Sunday, May 31, 2015

IMSHA 2015

(from left) IRDA head of social development division Nor Hisham Hussein,  IMSHA committee chairman Thanam Visvanathan-Suresh, IRDA chief executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim and Frost and Sullivan (Partner & Asia Pacific) managing director Manoj Menon at the launch of the second Iskandar Malaysia Social Heroes Awards (IMSHA).


Nominations for candidates now open. Closing date is July 10, 2015.

The NST

JOHOR BARU:  Iskandar Malaysia is gearing up to celebrate society's unsung heroes once more.

  Spurred by the success of the inaugural event last year, the Iskandar Malaysia Social Hero Awards (IMSHA) wil be held again in September with former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the patron of the event, who will present the awards.


  The project, organised by the Iskandar Malaysia Sustainable Communities Network (IMSC) and coordinated by the IMSHA committee, is a collaboration between the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) and non-governmental organisations (NGO).


  IRDA chief executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, who launched the event here yesterday, said the three components of nation buiding were growth, sustainability and inclusiveness.


  "Last year the event attracted more than 170 nominations.  This year we are hoping for more.


  "We also hope that this event, conceptualised and introduced in Iskandar Malaysia, will one day become a national-level celebration. 


  " The winners, will not only be motivated, they will also benefit through a series of events organised by IMSHA from time to time, namely, training programmes," he said.

  The training programmes were organised to improve participants' knowledge on how to run a social enterprise model.


  International growth and consulting firm, Frost and Sullivan, will analyse and rate the nominations against a social impact rating system and their findings will be vetted by a leadership council made up of prominent members of the public.

  IMSHA committee chairman Thanam Visvanathan-Suresh said there will be 12 categories for organisations and movement, 11 for individuals and the Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Award would go to one winner. 

  "The voice of the civil society has a role to play in nation building," Thanam said, adding that the nominations will come to a close on July 10.


  The categories include arts and culture, animal and wildlife, public safety, social innovators, health services and environmental preservation and protection.



Related links 




the Iskandar Malaysia Social Hero Awards (Imsha).

Read More : http://dev.nst.com.my/node/36209
the Iskandar Malaysia Social Hero Awards (Imsha).

Read More : http://dev.nst.com.my/node/36209
the Iskandar Malaysia Social Hero Awards (Imsha).

Read More : http://dev.nst.com.my/node/36209
the Iskandar Malaysia Social Hero Awards (Imsha).

Read More : http://dev.nst.com.my/node/36209
the Iskandar Malaysia Social Hero Awards (Imsha).

Read More : http://dev.nst.com.my/node/36209
the Iskandar Malaysia Social Hero Awards (Imsha).

Read More : http://dev.nst.com.my/node/36209

Sunday Ramblings


The breathtaking view of the verdant golf course in Ponderosa Golf and Country Resort in Taman Ponderosa, Johor Bahru, made me realise how much I love my job.  Like all jobs, it has its stressful moments, but covering assignments at a place so heavenly as this, in the early hours of the day, was something to be thankful for.


And this is my sexy Peugeot 208 whom I have named Brichelle. I love her so even though she is a high maintenance companion.

I went to see a dealer yesterday to enquire about Brichelle's market value. Out of curiosity.  I had bought Brichelle at the tail end of 2013 at RM85,000.  I was told her market value today is between RM35,000 and RM38,000.  That's even lower than the price of a new Perodua Myvi.

Speaking of Perodua, I want to praise the Perodua sales and service centre.  The one that I used to go to was at Plentong.  The team there really know how to make customers feel at home.  I can't say the same for the Peugeot service centre that I now send Brichelle to.  It's not that they are rude or anything, but it's just not the same.

Brichelle is my first continental car.  I have owned a Kelisa, a Myvi and an Alza.

I kind of miss Perodua.



I'm very lucky today because I walked into a seminar by Lim Teck Hoe --- Asia’s memory record holder and silver medalist of the World Memory Championship 2002 --- who was giving a talk on Creativity.  I really enjoyed the 90-minute talk organised in conjunction with another event that I was assigned to cover.  

My assignment was scheduled at 10.30am.  I must have gone to Ponderosa 90 minutes early.

Teck Hoe told the participants that children laugh 400 times a day and adults laugh 14 times a day, and that we (the participants) have probably used all our quota for the day during the talk.  That was pretty funny.

I've been stumbling upon new and interesting experiences of late.  Maybe chanting does bring inconspicuous benefits.

Just the other day, I went for a yoga session.  The teacher had cancelled the class but I didn't know.  So, I went into this class and before the class started,  I called up my friend.  She told me the class was cancelled, but I said: "No, the Indian dance teacher is here.  She's teaching yoga today."

When the class started --- my friend didn't show up, by the way ---  the Indian dance teacher started to teach Bollywood dance.

So that was a new experience for me, and I kind of enjoyed it. Bollywood dance is not as strenuous as yoga.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

For Men Only


This is touted as a medical breakthrough from the United States.

Called BetterBlue, the machine is the answer to restoring spontaneous erection using the advanced erectile dysfunction shock wave therapy. It is said to be non-invasive and painless, and those who have tried it claims that it works.

The therapy uses acoustics technology to stimulate new blood vessels to grow naturally, thereby increasing blood supply to the penis.

In Malaysia, this penis regeneration treatment is currently available in Penang, KL and JB.  

Dato Dr Siow Kuang Ling, 72, a former surgeon to the Johor royal family, who offers the treatment at his clinic at 38, Jalan Ros Merah 3/2 in Taman Johor Jaya, Johor Baru (get directions), said more than 10 patients underwent the treatment and are happy with the result.

"A patient will undergo treatment for 3 weeks and then he has to rest for 3 weeks before opting whether to go for another session," said Dr Siow.

"That is the maximum number of sessions a patient can undergo.  The 1st session is RM6,000, and the 2nd is RM4,000," he added.

Dr Siow said the cost of the treatment, if performed in Singapore, would cost twice as much.

Men suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED) due to insufficient blood supply to the penis usually caused by conditions such as diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and obesity.

"Before the patient can undergo the treatment, we need to find out if the ED was due to psychological problems. If so, treatment will be ineffective.

"The treatment is most beneficial for men aged 50 to 70," Dr Siow said.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Walking




I walked to this hotel from Menara Ansar after the press conference and did the story here. Earlier I was at the Johor Baru Courthouse. From there I took a shortcut across Menara TJB to Menara Ansar.  I met a few people and asked them for directions as I wasn't very sure about the shortcut.

They were only too glad to help.  I think people who are mean are generally unhappy people.  Happy people would jump at the chance to serve and assist. Being able to assist and serve also makes one happy.

I'm going to bring up the red-billed quelea again as Vesak Day is celebrated on June 1 in some countries. It is a Buddhist practice to release caged birds.  I just hope these devotees can recognise a red-billed quelea, and are aware of the harm that a flock of these birds can do.

Buddhist devotees may unknowingly unleash something detrimental to the environment when the intent is to do good.  However, the act of liberating birds on Vesak Day is not so widely practiced now as devotees realised the act promotes bird trapping.

I just don't want these Buddhists with good intent to get the blame. Recently,  Buddhists are being put in a bad light because of the  Buddhists and Muslim Rohingyas conflict in Myanmar. I pray for peace to prevail soon between the two communities there. 

On the bird issue, the best solution would be to ban the import of the quelea. In Malaysia, there is no ban on any bird species.  Only birds that come from H5N1 (avian flu) affected countries are prohibited entry.




After I've completed my story, I walked over to Jalan Wong Ah Fook to board a bus, only to find that the stage buses there have been re-directed to JB Sentral since May 18 due to the Sungai Segget rehabilitation and beautification project.

I've also downgraded my mobile phone plan to RM50 per month from RM78. It's the trend now.  Cut costs, save money.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Beware of the Red-billed Quelea

The red-billed quelea

It's in the New Straits Times today.  This is part of the report.

JOHOR BARU: The Johor branch of the Malaysian Nature Society is calling for an import ban on the red-billed quelea.

The bird has been described as an environmentally and economically destructive species that feeds on ripening grain in padi fields.

Chairman Vincent Chow said the authorities should come up with preventive measures before the livelihood of farmers was affected.

He told the New Straits Times that the species had been spotted in Singapore earlier this year.  He said it was non-migratory and had been introduced through the caged bird trade and the practice of releasing birds on Wesak Day.

The MNS has done its part. Now it is up to the relevant authorities to do theirs.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Breakfast At The Beach





So lovey-dovey this pair of stone swans. Just like stoned humans who are enraptured in, by, with LOVE..








Breakfast at the beach with birds chirping around me was a beautiful way to start the day.  It would have been perfect if not for the sounds of hammer and power drills in the background.  What to do?  A sign of greater things to come for Iskandar Malaysia ...


Impose An Import Ban






              a padi field in Sekinchan, Selangor.
                     Pic by Serena Loh
                       


Today I did more research on the quelea which is dubbed "feathered locusts." A native bird from Africa, the quelea was spotted in Singapore recently.

Johor Malaysian Nature Society wants farmers here to be alert of this bird species.  Click the links below to get a clearer picture of the potential threat the little quelea poses to agriculture.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=Bw_RYF381R0

A check with the Malaysia Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) revealed that the department does not have a ban list for any bird species.

It only prohibits birds from H5N1 (avian flu) affected countries.





A pest animal risk assessment report carried out by the Queensland Governement in 2009 revealed that the quelea 
can form nomadic super-colonies of up to 30 million to feed on rice, barley, wheat and corn, among others.  A flock of two million is said to be able to consume 50 tonnes of grain in a day.  In Africa, queleas have been an agricultural pest for centuries.

Please consider Johor MNS' call to impose an import ban on the red-billed quelea.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Lord Mayor of London Visits JARO



I was contemplating whether to buy this beautifully bound book where the cover was made from recycled wallpaper when someone came up to me. She noticed my hesitancy and said "it's for charity, why the hesitation?"

Well, she is right. There shouldn't be any hesitation when it comes to doing charity. But there were things running through my mind at the time. I was thinking about the recently rescued dogs from a dog pound which are now in a shelter and are waiting for people to donate food.  The dogs are going to be there until they are re-homed.

I also have lots of such books at home, albeit not as beautiful as the one pictured above, but such books are given as door gifts to guests and media members all the time.  

Cash flow also, although it's still considered smooth flowing, was not like how it used to be ... probably due to the rising cost of living and my overspending. So, not everyone can afford to spend money without thinking twice.

And there were so many books with nice covers, I had a hard time choosing the one that I like most. The book also comes with a nice bookmark. 

So, when you see someone hesitating, there must be a reason or two behind it. 

Eventually, I chose one. The price is RM22. Like she said, it's for charity. Maybe I can use the book as a diary or something to record my daily expenditure.




But it really was a worthwhile experience covering the event at the Johor Area Rehabilitation Organisation today.  The Lord Mayor of London Alderman is an admirable man.

This is the story of  the Lord Mayor's visit to JARO where he donated RM11,000 to the organisation which appeared on NST online.


The Lord Mayor of London Alderman Alan Yarrow helping Hairul Haris, 37, who is visually-impaired as the latter weave a basket at JARO today.  Looking on is Pulai MP Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed and the mayor's wife, Gilly Yarrow. NST pix by Mohd Azren Jamaludin

by Chuah Bee Kim

JOHOR BARU: The Lord Mayor of London Alderman Alan Yarrow paid a visit to the Johor Area Rehabilitation Organisation (JARO), here today ahead of his working visit to Kuala Lumpur.

The 64-year old Johor-born who spent six years of his childhood in the state, said he felt a rush of familiar smells and colours as he visited the charity organisation with his wife, Gilly Yarrow.

Yarrow's mother, Paula, had once volunteered at the organisation, when it previously dealt with the plight of tuberculosis patients in the 1940s and early 1950s. JARO now provides skills training for the disabled and provides them with employment as the organisation members make handicraft, and provide book binding, basketery and tailoring services.

The Lord Mayor of London contributed £2,000 ( approximately RM11,000) to JARO, as he said helping charities which deal with people with disabilities meant a lot to him and his wife. The couple's 34-year-old son, Max suffers from cerebral palsy.

"Some 900,000 of the 1.4 million population in England have disabilities. Of these, only seven per cent find employment. I want to help JARO as it also helps those with disabilities find jobs," he said. Yarrow is also an avid supporter of Mencap and Scope – two UK-based charities that are close to his heart. He is also the vice-president of Mencap.

"Helping organisations such as JARO benefits the recipient as well as the giver," Yarrow said. Yarrow was born at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital, which was formerly known as Johor Baru General Hospital, here.

JARO chairman Datuk Jimmy Low Boon Hong said JARO needs RM60,000 monthly to maintain the organisation which currently trains and employs 60 people with disabilities such as those vision-impairment, cerebral palsy, paraplegia as well as hearing and speech impairment.

Low said the federal government contributes RM50,000 while the state government contributes RM40,000 to the annual maintenance of JARO.

Read More : http://www.nst.com.my/node/85403 


JOHOR BARU: The Lord Mayor of London Alderman Alan Yarrow paid a visit to the Johor Area Rehabilitation Organisation (Jaro), here today ahead of his working visit to Kuala Lumpur. The 64-year old Johor-born who spent six years of his childhood in the state, said he felt a rush of familiar smells and colours as he visited the charity organisation with his wife, Gilly Yarrow. Yarrow's mother, Paula, had once volunteered at the organisation, when it previously dealt with the plight of tuberculosis patients in the 1940s and early 1950s. JARO now provides skills training for the disabled and provides them with employment as the organisation members make handicraft, and provide book binding and tailoring services. The Lord Mayor of London contributed £2,000 ( approximately RM11,000) to JARO, as he said helping charities which deal with people with disabilities meant a lot to him and his wife. The couple's 34-year-old son, Max suffers from cerebral palsy. "Some 900,000 of the 1.4 million population in England have disabilities. Of these, only seven per cent find employment. I want to help JARO as it also helps those with disabilities find jobs," he said. Yarrow is also an avid supporter of Mencap and Scope – two UK-based charities that are close to his heart. He is also the vice-president of Mencap. "Helping organisations such as JARO benefits the recipient as well as the giver," Yarrow said. Yarrow was born at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital, which was formerly known as Johor Baru General Hospital, here. Jaro chairman Datuk Jimmy Low Boon Hong said Jaro needs RM60,000 monthly to maintain the organisation which currently trains and employs 60 people with disabilities such as those vision-impairment, cerebral palsy, paraplegia as well as hearing and speech impairment. Low said the federal government contributes RM50,000 while the state government contributes RM40,000 to the annual maintenance of JARO.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Taman Tasek Tun Jeanne and Abdullah



The nine-hectare townpark in Bandar Seri Alam, Pasir Gudang, is now known as Taman Tasek Tun Jeanne and Abdullah.

   It was initially named Taman Tasik Tun Jeanne but Landskap Malaysia chairman Tun Jeanne Abdullah, wanted to include her hubby's name, Abdullah. (Me thinking aloud: How sweet)

   Jeanne is married to former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is the adviser of Landskap Malaysia.



   A tree-planting exercise, organised in conjunction with World Biodiversity Day, was held at the townpark here today in spite of the rain.  Many of the participants donned rain ponchos.  




   Among the trees which will be planted in the park built by Seri Alam Properties Sdn Bhd were the syzygium polyantha (pokok salam), melaleuca leucadendron (pokok gelam), eugenia grata (pokok kelat paya), ficus carica (pokok ara) and syzygium jambos (pokok jambu mawar).




  Townparks are ideal for recreation and acitivities like running, dancing, brisk walking, garden weddings, picnics, etc. etc.  Residents can also plant herbs and crops which are edible and has medicinal properties.  Such activities save costs, foster neighbourly ties and promotes a healthy lifestyle. (My thoughts again: Jangan sampai gaduh sudah. Don't be selfish and territorial. Share the spoils. This would indeed be pleasantville).



   Are we going to have a townpark named after the Raja Permaisuri Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah in the near future?  (I certainly hope so).

Thursday, May 21, 2015

National Junior Wushu Training Camp 2015: Now Open For Registration




Martial arts fans and enthusiasts, do not miss this.

  The National Junior Wushu Training Camp 2015, will be held on Friday (July 10) at the SJK(C) Kuo Kuang 2 and on Saturday (July 11) at the Sutera Mall in Johor Bahru.

  The event, will feature a talk on the virtues and morals of  practising wushu.  There will also be recreational activities, competitions and  a street parade performance titled 8venue Heroes Extravaganza which will showcase the talents of some 400 young wushu artists from various martial arts groups.

  The two main highlights will be the Johor Inter-school Wushu Tournament at 1.30pm and the Johor Wushu Championship at 7pm, both on Saturday.

  The inter-school tournament will have 18 wushu groups, each representing their respective schools, and they will be competing for the "most outstanding team" title.  The wushu championship will feature 100 young wushu elites vying to be the champ.

  The event is organised by the Lee Wushu Arts Theatre & Lee Wushu Arts Workshop in collaboration with the Malaysia Chinese Cultural Society, Southern Johor’s Chinese School Teacher’s Association and Sutera Mall

  Registration is now open for the training camp, but there are only limited places left as the response is overwhelming. 

  The fee for joining the camp is RM130 per participant.

  All are welcome to enjoy the cultural street parade.

  For further enquiries, call 016-7159193 or 012-7388162 or email wushuarts@gmail.com



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Nature Speaks, Listen


Watch out for the Red-billed Quelea 




If action is not taken to nip a problem at its source, the livelihood of padi farmers in Malaysia may be affected. Farmers may have to spend all their time, energy and money trying to control a huge flock of this bird species if the matter does get out of hand.

It has happened in Australia, Africa and India where the quelea numbers is said to have become unstoppable.

Now the bird, which originated from Africa, is not a migratory bird. But they have been spotted in Singapore.

Read https://singaporebirdgroup.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/worlds-most-destructive-bird-species-now-in-singapore/ if you want to know the threat posed by the quelea if their numbers grow.

The Johor Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) is also calling for an import ban on the bird touted as an "environmentally and economically destructive" species.
Johor MNS chairman Vincent Chow urges the relevant authorities to come up with preventive measures to protect the rice crops in Johor before any problem arises.
"Padi cultivators have to be alerted and taught to recognise this bird species. Enforcement officers have to inspect bird shops and the cage-bird trade to ensure this bird species is not found here," Vincent said.
Johor has a total of 1,481.90 hectares of padi crops cultivation under a cooperative scheme, and another 80ha which is not under the scheme. Padi fields are found in Muar, Ledang, Batu Pahat, Kluang and Mersing in the state.
States that are notable in rice production in Malaysia are Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Selangor and Perak. 
Johor MNS has time and again expressed their wish to work with the relevant authorities on a number of environmental issues such as polluted and shrinking rivers and sand mining activities.
Will the Johor government listen to what this group of environmentalists have to say?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Stranded



Is this a preview of River City?


Appreciation And Devastation

I want to praise Affin Bank today.  I couldn't check my loan account online, so I sent them an email. Within minutes, I got a call from the bank. It seems the Mozilla Firefox setting had been changed, making it impossible to access the page via the browser.

The lady told me I could try Internet Explorer version 6.0 if I encounter difficulties.  However, she guided me on how to change the Firefox setting. I was able to go to the page after that.

I also received a follow-up email explaining the situation, complemented with an apology for the inconvenience.

Affin Bank clearly deserves a double thumbs up for their prompt and courteous service.


This picture of people in Nepal feeding street dogs is heartwarming. We are all placed on this earth for a reason.  Canines have as much right to be here as all of us do.


This picture of strays in Karachi is heartbreaking. I don't know what happened exactly, whether it was mass culling. Whatever it was, it's heart wrenching.


But the murder of this one-month-old puppy in Seremban makes the heart bleeds. It was said the puppy was in pain for 6 hours before it passed on.  

Rest in peace now little one. R.I.P.

Excuse me. I need to pray now. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Shelter Dogs, and Sungai Johor Oil Spill


Dog lovers in Johor Bahru are rescuing strays from the streets.  Hats off to them.  But some dog shelters are getting overcrowded.

A shelter is only a temporary home.  The strays need to be re-homed.  

If you can provide a solution to this problem (positive solutions, please), do share your views here.

If you would like to adopt a stray --- give the canines a loving home --- please get a dog from a shelter.


Okay, remember the oil spill issue which caused the disruption of water supply to thousands of residents in several parts of Johor last month?

The factory responsible for it has had its operating licence revoked.  

Factory's Licence Revoked Over Sungai Johor Oil Spill

by Chuah Bee Kim


NUSAJAYA:  The state government has revoked the operating license of a factory that was responsible for the oil spill along Sungai Johor last month.
  On April 1, the oil spill had forced the Sungai Semangar and Sungai Johor water treatment plants to close.  The closure caused water supply disruption and affected almost 500,000 residents in Johor Baru, Kulaijaya, Kota Tinggi and here.
  Johor Health and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said at the 13th state assembly sitting here yesterday that the temporary license issued under the licensing of Trade Business Industries and Professions 1983, to Syarikat Precious Aspiration Sdn Bhd has been revoked.
  Ayub said the land owner has also been issued a notice on April 28 to rehabilitate the land to its natural state before the factory was set up, failing which the land owner will face a fine up to 100,000 or an imprisonment term not more than six months or both.
  Failure to rehabilitate the land, he said, would also result in the land being seized.
  The factory operating at Lot 1293, GM 196 Mukim Senai in Kulaijaya was found to have operated on a rubber estate from an open shed. 
  It was found to have burned tires to produce heavy fuel oil, which is categorised as industrial, and was not approved under its licence.
  Ayub said a report which came out on April 16 showed that the oil came from the factory, based on water samples taken from Sungai Semanggar after the oil spill.
  Ayub also said there were 49 court cases related to environmental pollution, in a reply to a question by Ali Mazat Salleh (BN-Bukit Permai). Of these, he said, 14 were related to water pollution.
  Replying to a question by Chew Peck Choo (DAP-Yong Peng) on what were the guidelines for factories to operate in areas near rivers, Ayub said the state government would not approve factories operating illegally near dams.

source: New Straits Times

Nobody Cares




The Johor Baru City Council and the public are pointing the finger at each other over the rubbish that have piled up in the city.

"People walk past this area everyday but nobody cares. Not even the local council workers," says one passer-by.




Johor Baru MCA complaints bureau chairman Ir. John Cheah, who had received several complaints concerning the rubbish also visited the site and was appalled by the rubbish that greeted him.

John, a public health engineer with the Ministry of Health in 1970 before becoming a consulting engineer, called for immediate action to be taken to clear the rubbish.

He is also the secretary of the Rotarian Action Group (RAG) formed to fight Dengue, and is working together with the state government to fight the deadly disease.

"This is a potential breeding ground for the Aedes mosquitoes.  All it takes is more than one centimeter of water in a tin can or a mineral water bottle for the Aedes larvae to grow into a mosquito over a span of seven days," says John.

Statistics taken from the beginning of the year to May 2 showed that a total of five people have died from Dengue, with two in Johor Baru and three from other districts, out of a total of  2,339 incidents state-wide.  Of these, 1,635 occurred in Johor Baru. 

Johor Baru City Council Mayor Datuk Abdul Rahman Mohamed Dewam says the MBJB does not want to take stern action on the litterbugs.  

"We can fine them up to RM250 using the anti-litter bylaw but most of the people who use the boardwalk are from the low-income group.  People should be more civic-conscious," says Abdul Rahman, adding that the local council workers will clear up the rubbish immediately.





Meanwhile, the Sungai Segget project initially scheduled for completion in January 2016, is now brought forward to June 2016 due to design change and site coordination.

A business operator says there is traffic congestion now that the four-lane road has been reduced to two since upgrading works started. See picture above.

So, will the Sungai Segget revitalisation and beautification project be like the Cheonggyecheon project in Seoul, South Korea (which took 2 years to materialize) and the Singapore River (which took a decade) by next year?

The Sungai Segget is very much smaller than the Singapore River.  It starts from Taman Kebun Teh and ipasses through the Danga City Mall before flowing to the city centre. The three major pollutants that contributed to the pollution of the river have all been removed.

They were an abbatoir formerly found on the upstream of the river; the old market where the Johor Baru City Square shopping mall now stands, and the 15-storey Bukit Cagar flats which was demolished in May, 2008.

To read more about this project, I found this 2010 article published in the New Straits Times on August 27.



Let Sungai Segget 'rise' again

by Shahrum Sayuthi 


PERHAPS the most criticised proposed project under the Iskandar Malaysia Development Corridor is the effort to reopen Sungai Segget, which was covered up five years ago. 
This small river, which runs the entire length of downtown Johor Baru, now lies underneath Legaran Segget, or Segget Walk.


The pedestrian walkway, adorned with fountains and greenery, was built at a cost of RM6 million to block the river's infamous stench.

When Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak visited Johor Baru in May, he announced an allocation of RM200 million to "reopen" the river and to turn it into a landmark urban renewal project for the state capital.
However, the plan was greeted with less enthusiasm by the people. They question, among others, the rational of spending so much money to build the Segget Walk only to have it uprooted again. 

What is unknown to the public is that since the Segget Walk was built to mitigate the river's pollution, the state government had taken efforts to clean up Sungai Segget. The Johor Baru City Council had released a large amount of micro-organisms into the murky river to improve its water quality.

The efforts yielded far more positive results than expected, thus the plans to reopen the river's surface. 



Furthermore, the proposed urban renewal project will be modelled after the successful Cheonggyecheon project in Seoul, South Korea.

Cheonggyecheon is a 5.8km creek that flows from west to east through downtown Seoul. 

Much like Sungai Segget, the waterway became infamous for its stench, especially following the population boom in Seoul after the end of the Korean War. As it was with Sungai Segget, the creek was covered with a concrete road in the 1950s to block its stench.

When the then mayor of Seoul and current South Korean President Lee Myung-bak initiated a project to restore the stream in July 2003, it was much criticised by the people. The criticisms were similar to those levelled against the proposed plans to reopen Sungai Segget.

Despite the objections, the project was continued. The South Korean government deemed the restoration of Cheonggyecheon vital as it was in line with the move to reintroduce nature to the people of Seoul and to promote an eco-friendly urban design to revitalise the economy of the city.

The stream was opened to the public in September 2005 and lauded as a major success in terms of urban renewal and beautification. The total cost of the project was 386 billion won (about RM899 million).

Some Korean environmental groups still criticise the project for its high costs, claiming it serves merely as a symbol and not truly beneficial to the city's environment. 

Nonetheless, ever since its opening, the Cheonggyecheon creek has become a favourite spot with Seoul residents and foreign tourists alike.

It is, therefore, not too presumptious that the plans to once again have Sungai Segget flowing in full force could yield similar results.

The river, indeed, has the potential to return to its glorious past, dating back to 1800 when Temenggong Ibrahim arrived in Johor Baru with his followers and settled down by the riverbank.

It was also where the early Chinese migrants had settled down before they turned the riverine area into an economic hub of the state capital.

The decision to cover up the river due to pollution five years ago may seem like a mistake now. Perhaps it was the only option available to the state government at that time to deal with the problem.

Now, half a decade later and with the advent of new technologies in environmental restoration as well as the lessons gained from the success story of the Cheonggyecheon urban renewal project, it would be a waste not to give Sungai Segget a fresh leash of eco-friendly urban life.



Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Bit Of This And That

I wrote this  Gem Of The City: Rubbish 
last month.

Today I walked past the same spot and the same striking eyesore beckoned.

Hello!!! Public health is at risk here, so is the image of the city.  And what about being a role model for the people  ---  Separate Household Wastes (or face a fine)?



both pictures were snapped between 1.01pm and 1.02pm on May 10, 2015

 





However, not everything is gloom and doom.  There is cause for joy as the people of  Johor are now exempted from paying GST for services offered by the 16 local councils state-wide, thanks to the Sultan of Johor who made the call on May 7 for the state government to seek an exemption for this from the federal level.

Meanwhile, as today is Mother's Day, here is Hayley Westenra's version of  Mother Of  Mine.


Happy Mother's Day to all Moms

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Reel Life and Real Life Superheroes


"Holy Shit!" was what Kimberly Lee Tan thought when he first found out that pictures of him clad in a Captain America costume riding his Ducati Monster motorcycle in Johor Baru had gone viral on Facebook. See http://www.therakyatpost.com/viral/2015/04/27/captain-america-patrolling-johor-baru-goes-viral/


Today, the 46-year-old fitness instructor snared the crowd's attention and adoration again when he and other real-life, ordinary "superheroes" took 50 orphans and unprivileged youths to watch the "Avengers: Age of Ultron" movie at the cineplex of the Aeon Tebrau City shopping mall, in conjunction with Mother's Day celebration. 
The event was a joint effort between Ducati Johor,  Rotary Club of Johor Centennial and Reps Fitness

Rotary Club of Johor Centennial president Mary Anthony (left) and past president Vijey Moorthy showing the seating chart for the movie where the blue ones show seats taken up by the Samaritans.

"Tomorrow is Mother's Day. These orphans have no mothers to celebrate the occasion with. So we decided to bring them out for lunch and a movie, like how a family would celebrate the occasion," Kimberly said.

The children and youths were from Persatuan Kebajikan Berkat Johor Bahru, Bethel Children Care and Dunamis Deliverance Ministry.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Star Wars Day at Legoland

Updated

New Straits Times
 May 5, 2015

 Original Post

May the Force be with you.


Erman Abdul Razak and Norazah Sulaiman, both 40, with their children Iqkwan, 11, Nurnisa, 10, and Nurlisa Ellyana, two-and-a-half, at Legoland Malaysia a Resort here today to celebrate Star Wars Day.



Khalil Muri and Eliena Gaman, both 40, with their children Zac, 6, and their three-year-old twins.


(from left) Legoland Malaysia Resort director of operations Casper Bonavent and model shop manager Stefan Bentivoglio with 501st Legion Malaysia Outpost member Daniel Wong, who was all suited up in a stormtrooper costume that cost about RM4,000.

Daniel said the 501st Legion has raised close to RM100,000 for various charities from 98 public appearances since 2006.

Meanwhile, Casper said Legoland may just make every May 4 a gathering for fans of the Star War movie series in the future.

Until December where "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is released in the theatres, may the 4th be with you.




A Corporate New-bee

From NST to Forest City I'm new in the Forest, and so many things are new to me.  Am learning something new each moment. I will ...