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Tourism Malaysia

LIFE LESSONS IN RURAL MALAYSIA

As city dwellers, we are used to demanding for things to be done “yesterday.” We are so used to listening to the scripted customer service dialogue at fast-food counters that we’ve learned to tune it out. We are used to the mass-produced “nutrition” in polystyrene boxes. And no matter how much we “communicate” on our hi-technology gadgets, truthfully, we are actually distancing ourselves socially from more meaningful inter-personal connections.

Seriously, city life has become the bane of our existence. And I, too, have become a sad part of it! But at least I have learned to recognize it and done something about it.

My pill for life – which I pop whenever I feel I’ve become too stressed out, too deep in work, too “out of the loop,” irritated at the world – is a quick getaway. By that, I mean “get-away-as-far-from-the-city-as-possible-and-do-it-fast!”And it’s not just to any fancy resort of a certain star-rating. These places I go to are hardly rated at all. In fact, they’re not made of glitzy perfection; they don’t have turn-down service, butlers lurking at every corner nor room service.

But that hasn’t stopped them from offering the warmest and most welcoming hospitality I know. I’m talking about the more than 3,000 kind families scattered around Malaysia’s kampungs who have graciously opened up their homes to total strangers like me looking for a genuine Malaysian experience. They call it the Malaysian homestay programme. I call it first-class hospitality.

In my escape of the clutches of city-life, I have ventured to several Malaysian kampungs that have taken part in this national tourism venture, meant to give the rural population a piece of the tourism pie. The programme has actually been well-received and today, 15 years after it was first introduced in Pahang, there are more than 200 villages listed under the programme.

They have all been pleasant experiences to remind me that a satisfying life is more about being in the present moment rather than in the pursuit of the next promotion, the next big gadget, the next sleek car.

I felt this most when I was making my way to Kampung Pantai Suri in Kelantan. We had to abandon our car for a more eco-friendly transportation. From the Kok Majid jetty, we glided slowly down the Sungai Kelantan estuary on a long boat (it was the only way to get to the village). Along the way, we passed sandbanks, wooden bridges, and the sight of young boys diving off a tree into the river in wild abandon. The splashes, their gleeful laughter, the friendly teases exchanged among them reminded me of a life less cluttered.

But it’s not just the children who know how to enjoy life. Even the elder folks have a deep sense of appreciation for the present. They know that they’ve worked hard, and they know that their bodies deserve a good respite. Despite the urban dwellers high-flying life in the cities, it is these folks in these older parts of Malaysia who lead much more enriching and full lives.

At the end of my stay at Kampung Pantai Suri, I was rushing off to board the boat home. On the way, I passed by a group of elders joking and laughing away under the shade of a huge mango tree. It was high noon and the heat was searing but the shade beneath the tree was a cool place to relax. These folks were sitting around hacking away the tops of coconuts to get to the juice and fleshy insides.

They saw me in my rush and called me to slow down and join them. Not wanting to miss my boat, I hesitated, but finally, their jovial demeanour and cheery calls won me over. “If you miss this one, you can take the next boat,” they said. So I sat with them as they selected a coconut for me to drink. It dawned on me that we sometimes lead our lives with clock-work precision that we forget to stop and drink the coconuts, so to speak.

This was as natural as it gets. The wind to cool me off, instead of the air-conditioning; a leafy, shady tree overhead, instead of a zinc roof; and fresh coconut juice in my hands, instead of those mocktail glasses with the little umbrellas stuck in them.

The kampung folk’s hospitality is legendary in Malaysia. When you check in at one of the homestay kampungs, you’ll notice that it’s like coming home to your grandparent’s home for Hari Raya. Some people may find the idea of staying at a stranger’s home rather awkward, but whatever they say about Malaysian hospitality being genuine and warm is true – in fact, they could possibly put public relations agencies to shame! It doesn’t take long to bond and you’ll immediately feel like part of the family. Many “host families” and their guests have parted ways in tears at the end of their homestay duration. I know I have…!

Another thing in abundance here in these traditional villages is time. Things around here move at a slightly slower pace than in the city. An entire morning can be dedicated to the preparation of lunch. On one occasion, the womenfolk who were neighbours with each other congregated at their friend’s kitchen and commenced their preparation of the day’s meal. Amid their twittering gossips, teasing banter, the peeling, cutting and slicing of a variety of herbs, leaves and spices, and the steaming pots of what-not from the stove, lunch slowly took on the form of a feast! Just another example of teamwork at its best!

Despite being in a kampung, you’d be surprised at the variety of things to do. Each kampung is unique, has its own traditions and cuisine heritage (depending on its location in Malaysia) and lifestyle. Some of the villages are set near jungle, others may be by the sea or river. Some may be surrounded by paddy fields or fruit orchards.

A host family at Kampung Haji Dorani has their own paddy field and during the harvesting season, I had a chance to help them out in gathering the crop. I considered it as my little contribution to alleviating world hunger, and took great pride in it! They also happened to have a small fruit orchard and many an evening was spent on the patio of the house peeling away the skin of the mangoes to reveal the juicy, golden flesh beneath. There’s just something so satisfying about picking your own fruit, harvesting your own rice and catching your own fish for the night’s dinner. This is exactly what they’ve been saying about the farm-to-table concept, and there I was living the life!

The afternoons are usually my favourite time because that’s when I get to spend time with the village kids. At Kampung Batu Laut near Banting, Selangor, the children would rush down to the beach after school and practice their sailing skills. These kids are being groomed to be the next sailors and sea captains and some of them have excelled so well as to compete in sailing competitions worldwide!

Despite the age difference, there’s a whole lot to be learned from these kids — about creativity (fashioning kites from bamboo) and teamwork (building a raft made of old tires). It was way better than those corporate training sessions in hotel meeting rooms!

The Malaysian homestay experience may have some similarities with the bed and breakfast concept in Europe, but I dare say that we’ve perfected it. It’s not only a retreat for those wanting to escape the city, it’s a lesson in life about humanity, patience, and for us, Malaysians, our heritage and traditions.

So if you find yourself stuck in life, corporate meetings, a 4×4 cubicle, traffic jams, or whatnot, perhaps it’s time to take a little drive back to our kampungs and learn to enjoy the simple pleasures of life again.

Article source: http://blog.tourism.gov.my/feed/

Categories
Malaysia Travel Guide

Rainforest World Music Festival A Shining Example On World Stage

Rainforest World Music Festival A Shining Example On World Stage

RAINFOREST WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL A SHINING EXAMPLE ON WORLD STAGE

Kuching, Tuesday – Sarawak Tourism Board’s Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) took centre stage at the Asian MICE Forum (AMF) in Taipei earlier this September, where the event was presented in the forum as a leading international music event in Asia.

The RWMF was presented by Ms. Mary Wan Mering, acting Chief Executive Officer of the Board, in a panel discussion entitled “Gamification in Destination Marketing”.

The panel discussed the pertinence of using game dynamics in events and shared insights on how their events became ‘world-famous’.

‘Gamification’ has become the keyword in event planning as of late, as traditional one-way events are being abandoned by event-goers who consider two-way or interactive events such as the RWMF far superior.

“In a sense, we were years before our time, as we’ve been placing interactivity and inclusion as the core of the RWMF since 1998”. Mary Wan highlighted during her presentation to the crowd of 700 industry members.

The gamification of events has become the new tactic of event organisers to create a deeper connection and a fonder memory in participants, instilling in them a sense of ownership over the event.

“By involving the crowds in workshops and tutorials, they are not just attending an event, they are becoming a part of that event, and in doing so that event becomes a part of their identity. They will always return.” Mary Wan explained.

The impact of an interactive event goes further than just customer satisfaction, as it has also aided the RWMF in its main objective, which is cultural art and music appreciation, conservation and revival.

The RWMF has been voted as one of the top 25 World Music Festivals by Songlines Magazine for six years in a row and has achieved various international events and public relations awards over the past 19 years.

Other events which shared the panel were Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival in Tainan, Taiwan, listed as the third largest folk celebration in the world; the regionally famous Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan; and the attractive Chartres Festival of Light in France.

“Our home-grown event sat on par with events in Taiwan, Japan and France. We came come a long way from humble beginnings. We are overjoyed to see the RWMF getting the recognition it deserves.” Mary Wan stressed.

The AMF is an established international platform for Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Exhibitions (MICE) experts to discuss their industry challenges and solutions, with over 6000 attendees to date over the past 10 years.

Organised by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) and commissioned by the Bureau of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Photo shows Mary Wan Mering with other presenters at Asian MICE Forum.

Photo shows Mary Wan Mering with other presenters at Asian MICE Forum.

Issued by:

Communications Unit
SARAWAK TOURISM BOARD
T: +6 082-423600  F: +6 082-416700
E: [email protected]
Date: 20 September 2016

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Categories
Wonderful Malaysia

Asia Music Festival offers proffer opportunities

asia-music-festival

Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) now announced a opening of proffer module for a latest orderly song event, Asia Music Festival (AMF) to be hold in a city of Miri, Sarawak.

With a initial eventuality reduction than dual months away, locals and internationals might have a possibility to attend a event, attend and be concerned in many aspects of a festival organizing in sell for proffer service.

STB is now usurpation applications for several government areas of a eventuality such as a relationship officer for behaving acts, helpers for doing of a low-pitched instrument and embankment control area. Volunteering use is also open for a eventuality selling group who will attend in sales promotion, product expansion of festival debate packages, government information, media and open family module as good as media centre operation. Event operation government areas will manage a site readiness, businessman management, acknowledgment and embankment operation, eventuality secretariat, apparatus and materials credentials and transportation.

Volunteers will have giveaway entrance to a festival. Meals, transfers and operative garments are also included. You can download a focus form here.

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All Malaysia Info

Rare discernment into Syed Mokhtar

Listed as a seventh richest Malaysian with a net value of US$3.3 billion, not many is famous from a media-shy Syed Mokhtar.

Syed Mokhtar Albukhary

Syed Mokhtar Albukhary : A Biography

Syed Mokhtar Albukhary, A Biography
Author: Premilla Mohanlall
Publisher: PVM Communications

MY initial assembly with aristocrat Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary went off in a rather surprising way. The year was 2004 and he had wanted to accommodate someone from The Star to make famous his views over his quarrel with another tycoon, a late Tan Sri Nasimuddin SM Amin, over DRB-Hicom.

Syed Mokhtar felt a media lucky a Naza Group trainer over him and he wanted to give his side of a story.

Both were battling over a vital 15.8% retard of shares in DRB-Hicom hold by 3 parties, including a estate of a late Tan Sri Yahaya Ahmad, and a adversary was billed as a “Fight of The Big Boys.”

The array of journal headlines had forced a reserved Syed Mokhtar to come out and pronounce to this author to put a record straight.

Our assembly during a business centre of a five-star hotel during Jalan Sultan Ismail was bound during 9pm though he usually incited adult nearby midnight. Although he was dressed in a white long-sleeved shirt, we beheld that he usually wore sandals. He was over dual hours late.

His aides had warned me that he would substantially be “waylaid” on a approach there by businessmen and politicians, many of whom would ask for business deals or favours.

To equivocate such disruptions, he shuttles between his residence during abundant Bukit Tunku – that he bought given he became a millionaire bachelor – and a hotel to accommodate his associates and contacts. The other assembly indicate is a Islamic Arts Museum nearby a National Mosque.

The other rather surprising assembly mark is an Indian grill during Jalan Pahang. To this day, he carries with him a tumbler of tea, finished by a sold waiter, from a eatery.

“If (the late Tan Sri) Loh Boon Siew can accommodate his friends during a coffeeshop any morning, we see no reason given we can't suffer my teh tarik during a shop, saya joke tong san mali, like him,” he told me, referring to Boon Siew’s ancestral roots from China. Syed Mokktar’s ancestral roots, on a other hand, can be traced to Central Asia.

By a time we finished a conversations, it was tighten to 2am. As we put down my coop and was about to tighten my note book, he unexpected told me that a discussions were wholly off a record and he was not to be quoted.

The publicity-shy businessman has never been during palliate with reporters though we wasn’t going to concede Syed Mokhtar to have his way. we told him, in no capricious terms, that if that were so, we would have squandered my whole dusk with him, and either he favourite it or not, we was going to put him on record.

I contingency have finished an sense on him given as we got to know any other better, he was prepared to share his private thoughts with me frequently – though still never on record.

But a media is still satirical on Syed Mokhtar and, in some ways, he is to be blamed as he has never finished himself accessible to journalists, preferring to let his aides do a talking. In fact, bankers also protest that he never meets them!

Interestingly enough, a whole section is clinging to his exchange with a media in his autobiography that has only strike a bookstores created by Premilla Mohanlall, a author and a open family practitioner.

“I consternation given we get bad press when others who have abused a complement for personal gains have not been subjected to such media scrutiny. Perhaps it is time to come out and urge myself,” he pronounced in a book.

The 180-page book is really readable, starting with his childhood days in a encampment attap residence with no piped H2O and electricity, where a toilet was a array latrine. It traces Syed Mokhtar’s initial knowledge of doing business underneath his cattle merchant father in Alor Star. His father migrated to Kedah from a Afghan segment of Central Asia around India and Thailand.

The book gives a singular look into his family life and how a family’s financial constraints forced Syed Mokhtar to stop drill after Form Five, while his siblings were means to continue. There was also his early growing-up years with a infantryman uncle in Johor Baru.

He takes honour job himself a businessman with no diplomas, and his ability to pronounce a layman’s denunciation is apparent in a book. Much space is dedicated to his early days as a travelling salesman, when he had to nap in a lorries and on bug-infested beds in inexpensive hotels.

The indicate that Syed Mokhtar seems to wish to tell his readers is that he did not get his resources on a china platter. While a certain movement of a New Economic Policy had helped him, he worked tough and fought hard. He was not a form who cashed out after removing a pinkish forms.

In short, he went by a good and bad times, like many well-tested businessmen. The 1997 financial predicament saw his resources shrank from RM3bil to RM600mil.

“Eighty per cent of my marketplace capitalisation was wiped out. There was a lot of pain and hardship. Many people suspicion we would container adult and leave. we am a fighter, with a clever will to survive.

“I mislaid large nights of sleep, we mislaid hair, though we did not remove steer of one thing: my shortcoming to guarantee vital bumiputra resources and to strengthen a interests of my staff.”

Today, he has 110,000 staff underneath his payroll and indirectly about 250,000 other Malaysians, quite vendors, given he acquired Proton this year.

Syed Mokhtar’s tighten ties with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is good documented though in this book, Syed Mokhtar spoke vividly, if not humorously, of their initial encounter.

It was Thursday, Jan 16, 1997 and a time was 2.30pm – Syed Mokhtar entered a bureau of a former Prime Minister.

“I greeted him with a salam and he stood before me, with his hands folded opposite a chest. He did not call for me to take a chair when he sat down. we was sweating, and motionless to lay down to benefaction a papers we had prepared to explain all my businesses in Kedah, Kuala Lumpur and Johor.

“It enclosed building skeleton for a new plan in Alor Star, a sprawling growth with a mosque and a health and gratification comforts for a bad as good as an general university for disadvantaged communities around a world.

“The Prime Minister listened carefully, though observant a word. By a time we was done, it was an hour and 10 minutes. Still, not a word. we left a papers on his table and took leave.”

Not prolonged later, Syed Mokthar, who was still asleep, perceived a call from Dr Mahathir himself with a elementary message: “Your matter in Kedah is settled.” That is of march selected Dr Mahathir, a male who has no time for tiny pronounce and offering few words.

Apart from his countless business ventures, Syed Mokhtar also writes in fact of his countless free works.

Almost any year, his Albukhary Foundation hosts dual iftar or fast-breaking dinners for over 3,000 needy people. The substructure now has a few flagship projects, including a Islamic Arts Museum built in 1998.

In 2001, a substructure launched a Albukhry Tuition Programme to assistance a underachieving farming propagandize children pass their final high propagandize examination. At a finish of a programme, 9 years later, about 80,000 students from 500 schools had benefited from these calming classes.

His substructure has also extended assistance to survivors of earthquakes in China, Pakistan and Iran, and a tsunami in Indonesia. It has also built an AIDS sanatorium in Uganda and a girls’ propagandize in Nepal as good as helped support a Sarajevo Science and Technology centre.

An engaging section is on his purpose as a family man. Syed Mokhtar has never overwhelmed on his private life in any interview, that has been rare, in any case.

The father of 7 children, between a ages of dual and 18, suggested how his standard meetings start during 10pm and finish during 3am “and is hold 7 days a week and has been a slight for some-more than 20 years.”

“Fortunately, my mother comes from a business family and understands this. Initially, we had to explain a arrangement to her, and she supposed it. Except for family holidays, in a 20 years of marriage, we don’t consider we have spent many evenings during home after 10pm,” he wrote.

Syed Mokhtar married in 1992 during a age of 41 to afterwards 24-year-old Sharifah Zarah. There are also singular cinema of his family in a book.

Although a book is, no doubt, a open family exercise, a right questions have been acted by a writer, including a public’s notice of his many acquisitions and a common critique that he has some-more than he can chew.

He also answered a emanate of a shareholding structure of his companies that could not be traced to him, acknowledging “it is an aged robe that has to change.”

Syed Mokhtar hasn’t altered much. He is frequency seen in open functions. He is still some-more during palliate in short-sleeved shirts and sandals. The billionaire now travels on a private jet though in town, he still drives around in his aged Proton Perdana. By WONG CHUN WAI

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