am currently pursuing my life long ambition i.e. to be a trained tourist guide. I registered for a tourist guide Level 3 course at Excelpolitan International College in Bukit Dumbar, Penang, Malaysia. What attracts me to this college is the principal who is Penang's re-known tourist guide, Ms PC Chin. This course is a city guide course but I will have to learn everything including those in nature guide course. I will write on the lessons that I sat through, friends that I make along the way, places that I visited during field trips, research and presentation that I conducted in front of my class. This course has a lot of assignments, so I am treating this blog page as my assignment platform. I hope this entry and all future entries will give a glimpse to anyone interested to be a tourist guide what is this course all about, what to learn, and above all, also to give visitors from abroad a feel of what Malaysia has to offer.  

         The medium of tourist guide course is mostly done in English, both on the slides as well as the lectures. The lecturer would use English infused with a smattering of Bahasa Malaysia or Mandarin, where appropriate, especially when it comes to local names. The education qualification condition set by Malaysian Ministry of Tourism is 6 passes in SPM (equivalent to high school diploma or O level), including a pass in Bahasa Malaysia. However, if you have the passion, but did not have the required qualification, the tourism board will conduct an interview to gauge your ability to follow the course. The class is mostly in the evening from 7-10 pm (about 2 - 3 times a week) and will have field trips in the weekend (about 1 - 2 times in the entire 6 months course). Students are encouraged to participate in optional field trips overland (to Kuala Lumpur/Malacca), attend talks by historian or join in celebration conducted by Penang state tourism board. Most students in my class had day job and they study this course on a part time basis. They ranges from those in the tourism industry (tour bus/van drivers, tour agents/bosses, tour lead), manufacturing industry (engineer, IT specialist, operation supervisor), teacher, retirees and also the unemployed. The reasons they attend this course ranges from getting a second source of income, to legalizing tourist guiding activities they have been doing (illegally) and to pass time or to visit places for free. For the unemployed they are encourage to seek part time job in tourist line or tourist attraction sites which Ms Chin will be able to help. As for me, I am dong it for the passion and something to keep me active and on the go. In my class, we have 18 students with ages ranging from 20s to 60s. The wide age range make the class more interesting because we shared a lots of experience, both personal as well as working experiences, laughter and encouragements from every student. The students deliver their presentation in English, Bahasa Malaysia and Mandarin, depending on which language they are well verse in, or the language they are going to attempt the final examination in.

          The duration of city tour guide level 3 course is 6 months. An examination that constitute of written, slide presentation and coach 
presentation awaits the wannabe tourist guide at the end of the training before a tourist guide license can be granted. There are a total of 11 modules in this year city tour guide level 3 course, but they may not be taught in the sequence below. The modules are as follows:
C01 - Tour Job Assignment Acceptance
C02 - Tour Arrangement Reconfirmation
C03 - Tour Arrival Execution
C04 - Tour Commentary Delivery
C05 - Tour Itinerary Execution
C06 - Tourist Health, Safety, Security & Emergency Handling
C07 - Tourist Departure Execution
C08 - Customized Tourist Services Execution
C09 - Tour Payment Arrangement
C010 - Optional Tours Execution
C011 - Post Tour Reporting
         This city tour guide level 3 course is a living skills course. Students are expected to be self reliance, meaning they have to look up more information in internet, books, brochures, go on field trip, on top of the lectures and notes handout. Of the 11 modules above, majority of time will be spend on module C04 - Tour Commentary Delivery. 
The sequence of Tour Commentary Deliver also will not follow the sequence stated below, but will be taught depending on lecturer's schedule who also hold day jobs elsewhere. By the way, there are also additional materials that will be added in from time to time. In this CO4 module, we will learn:-
01 - Geography and Nature of Malaysia
02 - History of Malaysia
03 - Cultures of Malaysia
04 - Government Systems of Malaysia
05 - Industries of Malaysia
06 - Agro-based of Industries of Malaysia
07 - Cottage Industries of Malaysia
08 - Transportation and Communication of Malaysia
09 - Destinations Knowledge of Malaysia
10 - Tourism Products
11 - Events, Festivals and Entertainment of Malaysia.
           I have been attending this course for nearly a month now, and it seem like going back to school days and recollect back all the facts and figures in geography, history, economy and the like. As I am passionate about this course and tourism as a whole, this course is starting to be interesting to me. I hope by sharing this experience on the course and tourism in Malaysia, there will be more learned tourist guides in Malaysia and tourists visiting Malaysia. More on the course in next posting. 

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