Come Out and Dance with Oz


Come enjoy the classic story of “The Wizard of Oz” with a Hello Kitty twist, and dance in Oz with “The Great Witch Musical”, the brand new musical show at Sanrio Hello Kitty Town.

Hello Kitty [Centre] with
the cast of "The Great Witch Musical"
The story opens with a narration that describes a sad situation in the Land of Oz.

Then through a spectacular song-and-dance show which features Hello Kitty as the heroine, she travels the Yellow Brick Road with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion to help save the Land of Oz from chaos and destruction.

The colourful costumes and dazzling dancing will thrill the youngsters as they follow Hello Kitty and her friends on a journey to Emerald City to restore peace and joy in the Land of Oz.

With a brand new mission, “Come Out and Play!” aimed at inspiring kids to reimagine fun and play while they spend time with their parents, this initiative will kick start a magical musical extravaganza at Sanrio Hello Kitty Town.

Kids answered quiz questions to win prizes
The team at Sanrio Hello Kitty Town presented a media preview that was enjoyed along with young guests from nearby primary schools. After the performance, the youngsters answered quiz questions and won special Hello Kitty merchandise as prizes.

The youngsters then went on to enjoy handicraft activities at the Wishful Studio.

Over at Thomas Town, there is an exclusive showcase of 70 MINI engines for fans of Thomas & Friends to enjoy.

Young visitors can enjoy new railway adventures that start with story-telling sessions by Mattel Southeast Asia’s popular storyteller, Terence S. Gill, who is back by popular demand.

Hello Kitty [Centre] with the Tin Man [Left]
and the Scarecrow [Right]
Fans also get the chance to win Thomas & Friends-themed prizes by answering trivia questions and joining other on-stage and off-stage activities.

At Thomas Town, the adventure culminates with the “Mini & Mighty” exhibition which features 70 metre-high Thomas & Friends engines.

Fans will have no difficulty in recognizing core characters like Thomas, Percy, James and Gordon!

Look out for collections of surprising MINI engines in themes like Dino, Heroes, Spooky, Racers, Neon, Robo, Chillin’ and Metallic.

Young fans are invited to pose with their favourite engines and post their we-fies on the Thomas Town – Puteri Harbour Facebook page to win Thomas Town park passes and Thomas & Friends merchandise.

The Lion [2nd from Left] joins Kitty and friends to travel
along the Yellow Brick Road to Emerald City!
“Our goal at Puteri Harbour Attractions is to continuously create a line-up of experiential activities that will inspire kids and families to get out of their comfort zone and immerse themselves in a world of fun and imagination,” explains Puteri Harbour Attractions, General Manager, Haria Djuli.

“This end-of-year holidays, visitors will be treated to new performances with powerful and magical storylines surrounding everyone’s favourite Hello Kitty and Thomas & Friends, that will be sure to enthrall their young fans,” he added.

With the year-end school holidays just around the corner, Sanrio Hello Kitty Town at Puteri Harbour is where families can enjoy quality family time together with fun and play from now till end December 2018.

Families who are planning their holidays at Puteri Harbour to experience the Come Out and Play activities can enjoy a special promotion of 30% discount for a Single-Park or Two-Park Pass when booking online at www.puteriharbour.com from now to December 31. Just enter the special promotion code, ‘HOLIDAY30’.

Happy Holidays at Puteri Harbour!

Distinct taste of Haji Wahid's mee rebus


As my manuscript was being reviewed by the editors at MPH Publishing, I would receive their queries to discuss words or phrases and reach a decision to use words that are most apt for context and clarity.

A queue lined up and waiting to be served their order of
Haji Wahid's Mee Rebus at Angsana JB Mall foodcourt 
Very often I choose to write words in Chinese dialects for the best description because such common words and colloquial phrases are used by and understood by all in our multi-racial community.

So while the editors were reviewing my manuscript for My Johor Stories 2: Interesting Places and Inspirational People, I distinctly remember one query from the editors – based in Kuala Lumpur – to explain the meaning of the Malay word, pendaram.

I used this word in my Heritage Trades story on Haji Wahid’s Mee Rebus, to describe a special crispy condiment used as a topping on their delicious stewed noodles.

In this story, I had written: “Only this fragrant plateful of warm stewed yellow noodles will do. It comes drenched in thick gravy, garnished by ku-chai vegetables, bean sprouts, chopped green chilli with a slice of lime to squeeze, and topped by a special crispy pendaram condiment.”

These savoury crisps are sprinkled on the stewed noodles as a topping, not only as a garnishing but also for a crunchy bite in sharp contrast with the soft noodles.

“What exactly is pendaram?” the editors quizzed me.

A tray of pendaram [Left] the crispy condiment that's
sprinkled on a serving of Mee Rebus Haji Wahid
I smiled when I read this question (by email) and thought, “This is a Johor thing…” and prepared my reply with an explanation to the editors, who are clearly not from Johor.

I replied: “In Johor, pendaram is a rice flour-based, deep-fried crisp popularly used as a batter to fry Pendaram Udang or flying-saucer prawns.”

I was even suggested to the editors:After this work is over, I hope your editorial team can visit Johor and I will treat you to a taste of Mee Rebus Haji Wahid topped with his special crispy pendaram!”

Of course, the editors would have read from my manuscript that the sons, daughter and grandchildren of the legendary Haji Wahid have opened various outlets to serve their family recipe noodles, with the nearest one at Taman Sri Hartamas in Kuala Lumpur.

Md Nasir, the seventh son of Hj Wahid operates this outlet and some of his regular diners are none other than my aunties and their husbands, who also enjoy the taste of Mee Rebus Haji Wahid.

Since members of our extended family have been patronizing Hj Wahid’s stall at the former Satay Club, we have all grown fond of its tasty flavour.

So when Aunty Polly and Aunty Sylvia and their families moved to live in KL, they were thrilled to discover that there is a nearby outlet at Taman Sri Hartamas to go for a regular taste of these tasty noodles.

I say ‘regular’ because my aunties, now quite adept with using their smartphones, would snap photographs of the Mee Rebus when it’s served and send them to show me that they were enjoying Mee Rebus Haji Wahid again!
                                                                                                      
Aunty Polly and Uncle Steven at the Taman Sri Hartamas
outlet operated by Md Nasir; Note the "Tambah lagi"
pendaram on their servings of Mee Rebus Haji Wahid!
My former classmates in the Johor Baru Convent who now live in KL, told me that they too are regulars at the Sri Hartamas outlet for a satisfying taste of Mee Rebus Haji Wahid.

Speaking of pendaram, I used to call it keropok (when I didn’t know better!) because it tastes crispy and I would often ask Haji Halim, who operates the outlet at Angsana Johor Baru Mall foodcourt, to please, “Tambah lagi!” (Add more!)

Hj Halim, the sixth son of Hj Wahid, is a family friend fondly known as Bai – Punjabi for brother – probably because he wears a full beard.

He was a former National rugby player and a contemporary of my Aunty Sylvia and uncles – retired sports personalities.

Mee Rebus Haji Wahid remains a favourite food item on the menu at State and private events and Hj Halim has often been invited to cater Mee Rebus to serve at such events.

Aunty Sylvia [Right] and Uncle Mok with their plates of
mee rebus at the Taman Sri Hartamas outlet in KL
This includes our family because we used to arrange for Hj Halim to cater Mee Rebus, served from a live cooking station at our parties at home. These noodles were a hit with our guests and Mee Rebus Haji Wahid gained even more fans!

I remember “following” Hj Halim to the various locations where he used to serve Mee Rebus. From the Public Bus Terminal at Jalan Trus to the original Tepian Tebrau, a food-court close to the JB seafront, and finally to the food-court at Angsana JB Mall.

I used to watch him, moving with dexterity to serve plate after plate of mee rebus and saw how he would deftly slice up one whole hard-boiled egg for each serving.

One day in 2013 while I was placing my order for mee rebus at his outlet in Angsana, Hj Halim pointed to a frame hanging on the back wall and when I looked closer, I saw that it was an ancient knife with its blade worn ridiculously thin from use!

The ancient knife with its blade worn thin from use!
He admitted that he had no choice but to surrender this faithful old knife as it had clearly outlived its service. The blade had worn so thin from sharpening it countless times and from use for over 20 years, to slice green chillies, ku-chai and limes.

This is indeed a precious relic as the worn-out knife symbolized the hard work the family had put in to serving thousands of plates of Mee Rebus to satisfied customers.

Haji Wahid’s Mee Rebus was also among the first food stories from Johor which I shared with readers in the Travel Times, a pull-out section of the New Straits Times.

This was a heritage story worth sharing under Heritage Trades in my book. And the reason why the editors quizzed me about his pendaram while reviewing my manuscript.
. . .

I had arranged with a few heritage traders to cater some items to serve for lunch at my book launch event so that guests will not only read about them, but may also taste and experience their food.

Mee Rebus Haji Wahid was at the top of my list so I fixed an appointment with Hj Halim to discuss details for his catering and the costs involved.

Haji Wahid's family recipe mee rebus has a distinct taste
When we sat down to talk, it was reminiscent of those days when he would serve mee rebus at our home parties, but this time it was for my event at the hotel.

We also agreed to go to the hotel for a walk-through experience so that his team would comfortably set up and serve from a live cooking station there.

Then one night at about 10.30pm, my phone started ringing and I saw from the caller ID that it was Hj Halim. Curious as to why he would be calling at that hour, I quickly answered his call.

“Hello, Bai here!” I heard Hj Halim’s voice. I was gripped with a sudden apprehension, worried that something had gone wrong and…

When I asked why he was calling so late, Hj Halim chuckled. He had just packed up and was about to leave for home from Angsana. Then he went on to tell me the purpose of his call.

He went straight to the point to say that his catering of Mee Rebus Haji Wahid for my event “is on the house” meaning, presented with his best compliments!

I couldn’t believe what I heard and almost dropped my phone!

Hj Halim reiterated his generous gift to me and assured me that this was what he wanted to do.

Overwhelmed by such generosity, I still insisted on paying for his catering. After a bit of persuasion, he finally relented and said I could just pay for his team’s service and transport.

As my mind swirled with many thoughts, it took a long time for me to fall asleep. And when I finally drifted into a tired doze, it was with joy in my heart and a smile on my face.

Thanks very much Hj Halim and Mee Rebus Haji Wahid! I deeply appreciate your friendship and generous goodwill. Terima kasih!

Unveiling the Rolls-Royce Black Badge


The first time I saw the iconic Double R logo, I was in an airport transit lounge – looking at the aircrafts on the tarmac – and I remember thinking that this insignia on the aircraft’s side would mean that its engine design boasts of prestigious Rolls-Royce engineering.

The Rolls-Royce Black Badge, waiting to be unveiled!
So when I received an invitation from Rolls-Royce to an event where a rare trio of Rolls-Royce Black Badge motor cars will be presented for viewing at Puteri Harbour – for the first time in the nation – I checked my calendar and did not hesitate to accept.

This showcase of highly exclusive super-luxury cars was part of the Stylo Gentleman’s Weekend with activities planned at the Promenade, Marina Walk and Puteri Harbour clubhouse.

Conceived as a lifestyle activity to support Formula One races, the success of Stylo International in the circuit of the region’s fashion world, has initiated a luxury lifestyle show event in Johor’s Puteri Harbour, dubbed the Stylo Gentlemen’s Weekend.

Quill Motorcars, Director,
Anas Zawawi Khalid
This innovative lifestyle weekend event, held on the last weekend in October, featured an exciting programme of activities for men’s lifestyle brands and products from fashion, cigars, vintage automobiles to super cars and luxury yachts.

The organisers recognised that the infrastructure and customer demographics in the Iskandar Malaysia region had been rapidly developing with a global landscape and that Puteri Harbour was the ideal venue to launch their prestigious Black Badge range of super-luxury cars.

For me, I was just proud that the Rolls-Royce Black Badge picked Puteri Harbour, Iskandar Puteri in Johor, to debut in Malaysia.

A seasonal monsoon downpour did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm and when I spotted the Double R logo boldly displayed to identify the Rolls-Royce Pavilion, I paused on the steps of the Promenade while an “umbrella-service” came over to escort me in.

All in black and emblazoned with the Double R logo, the large umbrellas sheltered me across the uncovered path to the entrance where I was welcomed and served a tall goblet of refreshing double-layered sparkling juice topped with crushed ice.

Our first peek at the Wraith Black Badge as it was unveiled
As I sipped this refreshing drink, my eyes were, however, riveted to the centre-piece in the Pavilion, the (obvious!) outlines of the Black Badge, stealthily cloaked in a dark sheath, waiting to be unveiled.

It was a cosy and elegant setting that smacked of sophistication and the arrival of the VIPs just confirmed what I had expected.

Among the dignitaries who escorted in Guest-Of-Honour, Yang Amat Mulia Tunku Idris Iskandar Ismail Abdul Rahman ibni Tunku Ibrahim Ismail, the Tunku Temenggong Johor, were Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Asia Pacific, Regional General Manager, David Kim, and Quill Motorcars, Director, Anas Zawawi Khalid.

Tunku Temenggong Johor [5th from Left] with VIP guests
at the unveiling of the Wraith Black Badge at Puteri Harbour
Also present were executives from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Kuala Lumpur, the sole authorized dealership for Malaysia, the brand’s Asia Pacific regional office and Malaysian industry, and special guests like Datuk Jimmy Choo.

“We are confident of a positive response to Black Badge as Malaysia offers good driving conditions and a growing customer base of successful people who are young and dynamic,” said Anas Zawawi Khalid.

“The development of Johor’s luxury hot-spots such as Puteri Harbour and the Iskandar region, along with interest from potential customers, contributed to our decision to launch this exclusive range of cars here for the first time in Malaysia,” he added.

The Ghost Black Badge in Black
The Rolls-Royce Black Badge is a truly Bespoke response to the desires of more assertive, confident and demanding aesthetic of a new generation of younger customers, who are self-made people who wished to make a bold and edgy lifestyle statement about their lives.

In a much anticipated moment, all eyes were on the dark outlines as the drape was dramatically drawn back (electronically!) to reveal the embodiment of the Rolls-Royce’s brand, its Parthenon Grille topped with the Double R logo and the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy, before the entire Wraith Black Badge was unveiled!

And the Ensign Red car before us, just reminded us that Black Badge cars need not be Black!

The Guest-of-Honour and VIPs were then invited to have a closer look at the Wraith Black Badge, fastback coupe – the most powerful Rolls-Royce ever built – powered by 6.6 Litre V12 twin turbo engines with interiors designed with advanced aerospace luxury materials.

The embodiment of the Rolls-Royce brand: its Parthenon
Grille topped with the Double R logo and the iconic
Spirit of Ecstasy
Throughout the Gentlemen’s Weekend, visitors at Puteri Harbour had the pleasure of a close-up experience with the Wraith Black Badge in Ensign Red, the Wraith Black Badge in Dark Indigo and the Ghost Black Badge in Black.

Rolls-Royce super-luxury motor cars are commissioned by customers in almost 50 countries around the world.

Its flagship, the eighth generation Phantom has been consistently confirmed by the media as “the best car in the world.”

The company also produces, Wraith, Ghost and Dawn, as well as a new pinnacle SUV called Cullinan, due for its Malaysia launch in the near future.

A trio of Rolls-Royce Black Badge motorcars were unveiled at Puteri Harbour, for the first time in Malaysia,
[L to R] Wraith Black Badge in Ensign Red, Wraith Black Badge in Dark Indigo and Ghost Black Badge in Black
The inaugural Gentlemen’s Weekend at Puteri Harbour was proudly presented by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Kuala Lumpur, UEM Sunrise Berhad and Stylo International in partnership with Malaysia Fashion Week and Maritime International Showcase Malaysia.

International visitors at YWJ


Some forty ladies and guests from the Johor Baru International Women’s Association (IWA) visited Komplex Sultan Abu Bakar, the premises of Yayasan Warisan Johor (YWJ) or the Johor Heritage Foundation, for an introduction to YWJ, a tour of Gallery Tenun Johor and a dance tutorial for traditional folk dance, zapin.

Johor Baru International Women's Association (IWA) at
Johor Heritage Foundation, after the introduction and
briefing by Haji Shafie Ahmad on the foundation's work.
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to work with YWJ to share stories about their events and activities from zapin to musical theatre productions, with the help of Haji Shafie Ahmad, who was then attached to the Performing Arts Department.

Through Haji Shafie, I also learnt more about Busana Johor or Johor traditional costumes that were worn in ensembles complete with traditional footwear, accessories and head-gear, a proud Johor tradition which has a royal origin.

In 2012, while YWJ was located at Jalan Mariamah, I joined the IWA on a visit where the ladies had a delightful experience, learning more about Johor costumes, festive food and delicacies, music and dance.

IWA members and guests visiting Gallery Tenun Johor
After YWJ had moved into the complex of buildings at Jalan Sungai Chat in 2016, I had the privilege to witness the launch of Gallery Tenun Johor, a project to preserve and showcase the art of traditional fabric weaving in a gallery with an artisanal workshop.

So when the IWA planned to visit YWJ again, I was ready to join them to meet my friends – both at IWA and YWJ –and to see how the Gallery had developed since my previous visit.

The IWA is a non-profit charity group established in May 1999 to help expatriate women and families who have joined their husbands, based here on job assignments, to adjust to living in a foreign country.

Haji Shafie with visitors on a guided tour of the Gallery
Before the IWA was formally registered, a small group of expatriate women started to meet every fourth Tuesday for coffee and a small profit from the money collected went towards charity.

As IWA became more aware of the needs of local charities, they recognized their group’s social purpose and now they regularly organise fund-raising social events to contribute towards healthcare, education and other social needs here.

IWA has raised funds to support various causes including the children’s welfare home in Saleng, the Rotary Dialysis Centre and several Tamil schools in Kulai. 

They also have a monthly Coffee Morning where the ladies enjoy an outing together and this month, it was a visit to YWJ.

Korean members of the IWA taking a closer look at the
artisans, weaving fabric from threads on the traditional
hand-weaving loom
The drizzle did nothing to deter the members and their guests from arriving at YWJ promptly and the morning’s programme of activities kicked off with an introduction to the role of YWJ in the community, in a presentation by Hj Shafie.

Now Head of the Corporate Unit, Hj Shafie explained that YWJ has various responsibilities including collecting and displaying artifacts under the Museum Department, preserving and conserving Malay culture and heritage through the Art & Heritage Development and Library & Literary Departments as well as the Performing Arts Department.

Hj Shafie, who was with the Performing Arts Department until recently, warmed up on the topic of zapin, a traditional folk dance with an Arab origin that was introduced in Johor by Muslim missionaries and traders in the 15th century.

IWA visitors following YWJ traditional dance instructors
in the steps to learn traditional folk dance, zapin
He described how this energetic folk dance gradually evolved in Johor and influenced by Malay culture and philosophy, it was adapted into a more graceful dance.

He assured the visitors that they would have the opportunity to learn the zapin dance steps in a tutorial session later in their programme of activities.

Using a collection of photographs, Hj Shafie highlighted some of their past musical theatre productions and a Malay costume show that were presented locally and abroad.

These drama and musical theatre productions were usually dramatized versions of local history and folklore and often featured popular local artistes in the lead roles.

At the close of his presentation, Hj Shafie invited questions and it was interesting to hear what these representatives of the international community asked and suggested.

Haji Shafie Ahmad and the YWJ traditional dance instructors [Front Row] with the international visitors from IWA
Their interest in local culture and heritage, particularly in dance and theatre performances, was apparent from their request for more information to be provided in English, regularly updated on the YWJ website so that they may also enjoy these events.

After light refreshments, the visitors were welcomed into Gallery Tenun Johor, which is housed in a heritage building within the complex.

The visitors could admire the ancient arches and interesting architecture of this mansion but little did they know that it was once named Istana Tunku Fatimah, the residence for the younger sister of Sultan Ibrahim, Johor Sultan from 1895 to 1959.

The gallery tour started upstairs where glass-fronted display cabinets showcased a rare collection of silk fabrics woven with designs that has various significant meanings.

Mannequins displayed traditional Malay costumes in the typical Johor style with tops that feature the Telok Blangah collar design, a fashion made famous by Sultan Abu Bakar, teamed with traditional woven sarong (lady) and samping (gentleman) fabrics.

Open to the Public - IWA Christmas Charity Bazaar
on Nov 17 at KOMTAR JBCC - All are welcome!
On the ground-floor, there were more fabric displays and here, the visitors could observe artisans who demonstrated their skills at two work stations.

One used a traditional spinning wheel to weave threads onto a spindle while two other artisans were weaving fabric from threads on a traditional hand-weaving loom.

The traditional method of weaving threads into fabric is a painstaking process where single threads are individually woven, thread by thread, to form a piece of fabric.

As the visitors observed this labour intensive, traditional hand-weaving method, they could then understand why the end product has such a high value.

Finally, three YWJ lady dancers led the visitors on a step-by-step tutorial to learn the basic steps of the traditional zapin dance. In a few minutes these smart learners could dance along (pretty well!) with their instructors to recorded zapin music!

Yayasan Warisan Johor, Komplex Sultan Abu Bakar is at Jalan Sungai Chat, Johor Baru. Open Sunday to Wednesday, from 9.30am to 4.30pm, Thursday from 9.30am to 3.30pm. Closed on Friday and Saturday.

Contact: Corporate Office Tel: +607 – 226 6172 and 223 4355; Or email: pengurusan@ywj.gov.my and pengarahywj@gmail.com

A version of this was published in the November 2018 issue of The Iskandarian.

Social Heroes honoured at IMSHA2018


After reviewing the 262 nominations received for organizations and individuals this year, the IMSHA2018 Leadership Council met the challenge to identify the worthy recipients who were honoured in the 5th Iskandar Malaysia Social Hero Awards 2018.

YAM Tunku Idris Iskandar Ismail Abdul Rahman,
Tunku Temenggong Johor, graced the IMSHA2018
A total of nine Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and nine exemplary individuals and two company Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives were proudly acknowledged in a glittering event held in the ballroom of the Renaissance Johor Baru, recently.

The social heroes who were recognised by IMSHA2018 certainly proved that the spirit of volunteerism is very much alive in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor.

I was honoured to be part of this prestigious annual event as the IMSHA, Iskandar Malaysia’s premier community service award event, works hard to identify, recognise and celebrate individuals, organisations and groups who are contributing positively to make a difference to our community.

The 11 categories, both for organizations and individuals, given recognition for their outstanding contributions and making a difference in Iskandar Malaysia are Animal & Wildlife, Disaster Relief and Public Safety, Education Advancement, Environmental Preservation/Protection, Heath Services, Human Empowerment, Poverty & Hunger Relief, Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Innovator and Arts, Culture & Heritage.

Tunku Temenggong Johor [Centre], IRDA Chief Executive, Datuk Ismail Ibrahim and IMSHA Chairperson,
Thanam Visvanathan Suresh with the IMSHA2018 social heroes in organisation and individual categories
Over a given period of time, the public was invited to submit online, their nominations of organisations or individuals who are doing something outstanding and extraordinary in their community.

These nominations would then be analysed and rated against a ‘social impact rating’ system by Frost and Sullivan, an independent technical committee, before the results are finally vetted by the Leadership Council.

The evening’s Gala Dinner event, graced by Yang Amat Mulia Tunku Idris Iskandar Ismail Abdul Rahman ibni Tunku Ibrahim Ismail, the Tunku Temenggong Johor, was also attended by past and present nominees and winners, sponsors and supporters, among other guests.

Tunku Temenggong Johor [Centre], IRDA Chief Executive,
Datuk Ismail Ibrahim and IMSHA Chairperson, Thanam
Visvanathan Suresh, with sponsor representatives 
The large crowd gathered in the ballroom is also proof of how IMSHA have successfully been raising more awareness on the need for all to share in the responsibility of working towards a more inclusive, compassionate and effective society.

Over the years, as IMSHA has been gaining more support, more unsung heroes are being uncovered by the public every year.

While I was familiar with some of the award winners, I must confess that some names were unknown to me.

This was probably only because of their selfless and unconditional attitude in doing charitable work or pursing their passion – doing it quietly without expecting any rewards.

This was why being recognised with the IMSHA is ever so sweet. 

As the recipients received their IMSHA2018 recognition, I clapped and cheered for them along with the audience. The IMSHA2018 winners were:

·         Animal & Wildlife, Le Grandeur Palm Resort
·         Arts, Culture & Heritage, Persatuan Wau & Layang-Layang Johor
·         Disaster Relief and Public Safety, IMAM Response & Relief Team (IMARET)
·         Education Advancement, Soka Gakkai Malaysia
·         Environmental Preservation/Protection, Sahabat Johor DT
·         Heath Services, National Stroke Association of Malaysia (NASAM) Johor
·         Human Empowerment, Educational, Research and Welfare Foundation (EWRF) Johor Baru
·         Poverty & Hunger Relief, Persatuan Sukerelawan Berkat Kasih Johor Baru
·         Social Innovator, Johor Relief Foundation or IHSAN Johor
·         Corporate Social Responsibility, 1) JCORP Wakaf An Nur
2) Menara Optometry Taman Universiti

·         Animal & Wildlife, Jenny Tan Pei Ching
·         Arts, Culture & Heritage, Ajith Bhaskaran Dass
·         Disaster Relief and Public Safety, Rosli Abdul Wahab
·         Education Advancement, Dr Lim Kok Hwa
·         Environmental Preservation/Protection, Pang Oi Mei
·         Heath Services, Lim Min Um
·         Human Empowerment, Jeyanteh Suberamaniam
·         Poverty & Hunger Relief, Ganggayah Appannah
·         Public Safety, ASP David Chung Seng Yun

Incidentally, I’m familiar with the family of Barred Eagle Owls and was introduced to them several years ago.

Last year, I was a guest at Le Grandeur Palm Resort again to autograph my books that the resort had placed in their hotel suites for their guests’ reading pleasure, and I had the privilege to renew my acquaintance with their mascot owl and met their hornbills too!

I thought it was timely for the Persatuan Wau & Layang-Layang Johor or Johor Kite Association to be recognised as they are doing a good job in maintaining the only Kite Museum in the nation and for supporting the annual World Kite Festivals held at Bukit Layang-Layang, Pasir Gudang.

Janet Yeo, the founder of NASAM, whom I had the privilege to meet in 2010 and shared her story, must be pleased that the rehabilitation programmes and support provided by NASAM JB was honoured at IMSHA2018.

Years ago, while I was covering community news for NST Streets Johor, I joined a school event where I met teachers with EWRF JB who were guiding Indian students from low-income families through education and social behavior programmes.

Ajith Bhaskaran Dass receiving his award from Yvonne Loh
But I probably cheered and clapped the loudest and the longest when the MC announced that the recipient in the individual Arts, Culture & Heritage category was Ajith Bhaskaran Dass!

I was simply delighted that our Johor-born and internationally acclaimed dancer, instructor and choreographer, finally received due recognition in his home-city for his contributions to Arts, Culture and Heritage.

I recently met Ajith again at the 15th Johor Arts Festival where he performed with a cast from his Suvarna dance academy.

Ajith Bhaskaran Dass with Thanam Visvanathan Suresh
This year, as Suvarna marks its Silver Jubilee with 25 wonderful years invested in Bharata Natyam, I believe there is now even more reason for Ajith to celebrate!

I’m familiar with Ajith as his story is among various Johor personalities featured under Portraits in my book, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage.
. . .

So if you know of any unsung heroes in your own neighbourhood or local community, nominate them and let their social contributions be recognized by IMSHA.

Nominations are now open for the public to submit their nominations for the 6th Iskandar Malaysia Social Hero Awards 2019 (IMSHA2019) via Facebook and email through The Iskandarian website: www.theiskandarian.com.

IMSHA is a community-led event driven by The Iskandarian and Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA).

For more info on IMSHA, visit Facebook page: www.facebook.com/socialheroawards