Sunday Speaker at Marlborough College

It’s Sunday morning and I’m at Marlborough College Malaysia to speak to some 100 fulltime boarders to share my stories on Johor and talk about a career in writing.

Replying to a question during the Question & Answer time
as a Sunday Speaker, with Nick Eatough [Standing Left]
While I considered the invitation, I learnt that on Sunday mornings, the college would arrange for guest speakers or chapel services for their boarders.

I’m told that the talks by Sunday Speakers should broaden the students’ perspectives while promoting soft skills within the college. And by exposing the students to different experiences, it may also help them with their studies.

The college clearly aims to coach their students, not only in obtaining multiple A’s or high scores in academic subjects, but also to develop their minds and character.

I like how the college offers an outward looking education that encourages critical thinking to produce well-rounded achievers!

So here I am to share my story to inspire the youngsters, encourage them to consider a career in writing and to open their eyes to life beyond college and university.

Deputy Head – Pastoral, Nick Eatough, welcomes me on arrival and leads me to the hall where the talk will be held.

Speaking to the boarders at Marlborough College Malaysia
Designed as a theatre, the hall has a stage with two wall projection screens – one on each side of the stage – while its front walls are adorned with panels of dramatic, dark curtains.

I’m glad the microphone and lectern are arranged down-stage (not on the stage!) as I prefer to stand closer to the audience. In fact, I prefer not to have the lectern at all and it is removed upon my request.

Two female students are assigned with the tasks, one to introduce me and the other to close the event – and I must say that they both did an excellent job!

By about 10.30am, the seats in the hall slowly fill up with youths aged between 10 and 17, made up of various nationalities including British, Asian, European and Australian.

It’s interesting that in this talk, I will be introducing myself as a writer of many published newspaper articles besides being an author of a bestselling non-fiction book.

With Deputy Head - Pastoral, Nick Eatough
I’m no stranger to this college as my previous visits here were to write about the college’s catering services, their sports event dubbed, Marlborough Miles, and a fund-raiser through an art auction.

I start by introducing my book, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage and talk about its journey to success after its launch last year.

Using appropriate photographs, I give the audience a glimpse of the nature of my work.

I talk about my writing assignments and discuss some of my on-the-job experiences, from interviews with various personalities to hotel and food reviews as well as travel to destinations both local and abroad.

I explain that my collection of published stories as well as exclusive posts are stored in my blog, My Johor Stories at and how this ultimately led to the publication of My Johor Stories, the book.

Then I take them on a flashback to where it all started: My inspiration and motivation as I introduce myself and our family in Johor Baru.

I talk about my hobby in Reading and Writing, and how advantageous this is for my work.

I also share a brief outline of The Writer’s Etiquette, based on my own practices with basic do’s and don’ts that go a long way to build a strong reputation as a credible and sought-after writer.

Facade of the Dato Jaafar Building on Bukit Senyum, JB
From a choice of photographs published in my book, I share some story highlights mainly on Johor culture and heritage. One of them is my story on Johor Baru’s Historic Hills and Palaces.

Among other things, I pointed out that the Elizabethan architecture for the majestic Dato Jaafar Building on Bukit Senyum was modelled after Hardwick Hall in England.

Later (over a cup of tea!), I learn that this struck a familiar chord with the English master, a gentleman who used to live close to Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire!

In closing, I talk about the two versions of my book, published in softcover or hardcover, which can be bought from MPH bookstores nationwide or online via

Thank you, Nick Eatough and Marlborough College Malaysia, for the privilege to be counted among your Sunday Speakers.

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