Brick-tacular Holidays are here again!


LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort celebrates the close of an eventful 2023 with year-end holiday traditions and activities in Brick-tacular Holidays on now till January 1 next year plus a sneak peek into exciting happenings planned for 2024.


Capture photo mementoes with the
giant Christmas Tree at Legoland
Malaysia Resort this December

This December, families and children of all ages are invited to join an extraordinary journey to Santa’s enchanting world to pay tribute to time-honored holiday traditions.


At The Beginning, I was delighted to see number of booths that welcome guests to soak in the Christmas vibe and join in the fun activities.


At each activity, Model Citizens are on hand to guide you to Build-A-Bauble and create your own LEGO Ornaments at the LEGO building station.


At Keys Of Joy, youngsters may enjoy holiday jingles by jumping on the keys of a giant piano keyboard.


Children are also invited to write a Letter To Santa where the best letter will win a special prize. They are also encouraged to share a holiday wish list in Santa’s List.


Have fun at this booth to
Build-a-Bauble with Lego

Fans of treasure hunts can join in the Gingerbread Hunt to find the hidden LEGO Gingerbread men at The Beginning. Just find them and win a prize.


Remember to get your own copy of the Christmas Advent Calendar with dates marked out for month-long festive cheer with daily surprises when you spend a minimum of RM150 in a single receipt.


Don’t miss the Brick-tacular Parade, a holiday spectacle with Santa and his friends that will happen on 25 December at LEGO City and join this parade that will take you on a joyous journey through the heart of the park.


More fun and excitement happens in the Brick-tacular Holidays with live shows presented daily at The Beginning Stage at various times while special shows, Magical Holiday Wonders and Santarina’s Dance Delight, are featured every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at The Beginning Stage and the Castle Stage at specified times.


Kids enjoying themselves at the Keys of Joy

Then capture the magic of the year-end holiday season in precious photo mementoes with the larger-than-life LEGO Christmas tree, a magnificent masterpiece constructed from 43,000 LEGO DUPLO pieces.


The Brick-tacular Holidays celebrations continue with excellent photo opportunities presented at the LEGO Santa Sleigh and Santa’s Cabin.


Look out for Special Appearances by LEGO Santa, Ollie, the friendly dinosaur, Toy Soldier and Merlin, The Wizard, and do not hesitate to ask for photos with them.


Legoland Malaysia Resort, 
Divisional Director, CS Lim 
sharing a few words at the event

We hope that through this enchanting event, families can bring back their favourite family holiday traditions and make new ones that will last a lifetime at Brick-tacular Holidays.


As we gather together during this festive season to celebrate the past year’s accomplishments, you will feel the spirit of joy and celebration which is deeply rooted in our LEGOLAND Malaysia family,” said CS Lim, Divisional Director of LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort.


“We are incredibly proud of all the wonderful moments we have shared with our guests in 2023 and with the same excitement and enthusiasm, we are looking forward to even bigger, better and more exciting adventures in 2024!” he added.


As we bid farewell to 2023, LEGOLAND Malaysia welcomes 2024 with great anticipation for a unique and fun experience for everyone, including the return of Splash Carnival with a thrilling twist for an even more exhilarating and revolutionary water festival experience.


"Dear Santa..." writing a wish list to Santa

Be sure to keep your eyes and ears on alert as LEGOLAND Malaysia kick starts January 2024 in the lunar Year of the Dragon with a chance to meet a real-life Dragon and an opportunity to embark on the Path of the Ninja to complete various tests and trials to unlock your true Ninja potential.


Schools and students are encouraged to get ready to win big with the LEGOLAND School Challenge for young builders to compete and unveil their best LEGO Build where each creation continues to push the boundaries of creativity to new LEGO heights.


Come join the Brick-tacular Holidays fun at Legoland Malaysia Resort!

Then be prepared to party like a monster with the comeback of Brick-or-Treat, the annual spook-tacular Halloween celebration that promises an even more rocking party than before.


Endless fun with Lego bricks at 
Brick-tacular Holidays this December

So, theme park fans must ensure that your annual passes are ready for unlimited access to all the upcoming adventures that await you at LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort.


Meanwhile in this December holiday season, come join the Brick-tacular Holidays as LEGOLAND Malaysia celebrates the holiday season, embrace cherished traditions and set our sights and goals for an even more remarkable 2024.


For more information, head over to the official website at or LEGOLAND social media pages on Facebook and Instagram. 

Royal support for 'Talking to the Stars'


The ‘Talking to the Stars’ charity art exhibition that features sketches by savant autistic artist, Yap Hanzhen, was recently launched by Yang Amat Mulia Tunku Tun Aminah Binti Sultan Ibrahim, in a simply ceremony.


YAM Tunku Tun Aminah [Right]
admiring the sketch presented
her by Yap Hanzhen

Our Johor Princess, Tunku Aminah – as she is fondly called – took time off from her busy schedule to grace the exhibition held at YSpace Gallery, open from now till December 4, 2023.


In the days ahead of the official events planned to celebrate the Johor Sultan’s birthday, it was indeed a busy time for members of the Johor Royal Family so Tunku Aminah’s time with ‘Talking to the Stars’ was truly meaningful and memorable.


An initiative by Yan Hui Qun, founder of YSpace, the art exhibition dubbed, ‘Talking to the Stars’ highlights the special abilities of ‘Star Children,’ an affectionate name used to describe children with autism.


Data from the Health Ministry in Malaysia showed that the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) was 1.6 in 1,000. Studies have shown that the number of ASD-diagnosed children increased by five percent from 562 in 2020 to 589 in 2021.


Star Children cared for by Hope Garden Johor
Bahru, who were at the event

While symptoms of ASD among children are neurologically based, they may differ depending on age, language level and cognitive abilities.


Children with ASD may have regression in language or social skills, typically when they were aged 18 to 24 months, and some 30 percent of such children may also have intellectual disabilities.


The Hope Garden Society, a registered charity adopted by the Kiwanis Club of Johor Jaya, aims to help improve the quality of life of intellectually disabled ‘Star’ youngsters diagnosed with autism and mild mental retardation.


Tunku Aminah being briefed by Yvonne Yap
about the work of Hope Garden Johor Bahru

For children aged three to six, Hope Garden aims to provide early intervention, special education and sensory integration exercises to maximise their potential and ability.


For children aged seven to 12, in addition to special education and sensory integration exercises, they aim to provide pre-vocational skills for the children to learn basic skills in creating useful handicrafts.


For intellectually disabled young adults, Hope Garden aims to provide training in vocational skills so that they may lead more independent lives.


The ‘Talking to the Stars’ exhibition features drawings by savant autistic artist, Yap Hanzhen, whose skills in sketching will be an inspiration to Star Children cared for by Hope Garden, Johor Bahru.


Yap Yew Peng and Yvonne, the parents of
savant autistic artist, Yap Hanzhen

I had the privilege to get to know young Hanzhen some 12 years ago when his parents shared with me, interesting details about how they discovered his gift in drawing.


My early encounter with the Yap family was shared in a piece dubbed, Teen Prodigy, published in October 2011.


Since that meet-up with Yap Yew Peng and Yvonne Yap, I had other opportunities to join them and their two sons at events where Hanzhen’s artwork were showcased.


After my stories on Hanzhen, JB’s teenage art savant (January 2014) and JB’s gifted special artist (October 2014) were published, I was pleasantly surprised when Yvonne told me that Hanzhen had prepared, A sketch for me (December 2014).


Yvonne Yap showing details on drawing
to Tunku Aminah
Meanwhile, Hanzhen’s art was widely accepted and appreciated both locally and abroad through exhibitions and commissioned work.


I recall that it was our conversation in 2011 where I suggested to Yap and Yvonne to challenge Hanzhen to draw our heritage buildings.


And then in 2015, I was more than pleased to join an event hosted in the Doubletree by Hilton Johor Bahru where Hanzhen launched his book filled with sketches of our heritage buildings titled, My city, my heritage.


Tunku Aminah admiring the 
drawings by Yap Hanzhen

Next to his parents, I was probably the other proudest person to see Hanzhen’s artwork displayed throughout the Doubletree by Hilton Johor Bahru since the hotel opened in 2014.


I share their pride and joy in observing how Hanzhen started with drawing single buildings with much detail and accuracy, and then progressing to drawing impressive city skylines that comprised clusters of buildings!


In 2016, I had the pleasure to publish a piece in Life & Times, a section of The New Straits Times with nationwide distribution, about Hanzhen and his gift in drawing titled, From caterpillar to butterfly.


By then he was already aged 17 and just like typical teenagers, his parents told me that Hanzhen had his good days as well as his share of bad days.


Yap Hanzhen started drawing again
on 18 November 2023

So when I invited Hanzhen and his parents, along with all the people featured in Book One, to my book launch event on 15 July 2017, I was more than pleased that he felt well enough to attend.


It was important to me that he could be part of this event because I had documented Hanzhen under Portraits, among the people in Johor who have impacted our lives.


With the support of readers who appreciate My Johor Stories, on the first week My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage, was launched, this book went to the Number One spot in the MPH Non-Fiction Bestsellers list.


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


It was good that Yap Hanzhen
was inspired to start drawing again 

The ‘Talking to the Stars’ event was a good time to meet with Yap and Yvonne again and when I saw familiar sketches from Hanzhen’s show in 2011 titled, ‘Of Obedience, Solitude and Beauty,’ I could not help having flashbacks to some 12 years ago.


The recent two uncertain years of the global pandemic and resulting lockdowns did a great deal to damage our physical and emotional health, and I believe it was probably more difficult for Star Children to cope with the many challenges.


Yap agreed with me and confided that their family even took up a hobby in planting and growing their own vegetables at home, a healthy pursuit which developed into a real passion to do more to provide for their own consumption.


He also said that Hanzhen was not inspired to do any drawing in recent years and it was a very difficult time for the young man until recently when the ‘Talking to the Stars’ project was discussed.


Tunku Aminah adding her signature onto
the globe with a drawing by Yap Hanzhen

Staying close to the theme of ‘Stars’ Hui Qun suggested to create a giant globe made of paper mache to represent a big star in our universe and suggested to Yap and Yvonne to let Hanzhen see and feel if he was ready to draw on this globe of a ‘star.’


So it was a momentous day for the Yap family on November 18, 2023 when Hanzhen started to seriously draw again and he completed a sketch of the side view of a tiger’s head on the globe with his signature above it.


After this drawing was done, the Yap’s presented the globe as a gift to Hui Qun who decided to use it as a gimmick for Tunku Aminah to add in her autograph next to that of Hanzhen’s and his sketch.


Close-up: Tunku Aminah signing on the
globe with a drawing by Yap Hanzhen

As Tunku Aminah signed her name on the globe, this was witnessed by Hui Qun, Yvonne and Chief Executive Officer of Yayasan Raja Zarith Sofiah Negeri Johor, Hishamuddin Abdul Rahim.


The Yap’s also presented Tunku Aminah with a framed sketch by Hanzhen that featured minute details on a minaret in a section of the Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque.


Hui Qun agreed with me that Tunku Aminah may read more about Hanzhen and his special gift in drawing from the story documented in my 2017 MPH Non-Fiction Bestseller, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage.


Thank you, Tunku Aminah for gracing
the 'Talking to the Stars' event at YSpace

YSpace carries a stock of My Johor Stories books in their YStore so we decided to present Tunku Aminah with the trilogy of My Johor Stories, made up of two more books, My Johor Stories 2: Interesting Places and Inspirational People and My Johor Stories 3: Proudly Johor, Then and Now, for her reading pleasure.


The ‘Talking to the Stars’ art exhibition was jointly organised by Hanzhen Gallery, YSpace and Recreation, supported by Yayasan Raja Zarith Sofiah Negeri Johor and Hope Garden and co-sponsored by Kkum Memories, Lorong 32, Above Production, Champs x Rueys, Andy Photographer and Zion Emcee.


Hope Garden is located at No. 1 Jalan Bakawali 6, Taman Johor Jaya, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor. School hours from 8.45am to 11.45am and from 1.45pm to 4.45pm, from Monday to Friday.


Donations are welcome by bank transfer or cheques made in favour of Persatuan Kebajikan Sinar Harapan, Johor Bahru, Johor, or online transfer to UOB Bank Account No. 736 3001 576. Please send bank-in slips by WhatsApp to Tel: 6010 – 829 8298 or 6019 – 675 7919.


Photo Credits: Courtesy of YSpace, the Yap family and my own photos.


The trilogy of My Johor Stories
books is available at YSpace

Note: My Johor Stories books are available from MPH bookstores nationwide and online from mphonline.


While all the MPH bookstores here are now closed, two (2) outlets in Johor Bahru carry a small stock of hardcover and softcover versions of My Johor Stories available from:


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


2] Johor Area Rehabilitation Organisation or JARO, 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.

Spark your imagination with IKEA


To celebrate the safe landing of AFTONSPARV, the new space-themed kid’s collection at IKEA stores throughout the nation since November 9, Malaysia’s first astronaut, Dato’ Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar, will make special appearances to share his experience in space exploration to inspire shoppers and space enthusiasts.


This way to the AFTONSPARV collection
at IKEA Tebrau, Johor Baru

With a mission to nurture the next generation of space explorers, IKEA Malaysia is partnering with Dato’ Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar in a nationwide tour that kicked off on November 8 with an official launch at IPC Shopping Centre in collaboration with IKEA Damansara, followed by an appearance at IKEA in Cheras on November 10.


On November 19, I was among the crowd, eagerly anticipating his appearance at IKEA Tebrau in a special event that coincided with the sixth anniversary of the store’s opening in Johor Baru.


To me, it was very special indeed to meet the nation’s first astronaut in person, rather than to just see him from photographs in newspapers, magazines or posters.


Entrance to the Space Station at IKEA Tebrau

The event started with a brief introduction of the products in the AFTONSPARV collection that are designed to bring the wonders of outer space into the home.


IKEA believes that the best way for children to learn, grow, and develop is through play, and that home was their most important playground.


And there was no better way for kids to learn about the wonders of space exploration than firsthand, from the first Malaysian who had been there and back.


Created in collaboration with young children aged three to seven, AFTONSPARV offers endless opportunities for creative play and role-playing, that will ignite the youngsters’ enthusiasm and love for space.


Space themed bed linen, decor
and curtains

The products ranged from jigsaw puzzles, cuddly soft toys to cardboard spaceships and tent rockets that aims to spark imagination, creativity and a sense of adventure among budding astronauts and explorers.


The AFTONSPARV collection encourages children to explore their curiosity for outer space while being designed with sustainability in mind.


This aligns with the IKEA commitment to make its play solutions as sustainable as they are safe and fun.


Soft toys like Space Teddy, Space Kitty, Space Bunny and Green Alien, in the new space range are made of recycled polyester. Meanwhile, cardboard in the rocket play tent contains at least 70% recycled materials.


AFTONSPARV Space inspired soft toys

It was simply wonderful that IKEA Malaysia presented this one-of-a-kind opportunity to shoppers and space enthusiasts to meet with Malaysia’s first astronaut, as part of its mission to make a positive difference in people’s lives through new experiences and to help people dream bigger.


To add more excitement, adult-size mascots dressed in costumes for Space Teddy, Space Kitty, Space Bunny and Green Alien, made an appearance at the event.


Earlier on when the MC chatted with the children – dubbed Space Rangers – he asked them individually for their age and their ambition. We heard various replies, sensible ones along with the hilarious.


Kids enjoy colouring sheets of
space-themed designs

Several kids claimed that they wanted to become astronauts but one child was adamant about becoming a doctor.


“Why?” asked the MC and the child firmly replied, “Because I want to help people.”


One child who wanted to be an astronaut was also asked, “Why?”


His prompt reply, “Because I want to go to the moon,” and continued, “and eat it!”


Space-inspired face and arm painting for kids

The MC was stumped but quickly recovered to clarify that in our multi-cultural community that celebrates a Mid-Autumn Festival, this child was probably familiar with eating mooncakes!


My thoughts flashed back to six years ago, when I was among another crowd who witnessed the opening day of IKEA Tebrau on November 16, 2017.


Then in 2018, I was here for the announcement about the plan to build Toppen, the shopping mall linked to IKEA Tebrau.


Space-themed desk and chair set for kids

In June 2019, I was invited for a peek into the progress of the building construction and then on 13 November 2019, I was again among the privileged few who witnessed the opening of Toppen Shopping Centre.


My musings came to a halt when I heard the MC announce that Dato’ Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar was already in the building and making his way to the event…


It took a while before the man finally arrived – my guess was – he was happily delayed by the enthusiastic welcome of star-struck shoppers who could not resist stopping him to snap souvenir photographs.


The MC led the chit-chat with Malaysia's
first astronaut, Dato' Dr Sheikh Muszaphar

And then he was in front of the gathered crowd, warmly welcomed by loud applause.


“I am eager to meet fellow Malaysians, including parents and their children at IKEA stores across the country, and am thrilled to partner with IKEA to inspire a love of space exploration—something I’ve always been passionate about,” said Dato’ Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar.


In his replies to the questions raised by the MC, Dato’ Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar spoke in English interspersed with Malay, for an informative and engaging time together.


Sharing a high-five greeting with the youngsters

I believe it was not just the children who were in awe of this fine figure of a man who discussed – among other things – the basic qualities required to qualify for being shortlisted to join the astronaut training programme.


I also believe that child who aspired to become a doctor, was much encouraged to know that our first astronaut was a qualified medical doctor by profession, before he was selected for astronaut training.


In closing, Dato’ Dr Sheikh Muszaphar encouraged the youngsters and everyone in the crowd, to work hard to achieve their goals.


The event poster at the Swedish restaurant

“Imagination is the fuel that propels us to dream big and reach for the stars.


By sharing my experience, I hope to encourage young kids and Malaysians everywhere to pursue their passions, no matter how big or small,” he said.


And when he said that the nation has the desire to send another astronaut, this time maybe the first female astronaut, the crowd responded with thunderous applause.

At the end of the event, Dato' Dr Sheikh Muszaphar was presented with a token of appreciation by the Space Teddy mascot. When the MC asked for a souvenir photograph to be taken with the IKEA Tebrau Store Manager, there was a request for him to come forward. 

It was funny when the Space Teddy whipped off his mask to reveal that it was in fact, the Store Manager, Tony Dumitru Vatuiu, wearing that mascot costume.


IKEA Tebrau Store Manager,
Tony Dumitru Vatuiu, with
Dato' Dr Sheikh Muszaphar

After his time at IKEA Tebrau that day, Dato’ Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar’s next appearance will be on November 25 at IKEA Batu Kawan.


The IKEA AFTONSPARV collection that aims to inspire next generation space explorers, will be available at IKEA stores from 9 November 2023.


IKEA is the world’s largest home furnishing retailer with 460 stores across more than 60 countries.


IKEA Malaysia is part of Ikano Retail, one of 12 IKEA franchisees and the only one owned by the family of Ingvar Kamprad, who founded IKEA in 1943.


IKEA Malaysia creates a better everyday life by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low, that as many people as possible can afford them.


Ikano Handel Sdn. Bhd. owns and operates four omnichannel stores in Malaysia, including IKEA Damansara, IKEA Cheras, IKEA Tebrau and IKEA Batu Kawan.


To learn more, visit