A morning with Peggy Loh and IWA JB

When the organizer and I finally found a mutually agreeable date, an invitation with the headline, A Morning with Peggy Loh and IWA JB, was circulated among members of the International Women’s Association (IWA) Johor Baru and their Book Club.

A morning with Peggy Loh and IWA JB recently
IWA members from nations like Australia, Belgium, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, India, Korea, Japan, Netherlands, England, Scotland, the United States, Singapore and Malaysia have made Johor Baru their home with their husbands, who are based here for work.

Established in May 1999, the IWA is a non-profit charity organization which organizes fund-raising social events to contribute towards healthcare, education and other social needs in JB. Its tagline, Connecting – Caring – Contributing, reflects how IWA recognises its role in the community.

While IWA helps expatriate women adjust to living in a foreign country, they also have a social purpose. As IWA becomes more aware of the needs of local charities, they are working in partnership to support them.

Since its inception, the IWA has raised funds to support various causes including the welfare home in Saleng, the Rotary Haemodialysis Centre and several Tamil schools in Kulaijaya. 

Peggy with Jane Perkins-Mackenzie [Left] and
Leila Nordgren [Right]
Before Johor Streets, the southern section of The New Straits Times newspapers ceased to be published in 2015, I often covered community events and had the privilege to work with the IWA and shared their community projects in this newspapers.

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

In mid-July several IWA members witnessed the launch of my book, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage, and showed their support not only by buying it but also by inviting me to introduce it to IWA at one of their Coffee Mornings.

I was in touch with Jane Perkins-Mackenzie (England) for the event arrangements and as we discussed the details, I agreed to check with MPH if they would set up a book sale table at the event. And they said, “Yes!”

The MPH book sale table at the event
With the venue arranged at the Amari Johor Baru Hotel, I was later informed that the place assigned for this event was the Lido Hall.

This was particularly relevant to the local heritage that I was about to share with the IWA– who are mainly expatriate ladies – and who may find it exciting that the spot we were sitting on at the event, was the site of two of JB’s popular landmarks, the former Rex and Lido cinemas!

Later when I highlighted this in my presentation as proof of the rapid development in this city, I saw their reaction to this interesting fact. I explained how the hotel owners recognized the local significance of this site and they decided to name their two event halls, the Rex and Lido!

“So now I know…” was the prevailing sentiment as I showed them more photos from my memories of the old markets and bus terminals – which were once situated on the site of present-day Johor Baru City Square mall.

Presenting my book to the IWA JB members
Even before the event programme started, some of the ladies were keen to buy my books while some brought theirs (bought earlier) along for me to autograph later.

Three ladies, Priya Preet Kaur (India), Maike Neelsen (Germany) and Tajana Holleboom (the Netherlands) approached me for a chat and Priya was quick to tell me that before moving to Johor, she read My Johor Stories on line and my stories helped her connect with this place even before she arrived!

While the number of attendees was small, the IWA members were a good audience who listened avidly as I introduced them to My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage.

Autographing my book for IWA members and their friends
I invited them to feel free to ask questions, during or after my presentation, and they kindly kept all their questions and comments till after.

I was deeply encouraged to hear their interesting feedback and among them was a suggestion for me to take the IWA members on a heritage tour!

It was IWA Vice-President, Anne Taylor (England) who said it would be wonderful if I could do a walk-around JB to show them the places from my book.

They also suggested that I add a map into my book to show them the relevant sites mentioned in my stories. This is worth considering simply because readers unfamiliar with or new to Johor, would get a better perspective of where these places were situated.

Signing my book for Jane Perkins-Mackenzie
Leila Nordgren (Finland) who was not able to attend my book launch event because she was back in her home country, told me she really enjoyed reading my book and my presentation at this meeting, made my Johor stories even more alive.

Akiko Kosug (Japan) was interested in my book and that was why she came to meet me.

Rocio Silva C. (Mexico) told me she learnt a lot from what I shared in the meeting and now she loves Johor more!

All too soon, our time together was nearly over but before that, we had a photo session to add these shots to the IWA newsletter, and finally, the book-signing.

I was pleased to share with IWA that for the week-ending Sept 24, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage remains on the MPH Bestsellers Non-Fiction [Local] list.

Books are available at MPH bookstores nationwide, the nearest in JB being in JB City Square or on line via, www.mphonline.com

At Bukit Timbalan, in Bangunan Sultan Ibrahim

The Johor identity is synonymous with the majestic Sultan Ibrahim Building on Johor Baru’s Bukit Timbalan and a picture of this iconic building was designed into the cover for my book, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage.

My security pass to enter the building
I've had the privilege to tour this building - more than once - when it was still open to the public and I remember having to take a separate elevator to reach its tower. Our presence up there only disturbed the birds nesting there!

I also had the opportunity to visit the offices of the previous Menteri Besar or Chief Minister before the state administrative center was relocated to Kota Iskandar. In each visit, I was fascinated to see how the pepper and gambier motif was widely used in its interior décor.

My recent visit was not as a tourist but on official business (ahem!) and yet I was thrilled to be inside this iconic building again. I just couldn’t help taking notice of the plush décor which still featured the pepper and gambier motif on mirror frames and even on wooden frames designed around elevator doors.

At the gates, it was quite an intimidating experience to face an armed guard. I stopped my car to present my identity but he was gesticulating with his one free arm while the other was holding a slung gun.

The sparkling white lift lobby and first floor landing
Then I figured out he was in fact, trying to tell me that I need not get down from my car but only to pass him my identity and tell him the purpose of my visit.

So I told him I had an appointment with Johor Royal Court Council president, Datuk Abdul Rahim Ramli. It was too lengthy to explain the purpose of my visit so I summarized it as briefly comprehensive as possible before he handed me an entry pass and waved me in.

My phone signaled a message from Josh de Silva that read: “Morning Peggy, we’re at Bukit Timbalan!”

This white marble plaque with gold
lettering was the signboard to the
Johor Royal Court Council offices
Josh of Monomania (MNMN) is working on a video project and when he invited me for a coffee, I learnt more about what he was doing and thought that he should meet with Datuk Rahim to have a clearer perspective about Johor history.

Datuk Rahim had served under three Johor rulers and his vast experience and expertise in the Royal Court made him an authority, not only in matters pertaining to the royal court but also in Johor history.

He compiled the history and practices of the Johor sultanate and the royal family in a book, Adat Istiadat Kesulitan Johor Moden 1855 – 2012, which was published in 2014.

Among the books authored by Datuk Rahim was, The History of the Royal Customs and Traditions of Johor on the traditions of the Johor sultanate including the clothes in the Teluk Belanga design, the Johor Military Forces, the State anthem and the government crown.

In 2016, he launched a book on, The Coronation of HRH Sultan Ibrahim of Johor.

Books authored by Datuk Abdul Rahim Ramli,
 in the Zarith Sofia Library in UTM Skudai
At the time when I was contributing my family and heritage stories to Johor Streets, the southern section of The New Straits Times newspapers, Datuk Rahim also contributed articles on the practices of the Johor Royal Court regularly. So we were fellow writers.

He was not only acquainted with me and my column but also with my family because he used to train in badminton with my Aunty Sylvia, back in the days when she was an active international sportswoman.

So when I set up an appointment for Josh to meet with Datuk Rahim, I was told that the meeting would be held at his office in Bukit Timbalan. When I gave details of the appointment to him, Josh invited me to come along so there I was that morning …

Datuk Rahim [Left] showing Josh and Moe his books
Josh and his colleague, Moazan Emran Iskandar Pino or Moe in short, were waiting in the porch of Block C. As this threesome walked in, we paused at the guard’s desk (who was closely monitoring a CCTV screen!) to tell him we were heading upstairs to see Datuk Rahim.

It was an amazing feeling to walk up the wide staircase with its mosaic tiles polished into a shiny sheen and I wistfully wondered how many dignitaries and foreign ambassadors had tread on these very same steps...

The décor in the first floor lift lobby and landing was sparkling white and my eyes were riveted to a painting on one wall where I recognized the stately flight of stairs of the Istana Besar or Grand Palace.

Check out the pepper and gambier motif
on the glass frame
We could not miss the signage designed with gold lettering against a block of white marble which read, Jabatan DiRaja Johor and walked in that direction, looking for the office door.

No willing to waste time searching through a labyrinth, I gave a call to Datuk’s personal assistant and she answered my query as to which door is their office by swiftly opening the door immediately in front of us! [Both of us were still on the phone!]

No wonder we could not find it! The sign above the wooden door was written in Jawi and neither one of us was conversant in the language…

Datuk Rahim graciously welcomed us in and we had a fruitful time together, starting with a presentation of the project, followed by Datuk’s interesting and informative input.

He was a fountain of information and only paused for moments before recalling names and dates in Johor history as he recounted rare details with us. I’m sure we could have gone on for the rest of the day but Datuk had another scheduled appointment.

A little memento of our initial meeting with Datuk Rahim
At the close of our meeting, he asked Josh and Moe if they have read his books which were available from the Zarith Sofia Library in UTM. Then Datuk invited us back again and said he was looking forward to review the fine-tuned version of their video.

With the office door firmly shut behind us, we could not resist the opportunity to take a we-fie in the lift lobby as a memento of our initial meeting with Datuk Rahim. (I guess the guard downstairs was also keeping an eye on these three, doing our we-fie!)

Hearing from Datuk Rahim, who spoke with such passion on a subject close to his heart, was indeed an illuminating experience which not only enriched our minds but also enlarged our hearts with greater pride for Johor and its rich heritage.

Fun with mum, revisiting Johor sites

Years ago my aunties, Sylvia and Polly, left their hometown and relocated to Kuala Lumpur for family reasons. And even though they visited Johor Baru every now and then, there was always never enough time to linger and do what they wanted to do and see.

The Ng sisters,  [L to R] Auntie Polly, mum
and Auntie Sylvia at entrance to JB Kwong
Siew Heritage Gallery at Jalan Siew Nam
My aunties, now already grandmothers, still longed to taste local food and revisit familiar places. So it was, Two birds with one stone – a visit to JB to spend time with their eldest sister, my mum, and to revisit some familiar sites here.

Food was also somewhere at the top of their agenda but it was mainly to meet and to catch-up with relatives and old friends.

In early September, Auntie Polly sent a photo showing two coach tickets without any message. And when I read the date printed on the tickets, I guessed their plan was to come to JB to celebrate mum’s birthday with us.

This was followed by a ‘request for room reservation’ so I told mum to get our guest room ready because her sisters were coming to stay for a while!

This advance notice helped me to set aside time to share with our aunties who so thoughtfully planned to come to JB for some fun with mum. It was the least I could do to avail myself to ferry them around to where they wished to go and who they wanted to see here.

Up the old staircase to the
JB Kwong Siew Heritage Gallery
When I picked them up on arrival at Larkin Sentral, it was non-stop jalan-makan and doing the things they wanted to do for the next six day until I dropped them off at JB Central to catch the train back. [Our food trail will be a separate story.]

I told my aunties to just say what/who they wanted to see/eat/do, with a veritable, ‘Your wish is my command’ mandate and to tell me well in advance so that I could plan the route or the day’s programme and ensure that all their desires were met.

It was just so good to see mum enjoying time with her sisters, talking about the old days, discussing relatives and nicknames of people from their childhood and recalling the past with reference to where these people are now and how things have changed in our city.

Here are ten things that my mum and her sisters enjoyed doing together recently:

Visit to the JB Kwong Siew Heritage Gallery: This former clan house of the people of Cantonese descent at Jalan Siew Nam was turned into a museum or heritage gallery in a building that that was donated by one of JB’s foremost pioneers, Wong Ah Fook.
Exploring Tan Hiok Nee Heritage Walk

I was pleased to show mum and my aunties around the gallery and while we had fun reminiscing about some of the ancient artifacts on display, it was meaningful for us to see how one of grandmother's cousins, Wong Peng Soon, was being remembered in a summary on the Wong family in JB.

Over the years, while I listened to our grandmother talking about her family, I finally joined the dots to better understand our link to the Wong family. This is in a separate post – Our family ties.

Exploring Tan Hiok Nee Heritage WalkIt was a literal walk down Memory Lane for my aunties.

Auntie Polly, who is familiar with this area, wanted to see present-day Jalan Tan Hiok Nee and Jalan Dhoby, and compare how different or unchanged it was from then and now.

Our first stop was her favourite Teochew-style noodles of kway teow th’ng and mee pok tah at Sang Heng coffeeshop. Although the hawker, Ah Seng, had passed away, his family continues to serve the recipes to my aunties’ tasty satisfaction!

Standing on the site of the former Universal Pharmacy
Ever since Auntie Sylvia introduced the nasi padang food served by Adam Soroso to her son, they often ate at the kopitiam here. Another of his favourites must be the grilled chicken chop at It Roo Café. So these were among the must-taste items we ate here!

Nostalgic site of the former Universal PharmacyTo walk around JB’s heritage quarter, I parked my car in the open space at Jalan Tan Hiok Nee which is now used as a public carpark. This space was once occupied by a block of shops that were razed by fire.
Back in 2010 when I wrote, The Han Su-yin Connection, I introduced my Auntie Polly to readers. Among the shops that were destroyed was No. 24 Jalan Ibrahim, the former Universal Pharmacy where Auntie Polly once worked as a sales assistant.
The Ng sisters at JPO with their shopping

The upper floor of this pharmacy was a dispensary or clinic where a doctor had a general practice. It has since earned the reputation as the clinic where Dr Elizabeth Comber, the Eurasian doctor, once practiced medicine.

Under her pen-name, Han Suyin, she wrote the novel, A Many Splendored Thing which was made into an Oscar-winning movie, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, in 1955.

Shopping at Johor Premium OutletsWe went from the old to the new – exploring the shops at the JB heritage quarter and then to Johor Premium Outlets, in search of the best branded bargains.

There was something special about shopping together, exchanging views and seeking another’s opinion before deciding to buy an item. At the end of the shopping, it was so good to see the Ng sisters – mum and her sisters – coming away with their best buys!

Visiting Senai International Airport
Drive around Senai International AirportMy aunties commented that it was such a long time since they saw JB airport and since we were nearby, I took them for a drive to have closer look at the changes here.

They were pleasantly surprised with the massive developments, especially the unforgettable first sight of that monstrous airplane mounted on a clock tower!

The Teochew Ng sisters with the hairdresser-Hakka sistersI first met these hairdresser sisters when Auntie Polly brought me along to that hair salon at Jalan Trus where she was a regular customer. I mentioned this place when I shared about the significance of hair and good fortune during the lunar new year in, When your hair is your fortune.

Many years later, when we reconnected with these hairdresser sisters again, they could boast that they have been looking after my hair since I was school kid!

The Teochew Ng sisters with the
the hairdresser-Hakka sisters 
In fact, the younger of the two came to our grandfather’s house to do Auntie Polly’s hair on the morning of her wedding and we even have precious photo mementoes of this hairdressing session!

With their salon located in Taman Ungku Tun Aminah now, the hairdressers have a regular clientele – including us – and whenever we were there, they would ask after our aunties.

So it was a timely opportunity to visit the hairdresser sisters and get our hair done while our aunties and their hairdresser friends could spend time catching up on each other’s families!

Celebrating mum’s 85th birthdayMum’s birthday celebrations started with lunch at Yuzu Japanese restaurant at Taman Mount Austin followed by cake and coffee at Patisserie De Charme, a café which specializes in French pastries.

At entrance to Wan Li Restaurant
This was followed by a Chinese dinner with a few friends at Wan Li Restaurant at the Renaissance Johor Baru Hotel.

Visit with Uncle Roland and his wifeI know my aunties would like to see their eldest brother, Uncle Roland and his wife, who were both also advancing in age, so I suggested a drive to Kota Tinggi where they live.

We understand how it was getting increasingly difficult for them to travel so it was best that we went to see them. Armed with buah tangan to present to them, including gifts of snacks suitable for the elderly, we spent a delightful afternoon together.

Visit with Uncle Roland and his wife in Kota Tinggi
Window-shopping at JB City SquareI say window-shopping because we were not serious about shopping here but rather to browse around and have a meal of familiar handmade noodles at Mee Ho Seng Kee, situated on Level six.

It was also an opportunity for my aunties to explore JB Sentral – accessible via an overhead bridge linked to JB City Square – to check out the train schedule to KL and consider buying tickets for their return trip.

[The adventurous duo finally decided to have a train experience even though it was necessary for a stopover at Gemas to change train/track en route to KL.]

Mum [Right] with her sisters, standing on Sungai Segget!
Mum and her sisters, on the landscaped Sungai SeggetThe length of JB’s infamous Sungai Segget in front of the Amari Hotel Johor Baru – on the site of the former Rex and Lido cinemas – has been transformed into a landscaped footpath.

It was exciting that something as familiar as Sungai Segget had turned from an eyesore into an attractive city site!

While it was physically exhausting to take in so many sites and visits to so many destinations, it was worthwhile especially when it was shared with my aunties who could appreciate how the JB they know and love, continues to thrive along with modern developments to make our city a more liveable place.

Mee Ho Seng Kee and my book

“Wantan mee!” declared my aunties, a unanimous decision on their first choice for lunch upon arrival to Johor Baru for a staycation with food trail with me.

At Mee Ho Seng Kee on Level 6, Johor Baru City Square,
[L to R] Auntie Polly, mum, yours truly and Auntie Sylvia
Since they relocated to Kuala Lumpur with their families, my aunties often longed for the familiar taste of their favourite food in JB. As often as they lamented about it, I would reply, “Come to Johor Baru and I will take you there!”

When they finally took up my offer in early September, it was a week-long stay where we revisited some of their favourite food haunts in JB, that started with Mee Ho Seng Kee.

It’s not that my aunties have not tasted these noodles for such a long time because they often had a stock of these classic handmade noodles, sent to them in KL in takeaway packages. The main difference is, they were here now for a dine-in experience.

The air-conditioned modern café on Level 6 of Johor Baru City Square clearly had no resemblance to their original stall set up at that corner coffeeshop at Jalan Meldrum.

The shop's brand name was inscribed on the wooden chairs
At the entrance, I read signs with instructions on where to queue for dine-in and takeaways. This gave us an idea of how well they were organized in an attempt to provide more efficient service.

So we joined the queue for dine-in and I said, “Four,” to the staff who was helping to seat diners at the first available tables.

It was then a little after the peak lunch hour so there was not such a crowd of diners and we were soon shown to a table.

As we walked pass the kitchen, I peeked through the window in the wall and spied the young proprietor, Elton Ho, working alongside his kitchen team.

While menus were on the table for our viewing and selection, my attention was riveted to the wooden chairs – more specifically, the top of the chairs – where the shop’s brand name was beautifully inscribed. To me, this was something new.

Original dry-tossed wantan noodles with a side of soup
and an additional order of dry-tossed wantan
Armed with a forward-thinking enterprising spirit, Ho had done well to keep their noodles shop’s brand in the forefront!

As my aunties studied the menu and placed our orders for servings of the original dry-tossed noodles, they requested for their signature chillie sauce to be served on the side. 

In this way, they could add the chillie to their own desired level of spiciness and enjoy the full flavour of these familiar handmade noodles.

While the menu offered a choice of deep-fried wantan and wantan in soup, my aunties preferred the taste of its dry version, served with wantan dry-tossed in chillie sauce.

Autographing his book in the noodle shop!
Seated in air-conditioned comfort to wait for our order to be served, we commented on how different it was from the old days when diners would be waiting in abject discomfort…

On the wall, a flat-screen television had coloured photos and short videos playing on a loop for diners to see some of the items on the menu and witness how the wantan noodles continue to be traditionally handmade – using duck’s eggs – in the family’s noodle recipe.

Just as our order was served and before the serving staff could leave our table, I asked him to please say “Hello” to Ho, and let him know my name was Peggy. I repeated my name to the staff – just to be sure that he got it right.

And I guess he did.

We had almost finished our meal when a smiling Ho came out of the kitchen, wet with perspiration and dusted with a coat of fine flour, even though he was wearing an apron.

With Elton Ho and my book!
He was not only familiar with me but his family was also acquainted with my mum and aunties, especially Auntie Sylvia, whose husband’s family used to live next door to the Ho family, back then in Jalan Meldrum.

It was good to see Ho again and after chatting a while, he apologized to me because he failed to go to the MPH Bookstore on Aug 26 while I was there to meet my readers.

He deeply regretted not being able to leave his workstation that afternoon – in spite of the fact that MPH Bookstore was in the same building – and assured me that he did buy a copy of my book, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage.

My aunties chatted with Ho at the counter and just as we were about to leave, I was pleasantly surprised when he suddenly whipped out my book and asked me to autograph it!

Of course, I happily obliged.

My aunties were happy to snap photos of us from different angles!

I'm deeply grateful that readers like Ho have helped to keep my book, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage on the MPH Non-Fiction [Local] Bestsellers list for nine consecutive weeks since it was launched in mid-July. Thank you, everyone!

My Johor Stories, book review

On Sept 16, Malaysia Day 2017, my book review by Putri Zanina Megat Zainuddin was a 2-page feature in NST Life & Times Pulse. In the closing paragraphs, Putri wrote:

A two-page spread in NST Life & Times Pulse on Sept 16,
view of the online version 
“She attributes the New Straits Times, particularly the newspaper’s past pull-out sections, the Travel Times [rebranded as Life & Times Jom] and Johor Buzz for her prolific writings on Johor in the early years of her foray into the mainstream media.”
I do indeed! And I also attribute my success with Johor Buzz, [rebranded as Johor Streets] to former JB Bureau Chief, Shahrum Sayuthi, for the opportunities and encouragement to contribute to this Southern section of the newspapers. This pull-out section ceased to be published after Dec 2014.

Just before 10am on Malaysia Day 2017, MPH Publishing general manager, Sze Mei, sent me a photo she took of the 2-page spread of Putri’s review. MPH was then discussing dates with me for a Meet-the-Readers event at their bookstore in 1Utama.

The two-page newspaper spread!
At about 11am, I received a message from Intan Maizura Kamal, Life & Times Pulse editor, with a reminder: “Hi…don’t forget to get today’s NST!”

Thanks for the reminder Intan, I certainly did not. I deeply appreciate how the 2-page spread for my book review turned out – complete with old photos from my book!

When I thanked Putri for her glowing review of my book, she replied saying: “I’m happy it turned out so well.” And ended with a question: “When is your appearance in KL?”

I met Putri for the first time in the offices of The New Straits Times at No. 31 Jalan Riong in Kuala Lumpur. She was then editor of Travel Times, a pull-out section of the NST newspapers, dedicated to travel related news and stories.

As in most interviews, I felt rather nervous. I had responded to a print ad in the Travel Times seeking writers and as requested, submitted a few sample pieces of my writing with my application.

It was simply nerve-wracking, waiting for her comments on my writing but Putri quickly put me out of my misery. She told me the interview was just a formality for them to meet me in person and assured me that my letter of appointment should be received in the next two weeks!

And that was the start of my working relationship with Putri.

I still remember how she used to encourage me with brief comments on the words and phrases I creatively coined and while I was their Johor-based writer, she often gave me assignments with interesting travel experiences.

On her retirement, Putri continued as a contributing writer and I went on working with the newspaper, rebranded Life & Times Jom and the new editor, Zalina Mohd Som.

When I told Zalina, now Editor of Travel & Food, about my book launch, she said: “Wow! That is awesome! Congrats Peggy! So proud of you, so proud of Travel Times too for being part of this milestone.

When I invited Putri to my book launch in Johor Baru, I was thrilled that she not only accepted my invitation but also told me that she will write the book review. To me, it was such a privilege for my former editor to review and comment about my book!

MPH Non-Fiction Bestsellers list for week
ending Sept 7, published in the Sunday Star
Meanwhile, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage continues to appeal to a host of readers and kept my book on the MPH Non-Fiction [Local] Bestsellers list for consecutive weeks since its launch in mid-July 2017.

As I said before, its a bonus to be on the Bestsellers list. Just getting the book on the shelves and sharing my stories with readers was all I wanted to do.

Yet I’m ever grateful to all who appreciate what I shared in my book and I enjoy getting interesting and sometimes amusing feedback from readers. Here’s a recent example:

“Yes, the kuaci!” a friend quoted what his grandmother said and how his mother unanimously agreed when they discussed my story about the old cinemas in JB. They could relate to what I wrote as they recalled their own experiences with kuaci or toasted melon seeds, a popular snack – before the popcorn era – while watching movies!

Two days ago, I received a Facebook message from a reader who wrote: “I was in Borders yesterday and saw a book written about Johor. When I flipped the pages and saw the photos, it triggered off a memory recall…” and she went on to introduce herself.

This message not only reconnected us but reminded me of a conversation I had with Sze Mei some time ago. She told me Borders bookstore was receiving enquiries on their website for My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage and to meet this demand, they ordered a consignment of my books.

So now, in addition to MPH bookstores nationwide and on line via www.mphonline.com my books are also available at Borders in Kuala Lumpur!

Speaking about KL, I’m so looking forward to meeting my readers there very soon!