Monthly Archives: July 2011

MGK Sports Day

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It was a day of fun for the pupils of the Methodist Girls’ Kindergarten at their recent Annual Sports Day. The event which was held in the Methodist Girls’ Secondary School field was blessed and opened by Pastor Elaine Low of Canning Garden Methodist Church. Themed “1Malaysia”, the boys and girls were decked in aptly designed T-shirts during the mass drill where they danced energetically to upbeat music. Later, they competed, class by class, in various sports events which captured the Malaysian cultural drift. They played traditional games such as hopscotch, and had to don sarongs and clogs in obstacle races. Even the parents let their hair down in the Parents’ Challenge in which they participated alongside their children. Chairman of the Kindergarten Management Committee, Leonard Lim presented prizes to the winners.

LYW

Sitarist Ustad Mokhsin Ali Khan (front right) with his team

Superlative Sitar

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Sitarist Ustad Mokhsin Ali Khan (front right) with his team

The recently held Sitar performance, SANGEET, was a wonderful musical experience.

Organised by Greentown Indian Cultural Society (GICS) together with the Indian Cultural Centre Kuala Lumpur, it featured a sitar performance by maestro, Ustad Mohksin Ali Khan, ranked as one of the best Sitarist in the world and his team from New Delhi, India.

Mohksin, 47, learned the sitar under his uncle Ustad Wazir Ali Khan and well-known musician-composer Pandit Partho Das. Mohksin’s style now successfully blends the best of both his teachers in the renditions of his music.

The one raga played that night featured over 100 variations. The majority of the audience that night, when asked, stated they thoroughly enjoyed the show.

The show that night was held at the Multi Purpose Hall at the State Secretariat. Although admission was free, the attendance only half filled the hall.

Posing with the committee of GICS. 2nd from left is GICS President Subain Singam

According to GICS President, Subain Singam, the society’s goal is to make Ipoh a place of performances for Indian Music and Dance every month.

Their next event on Sunday 24 July is Ghazal which is Hindustani Classical Songs with a lot of wonderful & beautiful ragas (melodies) sung by Suman Devgan, one of the top Ghazal singers in the world. She will be accompanied by four top class musicians. All of the performers are from New Delhi.

Entrance again is free and held at the same venue. The event starts at 7.30 p.m. For enquiries, Subain Singam can be contacted at 012-5056049.

JAG

Visit Perak Year 3

Ambitious Target for Visit Perak Year 2012

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By James Gough

Perak is to embark on an aggressive programme to promote tourism in the state. It has set a target for three million tourist arrivals under its Visit Perak Year 2012. The promotion, which lifted off this month, has a two-prong approach. One is to spruce up the various tourist attractions available in the state and the other is to draw up attractive tour packages to lure tourists to stay overnight.

Publicity Campaign to Put Perak on Tourism Map

State tourism chairman, Dato’ Hamidah Othman, hopes to put the state on the tourism map through an intensive publicity campaign in the country and as well as abroad.

She said it was important that they start preparing now for the Visit Perak Year 2012. She is seeking a RM10 million budget for promotions from the state with a ringgit-to-ringgit match from the federal government.
Although Perak has many tourist attractions, it has not felt the full impact of the country’s successful tourism industry each year. Though tourism is the second largest revenue earner in the country earning RM56.5 billion from the arrival of 24.6 million visitors last year, Perak recorded just 2.2 million tourist arrivals during the same period.

This is being attributed to tour agents from Penang and Kuala Lumpur for organising only day trips to the various tourist attractions in the state, while local tour agents appear to be just interested in outbound tours.
As a result, the number of visitors to Perak has been experiencing a declining trend in the last three years. Perak therefore needs to offer attractive tour packages to lure tourists to stay longer.

Lure Tourists To Stay Longer
“Our goal for Visit Perak Year 2012 is to create 3 days-2 nights (3D2N) packages to allow visitors to the state to stay overnight,” said Hamidah. According to her, getting visitors to stay overnight would have a spill-over effect for the industry players.

Generally, a visitor to Ipoh who is staying for a 2D1N package spends an average RM300 which covers accommodation, transport, food and shopping. Based on this simple formula and at 3 million visitors the spill over effect to the industry would be RM900 million.

However, Hamidah is planning to come out with 3D2N package stays. She has identified four packages to be worked on. They are Belum and Lenggong, Kuala Kangsar and Taiping, Pangkor and Manjung and Ipoh.
With just over five months to go, preparations for the Visit Perak Year will start with a seminar to be attended by the stake holders and hoteliers.

Similarly, Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri DiRaja Zambry Abdul Kadir will also be holding briefings with representatives from all district councils and local authorities to prepare for events on district, federal and international levels.

Locals To Think Tourism And Do Tourism
“Visit Perak Year 2012 will involve the whole state,” stressed Hamidah. “We need to create awareness throughout the state and have the local residents as well as local councils, to participate to have a Fiesta. We have to tickle the locals to think tourism and do tourism”.

The theme for Visit Perak Year 2012 is “Green Tourism. Yours to Discover. Nature and Heritage” which is aligned to Tourism Malaysia’s tagline “Go Green, Go Clean”.

Hamidah has budgeted RM7.5 million for promotions. Besides new brochures, it will include 14 billboards throughout the North-South Highway from Johor to Perlis with additional billboards at KLIA, LCCT and KL Sentral. Two LRT coaches will feature Visit Perak Year’s wraparounds while aggressive promotions via the main-stream media will commence this month. Apart from these, road shows are also to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Singapore, Medan and Jakarta.

Hamidah also announced that the state was working with an outside agent to develop the inbound tourism market saying that the local agents were more interested in promoting outbound tourism.

Meanwhile, the state is preparing some new tourist attractions; among them an allocation of RM200,000 for the Kinta Nature Park in Batu Gajah and a RM300,000 allocation for upgrading Lorong Panglima (Concubine Lane) in Ipoh.

Others include steps taken to float the last tin dredge at Tanjung Tualang, converting a decommissioned Royal Malaysian Navy warship, KD Rahmat, at Lumut into a living museum with a hotel and floating restaurant, promoting the firefly colony at Kampong Dew near Taiping, more Heritage Trail Maps for Old Town Ipoh, and plans for Batu Gajah and Gopeng.

Lenggong Valley archaeological site, where remains and artefacts from the Palaeolithic (old Stone Age) and Neolithic (new Stone Age) were found as well as the skeleton of the 11,000 years old Perak Man will be featured strongly.

On Ipoh/Tin Heritage, Hamidah initiated a move to gazette the area from Ipoh to Batu Gajah, Kampar and Gopeng as a Tin World Heritage site. Perak Tourism is collaborating with National Heritage Department to gazette the area though she is now going for National Heritage Gazetting.

Meanwhile, the Malayan railways company (KTMB) has donated one of its three ‘domed verandas’ that protrude outward from the Ipoh Railway station to be used as a Tourist Information Counter and centre for the heritage walk where visitors would be briefed before setting out on their walk.

Ipoh Railway Station is the starting point of the Ipoh Heritage Walk every Saturday. According to Hamidah the Perak Tour Guides Association would operate the information centre when ready.

Calendar of Events
Perak Tourism too will be coming out with a Calendar of Events throughout next year with contributions from NGOs, associations and local government bodies. The calendar will be finalised by September and the printed copy out by October.

Other activities proposed by Hamidah include participation by commercial retailers to promote local products such as white coffee and even shoes, and promoting cycling to get around heritage trails.

On the overall preparations, Hamidah said that “generally we are ready. Our theme song and logo are ready while our promotions will start this month. Everything else should be completed by September as we plan to have a soft launch in October while the actual launch will be on January 1, 2012 after the New Year countdown.”

Musings on Food - Quiche

SeeFoon discovers that “Real Men Do Eat Quiche”

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By See Foon Chan-Koppen

The title of this tongue-in-cheek book Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche, by American Bruce Feirstein, a bestselling book in the 80s, satirizing stereotypes of masculinity, came to mind as I was tucking into Quiche recently at Tammy’s Kitchen in Ipoh Garden East.

Tammy Tan, the enterprising proprietor and pastry chef, with her brother Robin Tan helming the kitchen, has created a small but comfortable cafe in this little neck of the woods on Hala Bandar Baru (take the road behind Jusco going towards Tambun, past Citrus on the right). Although the signboard is a tad difficult to read with its black lettering on red background, with the name Tammy’s Kitchen, a visit to the cafe itself is worth the effort.

Homemade Quiche

As I mentioned right at the beginning, the homemade Quiche (a sort of open pie on a pastry shell) which is a meal in itself, is a heaven-sent thick chunk of melt-in-mouth pastry, eggs, cream, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, cheese and very tasty sliced sausages and chicken ham. As I watched my friend Chris DiGiovanna, who often helps me out with the food shots, tuck into it with gusto and enjoyment, I couldn’t help but think about the book that had given me a good chuckle in those days. The Quiche, which is one of the best I’ve tasted, sells out very quickly and is made fresh for both lunch and dinner RM12.90 per portion.

I was determined to sample as many of her dishes on the simple menu as possible and so I rounded up a group on two occasions to do just that. So here are my recommendations.

The Chicken Pie (weekends only) is quite small and can easily be eaten by one person RM6.50. Her Cornish Pasty (only 8 pieces a day and sells out quickly) is much larger, stuffed with carrots, potatoes, onions, chicken, fresh button mushrooms and is served with a salad – RM12.90. Both of these use short-crust pastry which gives them the crumbly texture which I love.

Western Dishes

We tasted the Grilled Chicken Salad which was unanimously voted by our group as excellent; morsels of grilled teriyaki-flavoured chicken pieces topping a crisp mixed salad with a subtle balsamic vinegar dressing – RM10. The Seafood Pasta (RM14.90) came with baby tomatoes and the Creamy Mushroom Spaghetti (RM12.90) was delicious. We also had a Seafood Spaghetti with pesto sauce which my dining companions enjoyed but I found, overly garlicky. While Tammy’s spaghetti was more ‘al dente’ than most other cafes, I still found it softened for local taste buds and not quite to my purist Italian standards; nevertheless a good effort which will appeal to most local diners. With more than 23 different styles of pasta to choose from, diners are spoilt for choice.

For those into larger portions of meat, their Australian Sirloin Steak served with vegetables and french-fries was tender and great value at RM20.90. Their Lamb Stew, which is available only on Fridays and weekends, is a wholesome portion with gravy served with a piece of garlic bread to soak up the sauce – RM16.50. For those into cheese and fish, there is the Cheesy Salmon which is an interesting fusion, quite delectable – RM14.50. The one anomaly on the menu which features all western-style dishes and which I found absolutely irresistible was the Asam Seafood Rice, made from their own secret recipe for the paste; a must-try for those who love a good asam taste.

Desserts and Pastries

A review of Tammy’s Kitchen would not be complete without mention of their desserts and pastries. Highly recommended and top of my list is their Tiramisu which has to be one of the best I’ve ever tasted (RM12) followed by their Banana Royale, a tall wedge of sponge, cream and huge chunks of banana – RM7.50. Noteworthy and definitely worth dropping in for coffee are their muffins which vary between blueberry, banana walnut and cherry-chocolate. These are moist, crumbly and definitely worth the RM3.50 for each.

This is one restaurant that combines quality with value. Well worth visiting.

Tammy’s Kitchen
17 Hala Bandar Baru Tambun 18, Desa Tambun Indah.
Tel: 017-4873728
Pork Free. Closed Tuesdays.

Manjung Trains Perak’s Boys’ Brigade

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Manjung played host to Perak’s first joint Boys’ Brigade Basic and Advanced Non-Commissioned Officer Training School. Unlike previous years where members were sent to Penang for training, more than 100 members and officers from Ipoh, Manjung, Teluk Intan and even as far as Kulai, Johor gathered at the Ayer Tawar Chinese Methodist Church for the course recently. Over a period of three days, the participants underwent gruelling training activities to equip them with good leadership skills and guide them spiritually as well. Chong Chi Wei, 16, from Ipoh said of the tough nature of the camp, “I knew that this was not going to be easy when we were greeted with a ‘welcoming gift’ of 40 push-ups for being late.” Other than drill, they attended classes on topics such as communication, planning, and presentation. At the end of the camp, all opined that they had gained invaluable experience and were proud to have completed the training. Perak State Commissioner, Tan Wee Tion, was present at the opening ceremony.

LYW

YBU Gets New CEO

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The Chief Executive Officer of Yayasan Bina Upaya Darul Ridzuan (YBU), Khairul Azwan Haron (pic left) handed over duties to Dato’ Zainal Abidin Omar (pic right) effective July 4. The handing over ceremony was conducted at the foundation’s Greentown Square office and was witnessed by Dato’ Saarani Mohamad, Chairman of YBU.

The appointment of Dato’ Zainal Abidin, according to Dato’ Saarani, was based on recommendations made by the foundation’s board of trustees. “Zainal has the experience and the capacity to helm the foundation,” said Saarani in his opening remarks. He hoped that staff of YBU would give him the same support like what they had given to Khairul.  “There is bound to be differences in the style of leadership of the new CEO as this is only to be expected,” said the Chairman. “There won’t be any major changes as the mission and objectives of YBU remain the same. The achievement of these goals is our primary concern,” he added.

Khairul urged his former staff to continue with their responsibilities of helping the poor, the needy and the marginalised in tandem with the foundation’s mission statement. He dismissed speculations that his untimely departure was attributable to some internal conflicts, imagined or otherwise. “I’ve no bone to pick with the MB or members of the board of directors,” he stressed. “I am leaving so I can concentrate my time and energy on politics.” Khairul, incidentally, is the Perak UMNO Youth cum Perak BN Youth chief. With the next general election drawing close, his political responsibilities take centre stage. “However, I am still a trustee of the foundation and will play my role, as required,” he added.

The new CEO made his intentions clear. “I’ll continue propagating YBU’s mission and objectives making them achievable in the long-term,” he said. In pursuing these definitive goals he is mindful of the Key Performance Index set in place by his bosses.

Dato’ Zainal Abidin Omar was formerly the State Development Director. He is married to Datin Hajjah Nor Ainon Baharuddin. The couple has ten children.

The gathering then witnessed the unveiling of a coffee table book detailing the origin and growth of YBU to what it is today.

RM

East Meets East

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History was made at the Gurduwara Sahib, Sitiawan recently when an Australian guy took a lady from a well-known Sikh family in Sitiawan as his lawful wedded wife. Kawaljit Kaur Sandhu, 32, daughter of Dr. Manjit Singh  met Hayden W. Clark, 37, in Kota Kinabalu in 2006 when she was working with a power plant there.

Hayden works with a company dealing in industrial chemicals. His Kuala Lumpur-based company has branches in Sabah and Australia.  Kawaljit Kaur is currently employed as a project manager in Kuala Lumpur.

“We had enough time to understand each other. It’s only lately that we decided to get married. Hayden had embraced Sikhism and underwent the wedding ceremony according to Sikh customs,” said the bride when met.

The couple got engaged in March this year after Hayden was converted at the same Sitiawan temple. He took the name, Inderraj Singh.

Inderraj Singh enjoyed every moment of the wedding ceremony and was so taken aback to see Kawaljit in her traditional wedding dress. “She looked gorgeous. I am lucky to to have her as my wife,” he exclaimed.

Hayden’s parents, Mr and Mrs George Clark from Australia and the bride’s relatives from India, Singapore and Australia were present to bless the newly-married couple.

SN

Khairul Resigns

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Khairul Azwan Haron resigned as Perak football team manager effective July 5 citing the poor showing of the state team in the Super League as his reason for doing so. “One must be responsible for the team’s failure,” he said in a statement released to the press. “I am happy that Perak is placed sixth in the current standing. However, it’s a little off the mark I’ve set for myself.”

Khairul handed over his managerial responsibilities to Assistant Manager, Ahmad Shahrul Azhar. “I believe Ahmad can bring the team to the level expected. He’s capable of preparing the team for the coming Malaysia Cup tournament,” he added.

Khairul is also the Perak Football Association’s honorary treasurer. “Although I am no longer involved in managing the team, I am still responsible for its finances. Therefore, I still have a role to play in the team’s development and the development of football in Perak,” he remarked.

FZB

CIMB Community Link Gives Hope To The Disabled

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In an effort to improve the livelihood of disabled children, CIMB Bank, under the Community Link Programme funded by CIMB Foundation, handed over a grant of RM49,771 to Ray of Hope charity home here recently.

The grant will be used to assist the Home’s Sheltered Workshop Café Programme, to purchase electrical items, and furnish the kitchen with utensils that will help mass produce cookies and other food items to generate income for the Home.

Witnessed by CIMB Area Retail Manager, En. Harith Abdullah and Datuk Dr. Yeoh Beng San, the Home’s Director, a mock cheque was presented by CIMB Ipoh Garden Branch Manager En. Mohd Sani Abbas to the Home’s Chairman, Datin Mary Yeoh.

At the event, Dato’ Mohd Shukri Hashim, executive Director, CIMB Group and Chief Executive Officer, CIMB Foundation commented that the main objective of CIMB Community Link Programme is to empower CIMB Bank’s branch staff to work closely with the community in which they are located and make a meaningful contribution to society.

Shukri commented, “CIMB Foundation is non-profit organisation set up to implement CIMB Group’s corporate social responsibility and philanthropic initiatives aimed at empowering the community in a transparent, measurable and accountable way to enable them to stand on their own.”

“Since 2007, CIMB foundation has funded a total of 517 Community Link projects amounting to more than RM25 million that covers three main areas namely, community development, sports and education,” he added.

Meanwhile, Yeoh mentioned that the Ray of Hope is a non-profit multiracial home offering holistic, supplementary, vocational, educational and living skills to children with learning disabilities. With skills training the main criteria and with the support of their Community Link partner CIMB Bank, she hoped that the students will improve their survival skills further and set their sights for a brighter future.

Two Women, Two Countries, One Goal

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By Mariam Mokhtar

Michelle Yeoh

Ipoh’s own Hollywood star, Bond-girl Michelle Yeoh, is tipped for an Oscar in the movie ‘The Lady’, about Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese pro-democracy leader, to be screened at the Venice Film Festival this August.

Suu Kyi, who heads her party, The National League for Democracy (NLD), is also a Nobel Peace laureate. At the 1990 general elections, the NLD scored an outright landslide victory.

It was Suu Kyi’s personal sacrifice and her defence of human rights that has made her an iconic symbol for the Burmese people in their struggle for freedom.

Aung San Suu Kyi

Her father was Burma’s independence hero, Aung San, who was assassinated in 1947, when Suu Kyi was just two years old. Suu Kyi spent her early years studying in Burma and India, and it was during her student years in Oxford University, that she met her husband, Michael Aris, the Tibet Scholar.

Struggle for Democracy

When she came home to Burma in 1988 to nurse her sick mother, she became involved in her nation’s struggle for democracy. She witnessed the military regime quell the famous 8-8-88 uprising, by the Burmese people, when 5,000 demonstrators were killed.

The NLD was formed after the military coup in September 1988 and Suu Kyi was appointed its General Secretary. She travelled the country giving numerous speeches demanding freedom and democracy but attracted the attention of the authorities and her freedom was curtailed.

She spent over 15 years being incarcerated, most of it under house arrest under laws which allow for detention without charge or trial.

The NLD was triumphant in the general election of 1990 but victory was brushed aside by the military junta. The junta is still in power.

Mass Appeal Unabated

Last November, Suu Kyi was released from house arrest. The government-owned newspaper ‘The New Light of Burma’, which is published by the Ministry of Information, has said that the government’s Ministry of Home Affairs warned Suu Kyi that her political activities were tantamount to breaking the law.

A report said, “If they really want to accept and practise democracy effectively, they are to stop such acts that can harm peace and stability and the rule of law as well as the unity among the people including monks and service personnel.”

The military junta is fearful of the 66-year-old’s influence and her ability to sway the crowds. Even after years of detention, Suu Kyi’s mass appeal has not abated and international support for her is equally strong and popular.

Equally popular

Michelle Yeoh, our local heroine is no less popular in both Malaysian and international circles. Her action-thrillers, her Bond-girl role and her ability to perform the stunts in her movies have all added to her super-star status.

Her movies, ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’, the James Bond film ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ and ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’, have achieved universal acclaim.

‘The Lady’

Michelle paid a visit to Suu Kyi last December for the film which is directed by Luc Besson. ‘The Lady’ is a portrayal of the romance between Michael Aris and Suu Kyi, which is also shaped by political turmoil, her personal sacrifice and the suffering of her people. Scenes were shot in UK and France with the main shoot conducted in Thailand. The movie is slated to be released in October 2011.

Touched by the tenderness in the film, Michelle added: “More important for me is that people should know her story because unfortunately I think a lot of people have forgotten or don’t really understand what was going on because it’s been 20 years”.

In the month of June, Malaysia saw turmoil: its own people have placed a demand for freedom of another kind; Freedom from dirty politics and dirty election practices.

Historic Irony

How ironic that Michelle Yeoh was banned from entering Burma and deported by the military junta. On her arrival in Burma on June 22, she was detained and despatched on the next flight out of Rangoon. A Burmese official was reported to have told Reuters that Michelle had been on the government blacklist.

Perhaps Malaysia and Burma have more in common than being ASEAN members; Two women, two countries, one type of struggle. One lives the life of hardship, the other portrays it. Make no mistake, there are other differences. It just depends how one looks at things.