Disclosure: Forcepoint APAC Partner Conference 2019

This is one of my regular disclosure posts. You can read more of them here.

The Petronas Twin Towers KL

The Petronas Twin Towers KL

I was invited to the Forcepoint APAC Partner Conference, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur from 8-10 May 2019.

Tuesday 7 May 2019

After work, I traveled to the airport for my overnight flight (Malaysia Airlines, paid for by Forcepoint) using our usual PivotNine car service, paid for by PivotNine. I had dinner in the Qantas First Lounge (salt-and-pepper squid, a lamb noodle dish, and some cheese) before boarding at about 10pm.

It was only a (relatively) short flight of 8 hours, so I tried to go straight to sleep and skipped all meals on the plane. I managed a decent 5-6 hours of sleep before landing in Kuala Lumpur at 6am KL time.

Wednesday 8 May 2019

After getting through immigration, I had to wait around for a while for fellow journos who were attending the conference as we were all in the same car to the hotel, organised by Forcepoint. KL traffic was pretty bad by the time we got going around 7am or so, so we didn’t get to the hotel until about 8:30am. KLIA is a long way from downtown KL.

Happily a room was available, so I had a quick shower and then elected to grab a disco nap before trying to get a bunch of regular work done.

The Lighting Puzzle

Before I could nap, I had to figure out how to turn the lights off in my room. This was a more substantial challenge than I had expected, particularly with an under-caffeinated and sleep-deprived brain.

Each lamp had a different kind of switch, but I’d dealt with pull-chains and toggle switches before, so this was dealt with relatively quickly. Then I moved on to the built-in lighting.

Bedside lighting controls at the Grand Hyatt KL

Bedside lighting controls at the Grand Hyatt KL

Beside each bed were three switches: Master, Reading, and Nightlight. Both Reading and Nightlight switch were simple up-down plate toggle switches, so turning them off was easy enough. The Master switches were plate switches with both an up and down indicator, but connected as a 2-way gang switch operating the ceiling downlights in the main part of the room. Both up and down turned on or off the lights if you pressed hard, but if you were veeerrrry gentle you could change the brightness by pressing up or down, with up increasing the brightness as you’d expect.

Next I moved on to the bath/toilet/wardrobe complex. This was a series of little (like, 1 or 2 metre square) rooms behind the main bedroom area, with the shower looking out over the rest of the room. The glass around the shower/bath zone could be made partly opaque by operating the Privacy plate toggle switch, which was neat, and easy enough to figure out. The downlights in the corridor connecting all the bathing area rooms were operated by multiple gang switches, one near the room entrance, and one on each side of the entrance to the bathing area. There were two Vanity gang switches, and a single lightswitch for the toilet. Mysteriously, there was a Volume knob near the vanity but it didn’t seem to have any effect when turned.

Still, all of this was relatively easy to work out, though a little bit of hunting around was required to find all the switches.

The mysterious shower light control knob.

The mysterious shower light control knob.

But then came the shower/bath light. A single overhead light could be dimmed with a knob about the Privacy switch that operated the glass-opaqueness mechanism. I could dim the light, but not turn it off. Where was the switch for this? It took me much longer than I care to admit to decide to try pushing the knob. Aha! The knob was also a button that turned the light on and off. Mystery solved.

I moved on to the final challenge: the wardrobe. There was no visible switch near the wardrobe. I hunted high and low for a switch that would turn off the light in the wardrobe, but couldn’t find one. After a good five minutes of searching—at least—I was getting close to resigning myself to calling hotel guest services to come and explain my room to me. I seriously considered trying to nap with the light on, but the glow was still fairly bright through the privacy screened translucency of the bathroom glass.

Finally I tried moving the sliding cavity door of the wardrobe. It was a little stuck because the top guide had come off its rail after being closed too hard by a previous occupant. I jiggled it back onto its rail, and it closed smoothly, and just before it was closed completely there was an audible click as a switch in the top rail was activated and the light went off. Success!

And that’s the overly elaborate way I spent 15-20 minutes figuring out how to operate the lighting system of my hotel room so I could take a nap.

Rest of the Day

After a brief nap, I battled through a bunch of regular work, picked up my conference badge, ironed shirts for the next few days, and generally tried to get myself organised.

I also managed to use the hotel gym, which was very well appointed. It had the Olympic bar stuff I wanted to use (both chest press station and a squats station!), which was a surprise as most hotel gyms don’t have it, as well as the more usual treadmills and Swiss balls and free weights and so on. It really was a good gym.

For lunch I ate in the restaurant on the thirty-eighth floor of the hotel (called, unsurprisingly, 38) using a per diem of 300 RM provided by Forcepoint for miscellaneous expenses like this. I had an excellent mapo tofu.

Mapo tofu at 38 restaurant, Grand Hyatt KL

Mapo tofu at 38 restaurant, Grand Hyatt KL

For dinner we met with Forcepoint executives at 38. I had a gin and tonic, and two glasses of red wine with dinner, one each from a bottle chosen by our Forcepoint hosts.

Then it was time for sleep, and a fitful rest in a strange bed, with the added bonus of waking up 2 hours too early because timezones.

Stupid round planet.

Thursday 9 May 2019

Breakfast was included with the room, on the other side of the 38th floor from where we had dinner. It was a very nice buffet arrangement with my beloved Asian noodles station. I ate chilli noodle soup, and also tried congee for the first time (amazing! so good!) plus a very acceptable café latte and a croissant. It was with some regret that I elected to leave to get ready for the day rather than play an extended game of #BuffetBuffetHippo.

Chilli noodle soup for breakfast at Grand Hyatt KL

Chilli noodle soup for breakfast at Grand Hyatt KL

Lunch was a set menu of three courses for the gathered press and analysts as we talked with Forcepoint executives. We had an appetiser of tomato terrine with buffalo mozzarella and basil, then main of roasted chicken ballotine with spring onion, potato puree, green asparagus and thyme jus, and dessert of lemon panacotta with mango salsa and pistachio tuile.

For dinner, we were bussed to the Atmosphere 360° restaurant at the top of the KL Tower for a pretty ordinary buffet. I had some reasonable sushi and a sample of some rice and curry dishes, plus some satay skewers but it was all fairly forgettable stuff. I had some kind of beer, ordered for me by our hosts, which was cool and refreshing after standing in the heat and humidity while queuing to get up to the restaurant for half an hour. I also had about half a glass of, I think, a Spanish Tempranillo that wasn’t anything worth remembering.

Sunset over KL, from Atmosphere 360 restaurant at the KL Tower

Sunset over KL, from Atmosphere 360 restaurant at the KL Tower

I did try a durian-based dessert thing and I’m now happy to never have anything durian related ever again.

We bussed back to the hotel and I, like many of my colleagues, elected not to go shopping at Petaling St market. I’ve been shopping in street markets before and it’s not my thing.

I joined some Forcepoint execs and a journo colleague at the hotel bar for a nightcap, and after a couple of small whiskeys (Macallan 18, very nice) discovered that Johnny Walker Blue label was cheaper for some unfathomable reason, so we tried one of those as I’d never had one. It was nice, but I won’t be rushing back.

Friday 10 May 2019

I elected to skip breakfast and get a bit more sleep after waking up at 4am for a while (thanks, brain!) and honestly I was feeling a bit of a fatso after too much rich food over the past couple of days. Instead I brewed some tea in my room using a proper kettle and a teapot. There was coffee, but it was instant Nescafé, so tea was the superior choice.

I met with a Forcepoint exec for an interview at 9am, and then went back to my room to try to catch up on email and then pack to check out at midday.

Lunch was a simple buffet downstairs, I had rice and chicken with steamed broccoli, and then I hung out in the hotel lounge working until it was time to leave for my flight. I shared a cab with two other folk from the conference, but leaving at around 5:30pm meant we spent a good hour-and-a-half in KL traffic getting to the airport.

Curry Laksa in the Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge at KLIA

Curry Laksa in the Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge at KLIA

For dinner I ate in the Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge at KLIA. I had a small Ceasar salad, a curry laksa, and a sticky date pudding. Then it was onto the plane and an attempt at sleep overnight before landing in Melbourne at 8am. I caught a cab home, paid for by PivotNine.


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