The ‘Oscars’ in Ipoh


All the stars were out on March 19 as Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia (SIROM) held their Biennial conference at the Impiana Hotel in Ipoh. Ipohites and other Malaysian Glitteratti showed up in their finest as they strolled down the red carpet and had their photos taken by ‘paparazzi’ just like the real McCoy held recently in Los Angeles.

The fund-raising event, whose proceeds went to two charities in Ipoh, the New Horizons Early Intervention Centre in Canning Gardens and the Pertubuhan Jagaan Kanak-kanak Cacat Setia in Silibin, home to 46 mentally- and physically-challenged children, was the culmination of two days of networking and bonding activities amongst the members which included a treasure hunt along Ipoh’s Heritage Trail.

Soroptimist International is the largest women’s service organisation in the world for business and professional women who work to improve the lives of women and girls in local communities throughout the world. The Ipoh club, which was formed in 2009, was the 13th club to be chartered in Malaysia.

Outgoing President SIROM Datin Indira Naidu handing over to incoming President & Conference Chairperson Joanne Yeoh

Puan Sri Siew Yong Gnanalingam, President-Elect Soroptimist International S.W. Pacific (SISWP), Datin Indira Naidu President SIROM, and Conference Chairperson Joanne Yeoh from Kuala Lumpur and members from sister clubs all over Malaysia were on hand for the speeches and toasts that were given by Joanne Fernandez, Past President of SISWP, Dato’ Dr. Majumder and Puan Sri Dato’ Sandra Lee.

Charter President Jayamalar Jeyaratnam and President Khoo Kuan Hwa and their committee saw their hard work acknowledged when the Ipoh club was recognised with the second prize in the ‘Best Practice’ award for their ‘SIHA’ (which stands for Soroptimist International Home Assistant) programme, a service project which trained single mothers for domestic cleaning work and organised them for ad hoc cleaning assignments secured by the club through flyers and word-of-mouth recommendations.

The evening’s entertainment began with a martial arts display from Martial Arts and Fitness Academy. City Ballet put on a spectacular ‘Walk Down Broadway’ performance choreographed by Datin Rosalina Ooi and complemented by sterling vocals from Shu Wern Sze and Gavin Tang. This was followed by two exquisite numbers from soprano Mrs. Irene Lim in Chinese, most noteworthy of which was the Habanera from Carmen which was delivered with great flair and passion. Latin dancers from Yencci Dance Studio closed the entertainment section on a snappy note.

The evening ended with a raffle draw with the grand prize being a night’s stay with breakfast and spa treats at the Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat in Tambun.