Tag Archives: scientist

Nuclear Plant Expert: See Meng Wong

I’m pretty sure that when TalentCorp talks about wooing home the diaspora, See Meng Wong is the kind of person they have in mind (as opposed to journalists and other objectionables like me…)

See Meng was in Malaysia for his annual trip to celebrate Chinese New Year with family and friends. I missed him by a day but he kindly agreed to submit to a Q&A anyway.

Name:  See Meng Wong

Age: Born in the Year of the Dragon.

Hometown:  Born, raised and schooled in the royal town of Klang, Selangor.

Current city:  Germantown, Maryland in the suburb of Washington, D.C.

No. of years abroad:  Over 35 years in U.S.A. starting in Minnesota (during high school), Iowa (during graduate school in ISU), Louisiana, New York (13 years on Long Island outside New York City), California (in San Luis Obispo), and Maryland (over the last 14 years).

What do you do for a living?

My job title is a Senior Reactor Analyst in the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC).  I am a nuclear risk expert on safe operation of nuclear power plants with nuclear operations inspector credentials.  The USNRC is an independent agency of the U.S. Federal Government that has regulatory oversight for the safe operation of all U.S. nuclear power plants.  In addition to my current job activities at the USNRC, I am a technical consultant supporting the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) activities on nuclear safety.

What do you like about living in the US?

  1. Freedom to pursue happiness and make dreams come true.
  2. Generosity and graciousness of ordinary Americans towards the less fortunate and down-trodden persons.
  3. Pride in strong family values and service to country.
  4. Freedom to speak your mind and do what you want (as long as it is legal and you accept responsibility of your own actions).
  5. History – political, cultural, social, etc.
  6. Many beautiful and scenic spots for enjoyment – America the Beautiful with mountains, canyons, lakes, rivers, beaches, etc.
  7. Four seasons.
  8. Enjoy diverse arts, music, sports, entertainment, etc. of world-class quality.
  9. Ease of travel by plane, train, car, bike, etc., including amenities for the handicapped.
  10. Social civic consciousness and environmental protection of natural resources.

What do you not like?

  1. Arrogant, conceited, and presumptuous persons.
  2. Shoveling snow from my driveway after a winter snowstorm.
  3. Increasing gasoline prices.
  4. Being subject to high taxes.
  5. Corrupt politicians.

What do you miss about Malaysia?

  1. My family, especially the little nephews and nieces.
  2. Local food – nasi lemak, char kway teow, yong tau fu, Kajang satay, Klang bah kut teh, spicy crab, fish head curry, roti chanai, etc.
  3. Local desserts – kuih, ondeh ondeh, curry puffs, pisang goreng, chendol, ice kachang, bubur chacha, etc.
  4. Local fruits – durian (Musang King), pineapple, rambutans, mangosteens, etc.
  5. Budget airline travel to South East Asian countries (Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam), China and Australia.

What do you not miss about Malaysia?

  1. Wet and filthy public toilets.
  2. Rude, maniac drivers who ignore “road rules.”
  3. Traffic jam during afternoon thunderstorm.
  4. Smog, pollution, and drains clogged with uncollected trash.
  5. Stray dogs and cats on streets and in shoplot restaurants.

Would you move back to Malaysia?  Why?

Maybe, I will stay for a few months of the year to escape the winter cold in North America after retirement from government service in the U.S.  I may also spend a few months of the year in Melbourne, Australia where I intend to have a second home for retirement.

What were your impressions of KL during your recent visit?

KL is a bustling city with busy traffic all day and traffic jams whenever there is an afternoon thunderstorm.  I enjoy going to KLCC, Starhill and Pavillion malls to “window shop” and eat in the restaurants during weekends.  Since I come back to Malaysia regularly, I blend easily with the Malaysian crowd!

Anything else you want to add?

I play badminton and golf to stay fit and healthy.  I enjoy cooking, reading, and gardening when I am not in the gym playing badminton against younger opponents.

As an avid traveler and ecotourist, I have traveled extensively in the U.S. including Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean islands.  My world travels include business and vacation travel to Australia (Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney), China (Hainan island, Changsha, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Xiamen, etc.), Europe (Austria, England, France, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine and Eastern Bloc countries), Japan, Korea, and South East Asia (Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam).  I have enjoyed my travels to World Heritage sites: Angkor Wat, Bersakih (Bali, Indonesia), Borobodur, and Po Nagar Cham Towers site near Nha Trang, Vietnam.

In my most recent trip to Vietnam, I was privileged to experience a “motorbike” tour of Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong Delta for 5 days.  Although I complained of “butt numbness” for riding pillion on the motorbike of my Vietnamese friend for hours on the highways, it was a thrilling experience of the local Vietnamese people and their friendliness towards me.  I encourage anyone to do this trip once in their life as it was an unforgettable experience!

My travel to Changsha, China last month was highlighted by the experience of visiting the museum that housed the Mawangdui Han Tomb relics and the Lady Dai exhibit.  Changsha is the capital of Hunan province where Chairman Mao ZeDong was born in Shaoshan.

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