Visitors meet-up at Mee Ho Seng Kee


I met Sarah Lee and Evonne Lee in 2018 when I participated in their pie-making workshop in Kluang.


Evonne Lee [Standing behind me] and Elton Ho
with the visitors at Mee Ho Seng Kee

When I discovered the success of their recipe book, I shared it with readers in the story on the Asian Pie Ladies in My Johor Stories 2: Interesting Places and Inspirational People.


Evonne, one half of the Asian Pie Ladies, is based in Singapore and she often arranged for group visits to Kluang in an itinerary for visitors to taste and experience Kluang and which often ended with a pie-making workshop held in Sarah’s place.


When the borders between Malaysia and Singapore reopened after more than two years since the global pandemic reached our shores, Evonne could finally reunite with her family and friends who lived on this side of the causeway.


As travel conditions across the causeway gradually improved, Evonne was happy to arrange group visits to Johor again, with each trip tailored to the group’s requirements.


Elton Ho [Left] supervising the 
order for my takeaway noodles
 from Mee Ho Seng Kee

Because the Asian Pie Ladies had a link to Kluang, I shared with Sarah and Evonne about the recent milestone event I witnessed with the family who operates the Kluang RailCoffee kopitiam at the Kluang Railway Station to celebrate its induction into the Malaysian Book of Records as the oldest railway station kopitiam in the nation.


And because the story of the Kluang Rail Canteen was also documented in My Johor Stories 2: Interesting Places and Inspirational People, my books were presented to the VIPs who graced the event.


In the course of our conversation, Evonne commented that another heritage trader whom I featured in My Johor Stories 2: Interesting Places and Inspirational People, Mee Ho Seng Kee, was also doing well in spite of the challenges due to the lockdown.


She said that this new generation operator, Elton Ho, had digitised their business and even had a delivery service for their frozen noodles, not only to various parts of Malaysia but also to Singapore.


I agreed that Ho did the right thing to adapt his family business to the prevailing conditions to keep loyal noodle customers satisfied during the difficult past two years.


A section of the group having noodle lunch
at Mee Ho Seng Kee, Johor Baru City Square

I told Evonne that during the peak of the pandemic when travel distance was limited, I too ordered Mee Ho Seng Kee frozen noodles delivered to our doorstep and when conditions improved, I went to buy takeaways from him.


Evonne went on to tell me that she was arranging a group visit to Johor Baru in mid-August and one of the destinations in their itinerary was to Mee Ho Seng Kee for a taste of their famous wantan noodles.


I was deeply humbled when she said, “I will bring along your book for a “Show and Tell” during our trip to JB.”


Evonne explained that my book bears a deep significance to her personally because she was born in Hospital Sultanah Aminah and that her father lived here but she could not visit him due to the border closure.


A serving of noodles by Mee Ho
Seng Kee; Spot my book on the 
table, My Johor Stories 2: 
Interesting Places and
Inspirational People

I was deeply saddened to learn that her father had asked Evonne for a copy of my book to read and even had a desire to meet me. Her father, however, passed on in mid-March, just two weeks before the border between Malaysia and Singapore reopened.


Arranging day trips to JB, particularly to the Heritage Quarter where her late father used to live, was something that Evonne wanted to do as a way to honour his memory.


After I had checked my calendar and saw that I was free that morning of their visit, I told Evonne that I would meet her and the group at some point in their itinerary.


When Evonne shared their itinerary with me, I saw that the group would move from Jalan Tan Hiok Nee to Jalan Trus before heading to Johor Baru City Square where Mee Ho Seng Kee was located.


In response, I proposed a bit of walking from one end of Jalan Tan Hiok Nee to the opposite end to appreciate more attractions at the Tan Hiok Nee Heritage Walk.


Elton Ho [Left] with Chef Benny Se Teo
at Mee Ho Seng Kee

Evonne thanked me for the suggestion but explained that there were three elderly people in the group who cannot walk much and do not wish to walk the distance.


She said that this group of 15 was made up mainly of retired ladies and four men, one of whom was Singapore celebrity chef, Benny Se Teo.


It was my pleasure to meet with Evonne and her group of visitors at Mee Ho Seng Kee and over a delightful lunch of tasty noodles made with duck eggs, I had the privilege to chat with them and shared briefly about my journey to My Johor Stories.


My journey to publishing My Johor Stories was truly unique, one which will be documented in Book Three, My Johor Stories 3: Proudly Johor, Then and Now, the final instalment to complete the trilogy of My Johor Stories.


Aware that the next item on their itinerary was (more!) shopping in the mall, I took my leave from the group.


Mee Ho Seng Kee [Non-Halal] noodle café is located at Level 6, Johor Baru City Square, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, 80000 Johor Baru.

UTM celebrates Merdeka with Bicara Karya 2022


It was early July when I received an invitation from Perpustakaan UTM Johor Baru, the Library of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, to participate in an event they were organising in conjunction with Merdeka or National Day 2022.


A screen grab of the UTM live event on Aug 23
Bicara Karya 2022 will be a Facebook and YouTube live event which also features another local author, Jong Chian Lai, based in Sarawak, East Malaysia.


This event invited the authors to share their stories that were written against a backdrop of the early Merdeka era with the aim to create more awareness of our culture and heritage that should in turn, promote more affection for our nation.


The proposed date for the event was Tuesday, August 30, but in early August, I was informed about the change of date, rescheduled to Tuesday, August 23.


The event poster for Bicara Karya 2022

While Mr Jong was invited to discuss about, Ah Fook, his epic book written in Malay, I will share about my 2017 MPH Non-Fiction Bestseller, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage.


In our later correspondence, I learnt that Mr Jong will be joining the event online while the Moderator will be broadcasting from the UTM Library, Perpustakaan Sultanah Zanariah, in the Skudai campus.


I am familiar with the UTM Library because I was a guest at a Bicara Karya event held here in 2019 where the author, Ahmad Fadhli Syed Hassan presented his book, a Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) publication entitled, Almarhum Sultan Ismail Johor 1894 – 1981.


I had the privilege to write about this in, A passion to document Johor Royalty, a piece published in The Iskandarian, the official newspaper of Iskandar Malaysia, in April 2019. [This My Johor Stories page was reprinted in Sebelum Senja Berlabuh, Kenangan di Johor Bahru.]


So when I was given the option to join the live event physically with the Moderator in the library, I did not hesitate to accept.


Then I was introduced to the event Moderator, Sofiazianti Saleh of the UTM Toastmasters Club, and learnt that this Bicara Karya event was organized by UTM in partnership with the UTM Toastmasters Club.


Sofia had done her research on My Johor Stories to prepare a brief introduction at the event and she provided a list of questions as a guide for me to prepare my visual presentation.


Ah Fook by Jong Chian Lai

She also shared with me, the event poster as well as an invitation to the UTM community with the relevant links for the audience to join the event online via Facebook and YouTube.


In the morning of Monday, August 22, a day ahead of the event planned for Tuesday, August 23, I received from the General Manager of MPH Group Publishing, a poster that listed the Top Ten book titles on the MPH Non-Fiction Bestsellers list from August 12 to 18.


The last time I received such a list from her was in 2017 when My Johor Stories was on the MPH Non-Fiction Bestsellers list for consecutive weeks and months after my book went to the Number One spot on the first week of its launch in July 2017.


When I looked closer at the MPH Non-Fiction Bestsellers list dated from August 12 to 18, I was deeply humbled to see that My Johor Stories was back on the Top Ten list in 2022!


Ahmad Fadhli presented his
latest books to me

I was more than delighted to see that readers were discovering My Johor Stories again after we had lost two terrible years to the global pandemic.


It truly means a lot to learn (from this!) that readers still appreciate my collection of timeless true stories about real people, documented in My Johor Stories.


I could not help feeling amused when a friend (who saw this list) pointed out that he noted that My Johor Stories was just four steps behind the book title by Tun M on the Bestsellers list.


When I shared this recent MPH Bestsellers list with Sofia and the team at UTM, Sofia was so impressed that she revised the event invitation from Warga UTM to include Warga Malaysia so that more viewers nationwide could participate in the Bicara Karya event the next day.


The next morning, a light drizzle did not dampen my mood as I arrived at the UTM Library, accompanied by my worthy assistant and friend, Florence Liew.


The tech guys with arms raised to mark the 
countdown to the live event

Sofia and her team welcomed us into the library and to the room where the tech team was busy, setting up the internet system for the live event.


In her briefing, Sofia explained that Mr Jong will join us online for the opening and that I will be the first Panelist before going online to Mr Jong as the second Panelist and she will wrap-up with the conclusion.


Meanwhile Ahmad Fadhli, who knew that I would be in UTM for this event, told me that he would meet me at the library as he would like to present me with his latest publication, a coffee-table book entitled, Taat dan Setia, Almarhum Sultan Ismail Johor Dalam Kenangan.


In the few minutes before the live event, Ahmad Fadhli presented me with his latest book on Sultan Ismail Johor along with another book of his memoirs, Sebelum Senja Berlabuh, Kenangan di Johor Bahru.


View of the screen in front of Sofia and I

I could not stay to chat as I should get ready for the live event but Ahmad Fadhli assured me that he would be there to watch the event, at least for a while.


I did not look into his book yet, which was autographed for me, but wish I did because the message he wrote, Anda sumber inspirasi saya. Terima kasih, (You are the source of my inspiration. Thank you.) was both meaningful and encouraging.


And then, it was time for Sofia and I to settle into position in front of the camera and wait for the countdown for the live event to start.


Sofia the Moderator with me in the live event

While there was a large green sheet hung up behind us, I saw from the screen that the scene projected onto the sheet was that of a comfortable sitting room, complete with paintings hanging on the wall.


Then the tech guys raised their hands to give Sofia the cue for the countdown and suddenly we were live!


The English idiom, Time flies when you are having fun, rang true because it felt like only moments had passed when Sofia thanked Mr Jong and me for our participation in the event and closed with warm wishes for a Happy National Day in 2022.

One for the album; Sofia with the UTM team and Florence Liew [Far Left]

The recording of Bicara Karya 2022 is available for viewing on Facebook via and on YouTube via


Note: My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage and My Johor Stories 2: Interesting Places and Inspirational People, are available from MPH bookstores nationwide and online from


Look out for my soon-to-be-released Book Three of My Johor Stories, My Johor Stories 3: Proudly Johor, Then and Now, to complete the trilogy of My Johor Stories.


Photo Credit: Florence Liew.

Sports Documentary: We were Champions

It is August again, our National Month when we will celebrate our National Day. And there is even more reason to celebrate as we welcome back our National Team from the 2022 Commonwealth Games held in Birmingham, UK.


Poster for the Badminton episode of
We were Champions

Many of our family members – though separated by distance – were closely connected (by WhatsApp!) as we watched the live coverage of the games, particularly badminton, as we supported and cheered on our national heroes.


To me, every one was already a winner.


As we celebrate new sports heroes, it is also good to remember the achievements of our former champions, including that of my Aunty Sylvia who, in a 1997 news report, was dubbed (and I quote), “the darling of Malaysian badminton.”


Aunty Sylvia was National Women’s Champion six times until 1980 when she retired from international competitive sports. For her outstanding achievements, Aunty was voted as Sportswoman of the Year twice, in 1975 and 1978. 


So let me share with you, the chronology of events…


Sylvia Ng 

In a message from my friend with The Iskandarian, the official newspaper of Iskandar Malaysia, I learnt that Gerard Benedict of Code Computer Design in Kuala Lumpur had reached their news desk in an attempt to track me down.


Gerard had stumbled upon a feature published in the My Johor Stories page in The Iskandarian and was keen to discover more details about my story because he was planning on making a documentary on this very same subject.


[The hardcopy issues of The Iskandarian had a page dedicated to My Johor Stories from 2013 to March 2020.]


It was June 2020 when I was finally connected with Gerard, the creative driving force behind the team’s documentary projects, the man who wears multiple hats in the role of producer, writer and director.


Aunty Sylvia on her 21st birthday celebration
cutting her birthday cake at porch of No. 154

In the course of our conversation, he mentioned that he was currently working on a Sports documentary, which was proposed to be aired during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.


He went on to say that he just met with Sylvia Ng for an interview and had shot some scenes at the home of her sister, Polly.


I was amused because he was pleasantly surprised to discover that Lucy, my mother, was their eldest sister and Sylvia and Polly were in fact, my aunts.


Visitors at Aunty Polly’s know that the hall in her home was a virtual gallery of photographs, mostly of her children and grandchildren who lived abroad.


A framed-up newspaper cutting that
has a place of pride at Aunty Polly's

In the room used by our late grandmother, Aunty Polly had posted my full-page and centerspread articles with my family stories and photographs, that were published in The New Straits Times newspapers.


When Gerard learned that I was the niece of the Ng sisters and writer of those newspaper articles he saw posted on the “home gallery”, the My Johor Stories blog offered him another resource to obtain old photographs and information on the famous badminton family in the South.


When Gerard looked at my collection of family stories stored in My Johor Stories ( that shared the Ng family’s passion in badminton, he discovered more about Aunty Sylvia and the badminton heritage in this family.


In fact, one of my earliest published stories about growing up in grandfather’s house located at No. 154 Jalan Ngee Heng was, Where champions were born (New Straits Times, Johor Streets, September 2008).


The 1997 newspaper cutting...
When grandmother celebrated her 100th birthday, I shared a special feature aptly titled, The Real Champion (The New Sunday Times, May 2012) to celebrate her eventful life.


Not only was she a badminton champion in her own right but our grandmother was also the mother of national and international badminton champions.


These precious memories are documented in my 2017 MPH Non-Fiction Bestseller, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage.


Aunty Sylvia featured with her family
when she was expecting her second son

For Father’s Day in 2013, Forever Fathers (NST Streets Johor, June 2013), a story on our grandfather, Ng Ngoh Tee, was published in his memory.


While staying in grandfather’s house as a school-going child, I was aware of the badminton training that went on almost every evening on the badminton court in our compound.


But I was not yet fully aware of how well Aunty Sylvia excelled in her game.


At that time, I only treasured the souvenirs she brought me when she returned from tournaments that were held abroad.


Nona magazine featured Aunty Sylvia 
with her family at home

These included the 1969 South East Asian Peninsular (SEAP) Games held in Rangoon, Myanmar, the 1970 Asian Games in Bangkok, Thailand, and from her 1971 World Tour that covered Russia, China for friendly games and also to England for the Uber-Cup and All-England tournaments.


In fact, I did not know much about the family’s link to the late great Wong Peng Soon until 2015 when a local film-making company contacted me because they read my family stories stored in My Johor Stories.


They were making a documentary that featured the Malayan badminton team who, against all odds, won the Thomas Cup in the inaugural games in 1949 and secured a prestigious place in badminton history.


Family photo captured on the badminton
court at No. 154; Sylvia is standing Far Left

Wong, grandmother’s cousin, was among the team members who represented Malaya in the inaugural Thomas Cup tournament held in Preston, England, and was recognized as one of the greatest Singles badminton players in the early post-war period.


Just as Gerard did, these film-makers (also based in Kuala Lumpur) tracked me down for more information about Wong Peng Soon because they read that our grandfather – four-time Johor state badminton champion – was Wong’s trainer.


Grandfather had passed on in 1980 but the one who had trained alongside Wong was mum’s eldest brother, Uncle Roland, a friend and contemporary of the late Eddy Choong.


Uncle had a memory like the proverbial elephant because he could recall full names of the badminton players, the specific tournaments and the years these games were held, and even – wait for it – their game scores.


Lighting the cauldron at the SEA Games 1989

As I listened in while the interview with Uncle was being recorded, I heard valuable nuggets of information, otherwise still unknown to me.


Later on (after it was completed), Uncle and his wife had the privilege to watch a preview of, The Forgotten Men of 1949, a documentary which was produced for the Busan International Film Festival.


The valuable details that Uncle shared about our link to the Wong family in Johor, was documented in, Family Ties, a story under Memories in my book sequel, My Johor Stories 2: Interesting Places and Inspirational People.


To commemorate International Women’s Day in 2018, I published a My Johor Stories Exclusive, Celebrating Women: Our very own Sylvia Ng, a piece that marked the launch of a video by BFM Radio that featured an interview with Aunty Sylvia.


Fast-forward to June 2020 when Gerard told me about his project to produce a series of sports documentaries planned to be aired on local television during the Tokyo Olympics 2020.


Aunty Sylvia still plays badminton
for exercise

For this documentary project, he and his team had proceeded with research, met with people and conducted interviews with Malaysian sports celebrities to produce the series called, We were Champions.


When the Tokyo Olympics was delayed until 2021 due to the global pandemic, it was also an opportunity for Gerard and his team to fine-tune the documentary series and ready it to be aired later.


When Tokyo 2020 was confirmed to happen in July 2021, Gerard was delighted to share more updates about the sports documentary project with me.


He explained that Episode Six for Badminton will feature two badminton champions, Rosalind Singha Ang and Sylvia Ng, with interviews, old photographs, newspaper cuttings and footage from archive sports newsreels.


It was interesting that in the 1973 SEAP Games, Aunty Sylvia played Women’s Singles against Rosalind Singha Ang as an opponent and also partnered with her for the Women’s Doubles to win Gold in both games.


The formidable Women’s Doubles pair of Rosalind-Sylvia continued to score wins for the nation when they participated in subsequent tournaments like the 1974 Commonwealth Games held in Christchurch, New Zealand, the 1975 SEAP Games in Bangkok, Thailand and the first SEA Games in 1977 held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Then when Gerard asked if I would like to have a sneak peek of the Badminton episode, my reply was of course, “Yes, please!”


A few days later, I received the link to watch an exclusive preview of this episode and I had the pleasure to share it with my mother.


We laughed at some of Gerard’s choices of old photographs picked to portray the Ng family. One in particular of the badminton court at No. 154 Jalan Ngee Heng, showed cousin Catherine skillfully kicking a capteh bulu ayam while two others looked on.


This scene was typical of how we, the youngsters, were allowed to play on the court in the evenings before serious badminton training started.


We also saw a favourite studio shot of the entire Ng family with 11 children – one which I also used with my story, Painful visits to the photo studio – when Aunty Sylvia was a toddler and given a plastic toy fish to coax a smile out from her. 


Family photo captured on the badminton
court at No. 154 with the older grandchildren

I laughed even louder when we saw another family photo captured to a backdrop of the badminton court. This family shot included the eldest daughter-in-law and two sons-in-law with the children of our grandparents’ oldest three children, Roland, Lucy and Lily.


My sisters and I were also in this shot, seated on the court Far Right in the front row. It was easy to identify me among the three: That restless girl who was scratching an itch in her ear…


Even though this episode of the documentary was still in draft-form, I could anticipate a tastefully produced final version where each of the champions interviewed, shared their thoughts and reflections in a comfortable conversation.


Sylvia Ng with her medals
Commonwealth Games
Edmonton, Canada, 1978

Clearly, a great deal of work went into the making of this series of documentaries. Thanks Gerard, for the privilege to preview this episode and for giving photo credit to My Johor Stories.


To commemorate National Day on Aug 31, let us take a walk down Sports Memory Lane with the documentary series, We were Champions, slated to air on RTM’s Sukan Channel at 10.30pm from August 25 to 30.


Repeat telecasts are scheduled on the same channel, at 8.30pm from September 11 to 16.


Please note that the Badminton episode will be telecast at 10.30pm on August 30 with the repeat telecast at 8.30pm on September 16.


Selamat Hari Kebangsaan and Selamat Hari Merdeka 2022, to fellow Malaysians.


For more info about Code Computer Design, check out their corporate profile at:


P. S. My books, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage and My Johor Stories 2: Interesting Places and Inspirational People, are available from MPH bookstores nationwide and online from


Look out for the soon release of Book Three, My Johor Stories 3: Proudly Johor, Then and Now, that will complete the trilogy of My Johor Stories. Don’t miss my recollections on Growing Up in Grandfather’s House and Badminton Glory Days.