More of My Johor Stories at Rotary Club JB

At an event held on 1 January 2020, I met with Rotarian Cheong Nai Cheong, a member of the Rotary Club of Johor Baru, who invited me to be a guest speaker at their regular club meeting.

Guest Speaker at Rotary Club of Johor Baru
that was also streamed online via Zoom
When I received the official invitation, we agreed on a date and it was set for me to speak at their club meeting on April 7.

However, in an email dated March 26, I was told that the club had decided to cancel all meetings due to the global pandemic and the subsequent Movement Control Order. My appointed date to speak at their meeting was then deferred indefinitely.

Through email correspondence in August, a new date was agreed for me to speak at their meeting on October 6. But a sudden spike in the cases in Johor Baru compelled the club to cancel their meetings in October and a new date was proposed.

With Club President Freddie Lee at the meeting
In late November, the new date for me was confirmed for December 1.

This speaking engagement that was initiated on January 1, finally became reality on December 1.

As I anticipated going to this meeting at the DoubleTree by Hilton where the club holds their weekly meetings, there was a sense of déjà vu because the launch event for my 2017 bestseller book was also held here.

It was significant that my book launch event was at the hotel located opposite the site of our grandfather’s old house, No. 154 Jalan Ngee Heng, a familiar place which holds many fond memories of my growing-up years.

Precious photographs projected on the large
screen [Right] to share more My Johor Stories
Now our double-storey bungalow with an adjacent badminton court, is no longer there as the land was reclaimed by the Government and is now mostly part of Jalan Tun Abdul Razak, a dual-carriageway that leads to the CIQ complex of buildings.

Over the years, I had covered numerous stories about the community work initiated by the Rotary Club of JB, so the club members are familiar with me and my work.

In August 2017, I had the privilege to speak at their club meeting to share about my book-writing journey for My Johor Stories.

It was encouraging that club members could
relate to what I shared in My Johor Stories
It was meaningful because I had featured the work of several NGOs that included the Rotary Club of JB, in an exclusive story, A tribute to our unsung heroes in this 2017 bestseller, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage.

With the success of this book, its sequel, My Johor Stories 2: Interesting Places and Inspirational People, was launched on 1 December 2018.

The bulk of 2020 had already whizzed pass and as we continue in the New Normal, I was told that the club’s physical meetings were usually attended by some 20 to 25 members while about 10 to 15 members may join the meeting virtually via Zoom.

It was a pleasure to speak to a responsive audience

So it was timely that on 1 December 2020, I would share with club members, interesting details of how My Johor Stories was connecting people back to Johor Baru in a topic I dubbed, Building Bridges with My Johor Stories.

On my arrival, Club President Freddie Lee and club members gave me a warm welcome and invited me to take my seat in the meeting room and to arrange my books on the table.

In recent years, this all-male bastion of the oldest Rotary Club in Johor had inducted in new members including their first female member. So for the benefit of new members, I was given a glowing introduction before being invited to speak.

Some members joined the meeting via Zoom!
Using the large screen to project precious photographs that were used with My Johor Stories, I had the pleasure to share in more detail about how my stories were building bridges with individuals as well as the community, that ranged from locals, foreigners with a link to Johor and even to our Royalty.

At the close of my presentation, I had fun in the Question & Answer segment, responding to the questions the club members asked.

It was encouraging to know that the members could relate to what I had shared and were intrigued to ask for further clarification on some of the points that I had presented.

Signing my book for club members

Among the interesting points that I had the privilege to clarify was on the role of Major Cina in Johor and more details about the Dewan Cina located in the Istana Besar or Grand Palace complex of buildings in the Istana Gardens.

The club meeting continued in its formal fashion where a club member was invited to thank the guest speaker (me!) and the event concluded on a high note, not only with much clapping and cheering but also with a standing ovation.

This pleasure was further heightened when the club members bought my books and patiently waited to get their books autographed.

It was my pleasure to autograph my books
for members at the close of the meeting

As I addressed my autograph to their names or the names of the people they wanted to present my book to, two of the club members also introduced themselves as former classmates of my Aunty Sylvia and Uncle Victor.

After leaving the meeting, I continued to receive on my phone, warm messages of appreciation from club members, one of whom had joined the meeting via Zoom.

One member even extended an invitation for me to speak at their meeting again, this time on an exciting topic that (I had told them!) would be featured exclusively in Book Three of My Johor Stories, a work currently in progress.

Thank you, Rotary Club of Johor Baru, for the pleasure and the privilege to share more My Johor Stories with you.

Note: The nearest MPH bookstore to Johor Baru is located at Aero Mall, linked to Senai International Airport. My Johor Stories series of books are available from MPH bookstores nationwide and online from

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