My Johor Stories at Rotary Club of Johor Baru

Before the Southern section of The New Straits Times newspapers called Johor Streets ceased its publication in 2015, I often covered community events and had the privilege to work with the Rotary Club of Johor Baru (RCJB) and shared their community projects in this section.

Rotary Club of Johor Baru president, Datuk Teo Shiok Fu,
[Center] speaking at the start of the club meeting
Over the years, as I got acquainted with the projects initiated by RCJB, the oldest Rotary Club in Johor, I had the opportunity to join the club in fund-raising activities and president installations and report on them.

The members of the club soon became familiar with what I was doing to share with readers, their community projects and how people were benefiting from it.

Among their signature projects are the Rotary Hemodialysis Centre and the Palliative Care Association of Johor Baru which continues to help needy patients in and around JB. Besides education programmes to fight the spread of dengue, they also run a home for children from underprivileged families and have a commitment to wipe out polio in this part of the world.

Past President, J S Kwang, giving an introduction
of the guest speaker [me!]
During their annual Rotary District Assembly of Rotary International District 3310, I was often invited to join their Spouses Programme that usually included a charity event as well as visits to places of interest here.

So I was not only acquainted with the club members but also with their wives. I also had the privilege of getting to know several club presidents and their community projects.

This year, after Datuk Teo Shiok Fu was installed as the 66th President of the RCJB on July 1, he graciously agreed to attend my book launch event on July 15.

All eyes were riveted to the screen during my presentation
Datuk Teo probably didn’t know it then but at my event, he learnt that I featured the RCJB among other Non-Governmental Organizations in my tribute to unsung heroes.

Back in May, I was a guest of the RCJB when they held their regular meeting at the Amari hotel. 

I accepted their invitation and joined them at this meeting because I too wanted a peek into the hotel that was built on the site of the former Rex and Lido movie theatres.

It was my privilege to introduce
my book at the RCJB meeting
It was good to meet the club members again at this meeting and I remember sitting next to Dave Chellam, who happened to be a former classmate of my Uncle Victor, at Saint Joseph’s School.

It was there that I agreed to be a guest speaker at a future club meeting because I had a topic to present and it would be good to share it among old friends. A date was fixed four weeks after my book launch and as the date drew closer, I was given a gentle reminder of the date, time and place for their regular club meeting.

Incidentally, their meetings are held at the DoubleTree by Hilton JB, the same venue where my book was launched. So it was like a home-coming as I prepared to speak to a room full of gentlemen club members with a handful of lady guests.

As Rotary Club meetings go, there was a structure and format – quite formal but still relaxed. By sounding a gong, the club president called the meeting to order.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the guest speaker was to sit next to the club president at the front of the meeting hall. So I took my place next to Datuk Teo and paid attention as the meeting kicked off with the usual proceedings.

Introducing My Johor Stories: True Tales,
Real People, Rich Heritage
at the RCJB meeting
Then Past President, J S Kwang was invited to give a brief introduction of the guest speaker [me!] and in a typical Kwang manner, complete with his lawyer-like flourish, he gave me a glowing intro.

The screen was set up at the opposite end of the hall and I was told that I could speak from my seat at the other end the meeting hall. But I preferred to stand and moved to the podium to present a brief introduction to my book, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage.

All eyes were riveted to the screen as photos were shared to illustrate my presentation. I had 20 minutes to speak and it would be followed by a Question & Answer session.

While there was a handful of expatriate club members, the majority were Malaysian and a number were also Anak Johor, like me. So they were able to relate to what I shared in selected stories under the Memories and By the Way sections of my book.

They were however, more than familiar with some of the personalities featured in Portraits whom I highlighted in my talk. They included the late James Ho, who was not only a founding member of the RCJB but also an active member and regular attendee at weekly meetings until he no longer could attend due to poor health.

Another personality they were familiar with was the late Dawn Parry, gracious spouse of a Past District Governor, the late Michael Parry, both educators whose illustrious careers made a powerful and positive impact upon their students and peers.

A club member standing up to speak in the interesting Q & A session
At the close of my talk, I was invited back to my seat while the members took turns to ask questions or share their thoughts about particular points I mentioned that triggered off some fond memories of JB in a bygone era.

With so many members standing up to ask/speak, it was an informative and interesting Q & A session that threatened to run over time but in the tradition of Rotary Club meetings, there was a close watch on timekeeping.

This session was neatly wrapped up and finally Past President, Dr Shanmugam, better known as Dr Shan, was invited to give a formal word of thanks to the guest speaker, on behalf of the club. Renowned as the club’s historian, Dr Shan also has a penchant for penning poems and verses.

After he expressed kind words of appreciation, I was deeply touched when Dr Shan said that he was suddenly inspired to write a limerick about me – which he duly recited. And I quote:

There is a prominent feature writer so,
In fair Johor Baru and its surrounds in tow.
Its columnist extraordinaire Peggy Loh,
Her writings are concise evermore
That endeared all denizens hearts, ho, ho, ho!

Past President, Dr Shan, giving a word of thanks
to the guest speaker on behalf of the RCJB
As was customary, club members were invited to show their appreciation to the guest speaker with a round of applause. And when they clapped their hands, they also stood up!

As he stood up to clap, Datuk Teo whispered to me that never before had members stood up to thank a guest speaker…

I must confess that it was a most humbling and unforgettable experience to have a room-full of distinguished gentlemen standing up to clap in such warm appreciation!

After the meeting, members came to talk to me and gave their kind compliments and comments about my presentation and the book. Some were even disappointed that I did not bring along books for sale but I assured them that they were available at the MPH bookstore in Johor Baru City Square.

Speaking of JB City Square, I suddenly realised that in all the excitement, I missed out on making the announcement about the autograph session planned by MPH at JB City Square on Saturday, Aug 26. I will be meeting readers from 2pm at the bookstore, to give a brief introduction of my book and to autograph their books.

I remember that Club President Datuk Teo said that he learnt a great deal more about my book project because he reads my blog, so I trust he will help to share this information with the RCJB members without delay! Thanks very much, Datuk Teo!

Gambier planting revival in Johor

From text books, Chinese primary school students are learning that Johor was the world’s largest producer of gambier from the 1830s to 1850s.

Replanting saplings in the
compound of SJK (C) Pu Sze, Skudai
The important link between the Chinese and Malay communities in the pioneering era and how pepper and gambier earned its place of honour in Johor for its role in boosting the state’s economy, are in their school syllabus. 

But what is gambier? While students may have a vague idea, most Johorens don’t and hardly anyone has ever seen a gambier plant. It is rather ironic that gambier plants, which were once widely cultivated in Johor, are no longer found here.

The Johor Baru Chinese Association is well aware of it and in 2013, they sent a team on a mission to Indonesia to carry out extensive research into the cultivation of pepper and gambier and uncover how it contributed to Johor’s economic development.

The team made two visits where they discovered that farmers on Kundur Island were still using traditional methods with very little mechanization in the process to harvest, boil young gambier leaves, press them to extract juice and dry the juice concentrate before it was shaped into a block, cake or cube form.

In September 2015, their findings were presented in the Johor Baru Chinese Heritage Museum in an interesting exhibit themed, Sharing of Hardships.

Watering the plants after planting
them in the school compound
The Chinese translation of this phrase described how the pioneers in the Malay and Chinese communities worked together, sharing both bitter and sweet experiences as they built the state’s economy, literally from the ground up.

Through this exhibition, visitors learned that before the invention of chemical dyes, the juice from gambier leaves was widely used for leather tanning and dyeing cloth. With Europe as a major market, Johor was then the world’s largest producer of gambier.

As the chemical industry developed in the early 20th century and synthetic colours were invented, the demand for gambier ceased and the plants virtually disappeared. While we still have pepper plantations here, there are hardly any gambier plants.

The exhibition also provided a further insight into the history of Chinese-Malay relationships which undergirds the strong support between the Johor sultanate and the Chinese immigrant community. 

History recorded that Chinese and Malay farmers were already successfully cultivating gambier plantations in Singapore and the Riau Islands in Indonesia but after 10 to 15 years, their land was exhausted and infertile. So in 1844, when Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim invited the Chinese to move into Johor to open the land for new plantations, they were ready to relocate. 

Teow Kai Fook [2nd from Right] presenting a range of
implements used in gambier farming, which were
donated by a farm he visited in Kundur Island, Indonesia
Immigrant Chinese with a strong pioneering spirit were attracted to the prospect of huge tracts of land, waiting for them to clear for cultivation. The Teochew belonging to the Ngee Heng society, were the dominant clan among the early settlers.

Under the kangchu or River Lord system, farmers who arrived in Johor obtained a permit known as surat sungai from the ruler to cultivate and govern a plot of land.

One of the earliest records showed that the Johor ruler issued permits to two kangchu, Kapitan Seah Tai Heng and Seah Ling Chai of the Ngee Heng society, to develop plantations on the banks of Sungai Skudai.

As pepper and gambier cultivation became widespread, wealth poured into the state coffers. While they prospered, the Chinese farmers gave gambier its nickname, gam mi (Mandarin) a phrase translated as “golden honey.”  

Between 1844 and 1916, over 130 plantations developed successfully throughout the state. But as gambier lost its economic value in the 1920s, gambier plantations were gradually replaced by rubber plantations.

It is indeed commendable that the legacy of pepper and gambier and its contribution to Johor’s economic development is carefully persevered in the JB Chinese Heritage Museum and students are studying it in their school syllabus.

While preserving this legacy, the JB Chinese Association also aims to revive the planting of gambier in Johor for education purposes. One of its initiatives is establishing the Gambier Planting and Education Association with a joint committee headed by president, Ho Kuek Kuwang and vice-president, Gan Ah Tian.

Its first gambier planting project in 2016 was where 40 gambier saplings were planted, aptly in SJK (C) Chian Kuo, situated at Bukit Gambier near Tangkak. These plants were cultivated from seedlings brought back from Kundur Island.

The first in the series of gambier planting projects in and around JB kicked off in June 2017 at SJK (C) Pu Sze in Skudai and this will be followed by similar projects in other schools here.

A group photo showing Gambier Planting and Education Association president,Ho Kuek Kuwang, [5th from Left]
and JB Chinese Association president, Datuk Seri Tey Kin Chai, [6th from Left] holding a gambier plant
Representatives from the JB Chinese Association and Gambier Planting and Education Association toured a mini exhibition led by JB Chinese Association President, Datuk Seri Tey Kim Chai, to learn more about the industry from information buntings.

They also viewed a range of implements used in the gambier production process that were donated by farmers in Kundur Island. This exhibition will also be presented at every gambier planting project held in other schools.

The association representatives were joined by SJK (C) Pu Sze principal, Tan Chow Choo, in a planting ceremony where eight gambier saplings were planted in the school compound.

“I hope to be invited back next year to see how these plants have flourished in your care,” said Ho who believed that the saplings would be well taken care of here.

The revival of gambier in Johor through the planting projects in schools aims to help students better appreciate the essence of Sharing of Hardships. Ho said it was vital for younger generations to value their rich heritage derived from the fruit of labour and hardship that pioneering generations endured when they cleared the Johor jungles and successfully cultivated the land with pepper and gambier.

Ho also announced that the JB Chinese Association, North-West Region Joint Committee, will be publishing a book on the history of the kangchu system since the 1780s, from gambier cultivation to rubber and pineapple plantations and the development of the Skudai area. This book entitled, History of the Skudai Chinese Community, is scheduled to be published by December 2017.

A version of this was published in the August 2017 issue of The Iskandarian

Got your copy of My Johor Stories?

Some of the personalities that I featured in the Portraits section of My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage, were not present at the launch event but I made sure that each one of them or their family members, received their copy.
                                      
Proudly showing off my book [L to R] Chong Yii Ern,
See Ca Dai, Tan Chai Puan, Yap Leong and Pauline See
A few days before the event, when we went to give Puan Ramlah Mohamed the invitation, she agreed to come and I even made transport arrangements for her.

However, due to very unfortunate circumstances, her plans changed and she could not be with us on that day. So immediately after the event, my mum and I went to see her to present her with a copy of my book.

Ajith Baskaran Dass also wanted to come but on the morning of my event, his mother was unwell. So he spent the better part of the day, consulting doctors and admitting her to the hospital. I only managed to get hold of him late the next day to present him with my book.

With Ajith Baskaran Dass
The family of the late James Ho was delighted that their father was remembered in my book. Later I went to present a copy of my book to his wife, Mrs Ho and asked her grandson (who was there) to read about his Ah Kong to his grandmother.

When I first wrote to Adeline Tan to let her know that I will be featuring her mother, Dawn Parry, under Portraits in my book, she thanked me and said, “We are grateful she can be honorably remembered in your book.”

She was keen to obtain copies for her sister who resides in Perth, Australia, her Aunt Esther in Vermont, USA, who is her mother’s younger sister, her Uncle Sonny Ngui in Kuala Lumpur, her mother’s younger brother and her cousin Karen Ngui in Singapore, saying, “I’m sure they would love to read about my mother in your book and enjoy the other stories too.”

Adeline was gracious to add, “May the book be well-loved and treasured by all who read it.”  She could not come for the launch event as she had planned to join her SIGS Form Five classmates for a reunion in KL on the very next day.

Eunice Wang [Left] with Chang May Yong
“After dinner, I sat down to read and finished reading the whole book. It was a lot of nostalgia for me…remembering the ais kacang at Ee H’ng, buying books for school at Johor Central Store… enjoying supper at the Sungai Segget hawker centre [pasak-kia!], waiting for a bus at the bus station on Jalan Wong Ah Fook. And the wet floors of the nearby market!

Also the scouts jamboree held in Istana Gardens as my grandfather was a Chief Scout who still wore the scout uniform as he visited the camp in those days!

And dear Mr Heng, our official photographer at every school function. I belonged to that era!”

Adeline clearly summarized much of the nostalgia in Johor Baru which touched readers from that era who shared the same experiences.

Doris Boo with Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad
Dave, the Chiew family representative at the event, received a copy of my book which he duly passed to his brother and wife who were busy at work – business as usual – in their family’s Shanghai laundry at Jalan Tan Hiok Nee.

Dave declared that his brother and wife were enjoying my book. And it warmed my heart further when he told me, “Most of my siblings have gone out and bought multiple copies each of your book!”

Speaking of siblings, I had the pleasure of personally delivering my books to my sister, Pearly and her family in the UK recently. I also brought a set along to present to my cousin, Bernice and her family, who reside in Wimbledon.

One morning, I was at the table signing the books for Bernice when Jackson her older son, joined us. Quinlan, his 7-year old brother was still playful and quite oblivious of what was happening.

With young nephew, Jackson Maling, in Wimbledon, UK
Jackson looked at the book cover and his eyes widened as he recognized me from my brand identity (avatar). “It’s you!” yelled the excited 10-year old.

“Yes, it’s me,” I calmly replied, trying hard to keep a straight face. “You’re an author?” Jackson asked in a voice thick with wonder.

Keeping my tone normal, I replied, “Yes.” And Jackson jumped on me, clutching my arm and almost broke it (thankfully it was not my signing arm!) as he hugged me.

Charlotte Monterio with Putri Zanina Megat Zainuddin
My nephew, Aaron, hand-carried a batch of my books back to our family in Perth and put some in the post to our relatives in Sydney. It was indeed, amusing to see photos they shared of how the family was enjoying the book Down Under!

Today, Yvonne Yap, mother of young artist, Yap Hanzhen, shared a screen shot of Hanzhen’s website where she shared photos of Hanzhen at my book launch and pages from the book opened to the Portraits section on his story.

She apologized for the delay in posting them as she had trouble retrieving the photos but it’s a small matter because I’m happy to share a spot with him – even if it was a late post!


Photo shared by Sze Mei
Today I also received a photo from General Manager of MPH Publishing, Sze Mei with a brief message that said, “Hi Peggy, Good Morning. My Johor Stories still a bestseller for two consecutive weeks.”

This is indeed good news! A glance at the photo she shared showed shelves of books in MPH bookstores with the Bestselling books. A closer look revealed that my book is on the top shelf – far right – in a tiny space – in spot No. 4, still within the top five titles!

As I said before, getting into the Bestsellers list is an absolute bonus because I started this project without any expectations. I’m just deeply grateful for the love and support from readers everywhere!

Meanwhile I’m receiving feedback, comments and messages from the event and recent blog posts. Among them was, Yvonne Loh, a guest at the event who told me that she had a beautiful experience and more than once, she became very emotional.

Friends from the JB International Women's Association
Josh D’Silva said he looked around the hall that day and could see it in everyone’s eyes, it was a personal joy for everyone to be present. He said the event was intimate and sincere, and we/he too felt a range of emotions. Happiness being the primary one and he confessed, a few of us got teary-eyed too!

I couldn’t help but agree with him as I reviewed photographs from the event and saw how the camera captured some raw emotions… It just made the event even more meaningful and memorable.

[L to R] Ann Loh, Doris Boo and Evelyn Chong
[L to R] Rajpal Singh, Gregory Lui and Derek Pua
Screen shot from www.hanzhen.org that Yvonne Yap shared with me
Readers who wrote me from abroad also asked how they could get their hands on My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage and I replied, advising them to order through website, www.mphonline.com

Readers like Trevor Lee, wrote me through Facebook asking how to get his book autographed.

I’m pleased that I could reply on a positive note because I have arranged to be at MPH Bookstore in Johor Baru City Square on Saturday, Aug 26, from 2pm to 3.30pm, to meet readers and autograph books.

When he received my reply, Trevor wrote, “You bet I’ll queue up there on the 26th!”

It will be good to meet readers but be sure to introduce yourself when we meet!

My Johor Stories, book-signing

While planning the book launch event, I had to provide the estimated number of guests not only to the event venue for catering purposes but also to MPH Publishing Kuala Lumpur so that they could bring an estimated number of books for the book sale.

Signing books for Grace Chiam [Right] while DoubleTree
  by Hilton JB, General Manager, Daniel Alcaraz, looks on
Early that day, the team from MPH Bookstore JB led by Linda, arrived with more than 300 books to set up their mobile store that came complete with cash register and credit-card paying facilities.

As soon as the books were displayed, I overhead questions like, “Can we buy the books now?” because some guests were wondering if they could buy the books now or after the event.

So even before the event programme started, guests were already buying books from the book sale table.

At the close of the event, Linda told me that in her 20-year career with MPH, she participated in many book launches but never before were the books sold-out.

All the books – not counting the bulk pre-orders that were set aside – both hardcover and softcover books, were all sold!

Signing books for guests at the book launch event
My sister-in-law, who had a pre-order [and was hanging around the book table], later told me that someone made a pre-order but was yet to collect it while guests were still asking for books to buy. 

Not willing to let guests leave disappointed, the MPH team decided to release some hardcover books from that pre-order to sell…

I started the book project with no expectations but I’m deeply grateful for the positive response to my book.

It was my pleasure to autograph your book!
It looks like I made history with MPH book launches because never before, even in KL, were all the books sold-out at a launch event. The first time it happened was at my book launch in Johor Baru on July 15, 2017!

As soon as the guests bought their books, they joined the queue to have them autographed by the author. Once their books were signed, they also wanted to capture a photo memento.

And it was an orderly queue where everyone patiently waited for their turn while I signed book after book for them. It was certainly a new experience to sign my name so many times in one sitting but it’s all good.

There are far too many to post them all here so these are just some shots of the happy readers with me on that meaningful and memorable day.

With my former schoolmates, Back Row [L to R] Ramlah, Bee Choo, Emma, Irene;
Front Row [L to R] Wei Leng, Elizabeth, yours truly, Yee Yin, Jennifer and Linda
With my friends from Soroptomists International Iskandar Puteri, who bought my books for their
education project with refugee children here
So pleased to sign my book for my friend, Ian Mak
With Mr & Mrs Yong, Gerald and Yee Yin
With Daphne Ng of Le Grandeur Palm Resort and my books,
that guests in their suites will enjoy reading during their stay with the resort
With Doris Boo of the JB Breast Cancer Support Group and her dear husband
With Charlotte Monterio of Pulai Springs Resort, Johor Baru

With some members of the Mok family; Uncle, Aunty Sylvia and cousin Ryan
With cousin Ryan Mok
P. S. Look out for the next exciting book-signing session happening at an MPH Bookstore! More details and the date, coming soon.

My Johor Stories, the book

When I signed the Grant Agreement with Think City in February 2017, I did not know that it was the start of an eventful journey where my book, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage, would end up at the No. 1 spot on the MPH Publishing, Non-Fiction Best-sellers list, for the week 14 July to 20 July.

A display of nostalgic artifacts at the launch event
This was achieved only because of readers like you, who are keen to have a collection of My Johor Stories in a book and to present it to others as a uniquely Johor-flavoured gift.

My book launch event was graced by guests in a veritable Who’s Who in Johor Baru list and I’m deeply honoured by the presence of everyone. It did not matter if the guests were titled or not because to me, it was particularly meaningful that everyone gathered for the event, wanted to be there.

Everything passed so swiftly in the event programme that only as I look at the photos now that I can recall with pleasure, the many Very Interesting People who were there.

It was my privilege to share this momentous event in what I thought was to be a small event but it turned out to be quite special. Besides Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad, the guest-of-honour and writer of the Foreword for my book, there were a number of Datuk and Datin as well as a Datuk Seri.

Introducing Putri Zanina [Right] to Tan Sri Shahrir
Abdul Samad, the guest-of-honour, at my book launch
Cousin Karen, who had a full weekend of activities in Kuala Lumpur, made the effort to fly-in specially to accompany her mother to attend my event. I deeply appreciate that many family members and friends drove or took public transport from KL and Singapore to be present.

My friend, Ian Mak, braved the Saturday morning causeway traffic to come from Singapore and later when I learnt the he walked across the causeway to get here, I was choked with emotion. [By the time the event was over, I was an emotional wreck!]

There were many who marked their calendars and made every effort to ensure they could be present. And now I’ve got photos to see how they enjoyed meeting mutual friends and of course, witnessing my book launch.

Seen at MPH Bookstore in JB City Square
It was particularly special for me because the first editor whom I worked with under Travel Times of the New Straits Times, Putri Zanina Megat Zainuddin, also graced the event. It was especially meaningful that Putri, who once encouraged me in writing creatively, was present to witness this.

Now a contributing writer for New Straits Times, Life & Times, Putri even volunteered to do a review of my book as well as a news story about My Johor Stories!

Before the event programme started, guests were buying books from the MPH book sale table. I started the book project with no expectations but I’m deeply grateful for the positive response to my book.

At the close of the event, Linda of MPH Bookstore JB, told me with amazement, that in her 20-year career with MPH, she participated in many book launches but never before were the books sold-out. All the books – not counting the bulk pre-orders that were set aside – both hardcover and softcover books, were sold out at my book launch!

Bestsellers list week ending July 20,
published in the Sunday Star, July 23
Later I was told that in the history of MPH book launches, never before, even in KL, were all the books sold-out at a launch event. Not until my book launch on July 15, 2017 in Johor Baru!

On July 24, I received an email from Sze Mei, General Manager of MPH Publishing and it read:

"Dear Peggy,
My Johor Stories made it to the MPH weekly bestsellers list for last weekend!
Heartiest congratulations!!!"

This was followed by the list of book titles and author names, with my book title and name topping the list at No. 1.

It really doesn’t matter if my book was a bestseller or not, but to be added into the MPH Bestsellers’ list and hitting the Non-Fiction, No. 1 spot, is undeniably, an added bonus!

As I said, I couldn’t have achieved it without you, the readers. Thank you, ever so much!

Dr Neil Khor is holding a giant size
mock-up of My Johor Stories book!
I’m also ever grateful for the professional partnership of MPH Publishing and Think City, two reputable brands that go a long way to support the My Johor Stories brand.

The team with the venue sponsor, DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Baru, did well in providing all that was necessary for the event programme to flow smoothly and I’m thankful.

Grace Chiam, who was instrumental in helping me with the venue for my event, went the extra mile for me. Having been relocated to Kuala Lumpur, I’m deeply touched that she took leave from work to fly in on a day-trip, just to be present. [She will be quick to tell others that I was her first friend in JB!]

Back in KL, she was in the MPH Bookstore at Nu Sentral, a mall adjacent to KL Sentral, and when she saw my books displayed there, she snapped a photo and shared it with me.

With GM of DoubleTree by Hilton JB, Daniel Alcaraz
I appreciate how the hotel General Manager, Daniel Alcaraz supported the event with his presence and in buying my books. By then, he had learnt that this hotel has a special place in my heart for many reasons, but especially its location across the road from where I grew up in our grandfather's house at No. 154, Jalan Ngee Heng.

Thanks to my friends at The Iskandarian for capturing the moments in photographs. I'm also thrilled that I made it to the cover of the August 2017 issue of The Iskandarian!

Thanks to Grace Chiam, for sharing this shot!
My grateful thanks to KK Lew of MAGistrate who produced a bite-size memento of the event in a little video clip. Its a bit comical to watch the speedy version of the series of events that included brief clips of the speeches by Dr Neil Khor of Think City and Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad, the Member of Parliament of JB.

There was also a segment where Lew made guests say a few words in short messages and it was fun to see their spontaneous reactions. This video is extremely valuable because it is through this clip that I managed to have an overview of what was going on elsewhere while the book sale was happening and guests were waiting for their books to be signed...

All who were present will agree with me that it was a happy occasion, yet one that was super-charged with emotion. Thank you all for being part of it. 

P. S. Look out for a gallery of photos coming up in the next posts.