A small, selected crowd turned up at the Ambassador’s residence including people from the Danish community and diplomatic circles. Thanks to rain earlier in the day, the traffic was horrendous and the Consul was stuck in traffic for hours on end as were a number of guests causing a slight delay to the festivities. As always at the ambassador’s residence, the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed and snacks, drinks and good company were enjoyed by all.
The Ambassador in his speech praised both the Counselor and the Consul for being extremely reliable and hardworking and said that he had enjoyed very much working with both. A special thanks went to the ladies behind Steen and Søren… wives Tine and Sanne… for their strong understanding and support in their husband’s work and somewhat long working hours during their 3 year tenure in Malaysia. He also took the opportunity to welcome the new Counselor who was on holiday in Malaysia with his wife, Patcharee, for 5 days. Mr. Mønsted will officially start as new Counselor on 1st September.
Counselor Steen Hommel
Steen will be returning the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and his wife, Tine will be returning to Gentofte Hospital as midwife. Steen says:
“We have enjoyed our first posting overseas including our two girls aged 3 and 5. Malaysia is so culturally different from Denmark but life here is quite easy and safe. My wife and I have been very positively surprised about the openness and friendliness of the Danish community here, the same goes for the local population. You need help with anything… just ask!”
Steen continues: “The job has been extremely satisfying and exciting because I have been involved in so many different things. One of my biggest challenges must have been when I immediately after the Tsunami went to Phuket for 10 days to help identifying people, answer queries and generally help where I could give a hand.”
Consul Søren Einar Olsen
Søren also felt the challenge of the Tsunami. The numbers of enquiries to the embassy in Malaysia about loved ones increased dramatically in the aftermath. Søren will also be returning to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in fact, according the Ambassador he was headhunted by the IT department. Søren will amongst others be doing video streaming which includes videoing the Director’s morning meeting and seminars etc. These will then be uploaded to each Danish embassy’s web site on their servers and intranet locally so all foreign Danish representations overseas are updated without delay and without slow download times.
“I actually wanted to stay overseas for another period”, says Søren who has been in Malaysia for 3 years in his first posting overseas. He continues: “The new job, however, is extremely exciting so I am looking forward to returning to Denmark. We’re just hoping that we can find somewhere suitable to stay.”
Both Søren and his wife, Lone have had an excellent time in Malaysia. “Life is so different and very comfortable and we have learned a lot. In some ways, we feel that we as Dane shouldn’t always think that our way of doing things is the only way. Out here, it seems like people live in better harmony with each other despite differences in skin colour, religion and so on”, agrees both Søren and Lone.
Lone will be returning to a job with SAS in the sales department while 11 year old Viktor will return to his old school.
New Counselor Bo Mønsted
Bo is no newcomer to Asia though the position as Counselor in Malaysia is his first for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Some 10 years ago, Bo actually lived and studied in Bangkok where he went to Chulalongkorn and Thammasat Universities. He was also a trainee at the Royal Danish Embassy there… and met his wife, Patcharee who now speaks fluent Danish after 5 years in the cold.
During his years with the ministry, Bo has previously been involved in political work as well as being in the Export Council. Neither Bo nor his wife Patcharee have been in Malaysia before so they decided to take a 5 day holiday in Kuala Lumpur, conveniently coinciding with the farewell reception. It has also given Bo a chance to exchange information and experiences with leaving Counselor Steen.
Bo is looking forward to moving to KL to start working at the embassy on 1 September. His wife Patcharee will also have her own challenges adjusting to life without working as a nurse.