Celebrating 10 years of My Johor Stories

As an eventful 2021 draws to a close, I do recall that this year also marks the 10-year anniversary of My Johor Stories, the blog, since it went ‘live’ on 11 March 2011.


I wish to thank readers for your interest and support – you know who you are – each one of you who would take your time to read my stories and respond with a Like and/or comments. Thanks so very much!


Looking back, it seems like ages ago when I told readers about the New Era in March 2011 and then six months later, I shared the excitement with, Six Months on 


On the blog’s first-year anniversary, I humbly confessed that I did not know that the live-launch of my blog on that morning of 11 March 2011, was the same date as when the horrific earthquake and tsunami devastated the north-eastern coast of Japan


Readers familiar with my writing probably started reading my stories from the Travel Times, a pull-out section of The New Straits Times (NST), dedicated to Travel.


Travel Times and its Editor, gave me the opportunity to share my experiences about travel destinations – both local and abroad – hotel and restaurant reviews, interesting personalities and I particularly enjoyed sharing quirky and annoying experiences in my Traveller’s Tales.


In early 2008, the Travel Editor assigned me to join a Southern Craft Trail to see the One District, One Industry initiative of Kraftangan, the Handicraft Development Corporation of Malaysia, hosted by Kraftangan Malaysia under the Ministry of Unity, Culture, Arts & Heritage. 

It was an eye-opening trip where I met traditional craftsmen of local products that were unique to Malacca and Johor. After this exciting experience, I wrote a two-part feature that were published in the Travel Times. 


This section of the newspapers was published just once a week and enjoyed nationwide circulation.


I, however, felt so strongly that these Johor craftsmen deserved further exposure and recognition that I approached the NST Johor Baru Bureau Chief to feature each of them separately in Johor Buzz, the Southern section of the NST. 


After my features on Johor craftsmen were published in Johor Buzz, the JB Bureau Chief encouraged me to contribute more regularly to this pull-out section.  


This started me on contributing regularly to various columns for community events, food reviews, interesting people as well as to the Opinion page where I shared my experiences in what became popularly known as my grandfather stories.


At home, we have a vast collection of old photographs because of my dad’s hobby in photography and our Black & White photos aptly supported my nostalgic tales.


By sharing my Johor stories in this column, I garnered a reader following who enjoyed my storytelling, particularly for my grandfather stories which evoked a strong sense of connection to Johor.


I was deeply humbled when I learnt that some readers (they told me!) bought the NST for the sole purpose of reading my stories in Johor Buzz, a section that was later rebranded as Johor Streets.


It was also very encouraging when the JB Bureau Chief told me that he was receiving calls from readers who asked about this writer (me!), expressed positive comments about my stories and gave many kind compliments…


Readers did not want to miss any of my stories but if they failed to get a copy of the daily newspaper, they would ask me, ‘What was yesterday’s story?’ or ‘What is your story tomorrow?’ to which I would reply, ‘I don’t know.’


The team at BrandCulture PR & Marketing
Communications, working on a fun project
like My Johor Stories
The Streets section was published daily on weekdays and because my stories joined a queue and waited to be published, I really did not know when the pieces would be out.


These questions and the readers’ keen interest made me think of a way for readers to enjoy reading my stories at their own leisure and convenience.


To do this a blog, My Johor Stories at www.peggyloh.com was created to store published stories in categories like By the Way, Travel, Food, People and Memories as well as a wide range of stories Exclusive to the blog.


As my blog was accessible to readers worldwide, My Johor Stories started to connect people to Johor and I had my fair share of exciting adventures from meeting people, both local and from abroad, who turned up in JB because they had read my stories.


Meanwhile Think City, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Khazanah Malaysia, was reviving cities from Penang to Kuala Lumpur and when they came JB, they too discovered My Johor Stories.


When Think City Johor Baru approached me to publish a collection of My Johor Stories to document a slice of Johor history in a book, I was in no frame of mind to do so because I was grieving at the sudden passing of my dad in January 2016.


It was some 12 months later that I decided to accept the challenge from Think City to work on a book project in partnership with MPH Publishing, as a tribute to my dad.


On July 15, 2017, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People and Rich Heritage was launched and in the first week of its launch, this book reached the Number One spot in the MPH Non-Fiction Bestsellers list.


This book stayed on the MPH Bestsellers list for consecutive weeks and months and in December 2017, this book was counted among the Best of MPH in 2017.


A great deal of effort but a lot
of fun while working on the
project with My Johor Stories

Nobody, least of all me, ever thought that my book would become a Bestseller but I was deeply humbled and grateful for my readers’ support which resulted in this success.


This book was reviewed for the NST newspapers by none other than my former Travel Editor and it was a whole new experience for me when I was interviewed and featured in newspapers and magazines, and filmed for videos.


Following the success of Book One, Think City Johor Baru urged me to continue with a sequel and on December 1, 2018, My Johor Stories 2: Interesting Places and Inspirational People, was published also in partnership with MPH Publishing.


In the following year, I was thrilled to receive a photo taken from the Royal Press Office Instagram Page, that showed His Majesty, the Johor Sultan holding a copy of my Book Two. The caption said that His Majesty was presented with my book among his birthday gifts.


Putting the final touches to
to the approved artwork

Well-received as a published author, I was invited to give talks to students in local and international schools and universities, and at club meetings, to share about My Johor Stories with the aim to encourage and inspire.


Some hotels and resorts here know that visitors liked to stay in a place with a story, and I was delighted that they decided to place my books in their better rooms and suites for their guests’ reading pleasure and to enhance their stay in Johor.


I was deeply honoured when Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) placed special orders for the hardcover versions of my books to present to members of their Board and as premium gift to their guests.


In 2019 I had the privilege to present a TEDx Talk on, Connecting People through My Johor Stories, an exciting challenge to speak according to my script in just 18 minutes.


The social-media savvy team at BrandCulture
is giving My Johor Stories a
new and refreshing touch!

On this 10-year anniversary of My Johor Stories, I wish to pay tribute to my dad, who started me on this exciting journey in appreciating the written word, encouraging me to enjoy playing word games, reading books and writing journals, that led me to a career in writing, both for clients and the mass media.


I have gone from writing for newspaper columns to writing a personal blog and then to documenting precious memories in the My Johor Stories series of books, which are not only precious for our family but also a proud legacy for the Johor families, brands and organisations, whose valuable stories are now documented in my books.


Along this journey, I was privileged to meet with many inspirational people and have gained the respect and support of readers, friends and associates.


As the My Johor Stories brand developed organically, I was deeply encouraged when the team at BrandCulture PR & Marketing Communications came alongside to offer me their professional support.


The global pandemic and the resulting lockdown periods since the start of 2020 through to 2021, was truly an unprecedented time in history.


But while staying home to stay safe, I had more time to work on the manuscript for Book Three, the final instalment for a trilogy of My Johor Stories, which is also fondly dedicated to the memory of my beloved dad.

In August 2021, BrandCulture, who shares my passion in Johor culture and heritage, approached me to partner with their client to create a short video for Merdeka Day 2021, that aimed to encourage people as they faced challenges in this difficult time.


Now as we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of My Johor Stories, I thought it was also timely to share some of my published stories, safely stored in my blog, and direct new and regular readers to these inspiring stories, to enjoy reading them again!


The professional team at BrandCulture then started working with me to develop a series of attractive and animated posters and videos to post in Facebook and Instagram.

I am sure many readers were intrigued to see the first in its series that featured Vintage Cars, that kicked off in December 2021.

It is a token of my appreciation and my gift to all readers, so look out for the next series which is scheduled to be posted every month in Facebook and Instagram.


Once again, THANK YOU readers for your interest and support for My Johor Stories. There are indeed, a lot more stories to tell.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations Peggy... keep writing and sharing :)