Rachael Tong, the Big Sister

During their stay at Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong in June, Mr and Mrs Zhao’s 3-year-old son fell ill and had a fever.  When Mrs Zhao called the service centre for assistance, their son’s body temperature had already risen to 38.6 °C.

Once being briefed on the situation, our Duty Manager Rachael called the guests and suggested that they should go to the hospital.  When the family was in panic, Rachael reminded them to bring along all the essential items such as passports, credit card and jacket, and quickly arranged a hotel staff and limousine to take the Zhao’s family to the nearest hospital.

After returning to the hotel the next day, Mrs Zhao called for assistance again as their son’s temperature had gone up. Once again, Rachael arranged a hotel limousine to take the Zhaos to the hospital.  Luckily, their son got better after being treatment and the family returned to the hotel the same night.

To welcome their son back to the hotel, Rachael prepared congee and a get well tray with toys and a card signed by the entire guest relations team, just like a typical big sister would to cheer up her siblings!

Feeling grateful for the assistance from the hotel, Mrs. Zhao wrote a letter to the management: “… Special thanks to the Duty Manager and the service colleagues for these two days.  They checked his temperature many times without complain and showed empathy when my kid was sick.  I would like to extend my thanks especially to Rachael Tong, who proactively arranged transportation and offered complimentary congee for my child…With such staff and management, more customers will choose Shangri-La, and details determine all.  I couldn’t thank all during departure since I was in a hurry, but hope my message can be passed. Thank you!

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005 Memory – Kelly Chen

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In Shangri-la, we smile to our guests from the bottom of our heart. On Sept. 2nd, Training Department of HBKC organized a themed activity to our Front Office colleagues to emphasize the importance of SMILE 🙂 .
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Cultural Sensitivity – Bradley Barker

The United Arab Emirates is frequently referred to as a cultural melting pot made up of many different nationalities. This is evident by simply visiting one of the many attractions that U.A.E. has to offer. That being said the U.A.E. is steeped in tradition and culture dating back many years.

I moved to the U.A.E. nearly 10 years ago and in that time I have seen a lot of changes. Not only has the U.A.E. population nearly doubled in size but the country has become one of the leading cosmopolitan cites of the world. What is important to remember is that the U.A.E. is a Muslim country, founded on those beliefs. In order to become an inclusive expatriate (expat)  there are a number of “do’s and don’ts” that people should adhere to.

The Common Practice

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Appearance is very important in U.A.E., especially in the business world. For U.A.E. national males/females the standard dress code is the dishdash/Abaya respectively. Although this is widely accepted as traditional business attire in the U.A.E., expats should not adopt this style of clothing as offense may be caused. Instead, expat men should wear a suit and tie or at the very least a tie, jacket and trousers. Women should ideally wear modest clothing in public, high necklines with sleeves that cover their elbows and hemlines which cover their knees.

Greeting each other in the U.A.E.: There are many different greetings in the U.A.E. It is common practice for males to shake hands whist saying “As-Salaam-Alaikum” (Peace be unto you) the correct response to this would be “Wa-Alaikum-Salaam” (And unto you peace), this is usually followed by “kaif halak” (How are you). More traditional greetings may include the shaking of the right hand, whilst placing your left hand on the shoulder of the person you are greeting and exchanging kisses on each cheek. When greeting women, males should wait to have a hand offered to them, if this doesn’t happen a simple nod of the head will suffice. Likewise, for women greeting men, they should also wait for a hand to be offered. If you are unsure what to do, let the other person instigate the greeting.

For meeting etiquette, be sure to arrive on time, but do not be surprised if your meeting does not start on time. There is a more relaxed attitude to meetings in the Middle East. Once your meeting does commence allow for interruptions, either by the person you are meeting (answering their phone) or their colleagues (asking to speak with the person privately). A common faux pas in meetings is to sit with your legs crossed showing the sole of your shoe. This is considered very rude and something you should be mindful of. Do not be surprised if tea/coffee and pastries are brought into your meeting. Common practice is to accept these offerings and compliment your host on their hospitality.

As I stated earlier the U.A.E. is a Muslim country, therefore a more modest code of behavior is required. Public displays of affection should be kept to a minimum, holding hands is acceptable but anything more is frowned upon. There are many licensed bars in Dubai where you are able to enjoy a drink, yet you should remember that being drunk and disorderly in public is deemed as unacceptable and could result in a fine or worse. Finally, swearing or being rude/aggressive will not be tolerated in the U.A.E. and this could also land you in trouble should you be caught acting in this way.

The Decade of Changes in U.A.E.

Like most British expats, the lure of tax free earnings and 365 days a year of constant sunshine brought me to the shores of the U.A.E. When I first arrived in market the growth of the U.A.E. was driven predominantly by the oil and gas industry. Over the course of the 9 years I have been here this has changed and incorporated many other industries such as hospitality, medical/pharmaceutical and real estate. More recently the U.A.E. has seen a massive push to increase renewable energy sources. The Abu Dhabi government have committed to generating 7% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The nine years I have lived in the U.A.E. have brought me a lot both personally and professionally. From a personal perspective I met my wife and am now the proud father of William and Amelia. I couldn’t think of a safer environment I would want to raise my children. On a professional level, due to the continuous expansion and growth of the U.A.E. I have been able to build a successful career in recruitment which has enabled me to work for a market leader, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts.

The U.A.E. is a progressive, inclusive and proud country ruled by a visionary leader. As long as you are in acceptance of the countries traditions and ways of life the potential for personal and professional success is limitless.

Nature Protector – Sail Jamaludin

Ever since he was a young boy in Malaysia, Sail Jamaludin had a love and appreciation for the local Sabah environment. As a child, Jumaludin’s father would lead his brother and him through the jungles of North Borneo to explore native plants and wildlife. After years of study and experience working with the local environment, Jamaludin devotes his days to preserving and protecting the local environment as the Director of Nature Reserve at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu.

To celebrate World Ranger Day on July 31, we sat down with Jamaludin to get to know more about him, his background and what drives him to help protect the local environment every day.

For almost 30 years since graduating from university in 1987, you have worked professionally with the environment. How has your past experience working with Sabah’s environment shaped your vision for the reserve’s involvement to help preserve and protect the local environment?

My past experience has taught me that my responsibility stems from more than just my job title. It is my social responsibility as a Malaysian citizen to help protect the environment at the Nature Reserve and in Sabah. I am proud of the work the team and I have accomplished, such as implementing awareness programs to encourage visitors and locals to help preserve the environment.

In your opinion, what is the biggest threat to the local environment?

The biggest threat to the local environment is forest clearing, in which vegetation such as trees and bushes are permanently removed from their natural environment to convert the land for cultivation purposes. This practice affects the environment in a very negative way, especially the animals that are losing their homes in these ecosystems. People can help alleviate these threats by participating in awareness talks and adhering to the existing laws that protect the Sabah environment.

What has been the biggest positive change of the environment throughout your years of working with the Sabah environment?

The biggest positive change I have been a part of is controlling forest clearing. Also, I have helped villagers initiate eco-villages where they sell handmade goods and teach visitors about the local environment. This helps the villagers maintain sustainable incomes and helps prevent more forest clearing.

From your time working with the Sabah environment, what has personally impacted you the most on an emotional or mental level?

Managing the Danum Valley Conservation Area has impacted me the most. During my time there, the majority of my role was to ensure that no illegal logging and trapping of animals occurred in the area, which is about 46,000 hectares of preserved forest. While the role took up most of my time, I would say the sacrifice pays off for the continued protection of the local environment.

Since 1996, you’ve been a part of the Shangri-La family when you led a team to set up a 64-acre nature reserve at the resort. Now, what is your favorite part about being the director of nature reserve?

I love meeting tourists, leading nature activities and teaching visitors about the conservation and rehabilitation work that occurs in the Nature Reserve and in Sabah. It is my responsibility to share the success stories of conservation and rehabilitation programs at the Nature Centre and throughout Sabah so every visitor understands and connects with the programs and the work that is being done.

Shangri-La is proud to have Sail Jamaludin on the team at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu. We look forward to the continued positive impact he will have on the Nature Reserve as well as the environment throughout Borneo.

Learning in Shangri-La – Nikhil

Nikhil Nangia, is our Service Manager in Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel, New Delhi. He joined Shangri-La family since March 2016. Let’s see what happen in his story in Shangri-La!

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I am one of the newest member of the Shangri-La Family. I joined Shangri-La’s – Eros Hotel, New Delhi in March 2016 as Service Manger – Training.

While I was embracing the new workplace and culture I was nominated to be a part of the Shangri-La Global Academy Training Program* at Muscat, Oman. The Training program was on Process Mapping and Labour Productivity. The objectives of the program was to ensure the most effective and productive operations by applying more structured improvement tools, methods and techniques whenever operational or non-operational processes are re-designed or re-engineered.The workshop was interactive and ensured that all the participants gained hands on experience by working on a project during training.

My experience during training program was very enriching and enabled me to gain a thorough a new understanding of the Process Mapping and Labour Productivity. I considered mapping the guest preference program at Shangri-La’s -Eros Hotel, New Delhi. The project was reviewed and approved. It was interesting to meet training and quality managers from other Shangri-La Hotels.

Apart from the training, I was awestruck seeing the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, Sultanate of Oman and its facilities. I have travelled to many countries and stayed in some of the finest hotels like Conrad, Hilton, Taj etc. But I must mention that Shangri-La Muscat is class apart in every way. The best part is the breathtaking view from the hotel.

*Global Academy Training Program offers an extensive syllabus of leadership and hospitality programmes, delivered by a team of leadership and functional learning specialists, designed to support Shangri-La colleagues as they develop their careers and skills that will provide our guests with an unforgettable hotel experience.