Guess who I met?

On June 4, I received a phone call as a follow-up to an email from the event organizers, reminding me to join them for breakfast the next morning before the media launch of Little Red Cube in Nusajaya.  I’m told that I should be at the Harbour Café in the spanking new Traders Hotel Puteri Harbour and I thought it was timely for me to have an experience of the hotel.  

I remembered Aidah’s invitation to the hotel’s soft opening on June 1, which I could not attend because I was in KL for my grandma’s 101st birthday.  I’ve worked with her before and I knew that in her role as the hotel’s Communications Manager, she will certainly be on hand to meet the media.

Entrance to Harbour Café at Traders
Hotel Puteri Harbour, Nusajaya
As my feet sink soundlessly into the plush carpet at the entrance to the Harbour Café, I pause to take in the décor and admire the nostalgic theme in the colourful montage of seeds and spices as well as the range of traditional receptacles used by the various local ethnic groups.  

I confess that I’m also distracted by the colourful jars of pickled fruits that line the walls of the path leading into the dining hall and my mouth water in reflex.  I can’t resist quizzing their staff about the appetizing looking jars of fruits but his answer quashed my hope of ever tasting them because he told me they were strictly for display only!

I’m shown to a section of the café reserved for the media and as I’m early, I can have my pick of the tables.  But before I sat down, I spotted Aidah!  She was recently busy with the hotel’s soft opening and understandably not updated with the recent happenings with me.  

Even though we are in a brand new environment, it feels just like old times when we sat down for a coffee to catch up with each other.  As the mug of coffee was served, I caught a waft of its delicious aroma and when I tasted the fresh brew, I privately approved because it clearly complements the standards of an internationally established hotel brand.

Dato' Eddy Leong [Left] in the exclusive
Tete-a-Tete session with the media
I congratulate Aidah on the opening of Traders Hotel in Puteri Harbour and anticipate a tour of the facilities for a review when they are fully operational.  I last visited her here when I was on my way to the Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park and she was then working out of a temporary office.  

With the hotel now open, I can imagine her pride and sense of achievement as a member of the pioneer team.  Just as we finish our little chit-chat, the rest of the media arrived and I join the group for the launch event that was followed by a tour of the attractions in the Little Red Cube.

That's me with Geoffrey, the mascot
for Toys "R" Us at Little Red Cube
Later in an exclusive Tete-a-Tete session with Dato’ Eddy Leong, Chief Operating Officer of Destination Resorts and Hotels, the owner and developer of Little Red Cube, we learnt that the tenant mix here will present visitors with a retail experience that is different from other retail malls in Johor. The retail community in Little Red Cube, made up of renowned brands in products and services as well as Food & Beverage outlets, will be open in stages and is scheduled to be fully opened by end 2014. 

Since the launch coincided with the school holidays, a Carnival with entertainment planned throughout the day and more highlights during weekends, is organized from June 5 to 23 to give visitors a taste of the fun and excitement in the Little Red Cube.  

From live band performances every Friday and Saturday, competitions in “Jumbo Sumo Wrestlers,” “Hot Wheels Car Race,” and “Nerf Gun Challenge,” caricature drawing, clowns and stilt-walkers to children’s games, the concourse of the Little Red Cube is transformed into a carnival ground.

Peggy, the Johor Storyteller meets Tony Johorkaki!
As I walk towards the event area, I pause at the stalls for a peek at the activities presented by the retail community in the Little Red Cube.  

When I turn to head down the pathway, I saw a gentleman who seems rather familiar and it took me a moment to recall that I just saw his photo in a recent interview with The Iskandarian, JB’s first community newspapers!  He probably also recognized me because he stopped to introduce himself as Tony better known as Johor Kaki, a Johor foodblogger!

The affable Tony is full of praise for My Johor Stories and I blushed even more when he thanked me for being his inspiration during his early days in food blogging.  Wow!  It’s not every day that I receive such kind compliments from an award-winning blogger.

Johorkaki blog readers meeting Tony at Little Red Cube
It’s ironic that this popular Johor food blogger is not even a Johorean [he’s Singaporean!] but his blog, Johorkaki, won the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism’s Best Fabulous Food 1Malaysia 2013 blog award!  

While we have a mutual respect for each other’s work, it’s funny that when we finally met, we just recognized each other – Tony the Johor food blogger and Peggy the Johor Storyteller!  

We have so much in common that we chatted over lunch, exchanging ideas and discussing the ethics of food reviews, among other plans to promote and preserve Johor’s food culture and heritage.

Thanks to the event at the Little Red Cube, we shared a very informative and interesting day. At the close of the itinerary with the media, as we are about to leave the Little Red Cube, I’m amused to see two ladies with children in tow, suddenly stop in their tracks when they recognized Tony!  

They are clearly fans of his food blog because they spoke rapidly, showing the thumbs-up gesture in an expression of their gratitude for his reviews and recommendations.  The spontaneous reaction from his foodie readers is a strong compliment for his work and an encouragement to take his food blog to the next level!  Congratulations Tony – Johorkaki!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Peggy, it is an honour to meet you in person after following your stories and being your fan for a long time :)