Tourism Malaysia

Race the Best at the Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix

Race the Best at the Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix

The Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix race is the highlight of the international car racing circuit. Thousands of loyal fans are attracted annually to the race which has been held at the Sepang International Circuit since 1999, owing to the continuing popularity of the 56 lap 192.878 mile race.

The predecessor to the Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix was the Formula 2 which was held from 1962 – 65, but it was held in Singapore who later gained independence from the Malaysian Federation, so during the break-up of the Federation Malaysia held four lower impact races at the Shah Alam circuit from 1968 until 1995 when the current race track was opened in Sepang. These were the Tasman Series, Formula Pacific, Formula Atlantic, and the Formula Holden.

Formula 1 action at Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia. Pic: Craig, WikiMedia Commons.

Formula 1 action at Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia. Pic: Craig, WikiMedia Commons.

The Sepang International Circuit, where the Formula 1 race is held, is located just 60 kilometres from the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, and is situated only 10 minutes from Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Selangor State. The circuit was designed by a German named Hermann Tilke in 1995, who also designed the Shanghai, Turkish, Bahrain, India, Korea, Valencia, and Singapore circuits which are also in the Formula 1 race calendar. The Sepang circuit is famous for its short and tight hairpin and unusually long back straight.

Crowds arrive at Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia, on race day. Pic: Craig, WikiMedia Commons.

Crowds arrive at Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia, on race day. Pic: Craig, WikiMedia Commons.

Petronas (Malaysian: Petroliam Nasional Berhad), the Malaysian national oil and gas company, has sponsored the Malaysian Grand Prix since its inauguration into the racing calendar since 1999. The energy company finances the upkeep of the track and the spectator stands, they supply the oil and petroleum for the racing cars, and they are responsible for the security of the race.

The most famous racer at the Malaysian Grand Prix of all time was John MacDonald who won races in the years of 1970, 1971, 1973, and 1975. John was English born but moved to live in Hong Kong during his national service, where he continued to live and set up a garage business which made him successful and allowed him to become a successful racer also.

The most successful racing team to compete in the Malaysian Grand Prix is Ferrari thanks to the successes of Michael Schumacher in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2008, and 2012.

Michael Schumacher pictured at the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix. Pic: Whiz Kris, Flickr.

Michael Schumacher pictured at the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix. Pic: Whiz Kris, Flickr.

The annual race, held every year towards the end of March, attracts approximately 50,000 spectators from all around the world, some just to see their favourite racing star, but others to feel the excitement and exhilaration of the head to head race between man and man, country and country, sponsor and sponsor.

Most Formula 1 racers unanimously agree that the Malaysian Grand Prix is by far the most stress inducing and physically demanding race in the whole Formula 1 calendar. Temperatures are torturous and regularly reach 30 degrees Celsius and when combined with the humidity, which is rarely lower than 75%, the climate alone drains all drivers of energy even before putting in any effort to race. Malaysia, but Kuala Lumpur in particular, is famous for its unexpected heavy rain downpours which often disrupt the car racing, causing crashes and severe car damage.

The actual race track has been called “the most environmentally friendly race track in the world” by various commentators because of its abundance of palm trees. The track was built on a former 260 hectare palm oil plantation, so to compensate for the loss of plants the owners planted hundreds of palm trees around the race track, spectator’s stands, and spectator’s recreation areas.

In the latest Malaysian Grand Prix, the 2012 season, which was held on 25th March, the leader of the driver’s championship, Fernando Alonso with his Ferrari team, came first after a breathtaking and sometimes risky race. Just 2.2 seconds behind Alonso was the less well known Sergio Perez with his Sauber team, and then came the former world champion Lewis Hamilton and the McLaren-Mercedes not long after. It made for an unforgettable race in the beautiful country of Malaysia.

Many people, especially those coming from Europe and the Americas combine watching the Malaysia Formula 1 Grand Prix with a relaxing holiday elsewhere in the country. The Malaysian Government praises this as it brings in much needed tourism income in the form of taxes, shop purchases, transport income, and accommodation income. Kuala Lumpur International Airport as the country’s main airport is also kept busy during the races. The Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix could be an unforgettable experience, so why not give it a try and book your tickets in time for the next race?

All Malaysia Info

Muzium Gopeng, heritage haven

Life at the turn of the 20th century in Malaya is depicted in Muzium Gopeng, an ancestral home that has been lovingly restored and thrown open to the public.

With a history spanning more than 150 years, Gopeng is older than both Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur. Tin mining and rubber plantations were the two activities that led to its founding, anchored by the British company Osbourne Chappell.

Eu Yan Sang, the Asian leader in traditional Chinese medicine products was founded in Gopeng to offer health care services to the hoards of migrant workers then settling in the town.

Gopeng Museum

The entrance to the Heritage House annexe of the Muzium Gopeng.

Even Dr Sun Yat Sen, revolutionary leader of the anti-communist movement in China visited Gopeng regularly between 1909 and 1911. It was a prosperous community based around rich natural resources.

However, in the 1980s, the decline in tin-mining led to an exodus, resulting in a sort of stasis in terms of development, both cultural and economic.

The opening of the North-South Expressway in 1994 further eroded through-traffic, as commuters began bypassing Gopeng on their journeys up and down the peninsula. This led to Gopeng being left in a type of time capsule.

Muzium Gopeng

View of the kopitiam set up at the rear of the house.

Focal point

On April 18, 2009, the Muzium Gopeng opened in conjunction with World Heritage Day and remains functioning as a focal point for visitors to the town now. Bernard Yaw, a Gopeng native, returned from working overseas and, following his mother’s deathbed request, bought his ancestral home from the Eu family and began renovation works to restore the shophouse to a habitable state.

Following discussions with friends and classmates, it was decided to make the ground floor into the Muzium Gopeng, while leaving the first floor as private accommodation for the Yaw family. Exhibits were donated by the local community and others from the region.

Gopeng Museum

The old stables across the street from Muzium Gopeng is where the prominent Eu Yan Sang family used to keep their horses.

Initial impressions may be of bric-a-brac from your local antiques store, but closer inspection reveals a wonderfully eclectic collection of items such as radios, clocks, posters and photographs, household items that trace the history of Gopeng, the state, and indeed, the nation as a whole.

Furthermore, information on the orang asli of the region is available and presented clearly. Yaw serves as the museum’s current chairman.

On World Heritage Day 2011, the Heritage House was opened after a year of planning and construction.

Gopeng Museum

Old street signs on display along with fishing paraphernalia at the Muzium Gopeng.

Intended as an annexe to the Muzium Gopeng, the Heritage House was restored using traditional construction techniques, especially where masonry and carpentry were concerned. The result is a living snapshot into the past.

On the ground floor, there is a barber shop, kopitiam and a feng shui air well filled with bonsai trees and relics from the near past. Up above, living areas have been decorated and filled with priceless decorations and furnishings that accurately reflect what life would have been like for a middle-class family at the turn of the 20th century in Gopeng, and indeed the surrounding areas.

These projects and their success in Gopeng reflects the potential for furthering heritage preservation efforts in this country.

Muzium Gopeng

Antique clocks are displayed throughout the museum, most prominently right above the main entrance.

It is with the participation and initiative of sympathetic individuals that such realisations are possible. Charity, they say, begins at home, and in this case, someone has opened up his home to the public so that we may share and learn, and keep memories of our collective past alive.

Muzium Gopeng is located at No. 28, Jalan Eu Kong, Gopeng, Perak. Admission is free but a donation would be appreciated. For further details and opening times, call Chew Wan at 017-597 1363 or Phang Sek Hong at 016-542 1287. Follow Muzium Gopeng on Twitter.

Map: Muzium Gopeng

Video: Muzium Gopeng

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Old mining town honoured

Jalan Gopeng, Kampar, Perak

Bright future for Kampar


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The Grand Kampar Hotel in Bandar Baru Kampar, Perak

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Leaf bug, Gopeng Rainforest

The enchanted rainforest

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Cuisine in Melaka


10th. October 2011

Most Malaccans may not know the fact that the Malaccan community contributed financial donations to the Chinese revolution in 1911 headed by Chinese leader, Sun Yat Seng.

When I first visited China in 1988 especially to Quongchou, in the Sun Yat Seng Park, there is a monument erected there that showed overseas Chinese contributions to the Chinese republic cause then against the Ching dynasty. The top contributor to the Chinese cause was the Community of Malacca. I was surprised to see the granite block on top of the monument! Malaccans did their part in contributing to the setting up of the Republic of China 100 years ago.

Without the financial support of overseas Chinese residing all over world, the political world map will be very different today.

During the quest for Malayan Independence in 1950s, at one of the Town Hall meeting at Malacca Meng Seng Charitable Hall, a spontaneous fund raising event was carried out to raise funds for Tunku and his delegation to travel to England for negotiation with the British for independence of Malaya. Malaccans responded at once with whatever they had then. As the saying goes, the rest was history.

Some points to ponder about the inter-related world we live in today.

Tourism Malaysia

Q’Sound Band

October 11, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Jazz lovers who missed the opportunity to catch Q’Sound Band performing at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas January this year, here is your chance to catch them perform again! Q’Sound Band will once again grace the halls of Dewan Filharmonik Petronas come 12th October 2011 for a one-night performance only.

QSound Band

QSound Band

This new and upcoming band comprises of internationally acclaimed performers from all over the world. Q’Sound Band has performed in many countries such as China, the United States, Japan, Indonesia, Italy, United Kingdom and Greece. The band’s music is deeply influenced by Latin Rhythms, Orchestral Music, Hip Hop and RB. This band prides itself in its versatile approach to music. The members of the group comes together to create art for listeners who are looking for something more in music. They will be back again to perform at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas together with their leader, Marques Young.

Q’Sound will once again perform under the MPO Happy Hour section this 12th October 2011. The performance is scheduled at 6.30 pm. Tickets are priced at RM 30 for all seats and patrons of the performance will have to observe the hall’s dress code, which is smart casual. For more information, please log on to Dewan Filharmonik Petronas’ website here.

Photo (c) Dewan Filharmonik Petronas

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