My Johor Stories, year-end excitement

It was late, almost 10.15pm on Christmas Day when my phone signaled a message from General Manager of MPH Publishing, Kuah Sze Mei.

The poster for MPH Best Non-Fiction Nominees 2017
It was a colourful poster designed with a line-up of books and her message, superimposed on it said: “My Johor Stories made it to the list of MPH Best Non-Fiction 2017.”

I enlarged the poster to see better and recognized the cover design of my book, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage.

I was simply stunned!

Before I could grasp what this means, my eyes widened in awe as I read her next message headlined: MPH is proud to present… The Best of 2017!

It was an announcement about the best deal discounts valid from Dec 26, 2017 to Feb 28, 2018 for MPH members and non-members on these selected English, Malay and Chinese titles.

Copies of the hardcover version of my book
The announcement went on to say: “Each title is selected based on overall sales performance at all MPH Bookstores and, international reviews and recommendation from a team of professional buyers.”

As her message slowly sank in, I felt deeply humbled and ever grateful for the publishing opportunity presented to me by Think City and MPH Publishing that led to a book which gained its success through the support of readers, fans and friends.

In August, when MPH celebrated the nation’s 60th anniversary of its Year of Independence, I was thrilled to be numbered among Malaysian writers in the MPH Writers’ Circle in celebration of Malaysian writers during the national day season.

My book is now available from Popular bookstores too
Around this time, Sze Mei informed me that MPH Publishing received a special order for a set of my books in hardcover version from Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) specifically for their Board Meeting scheduled on Sept 5.

At their Board Meeting this year, IRDA was proud to present each board member with a copy of My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage as a special souvenir.
Now in December – late on Christmas Day – I was greeted with this update from MPH!

My book was at No. 1 of the MPH
Non-Fiction Bestsellers in the first week
after it was launched!
For my book to be nominated among the MPH Best Non-Fiction in 2017, is more than a pleasant surprise and one of the best Christmas gifts that I never expected to receive!

As I look back on my journey in this book project, I deeply appreciate everyone who contributed to the success of my book, in one way or another. You know who you are.

Above all, I thank God for His mighty hand, Who opened the way (at one point when there seemed no way!) in a marvelous and most miraculous way!

When my book was launched on July 15, this title went to the No. 1 spot of the MPH Non-Fiction Bestseller list in the following week. Since then, MPH Publishing kept me updated about the sale of my book.

It was both humbling and delightful to keep track of my book’s performance and how it remained on the MPH Non-Fiction Bestsellers list, not only for consecutive weeks but also for consecutive months!

Mine was among the "voices" in Johor
featured in this Uniquely Johor section
of The Edge magazine, Dec 18 issue
While my book is available from MPH Bookstores nationwide and online via, these books also became available from Borders KL in September.

Then a few weeks ago, my sister discovered my book on the Non-Fiction shelves of the Popular Bookstore in Da Men Mall in USJ. So they are now also available at Popular KL.

In November, I received an email form Elaine Boey, a writer with The Edge, a business weekly magazine, with a request for an interview that would be featured in a special focus section entitled, Uniquely Johor, published with the Dec 18 issue of the magazine.

She had a copy of my book and wanted to use some of the old photos of my family and Johor Baru published within, with her feature on me.

My interview was published as A Journey Into
The Past with photos that were used in my book
This interview with a focus on old Johor and my views of the Johor Baru I know, was published in a 4-page feature headlined, A JOURNEY INTO THE PAST – Author Peggy Loh describes the difference between the JB of her youth and the bustling city it has become.

Lina, a former classmate who read her subscribed copy, told me that she recognized “my voice” in the words and was puzzled to read Elaine’s name at the end of the feature. So I explained how Elaine had quoted me mostly ad verbatim from the interview.

The Edge magazine is on sale at selected bookstores but I wonder if this issue with the Uniquely Johor section, is still available now…

Then a former colleague of my friend Linda, told her that he’s a regular reader of my blog, My Johor Stories, but didn’t reach the bookstore as he lived away from the city.

Signing my book on my car bonnet, in the carpark!
So Linda volunteered to help him get a copy of my book from the MPH Bookstore in JB City Square.

When she mentioned that we would be meeting up during the Christmas season, he asked if she could also help to get his copy of my book autographed. She was of course, happy to oblige.

From the very start of our day together, Linda told me about her assignment to get my book autographed for her former colleague. 

Meanwhile we had so much of catching-up to do and an itinerary of shopping, eating and meeting another friend for dinner.

Linda with me as I autograph my book
for her former colleague
By the time we sat down for dinner, Linda realized that she had left the book in the car. I volunteered to get it but she declared that we could do the book-signing when we finished our meal and returned to the car.

So there we were in the dim carpark – with my book on the car bonnet – and I was much honoured to address my autograph to James Perix.

Even though my books are now readily available from a range of outlets, some friends have only recently managed to get their copies and we are still talking about arranging to meet and autograph them…

Once again, I wish to express a BIG THANK YOU to all of you, proud owners of my book – all who bought my books for themselves and those who received it as gifts.

This proud achievement of being nominated among the titles in the prestigious list of the MPH Best Non-Fiction books in 2017 was due to your support and encouragement. Thank you, all!

My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage has certainly made an impact on readers who are able to identify with the local content of my book and this just spurs me on to work on its sequel, with a more exciting and exclusive collection of My Johor Stories.

. . .

P.S. I'm quoting the message that Linda received from James Perix after he read the above:

"Dear Linda, Good Morning. 

I am truly honoured to have a prized item in hand, an autographed copy of My Johor Stories by Peggy, which is nominated among the MPH Best Non-Fiction Bestsellers in 2017.

I just realised the extent both of you went to get my copy autographed: your constant reminder and persistence to have the book autographed, dim carpark and signing the book on the bonnet. Thanks to you and Peggy again for all your trouble.

Wishing Peggy every success for her current book and her forthcoming sequel. Blessed Christmas and a Spiritual New Year to both of you." 

Thank you, James, and all of you who have also responded with well wishes. I'm truly blessed!

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