Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Meeting A Champ

'Hullo Dato'!' was the loud happy greeting of M. Lunch had just been served. The place was quiet and we had the expanse of the sea at Pasir Bogak beach to enjoy right where we sat. I looked around. I thought we had left the titled guys back in Kuala Lumpur.

A six foot tall ,well- built man, tanned to an overall even brown, wearing a red collared tee waved cheerily with brisk steps. Our friends greeted him with wide smiles. He came and extended a warm welcome to W and me.

A Kodak moment with  former badminton ace

'She's Thai and Brit and I'm Malaysian,' our jocularity heightened as we identified ourselves.

He sure is a titled guy. Far from ordinary. The glory Dato' Tan Yee Khan  shared with his team mates and the golden era they brought to Malaysia will never be forgotten. Our  players created waves in the badminton world, so classy in their strokes. Their dedication  and love for the game enamoured them to the hearts of the people. Many households had racquets to swing  and be part of the wave that swept the country.

The formidable pair in Tan Yee Khan and Ng Boon Bee (also a Datuk) were on people's lips. Their killer smashes on the courts made us proud. The duo packed speed and talent. Boon Bee was fondly known as Boom Boom Bee. The nation celebrated when the pair won the All England title in the subsequent years of 1965 and 1966. They and their team mates brought the Thomas Cup back to Malaysian soil in 1967.

Victory Parade

The Thomas Cup winning team with the Minister of Education,  the late Tan Sri Khir Johari
Glory for the Nation

This picture proudly hangs in the lobby of  The SeaView Hotel and Holiday Resort. Hail the Badminton greats!

Being the owner of The SeaView Hotel and Holiday Resort in Pangkor Island, Dato' Yee Khan had come to check the preparations were in order to receive  a sudden influx of sailors who were expected to sail in around midnight from Port Klang for The Raja Muda Selangor International  Regatta.

People know him as an avid golfer who has left his mark on the sport when he took it up after retiring from badminton. During our stay, he made daily  fishing trips which we came to know as one of his forms of relaxation. We were tickled  as he told us that out there in the waters, if the fishes were having a 'kenduri', alas his catch would be small or nil! That evening Yee Khan surprised us with a treat of  five small fishes. Opening his icebox, he told us it would be our starters for dinner . It went down well , the freshest of catch with cili padi and a dab  and lick of soya sauce.

Came the second evening, again Yee Khan went fishing. Hopping out of his boat, two hours later, the four of us were still squarely sitting at the table fronting the beach. Heads bent, addicted to the tiles of Rummy O  board game, we sprung from the seats to peek inside the icebox. 'See what I caught today! Fourteen, a bigger catch.'Seeing is believing! I whipped out the camera. Caught  glistening eyes chockful of freshness.

What's a visit to Pangkor Island without relishing seafood? Yee Khan  certainly is a man who wears many hats. Would I ever dream of having a chance meeting with  the former ace? And him serving us a platter of sotong tossed with crab meat spiced with serai and herbs, a recipe he keeps close to his heart? Minutes later there was nary a crumb  left on the platter. A waitress then appeared. She  seemed to beam proudly her boss' catch as she lowered  a platter of steamed fish ala' teow chew style, the sourish  tangy aroma floating up our nostrils. Our self declared Thai and Brit friend just dug in. ' Hum choy '( pickled mustard) and fresh fish was too tantalizing!

Dato' Yee Khan came a little later to sit and chat. Would he oblige for a photo moment? He hesitated a little saying he was not dressed in his best. But we convinced him that in his red tee,he was already at his best.  - hospitable and humble.

I think I've got myself a scoop. No? Well, at least for my children - a minutiae facet of one of our former badminton greats. I've got to get the word out about Dato' and the other greats lest they are forgotten.

I learned the game  and was a good loser!
Daily visits by hornbills.
Our dinner
Girls wanna have fun!

Sunset at Pasir Bogak, Pangkor Island

Follow the path to the end - that's where we stayed

Septuagenarian  who's good at the harmonica and Rummy O

The double tiered hibiscus does make me pretty. LOL!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Getting To Know Rotary

Each club is a link in the chain of Rotary. When one club does a service for its community, every club glows with the reflected radiance - Chesley R Perry 1957 ( extract from The Rotary Life of Chesley Reynolds Perry, ROTARY/One Foundation 2006)

Rotary clubs under the banner of G7 City Group organised a Rotary Carnival for the public to gain valuable insight and information into the kind of work Rotary does locally and abroad with the support of  Citta Mall, the venue sponsor on 14 January, 11 am - 7 pm. NGOs  like The Silent Teddies, United Voice, Challenges, The Sunshine Group, Anak SayangKu  were invited to showcase their activism and  raise funds for their respective cause.

Rotarians from the different clubs of  Pantai Valley, Bandar Sunway, Bukit Kiara  Sunrise, Central Damansara and Tropicana showcased their  core work as well as secondary projects . For example, providing artificial legs in  Limbs for The Limbless, upliftment for youths from the lower income groups to better their education, the right to clean water to eliminate water borne diseases locally and internationally, activity centre in low cost flats to facilitate community-based learning and programmes, focus on youth issues etc. Not least the End Polio Now programme of which Rotary  and its partners - WHO, UNICEF and the U S Centres for Disease Control and Prevention are responsible for polio cases plummet by more than 99 percent preventing 5 million instances of child paralysis and 250, 000 deaths.

Passion for Rotary binds Rotarians as a family worldwide . Every Rotarian proudly wears the Rotary Wheel pin that says Rotary International.

If we all have the fortitude to see this effort through to the end, then we will eradicate polio - Bill Gates

Rotary took on the cause of eradicating polio in 1985. Recently Rotary is working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help raise much needed funds to eradicate this vaccine - preventable disease.

Mother Teresa said, 'Without that drop, the ocean will never be full.' That is why I am a Rotarian - Carl Wilhelm Stenhammar, RI President 2005 -2006, Member of The Rotary Club of Goteborg, Sweden

Rotary Club of Bukit Kiara Sunrise's Education Fund nurtures youths to become good members of society

I believe we can change the world, one life at a time. No project is too small or insignificant, especially to those who benefit. My hope is that these seeds of service will blossom and live on for countless generations to come - RI President 2002 -2003 Bhichai  Rattakul

Rotary Club of Bandar Sunway's Limb for The Limbless gifts the recipients with artificial limbs. Also, they hope to bring the experts from India to transfer technology to Malaysians at Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah, Klang (HTAR) so that the artificial legs can be manufactured locally. 

If we can train our youth properly, we need not have any fear as to the future of the world - Inaugural  Address, 1949 Rotary Convention, New York , USA

Children of Rotarians singing for The Agape Centre Library

There is nothing intangible about Rotary. It is reality in itself. To give is to receive, to lose oneself is to find oneself, to be happy is to serve. These are old truths for the individual  and the mass, whether application be in the exchange of goods, toil, knowledge or love - The Meaning of Rotary, The Rotarian Nov 1921

The Silent Teddies Bakery of The Community Service Centre for Deaf  (CSCD) teaches the young hearing impaired children to be self -sufficient and equip them with entrepreneurial skills.

Smiles are the badges of friendliness. There are plenty of them within you. Do not hold them captive. Set them free at right times and places and their beneficient effects will carry to the very gates of eternity - The Road I Have Travelled by Paul P Harris in The Rotarian, Feb 1934

The volunteers of The Sunshine Group, a voluntary support of Selangor Cheshire Home  full of smiles among the bric a brac, cakes, cookies and books.

On 7 January, The Rotary Club of Pantai Valley organised  a joint community event with The Bukit Damansara House Owners' Assoc  to target youths  and introduce them to the Rotary Ambassadorial programme. It is heartening to hear from the recipients of the programme how Rotary has impacted their lives.

Ms Cheryl Teh, chairperson/director of choir of The Philharmonic Society of Selangor is thankful that through Rotary she obtained a scholarship to represent Malaysia in 1988 to embark on a Music Exchange Programme (PRIME) in Sydney. Henceforth she continued her studies there where she broadened her outlook. Her helming the Community Choir is  a way of giving  back to society the tremendous benefits which Rotary has given her for life. The Choir  brings together youths and senior citizens in the joy of making music and spreading goodwill and understanding. May they continue to make waves in the community.

Ann Marie Larquier, an Ambassadorial Scholar  from Alaska may find the  the tropical heat overpowering but that does not deter her from harnessing the spirit of peace and goodwill as she learns about the  different cultures in Malaysia. After her one year term she will head for Anchorage, her home and share with Rotarians and individuals her wealth of Malaysian experiences. Such is the beauty of Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship which The Rotary Foundation plays a very important role in promoting.

Rotary's weapons against warfare are all contained within The Rotary Foundation - Peace Scholarships, Local and International Service Projects, Educational and Cultural Exchanges - Calum Thomson RGHF Chairman, D-1020 Scotland

Ms. Ann Marie Larquier at the presentation with the Rotary Club of Pantai Valley and The Bukit Damansara House Owners' Association
Rotary is of great value. It changes the course of the human life. It changes the life of every Rotary beneficiary, as well as the life of the Rotarian - An Uncommon Man, The Rotarian July 2001.

Ms Cheryl Teh, chairperson/music director of The Phil

The foundation upon which Rotary is built is friendship, on no less firm foundation could it have stood - Paul P Harris 1935, The Rotarian Age

Ann Marie,Cheryl Teh, Rotarians with Interactors  and PDG, Dato' Jimmy Lim

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Huggy Bears, Spread Goodwill

Happy New Year to all my friends! I wish you health, happiness and prosperity. It's been a hectic time with so many goings - on. My apologies for not popping in to say the odd 'hullo' and the lapse in posting too. My thanks to each and everyone of my blogging friends, far and near for keeping in touch.

Well, to start the year off, just like you to know I hugged some bears. Others among the milling crowd did the same, showed the victory sign or simply had fun . If you are in Kuala Lumpur,do pay a visit to these bears that are standing so friendly, with  a universal appeal for  peace, international understanding and tolerance among nations, cultures and religions of the world. You can't miss them as they tower at 2 metres of fibreglass.

 These United Buddy Bears  took off in Berlin in 2002. Acknowledged by the United Nations, these Buddy Bears, representing 143  countries stand hand in hand with a motto,' We have to get to know each other better... it makes us understand one another better, trust each other more and live together more peacefully.'

Coincidentally, I gave a soft cuddly bear to a child this Christmas. Right away, she shyly wanted the bear and hugged it. That bear is now on its way to the Netherlands. And then it fell upon me to hug some bears when I was window shopping at the Pavilion Mall.  Indeed they are big and attractive. Yes, Malaysia, I hugged you too! My New Year wish is for goodwill and understanding that we may prosper as Malaysians. I was happy to see the cheerful art depicting  Malaysians in unity.

So before the Buddy Bears bide us farewell in February and globe trot to another destination , make your way there to experience the warmth they bring. So go, mingle among the Buddy Bears - feel, touch, admire, enjoy, and give them hugs for the symbolic message -  that peace may reside in each  and everyone of us before it can spread to others. As John Lennon says, Give Peace A Chance .

Circling the fountain at  Pavilion Mall

YAY! Our Buddy Bear

Spot the country!

Infectious ! Love is everywhere. 

Brilliant idea - Each country has their own artists doing their country proud. Unique artwork that shows off the culture of the individual countries.