Week 9: Starting to Tie Loose Ends and a Weekend in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

This week, both projects have entered the stage of editing where things get a little messier before they get to the next level. Yes, it is a little stressful as I only have one more week here to tie things up! But I am sure both projects will come together. My climate change topic pages have begun the editing stages thanks an expert in the field and an ODM copy editor. I will have to make some adjustments and improvements, but I am still waiting on the outstanding feedback to make sure I can take it all into consideration before diving into to that process. I have started to outline a few notes and a general plan of attack.

As for infrastructure, we have found and received several more datasets and databases since I last wrote. Some of which have been helpful, while others, we realize, are primarily distracting us from our main criteria and objectives. The scope of this project is so massive, that we really have to continually check the project compass to make sure we stay on course. I’ve spent a lot of time with resources from china.aiddata.org, which, it turns out, is housed and operated by professors at the College of William & Mary! They are providing a great resource to anyone interested in tracking Chinese investment funds.

We are still trying to compile a cohesive set on projects related to the Asian Development Bank (ADB). What we originally thought would be “low-hanging fruit” is actually one of the more challenging financiers, as we have to reconcile various datasets (each with their own quirks and gaps) to create a coherent and consistent whole. The goal by the end of my last week is to have a well-defined dataset that meets our consistently applied criteria, with our methodologies for each financier well documented, in an excel spreadsheet with the project profiles as complete as possible. I have started populating the master spreadsheet but there is still a lot of work to do!

I have also helped out with last-minute uploads to CKAN this week to help the ODM team meet a deadline. It would have been a straightforward process, but one of the documents (on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs) was so large that CKAN could not process it. Error messages lead to Skype conversations with the Thailand-based team that manages the back end of the CKAN platform. It took several back-and-forth attempts, but they were able to adjust the settings to allow for the large file to be successfully uploaded before the deadline timed out. Phew. 

Last weekend, James and I traveled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was another packed weekend! We landed Friday night, found our hotel and crashed. Saturday, we were up before the crowds, and found a great breakfast place. After breakfast, we got our train tickets and rode to Batu Caves on the outskirts of the city. From there, we trained back to the KL Sentral, bought new tickets, changed lines and went to see the Petronas Towers. Haven’t heard of them? You’ll recognize them, as they were once the tallest buildings in the world. KL really does love its high-end malls. A trip to KL would be incomplete without doing a little mall walking! After a refueling with a really delicious lunch of beef rendang under Petronas Towers, we headed back towards KL Sentral but got off a stop early to see Chinatown and the Central Market. From there, we got our afternoon caffeine fix back at KL Sentral and called a Grab (Southeast Asia’s Uber/Lyft) and explored the Thean Hou Temple. We finished off the day with a stroll through, and dinner in, Little India!

Before the airport on Sunday, we had another nice breakfast, took a Grab for a walk through the Perdana Botanical Gardens and walked to Malaysia’s National Mosque. As if you could not tell from my summary of the weekend, KL is an impressively multicultural city. Different cultures, races, ethnicities, religions all co-exist. To me, witnessing the cultural diversity was the highlight of the weekend.

As for this weekend, our last in Southeast Asia, the Visas are printed and we are ready for Vietnam!


Batu Caves

Batu Caves Top

Petronas Towers


Little India

National Mosque