One year old

A bouquet for me! [Blush! Blush!]

That morning of 11 March 2011, I did not know that the live-launching of My Johor Stories will significantly share the same date as the horrific earthquake and tsunami that devastated the north-eastern coast of Japan. 

Looking back to a year ago I’m sure my blog launch was not the only event that shares that dubious date as the dreadful double catastrophe that hit Japan.  As far as I know, that morning also marked the grand retirement event for Chong Lian How from her role as headmistress in her alma mater, SMK Sultan Ibrahim in Kulai and the honouring of their first headmaster Michael Parry as Bapa SSI.

As most first years go, it has been a very eventful and interesting experience for me – learning the ropes in managing my blog and updating it regularly.  I took my blog sifu’s advice to write more pieces that are not published in the print media and it’s heart-warming to see readers responding positively to my musings, woes and gripes.  Sifu also showed me how to navigate the back of my blog and it never ceases to amaze me that my readers are from a worldwide audience, even from Russia and Egypt! 

Another exciting development is how readers abroad, who once lived in Johor Baru, are connecting with my Johor stories!  A reader in the UK, who used to live opposite my Ah Kong or grandfather’s house in Jalan Ngee Heng, remembers our house with the badminton court and another reader, a former Convent Johor Baru student now living in Canada asked to get in touch with Dorothy Pereira, after reading about her on my blog.  

Inside cover design of menu at
Ke Ren Lai at Sutera Mall

A university undergraduate in KL who read my Chinese New Year traditions stories, asked me for an interview because she needed help with her project on Chinese cultural practices. While I’m flattered by her enthusiasm, I had to decline because I’m not an authority on this topic as my experience was limited to the growing-up years with my grandma.  So I did the next best thing – put her in touch with my friends in the Johor Baru Tiong Hua Association – who are well equipped to help her complete her project!

I often see my articles framed or laminated by merchants for display in their restaurants, stalls and cafés.  Last November I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only was my article displayed in Ke Ren Lai [Hakka restaurant] at Sutera Mall, it was also printed in their menu’s inside front cover design! 

I’m amused that IT savvy merchants are getting more creative now.  That’s because I recently discovered that Sushi Monzta, a Japanese restaurant has printed out my entire blog page, compete with my distinctive banner [ahem!] and my review of their restaurant and blown it up into a poster for display on their sushi counter!  

Poster of my blog page on the sushi counter
at Sushi Monzta
This same blog page with the restaurant review and a separate interview with the proprietor, David Tay, were also the first two pages of their menu.  I’m told that diners not only find this very appropriate reading material while waiting for their orders to be served, they also got to know David better from reading about him.  Johoreans who recognize his old photos also enjoy reminiscing with him about the Johor they used to know!

Recently I met Sennet Tzinberg again at the Riders Lodge for their annual riding competition.  He’s the American I privately call the Lord of the Manor, who runs the resort with the help of his Filipina wife, Agnes and an able team. It was a sunny afternoon and I was soaked in perspiration while observing the show jumping contestants in action.  While waiting for the next contest to start, Sennet, who probably noticed that I was melting, took pity on me and kindly invited me to sit under his shady canopy.  

My interview with David Tay on inside cover of menu!
If you’ve met Sennet, you will know that he’s a gem of a gentleman but you have to figure out when he’s serious or when he’s being sarcastic.  I was ready to cool my heels and enjoy a light-hearted banter with him but I was deeply moved when he gave me a few honest compliments about my blog. 

I thought he was just jazzing me up but I was absolutely blown away by the high compliment that he has added a link to my blog, the only one next to his daughter’s blog, on the Riders Lodge homepage!  Wow!

Sennet Tzinberg of Riders Lodge
Just a few days ago in early March, I received a comment from Johor Kaki who said, “Dear Peggy, I love your articles.  I have added a link to this article to my own blog post on Tin & Tin [Cathay Beef Noodles].  I believe readers will appreciate reading your article as much as I did.  I have also added your site to my blogroll.  Thank you so much.”  So now my blog is listed in Johor Kaki’s “Favourite Blogs in Johor.”  Yay!

Another reader, Ken Neoh, said, “Your blog is very engaging and I am totally absorbed into your every single posting.”  Whew! 

This is certainly a lot to live up to but it just spurs me on to keep doing what I enjoy most – writing about food, people and places of interest – in Johor and beyond!  I’m inspired by everyday happenings and human interactions so do drop me a line.  Who knows?  It may just trigger off another idea for a new post for My Johor Stories!  Happy Reading!


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