Tag Archives: Perak Academy talk

Datuk Professor Jimmy Choo with Patrick Teoh


It was a lively evening when Datuk Professor Jimmy Choo Yeang Keat, famous worldwide for his exquisitely crafted shoes shared his success story in a packed room at Symphony Suites. In dialogue with Patrick Teoh, former TV and radio presenter and now ‘Agent Provocateur’ the talk was organised by Perak Academy.

Datuk Professor Jimmy Choo with Patrick Teoh

Jimmy, son of a shoemaker in Penang, said that he learned his trade from watching his father make shoes. Jimmy Choo’s break into the fashion world began when his creations were featured in Vogue magazine, catching the eyes of the rich and famous. The late Princess Diana loved Jimmy’s shoes and had several crafted by him. Later they were featured in made-for-TV movies such as “Sex and the City”. The character played by Sarah Jessica Parker was also a big fan of Jimmy Choo. Jimmy subsequently sold his shoe business in 2001 for 10 million sterling and is now back in Malaysia operating his own couture line.

His creations are adorning the feet of royalty, celebrities and pop stars. Sporting a pair of handmade crocodile skin shoes costing RM38,000, Jimmy informed the audience that to get his personalised shoes, clients have to make appointment with him for measurements and return for fitting before collecting them. Not that there’ll be a long queue for his personalised shoes as the number of patrons who can afford his RM32,000 shoes are few and far between.

Patrick, a home-grown Ipoh boy, while not as famous globally, has nevertheless made a name for himself, albeit steeped in controversy. The infamous incident of him planting a kiss on the cheek of a lady, live on TV3, caused him his job many years ago while recently Patrick was working with a radio station in KL but was shown the door, post haste. The Information Minister then felt that having him on air was a bad influence on listeners, as GE 13 was around the corner.

When Patrick asked Jimmy what other names he had in mind for his shoes the reply was, “One of them was Lucky Shoe”. Had Jimmy used that name he would be known today as “Datuk Professor Luck Shoe”.

Jimmy has received many awards, the latest being “World’s Most Outstanding Chinese Designer”. He is Ambassador for Footwear Education at London College of Education and a spokesperson for the British Council in their promotion of British Education for foreign students.

“Will there be another Jimmy Choo?” asked Patrick. “Not likely,” said Jimmy. “Youths today don’t like to work hard. They prefer to seek success the easy way.”

On coming home to Malaysia, he said “Malaysia is my home. Malaysians who have made it big abroad should promote their country to the world. I also wanted to spend more time with my family.”

His advice for aspiring young Malaysians who want to be shoe designers is that they must be hardworking, sincere and honest. They must participate in international shoe exhibitions especially those held in London to get recognition.

He welcomed the idea of setting up a Shoe Academy in Ipoh.


A Malaysian Hero

Clement Liang,  Treasurer of Dr Wu Lien Teh Society
Clement Liang,
Treasurer of Dr Wu Lien Teh Society

The Perak Academy held its monthly lecture on March 22 at the Ipoh Specialist Hospital. The talk, “Remembering Dr Wu Lien Teh, a Malaysian Hero” was given by Clement Liang, Treasurer of Dr Wu Lien Teh Society. Around forty attended the talk and they included the daughter (and her daughter) of the younger brother, and the granddaughter of the eldest sister of Dr Wu Lien Teh. Dr Wu Lien Teh was famous for his epic work in controlling the plague epidemic in Northern China in the early 1900s. He was decorated by the Emperor of China and was also responsible for the modernisation of medical services in China. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1935.

Although born in Penang, he returned to Ipoh at the age of sixty and continued a quiet practice till his death at the age of eighty. He was also responsible for raising funds for the Perak Library in 1950. There is a road named after him in Ipoh Garden.

Dr SK Teoh

A Malaysian Hero2

Gender Equality


Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir spoke at Perak Academy’s dinner lecture recently. She spoke on “No Democracy without Gender Equality: The Case for Women’s Rights in Malaysia,” which was held in Meru Valley Golf and Country Club. Marina, a columnist in the English daily, The Star, is no stranger to the local women’s rights movement.

While Malaysian women possess equal rights as men in education, it is not an accurate indicator of the true status of women in Malaysia. Marina held that despite the large ratio of female to male graduates, 40 per cent of female graduates do not enter the workforce, while 60 per cent work till the peak age of 25. Discrimination in the form of sexual harassment and gender preference in employee selection is rampant.

She said that one of the underlying reasons is the small number of females in Parliament. As such, women’s issues are considered a minority issue or ‘subfield’. Therefore, female-friendly laws are difficult to be enacted. One example is the Domestic Violence Act 1994. It took six years to pass and another two years to implement. The rights of Muslim women, on the other hand, are being constantly eroded. In 2009, the National Fatwa Council decided that female circumcision is obligatory to keep female sexuality under wraps. “It’s absurd,” she exclaimed.

If the number of women in Parliament is equal to that of men, Marina pointed out, laws could then be enacted to ensure men do not harm women, gain rights to paternity leave and to play their rightful roles as fathers.

“Malaysia cannot be completely democratic if its women are denied their rights,” she reasoned.