An intimate charity showcase by Double Take
Where did April go?  I guess it went by in a crazy whirl!  When 1 May, the Workers Day holiday rolled around, it was a very welcome day of rest for workers like me…

But it was all good.  Now I can say that I had the experience of sitting on Jalan Trus for dinner.  Yes, on the street!  The street was turned into a banquet hall for a special chiak muay thoi hee event!  It was interesting to relive the tradition of watching a show while enjoying a meal but I must confess that I couldn’t quite appreciate the music in the Teochew opera singing contest – probably because I cannot quite understand that dialect.

Even though the Soiree Musicale with the JB Speakers Club was a tad classical, I thoroughly enjoyed the recital, especially the exciting pieces played on the traditional erhu.  I was in the same hall again on 20 April for an intimate showcase by Double Take, the musical partnership of Mia Palencia, jazz-pop vocalist and master acoustic guitarist Roger Wang, that raised a total sum of RM80,000 for the MyKasih Foundation. 

Delicious and substantial Cold Dish platter at Pekin Sentosa
There was plenty of food to enjoy over food tasting meals but the most meaningful must be the birthday celebrations with friends and dinner with a friend from New Zealand.  The Pekin chain of restaurants has a strong reputation for good food and I’m glad they have kept their food standards consistently good.  Starting with the cold dish platter, I was impressed by the substantial portion and delicious flavours in every dish!

When my friends decided to hold Bhanu’s birthday celebration at Sweetwater, Chef Hans and his team dished out a delicious and most memorable meal.  At the first taste of their Paella Valencia, fragrant with assorted seafood and chicken cubes, Girlie announced that it tasted so much better than what she had in another restaurant.  So it was really no surprise that we managed to polish off every grain of that plump rice from the pan! 

Chef Hans and I at Sweetwater restaurant
While working on the feature on the 30th anniversary of Johor Specialists Hospital, I met with a few long-serving staff as well as several specialists from the pioneer team.  It felt odd to have an appointment to see Dr V K Ravindran, Consultant Otolaryngologist & Ear-Nose-Throat Surgeon, one of the eight original medical consultants with the hospital since the pre-opening years.  That’s because this time, I was not seeing him as a patient.  I told Dr Ravi that the last time we met was to consult him for my tonsillectomy.  He may not remember after so many years but he removed my troublesome tonsils!

As always, going on a travel assignment is great fun and it gives me the opportunity to meet other members of the media and this time, they were from Kuala Lumpur and Kota Baru.  Our group had an interesting time in an eventful itinerary that took us from the Johor Premium Outlets and Kota Iskandar to landmark attractions in the city like the Sultan Abu Bakar mosque, the Johor Gu Miao or Ancient Temple and the Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple, the nation’s first and only glass temple – on the first day.  The itinerary over the next two days included visits to Universal Studios Sentosa in Singapore, Sibu Island Resort and Desaru Fruit Farm.

With Dr Ravi in his clinic, Johor Specialists Hospital
The weather was scorching at Universal Studios and as usual, there were long queues for rides and photo-taking sites.  In Jurassic Park of the Lost World, the queue next to the T-Rex finally cleared and the young photographer persuaded me to take a photo with the T-Rex.  This started me on a photo-posing spree and when I met Herman Munster on the Walk of Fame, I did not refuse when he offered me his arm for a photo.  Over in Ancient Egypt, two bare-bodied macho young men standing on stilts were flexing their pectorals and posing for photos, so how could I resist that?

One of the media members in our group was Kee Hua Chee.  His outrageously glitzy outfit was designed to attract attention and it did.  From the start, this colourful character stood out conspicuously among the crowd and he changed into another bright outfit for dinner and yet another eye-catching suit the next morning.  By then, some of the media members were curious enough to quiz him about his penchant for colour-coordinated, custom-painted clothes and shoes matched with chunky, bling-bling accessories.  

Herman Munster and I on the Walk of Fame
To go into Singapore, our group had to alight from the coach to join the Immigration queue on both sides of the causeway.  I’m familiar with the route so we joined the crowd to walk briskly through but Kee could not understand why everyone was rushing. 

I had to suppress a giggle when I spied how other commuters tried not to stare after they gave him a second look but just couldn’t help stealing surreptitious looks at Kee and his dazzling outfit that was painted with his face and half-naked figure, holding a python!

When we met for dinner after our day at Universal Studios, Kee sported cheeks rosy from the sun that nicely complimented his attention-grabbing outfit that was festooned with glittering bracelets, necklace and rings that feature snakes and geckoes!  Since I was on a photo-posing spree, I thought one more shot with this flamboyant guy would do nicely as a memento.  So here we are in all his glitzy glamour!

That's me with the menacing-looking T-Rex in Jurassic Park

Bare-bodied young men in Ancient Egypt!

The inimitable style of Kee Hua Chee!

Check out his bling-bling accessories!  Whew!  The weight of them all...

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