Festive Drums' 30th anniversary gala celebration


In June 2018, I joined co-founder of the 24 Festive Drums, Tan Chai Puan, and members of the Johor Baru Tiong Hua Association with a throng of drumming enthusiasts in the Johor Gu Miao or Old Temple at Jalan Trus, Johor Baru, to mark the 30th anniversary of its founding.

A dramatic drumming performance by Hands Percussion
as the finale in the 30th Anniversary Gala Dinner show
The 30th anniversary of this art of drumming that was founded in Johor Baru in 1998, was celebrated with a mega drum festival over two nights in the Pasir Gudang Corporation Stadium, an indoor stadium with 2,600 seating capacity.

In August 2018, I was among the audience in the Pasir Gudang Corporation Indoor Station to witness the National Championship competition where ten drum troops – the top two troops who qualified from regional competitions – gave thrilling performances to the judges and fans of drumming in the 5th International Festival of the 24 Festive Drums 2018.

There was indeed, never a dull moment as troop after troop stormed onto the stage to perform with style and vigor, dressed in an array of colourful and creative costumes, until the top three troops were identified by their highest scores.

Cover design of the 5th International Festival
of the 24 Festive Drums 2018, souvenir booklet
Having worked closely with Tan over the years, I’ve had the privilege to be part of the drum festivals since 2010 through events organised for local drum troops to compete in the National Championship and international drum troops to showcase their drumming skills.

While I was busy about my book project, I thought the drums’ anniversary celebrations was by then, over. But I was wrong.

Around mid-September, Tan reached me with an invitation to join him at an auspicious event planned to be held in Kuala Lumpur for their 30th anniversary celebration!

“I want to hijack you to KL,” were his exact words and Tan went on to tell me that a gala dinner was being organized for the very first time on an unprecedented scale by the national association for the 24 Festive Drums, that would be held in KL.

Tan wanted me to be part of the celebration on the national level and gave me the date, Oct 20, in advance so that I could avail myself to be there. He ended our chat with, “Just leave all the logistics to me.”

Chinese couplets festooned on the pillars of Wisma Hua Zong that described the proud achievement
and heritage of the 24 Festive Drums since its founding 30 years ago.
This conversation was followed by the WhatApp version of the invitation card complete with the event programme, designed with an outline of the world map with sites indicated where 24 Festive Drums troops have been established!

Tenor Ian Chin [Right] accompanied by violins
played by the children of the late Tan Hooi Song
From the invitation card, I read that the hosts for the event were Malaysia 24 Festive Drums Association president, Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, and Tan, the co-founder of 24 Festive Drums.

I realised that this gala event was the culmination of 30 years of hard work to introduce the art of 24 Festive Drums to the world – a proudly Johor-born art of drumming – which is now shared globally.

Four days ahead of the gala dinner, Tan sent me by WhatsApp, a poster (written in Chinese) with brief English translations and a large digit ‘4’ on its left side.

The next day, I received another similar coloured poster with a large digit ‘3’ on its left side.

The text was mainly in Chinese but by this time, I had figured out that these posters were a countdown to the event. And sure enough, the very next day, I received yet another poster with the digit ‘2’ on its left side!

Tan Chai Puan [Left] and the children of the late
Tan Hooi Song [Right] receiving the gifts presented
Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew [2nd from Left]
On Oct 17, just two days before this gala dinner, Tan received the proud recognition as Warisan Orang Hidup or Living Legacy Award, a prestigious honour from the Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry in a ceremony held in KL.

This was very timely because back in August 2008, the late Tan Hooi Song, who co-founded the 24 Festive Drums’ art of drumming with Tan, was the first Chinese to be awarded the Warisan Orang Hidup title by the same ministry, just a week before his demise.

It felt deeply privileged to share their 30th anniversary celebration in KL, so when Tan could catch his breath after such a momentous event on Oct 17, he gave me the hotel details for a group that he had arranged to join him from JB.

So on the afternoon of Oct 20, I found my way to The Palace of the Golden Horses and as I headed to the Reception, I was pleasantly surprised to meet Tan, just as he was heading out to the nearby event hall for a rehearsal of the evening’s programme.

A photo of the late Tan Hooi Song as the backdrop
while his son played his music on the violin
The first thing I did was to congratulate Tan on being awarded the prestigious Warisan Hidup Award.

Meanwhile Tan had arranged for someone to drive me to the event (he drove me back to the hotel later!) and when I arrived at Wisma Hua Zong, Tan met me at the lobby and took me out to the front compound (again!) to admire the giant Chinese couplets posted on four pillars in the building fa├žade.

Tan read aloud the Chinese characters in Mandarin and briefly translated it into English with a paraphrase explanation that it was a poetic rendition that described the proud achievement and heritage of the art of 24 Festive Drums since its founding 30 year ago.

Tan was then whisked away to attend to various matters before the event proper started.

The event sponsors and representatives beat the drums in unison and were acknowledged for their generosity.
As more guests arrived, the round banquet tables in the event hall gradually filled up. From the numbers indicated on the tables, I figured that it was almost 100 tables of 10 guests per table, packed into that hall.

A long row of rectangle tables were set up with seats that faced the stage for the VIPs while I sat at a round table immediately behind the center of this row.

The event programme kicked off with the help of two MCs, one who spoke in Mandarin and the other in English, but even then, I was prepared to soak in the atmosphere and put my own limited command of Mandarin to good use.

I was glad that Tan made sure that I was seated with English-speaking guests so that I was not totally ‘lost’ without any help with translation.

Three tenors sang in Mandarin accompanied by a drummer
Tan is conscious about this because he was/is my help with Mandarin-English translation throughout the years for Chinese community events that helped me write and publish them in English for the benefit of non-Chinese literate readers.

I’ve always appreciated his constant support in helping me understand more about Chinese community events like the Johor Chingay, the Tan Hiok Nee Heritage Walk and the 24 Festive Drums, so that I could write about these more effectively in English.

This working relationship led me to discover more about Tan as an individual and I had the privilege to publish an exclusive story on Tan Chai Puan, the cultural activist, under Portraits in my book, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage.

[On Day-2 of the recent Drums Festival in JB, a copy each of my book was presented to VIPs, Johor Women Development & Tourism Committee chairman, YB Liow Cai Tung, and Department of National Heritage director, Khalid Syed Ali, for them to read this exclusive story on Tan.]

I noticed that a few copies of the souvenir booklet from the Drums Festival 2018 were placed on each banquet table for the VIPs.

I’m familiar with it because my story about the 30th Anniversary of the 24 Festive Drums, first published in New Straits Times, Life & Times, was reproduced on pages 20 & 21 of this booklet.

Besides dramatic drumming performances by drum troops, Souls Impact Percussion, Orang Orang Drum Theatre and Hands Percussion, the evening’s programme included musical performances – both vocal and instrumental.

It was especially meaningful when two children of the late co-founder Tan Hooi Song, played their violins to accompany his former student, tenor Ian Chin, who sang in Mandarin.

After the event hosts, Tan and Tan Sri Lee presented their speeches, Tan Sri Lee acknowledged the co-founders of the 24 Festive Drums by presenting each with a beautiful ceramic jar.

While Tan graciously accepted this gift from Tan Sri Lee, the two children of Tan Hooi Song accepted it on behalf of their late father. 

As a token of appreciation, the event sponsors were invited on stage to beat the drums in unison and to be acknowledged for their generosity.

With the local media present, photographers and videographers too, it was certainly an evening to remember for drum enthusiasts and supporters.

As the programme came to a close, the fun continued at the lobby when guests, friends and fans jostled for a photo opportunity with Tan and Tan Sri Lee.

After the crowd had cleared, Tan finally saw me and then introduced me to Tan Sri Lee.

One for the album: Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, Yours Truly, Khalid Syed Ali and Tan Chai Puan [Left to Right]
This was my opportunity to not only say, “Hello!” to Tan Sri Lee but to tell him that his name is also mentioned in my story on Madam Sweet Potato under Portraits in my book sequel, My Johor Stories 2:Interesting Places and Inspirational People.

I quickly explained that I was about to launch this next book which features some inspirational people in interesting Johor towns like Muar and Kluang, including his hometown, Batu Pahat.

While researching the subject for my story out of Batu Pahat, I came across a video of Tan Sri Lee that was filmed when he paid tribute to a former midwife for her 100th birthday celebration, the midwife who helped to deliver him in very humble circumstances.

On hearing this familiar name, Tan Sri Lee leapt into sharing about how this midwife helped his mother during his birth and that his mother often reminded him to go back to Batu Pahat to thank this selfless midwife, who is fondly known as Han Cher Soh!

[The locals call her, Han Cher Soh, a nickname in Hokkien which translated loosely means, Madam Sweet Potato.]

It was indeed a fun and fitting end to a meaningful and memorable celebration of the 30th anniversary of the founding of the 24 Festive Drums celebrated in KL, as a valued guest of the president of the Malaysian Association of the 24 Festive Drums, Tan Sri Lee, and its co-founder and Warisan Orang Hidup, Tan Chai Puan.

Check out this video for a glimpse of this gala celebration.

Going Italian at Bacchusj


I just met a Japanese man with an Italian soul.

Motokazu Yonezawa, better known as Chef Moka, the chef-owner of Ristorante Bacchusj at Puteri Harbour is a true-blue Japanese from Yokohama with a passion for serving quality Italian cuisine.

Italian tiles in the decor at Bacchusj, Puteri Harbour
I’m curious about how this Japanese gentleman found his way to Italy to learn the finer points of preparing Italian cuisine and acquired the skills in pairing them with Italian fine wines.

On top of this, I’m also curious to discover why this gifted Japanese chef ended up serving his menu of Italian fare in Johor Baru!

To sniff out this story, I join my friends at Baccusj, an Italian restaurant located at Puteri Harbour.


Bacchusj at the Promenade, Puteri Harbour
Tucked away at the far end of the Promenade, its secluded location adds to the comfortable ambience especially when diners wish to enjoy their meal in relative privacy, with a panoramic view of the marina.

Chef Moka, who is distinctly Japanese, speaks a smattering of English and made himself better understood through a Japanese-English interpreter.

He tells us that he was inspired by Italian culture to name his restaurant after Bacchus, the Greco-Roman deity Dionysus, also known as Bacchus, the god of the grape-harvest, agriculture and fertility.

As he explained his link to fine wines, Chef Moka pointed to the two certificates that were awarded by the Italian Association of Sommeliers in his name and that of his wife, Noriko.

I guess their shared passion for Italian cuisine and wines brought them together. And with a little probing, I soon discovered that Chef Moka indeed met the lovely Noriko in Florence, Italy, while they were in pursuit of learning more about Italian cuisine!

Come, meet the Japanese chef with
an Italian soul - Chef Moka at Bachussj!
“But then, why Johor Baru?” I quizzed further, to satisfy my burning curiosity.

Some five years ago, Chef Moka and Norika decided to set up their own restaurant and they were encouraged to do so in Singapore.

Their business consultants however, helped them to see the vast potential in opening their Italian restaurant in Johor and in 2014, Bacchusj opened for business.

In addition to the privilege to serve his menu of Italian cuisine to connoisseurs in Johor, Chef Moka and his wife also wanted to take advantage of the education opportunities presented to their daughter in Iskandar Puteri.

While Chef Moka may not be fully conversant in English, I like how he makes the effort to clarify that the “J” in their restaurant name, Bacchusj, [Pronounced, Bacchus-Jay], stands for Japan and Johor!

Wild rocket and sliced pear with gorgonzola cheese
This ristorante at the Promenade has a choice of seating: Indoor and outdoor, with a view of the Promenade and the marina.

The cosy indoor section is designed with partitions so that diners may have the choice of closing up the partitions for a bit more privacy.

This hands-on chef excused himself from our conversation and goes into the kitchen to join his culinary team and to whip up a menu of popular items for us to sample.

Then starting with the Antipasto (Appetizer/Starter), Chef Moka proudly presents us with Insalata de rucola e fette di pere con gorgonzola or Wild rocket and sliced pear with gorgonzola cheese.

Carpaccio Wagyu
It’s a small wonder that this fresh salad is so popular because it is absolutely refreshing as I chew the peppery rocket greens along with the delicate texture of pear and cheese.

Chef Moka tells us that regulars often request for Antipasto misto del oggi or Today’s various appetizer plate.

And it so happens that today, the Chef decides that we should have the pleasure to savour Carpaccio Wagyu, thinly sliced wagyu beef topped with flakes of Parmesan cheese, and a platter of Parma Ham and Salami with pickled dark olives.

This is followed by a warm serving of Zuppa di champignon, or Mushroom Soup.

Chef Moka then presents Italian favourties – pasta and pizza – in Spaghetti frutti de mare or Seafood and tomato sauce Spaghetti, and classic Pizza Margherita, freshly-made flat bread topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and fresh sprigs of basil leaves.

Freshly baked Pizza Margherita
Then comes the piece de resistance, Bistecca alla AUS Wagyu MB6, 100 gm of Australian Wagyu Beef Steak in Medium doneness, which Chef Moka deftly sliced up for our convenience…

This well marbled MB6 Australian Wagyu Beef is both tender and rich in flavour, and with a gentle chew, it just melts in my mouth…

The meal draws to a close with hot coffee or tea and dessert. And Chef Moka recommends his recipe for classic Tiramisu and Semifreddo or homemade cold mousse.

A well marbled serving of juicy MB6 Australian Wagyu Beef Steak, sliced up for us to sample
As I muse over this delightful meal, I wonder if Bacchusj is one of the best-kept secrets for good steaks in Johor Baru…

Bacchusj is located at unit LG-18, Lower Ground Floor or The Promenade at Puteri Harbour, Persiaran Puteri Selatan, Puteri Harbour, 79000 Iskandar Puteri, Johor.

Open daily from 12pm to 10pm and closed on Monday. For reservations and to arrange private parties, Tel: +607 – 509 6722.

For daily updates on the cool happenings, check out Facebook page for bacchusj/ or send enquiries to email: bacchusj2014@gmail.com

Finger-licking 4Fingers good!


I step up to the order counter at 4Fingers and ask the serving team, “Does it mean that I have to eat using only four fingers?”

4Fingers Crispy Chicken is at Level 2, KOMTAR JBCC
I know they must have heard this corny question countless times so they smile sweetly and reply spontaneously with, “Yes, it’s up to you!”

My friends and I finally found a mutually agreeable date and are here at 4Fingers Crispy Chicken, opened in KOMTAR JBCC – their first outlet in Johor Baru – to have our first taste of this “cluckin’ good” chicken.

I’m particularly pleased that this recipe claims to use “No Artificial Flavouring or added MSG” and that only fresh chicken is used.

We study the menu and my friends did the counting to figure out which items to order because the Combos come with sets of Skinny Fries and Soft-drinks.

In front of the order counter at 4Fingers
For instance, 6 pieces of chicken pairs with one set of fries and drink, 12 pieces pairs with two sets of fries and drinks while 18 pieces comes with three sets of fries and drinks.

I leave them to decide on the final order but I’m sure they will pick the 4Fingers Signature wings and drumsticks in a choice of Hot and Soy Garlic flavours, to share.

The menu also offers Rice Box sets that come with choices of Wings, Drumsticks, Seafood or Tofu.

There is also Seafood in choices of Crispy Calamari and Battered Shrimps.

No Refills from the drink dispenser
Salad choices come with toppings like Chicken Katsu, Tofu Mushroom and Seafood.

I guess the 4Fingers logo - an illustration of a waving palm with four fingers – posted at the side of selected menu items indicate that it’s a “cluckin’ good” recommendation!

A side of Kimslaw and ala carte Chicken Chop are two choices we made that has the 4Fingers recommendation.

At the order counter, we are disappointed to discover that Kimslaw – house-fermented kimchi coleslaw – is out of stock. So this means we have to come back again to taste it.

After paying for our order, we are given a stack of empty paper tumblers – to help ourselves from the soft-drinks dispenser – and a wireless coaster pager.

In fast-food restaurant fashion, we distribute the empty paper tumblers to let each one pick their own choice of soft-drinks from the dispenser.

I read the signs on the dispenser that clearly state: No Refills, and remind my friends that they are not to return for more.

Collect your order here, please
I also spot a large sign that said: Pick-Up Counter, which has a little window below where diners should go to pick up their orders when their coaster pager beeps.

All around the self-service restaurant are signs posted to remind diners to do this or not to do that, like to use a little bin lined with a plastic bag to collect bones during the meal, all arranged for everyone’s convenience.

Our coaster pager beeped and two volunteers jumped up to collect our orders from the Pick-Up Counter.

4Fingers Crispy Chicken say their fresh chicken pieces are hand-brushed with flavours upon receiving our orders so I believe these freshly fried chicken would be piping hot.

So I pause a little to let the sizzle cool down before I sink my teeth into the tender taste of 4Fingers crispy chicken.

With our mouths munching, I can see our heads nodding in unison – all in agreement – that this chicken tastes incredibly good.

“Is this Soy Garlic or Hot or Mixed?” was the question that popped up while we munched and debated on which is our preferred choice of flavour.

Wet towels are provided for diners to wipe their (four) fingers
after they enjoy this delightful crispy chicken meal!
Chewing on crispy chicken and chatting away, our two platters of food gradually diminished.

And as the bone bins filled up to the brim, it appears that all the flavours seem very agreeable!

In the tradition of fast-food restaurants, we clear our table and dump the waste before leaving.

So the paper cartons and tumblers are stacked up while the plastic bags filled with bones are tied up in knots before being dumped into the respective trash bins.

As we leave, our table is ready for the next group of diners in this busy little restaurant.

4Fingers Crispy Chicken is at Level 2, Units 205/207 KOMTAR JBCC, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, 80000 Johor Baru. For more info, visit website: www.4Fingers.com

Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast, a sneak peek


A sneak peek, as this phrase describes, is just a little glimpse and a tiny taste of the much-anticipated experience at the brand new Hard Rock Hotel, opened at Desaru Coast.
             
A sneak peek into Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast
After a stay experience with the Hard Rock Hotel in Singapore, I’m familiar with the hotel brand’s rock ‘n roll inspired ambience, its throbbing energy and exciting rock culture that permeates the entire property.

With this in mind, I’m ready to be wowed by how Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast will replicate this cool culture with all the bells and whistles that reflect the brand’s image, right here in Johor.

The drive from Johor Baru via the Senai-Desaru Expressway is smooth and scenic, and in about 45 minutes, I’m exiting the Penawar toll gates.

I follow the signs that point to Desaru Coast and buntings hanging from lampposts that feature the hotel, help to guide me in the right direction. My eyes are peeled, ready to spot the next sign.

The iconic giant guitar in front of the porch
But instead of seeing bronzed and muscled surfer guys along the coast, I spot many tanned construction workers complete with safety helmets and rubber boots, as construction is still in rapid progress for the new development projects in this area.

Undeterred, I head on until I find the building with a sign that reads, Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast, and I’m greeted by the sight of their iconic giant guitar in front of the porch.

It looks like the party has already started because there is no sign of other guests in the entrance lobby.

Then our hosts turn up to welcome me into the Rock Shop where guests – wearing tags emblazoned with Media Rockstar – are busy browsing and buying their special souvenirs!

Our hotel sneak peek starts with a tour of the exhibits contributed by rock-stars that are carefully preserved in glass showcases, complete with information plaques.

Hard Rock Hotel memorabilia from the Rock Shop
Armed with a handy tablet, Vibe Manager, Aaron Barnabas, directs our attention to the range of paraphernalia contributed by rock royalty through the ages.

He shares a bit of history about how Eric Clapton inadvertently started the trend of a signature showcase of rock-star artifacts in Hard Rock Hotels worldwide, when he left his guitar behind to reserve his favourite spot in the hotel bar!

While we view the collection of rock-star personal effects, Aaron uses his smart-device to play a snippet of the music by that particular artiste for us to connect with the stars whose personal property of an outfit, guitar, amplifier or an item from his/her successful music career earned them worldwide fame.

It's not bad to be a (Media) Rockstar for a day!
Our tour takes us through the wings of the front lobby and into the restaurant to admire fascinating exhibits from Lady Gaga to Rolling Stones and Led Zepplin, among other contemporary rock-stars.

The tour ends in the Rock Shop to see a custom-made leather jacket, once worn on stage by Lizzy Hale of Halestorm, during their 2012 shows and in the music video of the group’s 2015 hit, Apocalyptic.

In a media meet-up last August, the Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast team introduced us to The Sound of Your Stay – one of the unique features that guests can experience when they check into the Hard Rock Hotel at Desaru Coast.

A pair of rhinestone studded sandals that
belonged to Madonna
The rock-star experience starts when you register at check-in. Then you select your choice of in-room music from a playlist of popular rock-stars. And when you step into your room, your personal choice of music will already be playing for you…

If you are so inclined to play an electric guitar along with your favourite rock music, then select your choice of guitar from the menu of Fender guitars – yes, real guitars – and your pick of guitar will be provided for your in-room guitar-plucking-strumming, rocking pleasure.

Back to the hotel for the room inspection and we (the Media Rockstars!) are split into smaller groups to facilitate the tour.

This way please, to the Ladies room!
As we walk along the common corridors, I cannot help but notice the signs for Male and Female restrooms that are aptly designed with an outline of a Male or Female figure standing next to a stand-microphone!

I cannot help a sudden flashback to a long time ago when my grandmother and her old cronies went on holiday. She said the tour-guide taught them to ask if they needed the restroom (and it could be often!) to politely say, “I want to sing a song,” as a euphemism for, “I need to use the toilet!”

I’m just tickled that at Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast, guests going to the restroom are also welcome to be a rock-star in the privacy of the restroom!

The accommodation the hotel has prepared for us to inspect are two connecting rooms, one furnished with a King-size bed while the other is furnished with twin super-single beds.

The connecting door between the two rooms is wide open and when I step in, I spy someone wearing a bathrobe, seated on the King-size bed!

Who's that inside the room?
“There’s somebody here!” I exclaim in jest. But it’s only a mannequin.

When the others leave the room, I have a moment to look closer at the details that set the Hard Rock Hotels apart from the others. In the relative silence, I hear the music selected for this room playing softly and recognise the classic sounds of Santana.

Then it’s time for a spot of lunch.

We are ushered into Sessions, the all-day dining restaurant, where Executive Chef Shan and his culinary team have prepared an exciting spread of local and international favourites to tempt our tastebuds.

Besides popular Malaysian dishes in a Hidangan menu, there are fresh seafood-on-ice, Spanish paella, refreshing Mediterranean salads, Indian briyani, roasted lamb chops and a range of delightful desserts, presented only as a sample of the cuisine we can expect to enjoy from Sessions restaurant.

Chef Shan [Left] and his culinary team in Sessions restaurant
Chef Shan, short for Shanmuganathan, explains that they serve weekend buffet spreads while the festive season menus should be available soon. With the festive season just around the corner, guests can make advance reservations for year-end celebrations here.

It looks like the fun never ends at Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast as we head over to The Elephant and The Butterfly.

At the entrance, a staff hands me a door-gift which feels light in my hand.

I can hear the throb of chill-out tunes that sets the tone in this cool poolside bar. And when I open the door-gift, I discover a fun pair of Hard Rock shades (I’m told!) to shield from the glare and of course, to look absolutely cool!

Chris Danial [Left] doing what he does best at
The Elephant and The Butterfly
The cool-ness continues into the bar where we are introduced to Chris Danial, the Outlet Manager who’s also an accomplished mixologist.

It’s interesting that Chris starts by telling the stories behind each of the ingredients that go into a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails which he prepares with skill and meticulous care.

One-by-one, Chris presented his cocktail creations: The Mexican Story (silver tequila), Smiling Senorita (gin), Singing Navidades (dark rum and white rum), Urban Grind (dark rum and Kahlua) and Yo Te Cielo or My Heaven (Baileys, Kahlua, Malibu).

The non-alcoholic Sama-Sama is a refreshing concoction of ginger, kaffir lime, lemongrass, passion fruit flowers and a tinge of spicy chili padi

Discover the rockstar in you with a Fender guitar
at Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast
The glare of the camera lens plus the humidity of the tropical heat probably added to the pressure as Chris created each cocktail for his attentive audience.

After his demo and presentation of cocktails for photography, Chris made more of the same and shared it out for all of us to sample.

A comfortable lunch followed by sips of a range of cocktails to the cool music by DJ Kenji. It’s the right recipe for a lazy, chill-out time by the pool at The Elephant and The Butterfly.

I remind myself that this is only a sneak peek. And there is much more where this came from.

Thanks for the sneak peek, Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast
Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast is located at Jalan Pantai 3, Desaru Coast, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor.

For reservations, Tel: +607 – 838 8888. Visit website: www.hardrockhoteldesaru.com

10 MOM phone app for modern mums


Couples expecting their first child may be thrilled with this exciting chapter of their lives but may also be unduly stressed if they do not have the advice and support of experienced family members.

Expecting a child is an exciting chapter in a couple's lives!
As the joyful news sink in and the expecting couple goes through changes, not just the physical but also the emotional ups and downs, this experience can become overwhelming.

And as the pregnancy progresses through the months, the expectant mother will long to seek antenatal and postnatal information and advice from her mother, aunt or grandmother.

But what if they were no longer around? Who do they turn to as a reliable source of information and advice?

Founder of 10 MOM and a mother of one, Fiona Wong, has channeled her own experience into creating a revolutionary mobile phone application to streamline antenatal services with confinement services and post-natal education.

The 10 MOM phone app is available for download now
from Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Dubbed 10 MOM, this one-stop-centre for antenatal and postnatal activities and information aims to benefit future parents or family planners as well as professionals in pregnancy care services.

“10 MOM acts as the “mother” app to couples who don’t have such support groups,” said Wong.

“It is not just an information and services platform but is also a medium for education,” she added.

She explained that by using this app, the expecting parents would feel safe and secure, knowing that all the services listed are legitimate.

Statistics reveal that out of the daily 440 newborn babies, the mortality rate is five. Very often, this was due to lack of postnatal care and professional training.

Saddened by these statistics, Wong felt the need to help married couples to experience the fulfilling joy of welcoming a baby into their family by creating a phone app that provides access to professional advice and training.

YB Liow Cai Tung [Third from Right] with event VIPs
at the launch of the 10 MOM phone app
Created to match users in this age of digital information, the 10 MOM app aims to maximize the sharing of information and accessibility to proper and certified antenatal and postnatal care information and services.

The 10 MOM phone app – developed by technology from Hong Kong with traditions from China as a product of Malaysia – was launched in a simple ceremony held at a local hotel, witnessed by Johor Women Development and Tourism Committee Chairman, YB Liow Cai Tung.

The mobile app at 10MOM.com.my will eventually be available in three languages: Chinese, Malay and English.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by representatives of 10 MOM Sdn Bhd, Southern University College, Wisdom Synergy Management Centre Sdn Bhd (a subsidiary of 10 MOM) and Training Qualification United Kingdom, to mark the partnership in providing proper training and education.

VIP representatives with the signed Memorandum
of Understanding witnessed by YB Liow Cai Tung [Centre]
The education programme includes training courses in post-natal care through the Professional Diploma in Postnatal Care offered by the Southern Institute of Technical Education (SITE) at Southern University College, backed by certification from Training Qualification UK.

This professional diploma course is the first of its kind, offered in Malaysia. Aimed to raise industrial standards, this training will regulate and certify the practitioners.

10 MOM Director, Henry Pang, said that this app will change the way we look at pregnancies.

“Instead of being anxious, confused and unprepared – all the mixed feelings when expecting a baby – the couple may refer to the 10 MOM app for all the information on antenatal care like nutrition, confinement services, pre- and postnatal massage services, baby products and a host of other information,” said Pang.

The 10 MOM phone app is a new platform that
 changes the way expecting couples handle confinement
On this app, expecting parents are assured that all confinement ladies, agents and centres that 10 MOM collaborates with, are certified with proper training on general confinement knowledge and methods.

While traditional methods may vary according to culture and religion, 10 MOM plans to offer confinement services based on the different traditional ways with proper methodology as a standard that others may follow in the future.

The phone app also acts as a platform that provides job opportunities to locals and foreigners who have graduated from the relevant courses offered in Southern University College.

Experienced freelance confinement ladies are also welcome to join 10 MOM to increase their opportunities to provide their services in this emerging market.

While modern mothers may enjoy the convenience of using the 10 MOM mobile app, the traditional practice of breastfeeding continues to be encouraged for all new mothers.

10 MOM supports the Health Ministry’s breastfeeding campaign which encourages mothers to feed their newborn with breast milk, the primary source of nutrition for newborns.

In 2017, Southern University College set up Southern Institute of Technical Education or SITE to provide technical education in various professional training courses like Aesthetic Treatments and Body Therapy, Hairdressing and Hair Design, Unreal Engine Virtual Reality Architecture and Funeral Business and Management.

For more info on 10 MOM, visit website: www.10mom.com.my and Facebook page www.facebook.com/10mom.com.my/

For enquiries on the training courses, visit website: www.southern.edu.my/site