International Arbitration in Malaysia – Joseph Paguio


My name is Joseph, and I’m a postgraduate law student at the University of Edinburgh. My interests and academic focus are in the field of international law and dispute resolution. Six months into my masters, I came across an internship on a google search with the Asian International Arbitration Centre. Although I didn’t think anything would come of it (like so many online applications), I thought that the opportunity would be a good chance to work in one of the most dynamic and fastest growing regions in the world. Little did I know, the hour that I spent on my application would have me boarding a flight to Malaysia three and a half months later. Spontaneity is a beautiful thing.

Arbitration is a method of dispute resolution that sees two commercial parties arbitrate their dispute – this means that an impartial three-person (or sole) panel of arbitrators hears their dispute and provides a binding and enforceable judgement. Especially in the international context spanning multiple jurisdictions, arbitration can oftentimes mean a more efficient, cost-effective and enforceable method of justice in comparison with litigation in national courts.

I’ve worked in Thailand before with the Canadian Embassy, but I think it’s normal to be a little apprehensive when moving to a new country for work. I was born in Toronto, Canada but grew up in our prairie province and then on the west coast in Vancouver. Having no family, friends, or support network on the entire continent of Asia (in addition to Europe in my case) can be a tough thing to face.

But being here in a country so far from home and so different from a culture of your own forces you to be flexible and open-minded. There’s no way you’re going to survive otherwise. I’ve always sought a diversity of experiences, and I strongly believe that the pursuit of this has made me a more well-rounded person. You have to take in and learn from not only the good experiences, but the bad ones as well. Its part of being human.

You will always have expectations when you move abroad for work. Your experience will always either exceed or fall short of your own imagination. But it will certainly not be exactly as you thought it would be. My experience here has been indicative of this claim.

I don’t regret coming here to Malaysia at all. It has sharpened my knowledge regarding the things that I want to do in the future, as well as the person that I would like to be. This is the main reason you should go abroad as a young person. I’ll most certainly be going back to law school at some point in addition to wanting to work here in Asia – this continent is on the cusp of some mind-blowing economic growth, and I full intend to be here to remain a part of it.

Until next time, Edinburgh. You’re sorely being missed.

Petronas towers

Singapore weekend trip

Categories: Asia, Go Abroad Fund, Malaysia

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