Category Archives: Latest News

Toastmasters Club Joint Meeting


YMCA of Ipoh Toastmasters Club

The YMCA of Ipoh Toastmasters Club hosted a joint meeting with Premier Advanced Toastmasters Club of Kuala Lumpur at YMCA Ipoh recently. It was a regular meeting, but was open to the public. The objective was to show what transpires during a Toastmasters Club meeting and to clear inaccurate perceptions about the club.

Under the umbrella of Toastmasters International, members of Toastmasters clubs learn communication English, effective communicative skills, public speaking and leadership development through role-playing.

After the meeting was called to order, an inspirational speaker gave a short motivational speech. This was followed by the introduction of a rarely-used English word by the Word Master, who explained its definition and encouraged members to apply the usage of the said word in the day’s proceedings.

The Table Topic Master then invited members and guests to give a two-minute impromptu speech on one of the eight topics given. It takes a lot of guts to speak at the front of the hall but a Toastmasters meeting is a training ground for this, and speaking in front of friends builds up one’s confidence in public speaking.

The main part of the meeting was the manual project, where Toastmasters had to present their assignments based on their manual, within a given time frame. Each manual project speaker was assigned a dedicated evaluator, who is an experienced Toastmaster. The evaluator then gave his or her feedback, usually first highlighting the strengths of the speech, followed by the weaknesses and suggestions for improvements, and then challenging the speaker to do better next time.

Fellow Toastmasters and guests had the opportunity to vote for the best speaker in the Table Topic session, as well as the manual project speeches. Ramesh Victor, one of the four manual project speakers, was presented with an award by Area Governor H1 Richard Tan Yi Jer, for completing the Competent Communication manual.

Competent Communication (CC) manual is the basic level in Toastmasters. It is followed by the Advanced Communicator Bronze (ACB), Silver (ACS) and Gold (ACG), and finally, Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM). To reach the highest level a Toastmaster would have given a total of at least 50 assignment speeches based on the different manuals, and had taken on various roles during meetings.

“The Toastmasters manual may be outside of the Malaysian school curriculum but the club provides a platform for members to speak in public confidently and to think on their feet, which would boost their marketability in the competitive job market. We encourage Form 6, college and university students, as well as young working adults, to join us. If you want to speak well you’ve to speak first. Every member is assigned a mentor,” said Peter Bucher, President of YMCA Ipoh Toastmasters Club.

Membership to YMCA of Ipoh Toastmasters Club is open to those who are at least 18 years of age. One-time registration fee is RM80 while membership fee is RM160 half yearly. Members meet at YMCA Ipoh every 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month at 7.45pm.

For details call Peter Bucher (Pak Peter) at 019 574 3572.


Rebranding Clearwater Golf Resort


 Clearwater Sanctuary Golf Resort (CWS) will be undertaking a rebranding exercise 20 years after its inception.

(l-r) 3rd from left Kenny Yap followed by Gary Player.

To be undertaken by Gary Player Golf Course Design and Architecture and led by the Grand Slam winner himself, Gary Player and his team of consultants were on hand for the announcement.

CWS CEO Kenny Yap made the announcement to the media together with Player, one of the most successful international golfers who had designed over 300 golf courses since the early ‘80s. According to Yap, the resort, which started in 1992, is a 27-hole golf course and had received an award for ‘Most Scenic Golf Course’ as its fairways caress tranquil lakes of disused mining ponds and is shaded by rows of picturesque rain trees, all providing for a scenic game.

Yap said the upgrading work would start next year. He added that the resort had a natural combination of beautiful blue mountains and natural greens surrounding it and deserved an upgrade which will ultimately provide “world class services both for sports and hospitality”.

The initial priority of the rebranding will be the 18-hole golf course and subsequently will include upgrading the clubhouse, more hotel rooms than presently available and will include villas, bungalows and low-rise condominiums.

Gary Player who described the course as magnificent also “blessed the people that planted the trees”. Player said he would do a total rebuild of the course with consideration given to the members and seniors.

“At 7500 yards it will be longer than Augusta but more playable for the average member. We will use the magnificent beauty of Clearwater’s lakes and put greens and tees on the lake to make it a dream course. The challenge is playability and beauty.”

Player, who described himself as a farmer and a golfer, emphasized that ecological practices would be a priority considering Clearwater’s wetlands and biodiversity. “We respect the environment and won’t over fertilize.”

Yap would not indicate the full cost of the upgrade but said the amount of money to do the upgrade is a challenge and would update the members and golf enthusiasts on a regular basis.



Home Exposition/ Homex 2013

 Ipohites are encouraged to check out Homex 2013 which was officially launched on Friday, November 14.
Homex 2013 was officially launched by Amber Chia in red), followed by Wong (PFMDA), Dato Roshidi (in batik) and Loh (PFMDA) President.  At extreme right is Dato Gan Tak Kong FMM Chairman.
 The annual home products exhibition, organised by the Perak Furniture Makers and Dealers Association their fourth edition, will end on Sunday, November 17.
This year’s exposition has attracted some 150 exhibitors. Four hundred booths are being taken up within and without Stadium Indera Mulia, Ipoh.
Wide range of products from household items to electrical appliances.
 The items on show are the widest ever, featuring everything a home owner would want to have in his house, ranging from household items, electrical appliances, kitchen utensils and even DIY tools.
A Wedding Walk Fair is on the card to cater for couples wishing to tie the knot.
Mayor Dato’ Roshidi Hashim, who officiated at the launch, praised the association for making the exposition an annual event.
“It had grown from strength to strength. I look forward to the day when it will be held at the upcoming Ipoh Convention Centre currently under construction next to MBI’s office,” he exclaimed.
Visitors to the four-day event stand a chance of winning goodies daily during lucky draws. The grand prize awaiting the lucky winner is a Perodua Viva.

Canning Accident


A. Sumathi, 49 and her daughter Deyvaani, 15 were given the fright of their lives recently after buying their take away lunch at 2.30pm at Canning Garden.


Sumathi was driving out her Perodua Myvi from the parking lot immediately in front of Ariff Store on Jalan Lee Kwee Foh, Canning Carden when the car that was waiting to take over her parking lot, driven by Mr X (who asked not to reveal his name), rammed into the back of her car.

The Myvi on the five foot way in front of Ariff Store

The impact pushed the Myvi over the drain and onto the five-foot-way fronting Ariff Book Store, causing the front right tyre of the car to puncture. Sumathi and daughter Deyvanni were shocked and were still seated in their car when X, obviously panicked,  again drove into the Myvi a second time after having reversed.

A. Sumathi “the impact gave me a fright”

The Myvi, parked on the five-footway had knocked over the cupboards where the newspapers and magazines were normally placed. Under the Myvi was an A-billboard run over from the impact. Ahamad Thinoon who has operated Ariff Store for decades said this was the first time an accident like this has occurred here.

Thinoon said his damage would cost RM1000 adding that he was “just glad nobody was hurt”. In the evening Sumathi and X went together to the police station to make their reports.

X, when contacted said he had accidentally stepped on the wrong pedal of his auto-transmission car. An accident is an accident but as Thinoon said “nobody was hurt” is a blessing in itself.


Flying Fox Maiden Flight Rescheduled.


Flying Fox Airways, Perak’s fledgling airline’s maiden flight to Medan, which was planned for on Friday, November 8, is now rescheduled to Friday, December 13.

The Flying Fox Airways team. (r-l) CEO Daniel Lee with  Litsa Francis and CK Phan

At a media conference held recently, Chief Executive Officer Daniel Lee intimated that the reason behind the delay was technical in nature. He assured that the December take-off will be definitive.

The airline’s initial twice-weekly flight to Medan will increase in frequency to a daily flight. Future destinations will extend to Thailand and China.

The Ipoh-Medan flight in December will depart Sultan Azlan Shah Airport Ipoh at 9 pm on Monday and Friday. The flying time to Medan is 55 minutes.

Beginning January 2014, the frequency will be increased to four times a week. The additional two flights are on Tuesday and Saturday departing at 10 am.

“We’d be able to operate daily to Medan by March or April,” Lee exclaimed.

The one-way fare to Medan is a flat rate of RM400 and RM800 return. It includes airport taxes and fees, booking charges, 20kg checked-in luggage and light refreshments.

The Medan flight will be twice per week in December, daily by March, April. After that China.

Next on Lee’s mind is to initiate flights to Shenzen in South China via Medan.

Lee described Flying Fox as a convenience, considering the hassle one has to undergo. Getting to Medan presently requires one to drive for over two hours to KLIA, pay for petrol and toll and the inconvenience of checking in two hours ahead of departure for international flights

By comparison, someone going to Medan using Flying Fox needs only a ride to Ipoh airport, a 45-minute check-in time, an additional 55-minute flying time and, presto, he is in Medan within 3 hours.

For the moment, travellers wishing to purchase their tickets can contact Flying Fox Airways at their office at 8B, Laluan Medan Rapat, off Jalan Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, Ipoh or call 05-3133331.

The airline will have its airport office ready by end of November and so will its website.

Regarding tourist promotions, Lee stated that his emphasis, presently, is on golf, medical and eco-tourism.

Over the past few weeks he has had meaningful discussions with tour agents in Medan and is currently working with two large agencies, namely ASITA and ASPPI, to promote Ipoh and to provide tour services for visitors to Medan.

This week, Lee will be meeting with local Ipoh establishments, such as hotels, hospitals and tour agents who want to promote their products and services. He asked that those wishing to be on the bandwagon to submit their proposals soonest.


Nigerian Delegation Impressed


Nigerian Delegation Impressed

A Nigerian delegation consisting of government officials visited Yayasan Bina Upaya Darul Ridzuan (YBU) at its office in Greentown Square recently. The objective was to get acquainted with the various programmes undertaken by the foundation to improve the quality and standard of living of the underprivileged and the marginalised.

The team led by Abu Bakar Abu Rahman was briefed on the activities of the foundation by Yayasan Bina Upaya Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Ismail Saffian. The Nigerians were very impressed particularly with YBU’s microcredit scheme which has been actively pursued by the foundation since its inception in 2009.

Team leader, Abu Bakar reiterated his interest in formulating a similar programme for implementation back in Nigeria. “I find YBU’s microcredit programme very effective and also cost efficient,” he told reporters.

Besides micro-credit, programmes such as the giving away of food hampers, housing for the poor and the homeless, business-training courses and coaching for underprivileged students are also being considered.


Ipoh’s “Nightingales” Receive Awards


Ipoh’s “Nightingales” Receive Awards

Six prominent health-care societies in Ipoh were duly recognised for their services to the community. The Rotary Club of Greentown presented the societies with awards during a special ceremony held at Impiana Hotel, Ipoh on Monday, October 21.

One of the core values of Rotary Clubs worldwide, as highlighted by Sudhaharan, the club’s past president, is vocational service. Rotarians are required to share and contribute their skills and expertise, in whatever professions they are in, to meet the needs of the community.

A total of twelve awards, two to each organisation, were presented to caregivers of the Perak Palliative Care Society, National Stroke Association (M) Perak Branch, Perak Society for the Prevention of Mental Health, Dementia Society Perak, National Autism Society of Malaysia and Pusat Pemulihan Komuniti Buntong.

The awardees received certificates of appreciation and mementos for their dedication in caring for the sick, the infirmed and the terminally ill, including those who are recovering from life’s challenges. Members then gave these modern-day “Florence Nightingales” a standing ovation.


Flying Fox Airways


A new airline will take off from Sultan Azlan Shah Airport this November. Flying Fox Airways, the first airline to register in Perak, was launched in early October by State Exco for Tourism, Culture and Health, Nolee Ashilin Mohd Radzi. Also present at the launch was UPEN Director Dato’ Abu Bakar and Flying Fox CEO Danial Lee.

Nolee with Lee at the launch of Flying Fox Airways

Nolee in her address stated that the introduction of this new airline would see an increase not just in tourism but international trade and investment. “I welcome the airline with open arms and for opening a route through Ipoh to Medan and Dhaka. We hope to explore an alternative route to China via Medan.”

Noting that there were three travel agents and an airport authority from Medan present at the launch, Nolee expressed the hope of “tapping more into the Medan market especially for medical tourism”.

Flying Fox Airways’ maiden flight will touch down at the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport on Friday November 8 and its destination will be to Medan. For November there will be two flights per week to Medan on Monday and Friday. Subsequently in December the flight frequency to Medan will be increased to four times per week and will also introduce an Ipoh-Medan-Dhaka, Bangladesh route.

According to CEO Danial Lee, Flying Fox Airways is a code sharing partnership with Sriwijaya Air of Indonesia, one of Indonesia’s leading airlines. The airline will use Boeing 737-400 aircraft with a seating capacity of 152 passengers. Flights into Medan will touchdown at the newly-opened Kuala Namu Airport.


The airlines tagline ’Flying Just Got Easier’ reflects the convenience for Ipohites to use the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport, explaining the ease of going from home to the airport as compared to having to travel to KLIA.

Lee added, “The Medan flight is just the beginning. The long-term plan is to increase flight frequency to daily and to expand to international destinations like Thailand, China and Japan. We are currently working with tour agencies in Medan and Ipoh to develop packages and promotions for Ipoh to China, Thailand and Japan”.

During the launch, representatives from the private hospitals were present. Nicholas Chan, Senior Manager Business Development with Pantai Hospital acknowledged that there was plenty of potential to grow the scope of medical tourism. “We can’t expect to grow overnight but initiating a regular direct flight to Medan is the first step towards maturing the medical tourism market in Ipoh.”


World Peace Through Poetry


The just concluded gathering of poets from around the world for the 33rd World Congress of Poets (WCP) was an astounding success. The grand closing ceremony held at Pangkor Island on Friday night October 25 was witnessed by close to 2000 VIPs, participants and islanders.

The closing of the 33rd World Congress of Poets and handing over to Peru the 34 WCP.

The week-long event was organized by the World Academy of Arts and Culture (WAAC) in collaboration with Institute Darul Ridzuan and the Perak State government. It was attended by close to 300 poets from around the world including Malaysia.

Raja Dr Nazrin greeting the Poets.

Raja Muda of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah officiated at the closing ceremony. He was accompanied by Raja Puan Besar Tuanku Zara Salim. Other VIPs present at the event included Perak Menteri Besar Dato Seri DiRaja Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Saripah Zulkifli, Nolee Ashilin Dato’ Mohammed Radzi (Executive Councillor for Tourism, Health and Culture), Perak-born WCP President Mdm Wan Hua Chapoutier and Maurus Young, WAAC President.

(l-r) Poets Madam Chapoutier, Pak Malim, Maria Chavez Lopez and Aminuddin Hashim

Before the close, participating poets from China and Mexico presented their poems. Perakean, Mdm Chapoutier recited her Sungai (River) which won an award at the 29th WCP in Budapest, Hungary in 2009.

Perak MB Zambry, who originated from Pangkor Island recited his poem dedicated to “Ayah (My Father)” with verses “You are a fisherman of noble deeds, You are a father whose love is enthroned, You are a husband with words so courteous” which touched the audience.


The Poets from around the World

During the congress the visitors were taken to Perak’s popular tourist destinations where they held poetry recitals. The locations covered included the Lenggong Archeological Museum as well as Ipoh’s Heritage Trail and Gua Tempurung before concluding at Pangkor Island.

The poets described their visit here in superlative terms such as China poet, Bei Ta, who described the Congress as “more wonderful than he had expected”. Describing the role of the WCP as to improve communications between the foreign countries and the host, he was pleased to note the participation of so many local poets.

(l-r) Bei Ta, Solis, Soberasis, Paque and Turczi

Describing Perak’s environment as being green with mountains, rivers, rich culture and good food he proclaimed that he has fallen in love with Ipoh. Adding that “as a lot of Ipoh people spoke Chinese he said he felt so ‘at home’ here.”

For Mexican poets, Ethel Bello Solis and Maria Eugenia Soberanis, they were full of praise and described “this congress is so wonderful and amazing. The government was so involved with the Congress. The tourist destinations here are so nice, beautiful and clean and with so much history, is good for writing poetry. However, it is the people here who are so kind, charming and always smiling even when they are tired that we felt truly welcomed”.

Istvan Turczi from Hungary “appreciates Malaysia. Every country is different but Malaysia has Malay, Chinese and Indian in one Asia-Pacific country and that is very beautiful”. Describing the locations visited, Turczi summarized that “Perak is a metaphor, everything is close together and in one place, in your heart.”

The success of this global event would not have been possible if not for the initiative of Perakean, Mdm Wan Hua Chapoutier nee Goh who had approached Zambry way back in 2011 requesting to hold this congress in Perak. Her initial purpose was to introduce the world of poets to Ipoh’s blue hills and delicious kopitiams.

Mdm WanHua, who worked with the Office of The Permanent Delegation of Malaysia to UNESCO in Paris for thirty five years, stated her objectives to have the congress in Malaysia was to “promote Bahasa Malaysia as the future lingua franca for the region and also to introduce pantun as a medium to expose local poets to the region.”

The deciding factor to select Ipoh and Perak was that Zambry was a poet and the choice for Perak to host the 33rd WCP was sealed.

For Zambry’s contribution to poetry in the state he was appointed the Honorary Patron of the 33rd WCP and awarded the “Crane Summit Supreme Honor Crown Medal Award”, the WAAC’s highest award in appreciation and recognition of the contribution of leaders in the field of poetry.

Held in conjunction with the closing ceremony was the handing over to Peru, the host of the 34th World Congress of Poets.

We will inform our friends to Visit Perak 2014

As for Mexicans Solsis and Soberanis, who originally referred to Malaysia as the Twin Towers, now on departure for home, they will inform their friends to visit the Twin Towers and visit Perak too. Now that’s a successful event indeed.


1 World Through Poetry (2)


The Official Opening of the “1 World Through Poetry” event that was held at the Banquent Hall of the state secretariat on Monday night October 22 was no staid launch as the affair turned into a party.

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The event was officially launched by Perak Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri DiRaja Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir who was accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Saripah Zulkifli. Also present was State Exco for Health, Tourism and Culture Nolee Ashilin Radzi Manan.

The “1 World Through Poetry” event is the annual gathering of the “World Academy of Arts and Culture (WAAC)” from around the world. The event in Perak is their “33rd World Congress of Poets”. The week-long event is being attended by close to 300 participants from 29 countries including Malaysia and will conclude in Pangkor Island this Friday.

A truly global event. (l-r) France, Malaysia, Colombia, Mexico, Morocco and Singapore

The event is a truly global event with participants originating from Korea, Colombia, Morocco, Argentina, Slovak Republic, Mauritius, UK, South Africa and Peru.

Malaysia had the most participants with 91, while Indonesia sent 48, China 19, France and Mexico had 10 participants each and Japan 4.

Zambry in his address thanked the Congress for selecting Malaysia for the venue of their gathering “which was made sweeter as Ipoh City and Perak got to be the host to the Congress”

Similarly the President of the 33rd World Congress of Poets, Perak born Madame Wan Hua Chapouthier , thanked Zambry for the tremendous welcome accorded to the congress of poets adding that they “were very touched by the warm gesture”

Nolee Ashilin described the gathering of the Congress as “building friendships and creating social networks while picking fresh blooms of friendship to take home unforgettable memories”.

Dato Seri Zambry a Leader and a Poet receiving his Award

During the night there were poetry recitals by Poets from Mexico, Morocco and Argentina. MB Zambry too recited a poem penned by Usman Awang ‘Merpati Putih Jelajahi Dunia Ini (White Dove Roam This World) which carried the message of tolerance and friendship to the world.

Zambry, who has produced several books including a book of poetry entitled “Suara Pelaut” was honored with the “Crane Summit Gold Medal Award”, the WAAC’s highest award in appreciation and recognition of the contribution of leaders in the field of poetry.

In WAAC’s 44 years of being established Zambry is the fourth leader as well as the first Malaysian to receive the award the others having been presented to the Presidents of India, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Robert and Ventura breaking the ice.

Besides poetry recital, traditional folk songs were performed.  One of the combined performances presented by folk singer Yusup Najmi together with experimental tradition music band Perkusigatra was an upbeat rendition which got poets Bella Clara Ventura from Colombia and Marie Robert from France on stage to dance with the performers and broke the ice for the night.

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At the end of the night guests leaving the event were serenaded with drums and presented bunga telor by members from Kumpulan Selendang.

At Matang mangrove forest Kuala Sepetang

During the week the poets were taken around the Icons of Perak such as Lenggong and Matang Mangrove, Kuala Sepetang where they held poetry recitals.