Feature

A Dundee dynasty: Malaysian father and son both gain a Dundee education

Published on 21 October 2020

Hakim Manan grew up hearing about Dundee from a very young age. So, when it came to choosing a university to study at, there was no doubt where he wanted to go

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Hakim and Dato standing in front of the Fulton Building's main doors

When third-year Civil Engineering student Hakim took the journey from Malaysia to Dundee, he followed in the footsteps of his father, Datuk Manan Amir, who graduated from Dundee with a degree in Civil Engineering and Economics in 1983.

Just as his father did, Hakim has thrown himself wholeheartedly into student life at the university while embracing the wider opportunities that Dundee offers.

“My father was always talking about his time at Dundee and the friends he made here,” Hakim said. “As well as his great memories, we could see from his career that it prepared him well for the professional world. We are a family of engineers. Both my sisters are civil engineers. Our father inspired us all to study civil engineering.”

Manan now heads a highly successful consultancy firm that works on multi-billion ringgit projects across Malaysia. He credits Dundee for equipping him with the engineering and business skills that have stood him in good stead since returning home after graduation.

“The Dundee education allowed us to make successes of ourselves if we had the independence, courage and drive to do it,” he said. “It built the strength in me to become a successful businessman.”

Datuk Manan Amir, BSc Civil Engineering and Economics, 1983

“I chose Dundee because the course suited me and because I had travelled all over the UK and Ireland and liked Scotland the best. Dundee is like having the countryside in the city. Back then, the university wasn’t so well-known but it has really established a name for itself for civil engineering and sciences and some other subjects now. When I speak to my friends, they know all about it for these reasons.

“I have been back to Dundee many times and still love seeing the University. I took Hakim there twice before he made his decision and after that, Dundee was his first choice.”

Both father and son are big football fans and the game helped both adjust to life in a new country. Manan says one of the things he misses most about Dundee is the house he lived in. Not only was it a few minutes’ walk from the University but it also had a football field behind it where he would go to play with locals almost every day, making many new friends. For Hakim, joining the University’s Futsal Club gave him similar opportunities.

“The first time I turned up, the captain came over to introduce himself. He asked where I was from and how I was settling in, adding that if I needed any help with anything I should speak to him.

“Having that kind of support is important when you first arrive in a new country. I’m very lucky that everyone has been so friendly in Dundee and through things like futsal, my circle of friends has expanded.

“For me, Dundee is a very good size. Everything is close at hand and the pace of life is relaxed. Everyone is very friendly and even though the city is small, there is always lots to do. Every weekend I have friends saying ‘do you want to go there or do this’. I am really keen to join the university’s Sky Diving Club but I haven’t had time yet. Maybe next semester.”

Although 40 years have now passed since Manan first came to Dundee, the city and University remain close to his heart. He has been instrumental in establishing the University’s alumni network in Malaysia and remains in contact with many of the friends he made in Scotland.

“We are all texting and calling each other with occasional meet-up sessions,” he explained. “The connection we made will never be broken.”

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Alumni, Student experience