Book Three completes My Johor Stories trilogy


On December 18, My Johor Stories 3: Proudly Johor, Then and Now – the final instalment to complete an exciting trilogy of My Johor Stories books – was officially launched in a simple ceremony, officiated by Dato’ Dr Abdul Rahim Ramli.


My Johor Stories 3: Proudly Johor, Then and Now
was launched on 18 December 2022

Once again, I was honoured by the presence of so many friends and family members, titled, influential or renowned, former schoolmates and even former and current neighbours, who joined me in this third and final celebration for the launch of Book Three of My Johor Stories.


To everyone who came from near and far, please accept my deepest appreciation for being there for me and My Johor Stories.


From the photos, you will spot familiar faces who honoured me with their presence.


A section of guests at my book launch event

They included Guest of Honour, Dato Rahim, President of the Johor Royal Court Council, Tunku Fatimah Faridah Osman, a member of the Johor Royal Family, Dato Dr Badrul Hisham Kassim, CEO of Iskandar Regional Development Authority, and Mr Jeevan Singh, Singapore Consul-General in Johor.


While Johor Corporation, President & Chief Executive, Dato Syed Mohamed Syed Ibrahim had confirmed to attend, he decided that it was wiser to stay away as he was just recovering from illness.


I was just pleased that Johor Corporation was represented by Pn Hasnina Hafiz of their Group Corporate Communications section.


My mother [on wheelies] meeting with
Dato Abdul Rahim Ramli at the event

Also present were Think City Johor Baru representative, En Mohd Shahril Abd Manan, UTM represented by Dato Dr Prof Kassim Thukiman, Mr Ho Sow Tong, President of the JB Tiong Hua Association, Mr Cheng Chee Tong of the JB Kwong Siew Heritage Gallery, Pn Noorani Mohd Yassin and her husband, as well as Datin Patricia Lim, with whom I have a shared heritage linked through the Wong family of Johor.


Among the family members who honoured me with their presence, was Pearly our second sister, who came all the way from the United Kingdom, as well as my two Aunts with their spouses from Kuala Lumpur, cousins and relatives from our extended family including the Wong family in Johor.


A reunion of old friends!

Thanks cousin Shaun, for your transport and hotel arrangement for your parents to come to Johor Baru with Aunty Polly and Uncle Steven, to attend my event.


It was significant that Dato Rahim met with Aunty Sylvia again – they used to play badminton together – and her husband, Uncle Mok, who used to be Dato’s banker here.


My project on Book Three started back in 2019 but was delayed by the lockdown periods that stretched into two years (2020 and 2021). When conditions improved in 2022, I completed the manuscript for Book Three and published it with the support of MPH Group Publishing Kuala Lumpur.


And so, it was my great pleasure to invite guests, who included the Subjects featured in Book Three, as well as all who appreciate My Johor Stories, to come into my cosy ‘sitting room’ to let me briefly introduce the Contents in this book.


The Johor Storyteller introducing the
Contents of Book Three

My styling team led by Florence Liew, successfully created the cosy ambience of a sitting room on the small stage in the Level 9 event hall at Holiday Inn Johor Baru City Centre.


It was as if we were transported to a bygone era as she made use of relics in the décor. Among them, a dial-up landline telephone, an old radio, shaded lamps, my woven rattan cosmetic bag by JARO, my grandmother’s mirror, perfume and square face powder, and my dad’s faithful camera which he used to capture our Black & While photos.


The contents of My Johor Stories 3: Proudly Johor, Then and Now, includes a section on Proudly Johor brands: established Johor brands that had expanded nationwide and exported abroad as well as promising young brands in Johor.


The JARO booth showcasing their products
for sale at my book launch event

From the cover design of Book Three, you will see the logo of a familiar brand, JARO the shortform for Johor Area Rehabilitation Organisation, one of the oldest NGOs established in Johor to support the rehabilitation of people with disabilities.


It was my pleasure to have a team from JARO at my book launch event, invited to set up a booth to showcase their handicrafts to let my guests see for themselves the quality and beauty of such products that were made by people with disabilities.


Guests had the privilege to receive a sample of My Liberica Specialty Coffee in a drip bag which they could enjoy sipping, along with the taste of freshly baked cookies by Sedap Corner.


A section of the hall with guests at my event

Guests also received from Infinity8 Co-Working Spaces, a One-Day Free Pass to go to any of their co-working spaces for their own experience of this modern concept of a shared work space.


When I learnt that the award-winning Kun Seng Keng High Pole Lion Dancers and the dramatic drummers in the Art of the 24 Festive Drums were occupied with training for their highly demanded performances in this season, I arranged for videos of their skillful and entertaining acts to be screened for my guests to get a glimpse of these Proudly Johor performing arts.


My friends in JB Drums graciously obliged to provide a Chinese drum with drumsticks for display at my event so that guests may have their own drumming experience and capture some drumming photo/video mementoes.


Mrs A. Oliveiro [Left] with
our Aunty Polly, alumni of the
Johor Baru Convent School

You can easily recognize the logos of proudly Johor brands featured with their stories under the Proudly Johor section in Book Three.


Among the stories under Culture and Heritage, is my story on the Johor Baru Convent – the one and only Convent School in Johor Baru – and I was happy to see many of my former schoolmates as well as Mrs A. Oliveiro, President of the Past Pupils Association, at this event.


It was especially meaningful because I could share my JB Convent story with two former schoolmates – Mrs Oliveiro and our Aunty Polly – who were actively involved in school sports. Do look out for a much younger version of them featured in a group photo with this story.


I was pleased to acknowledge Tunku Fatimah, also alumni of the Johor Baru Convent School, for the gift of the land along Jalan Yahya Awal to build the school, presented by her great-grandfather, Sultan Sir Ibrahim and his consort, Sultanah Rugayah, in 1926.


With Tunku Fatimah Faridah,
Pn Nooraini Mohd Yassin 
and her husband

I was particularly pleased that Tunku Fatimah graced my event because my story on her namesake, Sultanah Fatimah of Johor, is featured in Book Three.


Very little is known about the third consort of Sultan Abu Bakar and I trust my story will share more insights into this gracious lady of Chinese origin.


It was so good to see my Japanese friends from the Japan Club of Johor present to witness this event because my story on the Japanese Legacy in Johor aims to share that there was a large Japanese community in Johor, long before the Pacific War and the Japanese Occupation happened here.


Meanwhile Dr Anand Sachithanandan, who first shared with me about the First ICU in the Johor Baru General Hospital, was unable to come due to family commitments, but he was thrilled that I had documented his father’s commendable work in the Johor Baru General Hospital, in Book Three.


Autographing books for readers

I must admit that it was a challenge trying to track down members of the current Johor Baru chapter of the Junior Chamber International (JCI) known as Jaycees, whom I thought needed to know about the contribution of the Jaycees during the time of Dr Anand’s father, Dr. T Sachithanandan, who was a Jaycee then.


Almost at the proverbial 11th hour, I managed to find a contact to reach Mr Lye, an entrepreneur in Johor Baru who was a Jaycee. Then he explained that the Jaycees were hosting their Installation event that same weekend and would try to arrange for representatives to attend my book launch event.


Eventually, Mr Lye attended, along with a number of the in-coming Presidents of various chapters of JCI in Johor including the JCI National President, Matt Ngai.


For health reasons, Datuk Mohd Nor Khalid, better known as Malaysia’s foremost cartoonist, Lat, said that he was not able to travel when he declined to attend my event.


Datuk Lat showed me his shopping from MPH
NuSentral, my trilogy of My Johor Stories!

And when he wished me success on My Johor Stories Book Three, he also said [and I quote], “I am sure I can get your book soon and hope to meet you at another time in the near future.”


I am deeply honoured to have permission from Datuk Lat to use his classic cartoons to share my story on Unity Through Lat Cartoons under Memories in Book Three.


On Friday, Dec 23, I was happy to receive a message from him that read, “Got your books in KL today, Peggy (NuSental)” with season’s greetings and an emoticon with a bead of sweat on its forehead.


This update came with a photo showing the trilogy of My Johor Stories next to an empty MPH carrier bag.


My cousin Dennis, who is based in Melbourne, have been checking mphonline for my books and updating me on the number of units available, so I was aware that the book stocks seemed to be very few.


My Johor Stories books are available
for sale at JARO in Johor Baru

So at the book launch event, I told my guests – who already have Book One, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage, and Book Two, My Johor Stories 2: Interesting Places and Inspirational People – to give themselves a pat on the back because these books are now Collectors’ Items.


Now with Book Three, My Johor Stories 3: Proudly Johor, Then and Now, they would have the complete trilogy of My Johor Stories.


I am aware that MPH had closed many bookstores in the Klang Valley because in Johor Baru, all the MPH bookstores are now closed.


Meanwhile, I am receiving numerous queries from readers who wanted to know where they could get my books in Johor Baru.


With Qun of YSpace, where
My Johor Stories books are 
also available for sale

I had reassured them that my pop-up book sale would happen during the events planned for my Road Show as well as in my Downtown Johor Baru project from January in the first four months in 2023.


So for these keen readers’ convenience, I am pleased to share that from today, readers may buy My Johor Stories books from two (2) outlets here, which carry a small stock of Book Three.


1] Johor Area Rehabilitation Organisation or JARO, located at No. 18 Jalan Sungai Chat, Sri Gelam, 80100 Johor Baru, Johor. Open from 8.30am to 4.30pm. Closed on Friday and Saturday. Tel: +607 – 227 5314.


2] YSpace, located at No. 2 Jalan Yahya Awal, 80100 Johor Baru, Johor. Open 11am to 7pm. Closed on Thursday.


My Johor Stories 3: Proudly Johor, Then and Now retails at RM50 (Hardcover) and RM35.90 (Softcover).


Limited stock of Book One and Book Two are available at RM32.90 (Softcover) so please don’t be disappointed as stocks are fast running out.


Thank you for your support of My Johor Stories. Happy Reading!


P.S. Look out for more info on the coming Road Show and activities for My Johor Stories in Downtown Johor Baru.


Letter to Daddy: Journey to My Johor Stories


Daddy, It’s December 2022 now and in a few more days, when January 2023 comes, you would have left us seven long years ago in January 2016.


The trilogy of My Johor Stories books

The first 12 months was the most difficult as we – mum and I – adjusted to your absence in our daily lives.


Nothing was ever the same again as we made every effort to cope with missing you, your faithful presence, your wisdom and even your wacky sense of humour.


A great deal had happened in the past few years. The most recent was in early 2020 when the global pandemic reached our shores and the nation went into lockdown in an effort to reduce the rapid spread of a deadly virus.


I still shudder to think about how people were getting infected with the Delta strain of the Covid19 virus and we know of friend’s whose family members infected each other and the elderly who were also infected, did not recover.


My Johor Stories books

It was a stressful time for me especially when travel was limited to only 10km distances and any travel was for essential items like food and medication.


Despite the challenges, I am thankful that mum is keeping well in her advancing age and when she turned 90 this year, I could not help but think about how we hosted grand celebrations for your birthdays. And if you were still here Daddy, you would have turned 100.


Daddy, your hobby in photography has given us a precious collection of photographs of Johor Baru in a bygone era and I have used your old photos which aptly supported my pieces, which somehow became popularly known as my Grandfather Stories.


Remember when my opinion pieces about the Johor Baru I once knew were published in Johor Buzz, (later rebranded as Johor Streets) the Southern section of The New Straits Times?


Book One of My Johor Stories 
was presented to schools in the 
Johor Baru constituency by the
then Member of Parliament

The NST Johor Baru Bureau Chief received calls from readers asking him about who this writer was…


And he had much fun jesting with them because I was not a staff writer but a contributor to the Travel Times, the Travel section of The New Straits Times, whom he gave the opportunity to share my Johor stories in the Southern section.


I started to get a “following” of readers who often called the JB Bureau to make positive comments or give compliments about something I wrote.


All this feedback just motivated me to do what you encouraged me to do, which was to “Never stop writing.”


Readers whom I met often asked me about what to expect in my column the next day and my reply was, “I don’t know,” because my contributions joined a queue to be published and I wouldn’t know when that would happen.


My Johor Stories: True Tales,
Real People, Rich Heritage
, at the
No. 1 spot on the MPH Non-Fiction
Bestsellers List in July 2017

Some readers who unfortunately missed the issue published yesterday would be so disappointed they had missed my stories.


I found a solution to this in 2011 when I started a blog, My Johor Stories at to store my published stories and to post stories Exclusive to my blog, so readers may go there to read my stories at leisure.


Daddy, your departure left a huge vacuum in my life and I must confess that it took a great deal of time and effort to get myself back on my feet again.


I knew you would not be pleased to see me like that and it was truly God’s grace that set me on track again to do something which I know, you would not only approve but also support wholeheartedly.


You see, after Think City had established their work in Penang, they moved to Kuala Lumpur and then to Johor Baru to expand their projects in reviving cities.


Book One and Two of My Johor Stories are
also in the Resource Centre at Yayasan Warisan
or the Johor Heritage Foundation

While they were seeking ways to revive Johor Baru, they discovered My Johor Stories and urged me to compile my stories and publish it in a book.


Think City was giving out Grants for worthwhile projects and repeatedly encouraged me to consider the prospect of doing a book project with their grant.


In January 2017, on the first anniversary of your passing, I decided to look at their Grants application form again. Bearing in mind what you would want me to do, I filled in the form and submitted it.


Looking back, my book project in partnership with Think City Johor Baru and MPH Group Publishing Kuala Lumpur was the start of my book-writing journey to publish My Johor Stories in a book.


However, you know that technically, this was not my first book project.


It was 2006 when I embarked on an exciting book project and headed to Chennai in India (alone!) to walk alongside a lady missionary who had dedicated her life to helping women and children in work which was in the league of Mother Theresa.


While many books have been published about the work of Mother Theresa, this book project on the work of Colleen M. Redit, a lady from New Zealand who answered God’s call to serve in South India, was the first which documented her life’s work.


Realising a Vision through Faith – An Autobiography of Colleen M. Redit, was published in 2013, and distributed worldwide through the International Board of Trustees of Christian Missions Charitable Trust (CMCT), where all proceeds from the sale of this book were channeled back to the mission work by CMCT.


My Johor Stories Book One is among
the books in the Singapore National
Library Board...

Well, back to my book project with Think City Johor Baru: my application for their Grant was approved and I compiled a collection of my stories based on the most popular posts being read from my blog.


You will agree that God knows my heart when I embarked on this book project because He opened the way ahead so miraculously that we cannot deny His mighty hand Who led, blessed and guided me along, each step of the way.


I encountered so many people who contributed in one way or another to support me in this book project and can look back and vividly recall all the exciting details.


I’m not about to mention a list of names but I must tell you about my meet-up with then Member of Parliament for Johor Baru, Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad, who was familiar with my work in sharing Johor stories, published in various columns of the newspapers.


Book Two of My Johor Stories is also 
among the books in the Singapore
Library Board!

When I met Tan Sri at the café in Mutiara Hotel Johor Baru (the hotel had closed!) to ask him to write the Foreword for this book, he happily agreed and asked me how much each book would cost.


[I was just a writer and had no idea about publishing or costing but I told Tan Sri that I would find out.]


He was so confident with my work that even before I told him about the contents of my book, he placed an advance order for not five or 50 books but 500 books!


It was at a Book Talk event with student leaders in 2018 held in SMK Dato Jaafar, that I saw my books in the school that were presented by Tan Sri Shahrir to add to their school library.


Through the good office of Tan Sri, now every Secondary School in the Johor Baru constituency has my book, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage in their school library.


This amazing support from Tan Sri that led to schools which benefited from receiving – and hopefully, reading My Johor Stories – was just one of the many exciting experiences that happened in my journey.


Another was a wonderful miracle shared in My version of Great Expectations, where I drew a parallel between me and Datuk Ng Tieh Chuan, then MPH Group CEO, and Pip and Magwitch, characters in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.


Daddy, it was also significant that I should host my book launch event at a venue which was located on the same road as Ah Kong’s (grandfather’s) house at Jalan Ngee Heng.


This happened when Simon McGrath, then General Manager of DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Baru, graciously offered to sponsor the venue for my book launch.


During the book launch event on 15 July 2017, the retail team from MPH set up a Book Sale table and happy readers did not hesitate to buy my book for themselves or to present as gifts.


At the end of the event, a member of this team marveled that in her many years with MPH, never before at any book launch event did it happen that all their stock of books were sold out – and at my book launch event, all my books were sold out!


It was even more humbling to learn that on the first week of its launch, my book went to the Number One spot of the MPH Non-Fiction Bestsellers List.


This title stayed on the MPH Bestsellers List for consecutive weeks and months, and at end 2017, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage was counted among the titles in the Best of MPH in 2017.


My exciting book journey continued with the support of Think City Johor Baru and MPH Group Publishing Kuala Lumpur in publishing its sequel, My Johor Stories 2: Interesting Places and Inspirational People, launched on 1 December 2018.


A photo from Instagram that
showed Book Two of My Johor
Stories in the Sultan's hands!

Daddy, one of the highlights of 2019 must be the occasion of the Johor Sultan’s birthday when a copy of, My Johor Stories 2: Interesting Places and Inspirational People was presented to High Highness Sultan Ibrahim, the Sultan of Johor!


I was also deeply honoured because Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) placed orders for the hardcover version of my books to present to their Board of Directors and as premium gifts to guests in Johor.


Some hotels and resorts here agree with me that visitors liked to stay in a place with a story and they bought my books to place them in their better rooms and suites for their guests’ reading pleasure.


Meanwhile, a resort in Desaru Coast have placed my books in their library for their guests to read while a stock of my books – autographed – are kept aside to be presented to VVIP guests so that they could continue their Johor stay experience by taking home a My Johor Stories book.


From school libraries in Johor Baru to hotel libraries, I was delighted that my books are also part of the Resource Library in Yayasan Warisan Johor or Johor Heritage Foundation, where they are often used by researchers seeking more information on Johor culture and heritage.


Recently cousin Dennis, an avid researcher for his work and local topics of interest (he lives in Melbourne), shared with me that while he was seeking some info online from the Singapore National Library Board, he discovered that My Johor Stories was also included in their collection of resources.


Dato Abdul Rahim reviewing my
manuscript to share his comments

In 2019, I started working on Book Three and derived much pleasure in compiling its Contents and met with Dato’ Dr Abdul Rahim Ramli to seek his comments and valuable advice.


I told Dato Rahim that Book Three will be the final instalment to complete this series in an exciting trilogy of My Johor Stories books and he laughed at me because as a fellow writer, he could not resist working on his next book and the next…


By mid-March 2020, the global pandemic caused by the Covid19 virus was upon us and the subsequent lockdowns called Movement Control Orders, changed my plans for actively pursuing this book project.


While obeying the conditions of these lockdowns, it gave me the opportunity to focus on working on various parts of my book project while I was staying quietly at home.


From the initial two months, the lockdown periods stretched into two years (2020 and 2021) and as conditions improved in 2022, I continued with my book project for Book Three with the support of MPH Group Publishing Kuala Lumpur.


In April 2022, My Johor Stories and I had the privilege to be featured in Astro Awani TV Channel, in a talk show with Host, Sharaad Kuttan.


My Johor Stories was back on
the Bestsellers List in Aug 2022

Daddy, you know I always preferred to be behind the camera but for this, I survived the harrowing experience of talking in front of a camera – masked – and the recording was done in one smooth take!


I believe this exposure on National TV may have revived some interest in My Johor Stories because in August 2022, I received another amazing message from MPH.


Once again, I received the MPH Weekly Bestsellers list, this time for the week from August 12 to 18. And guess what?


My Johor Stories was back on the MPH Non-Fiction Bestsellers List!


After more than two terrible years of the global pandemic and lockdowns, this was indeed a valuable encouragement for me to press on to complete the manuscript for Book Three and publish it before the year end.


The inspiration for this book is the many brands that were established in Johor and have expanded nationwide as well as exported abroad.


The contents of My Johor Stories 3: Proudly Johor, Then and Now, will include widely recognised established brands as well as promising young brands in Johor.


Daddy, this final book will also include my memories of Growing Up in Grandfather’s House and our family’s pride in Badminton Glory Days.


As in my previous two books, Book Three is dedicated to you and mum, for bringing so much into my life while God gets the glory for enabling me to do all this.


Ahmad Fadhli was among the first
to get his own copy of Book Three
On the evening of December 14, my friend Ahmad Fadhli, sent me an exciting series of photos because he was in Kuala Lumpur, browsing around in Kinokuniya bookstore and stumbled upon My Johor Stories 3: Proudly Johor, Then and Now and was thrilled to be among the first to get hold of his own copy.


Just as My Johor Stories were once available at Borders, it was good to know that my books are also retailed in better bookstores other than MPH, in the Klang Valley.


I’m pleased that MPH had released this book nationwide on December 15 and are available from MPH bookstores nationwide and online through


With the past two years of uncertainties, MPH had closed all its bookstores in Johor Baru including the bookstore in the airport.


With permission from MPH, My Johor Stories 3: Proudly Johor, Then and Now will be available from my Road Show events here. (Look out for more info.)


Meanwhile, under the My Johor Stories in Downtown Johor Baru Awareness Campaign from January 2023 for four months, I will host monthly Heritage Walks and Book Reading sessions for participants to join and get My Johor Stories 3: Proudly Johor, Then and Now. (More info on this very soon.)


Daddy, you would be pleased to know that there are exciting plans ahead for me and My Johor Stories, much more than I ever anticipated when I started this book-writing journey.


Thank you, Daddy, for a lifetime of love and support.

Even with all these happenings, I still miss you every day.