Sunday, January 1, 2017

Open Mic SkyRides Karaoke Competition and the 2017 New Year Count-down

 The iconic Helium Balloon was flying till late night

 Video of my opening remarks and my rendition of Broery's 'Tak Ingin Sendiri'

1. Introduction. The management of SkyRides Worldwide Sdn Bhd gave me a few days notice as whether I would be able to attend the final of the karaoke competition and the New Year Count-Down to be held at the SkyRide Stage, SkyRides Festivals Park, Putrajaya on December 31, 2016. My response was affirmative, although I was somewhat apprehensive that, as it is still in the period of the monsoon season, rain might dampened the occasion.  I was informed by Mr. CJ Han, the manager of the Park, that the program for the night would start at 9.00 pm and that my arrival was expected at 8.45 pm.  I started the Saturday morning with the Futsal and Badminton competitions for the Tan Sri Mohd Noor Ismail Trophy at the Uptown Sports Complex. After the official opening and interactions with the friends who were at the Event, I left the premises of the Sports Complex around 12.00 noon. Took a short nap in the afternoon. Kamariah decided to come along to the Event and we departed from the house at 8.00 pm arriving at the venue of the Event at the scheduled time of 8.45 pm. On arrival we were ushered and seated to a table, joined by Dato' Pam and Encik Halim, members of the Board of the Company. Puan Siti, the organiser and MC of the Event briefed me on the program for the night and the first item on the program was the speech by the Chairman of the Company.

2. The Opening Remarks.  I started the speech by welcoming members of the Board, the staff, the participants and members of the family. I reiterated that the singing competition was not only a way of discovering talents and an avenue of entertainment but must be viewed in the bigger context in that it bonds family relationship together, an important ingredient in happy living and healthy ageing. I went on to inform those present that the Festivals Park is consisted, not only the iconic tethered helium balloon but also the SkyRide Stage, the Warrior Challenge, the Sky Kid with the children's own warrior challenge, the Sky Demo, Sky Handicrafts and the Sky Juice and Food Courts; which is becoming a popular tourist and family destinations.  I then wish good bye to 2016 and welcome the New Year 2017.  Appreciation was extended to the Organisers of the Event, particularly Dato' Pam, Mr. CJ Han and Puan Siti and all the staff of the Company.               

3. The Karaoke Competition. The competition started with the preliminary rounds held on Friday and Saturday nights starting in the first week of December i.e Friday 2nd December, where I was also present to launch the Event. A total of 56 registered for the competition and 20 were selected, with 17 men and only three ladies in the final, who were being judged by three.  The final was compered by Puan Siti and Adam and the first competitor was on stage at 9.30 pm and with a short break, all the 20 singers completed by 11.30 pm.  The champion received a trophy and RM 1 500 prize money, the runner-up, trophy and RM 1000 and the third winner, trophy and RM 500. The other 7 finalists received complimentary prizes.      

 Photos of the performance by the singers

 The champion receiving the trophy and prize money

 Photo with the winners

4. Concluding Remarks.  I consider the standard of the vocal, dress and performance of the finalists relatively high.  My wife and I enjoyed the show very much.  I was surprised that my wife decided to stay until the end of the Event.  I was also happy to be able to catch up with members of the Board, the management staff and other staff, particularly in the count-down for the New Year. Thank you all and May the New Year bring continued success to everyone and to SkyRides Worldwide Sdn Bhd, the consulting and management company of SkyRides Festivals Park Putrajaya.  

 Its 12 mid-night. Welcome 2017

Posted on 1/1/2017 ( First day of New Year)

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Annual Sports Competition for the Tan Sri Mohd Noor Trophy 2016

 The promotional banner of the Event

The trophies

Tan Sri Mohd Noor Ismail delivering his welcoming address

1. Introduction.  I was invited to the official opening of the sporting event by a close friend, Y Bhg Tan Sri Mohd Noor Ismail on the last day of 2016 i.e Saturday 31st December at 9.00 am held at the Uptown Sports Arena, Bandar Baru Bangi.  Besides the large number of participants, TS Mohd Noor has invited his friends who are ex-graduates of UPM with Dato' Seri DiRaja Syed Razlan, President of Persatuan Alumni Universiti Pertanian Malaysia, as the guest of honour and a few leaders of the BBBangi community.  In his welcoming remarks, Tan Sri shared his aspirations in that this sports complex was built and operated by a subsidiary family company with shareholdings wholly owned by members of the family, as a corporate social responsibility in providing sporting facilities to promote happy and healthy living among members of the communities around Bandar Baru Bangi, also known as the 'Knowledge City' and beyond.   DSDR Syed Razlan, in his brief remarks expressed his happiness for the efforts of Tan Sri Mohd Noor and members of his family, for having provided the facilities that bring members of the community together through healthy activities. As a symbolic act to officiate the Event he then kicked the futsal ball towards the goal post.       

 Friends around Tan Sri Mohd Noor

 Official Opening by DSDR Syed Razlan, symbolically by kicking the futsal ball

 Friends of Tan Sri Mohd Noor as guests at the Event

2.  The Competition.  This is the Third Annual Competition for the Tan Sri Mohd Noor Trophy which started in October, 2014 (First Open) and covers three main events:
     2.1  Futsal - open to two categories - participants who are under 17 years old where 96
                         teams have registered and the Open category also has the maximum 96
     2.2  Badminton - open to amateur men also has the maximum 96 teams registered

     2.3  Aerobic Exercise ( The Zumba) for ladies which is scheduled for 9.00 pm to 10 pm
            before the New Year Count Down

  According to the organisers all registrations are done online and to facilitate organisation the maximum number of teams have been fixed at 96.  Many teams have been declined their registrations due to the limits set. Many volunteers have assisted in the various aspects of organisation.

3. The Facilities.  The Uptown Sports is a multisport complex located in the vicinity of Kajang and Bandar Baru Bangi, consisting of three blocks of multi-purpose buildings that house 12 indoor badminton courts, 7 standard futsal court and one international size court.  Other facilities within the buildings are a gymnasium, a fitness centre, retail shops, food and beverage area, prayer rooms for male and female and also ample parking bays in the periphery of the buildings

The badminton courts
 Tan Sri Mohd Noor sharing his aspirations on his entrepreneural activities, with the friends present 

The light refreshments served on the occassion

Posted on 31/12/2016

Friday, December 30, 2016

Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) - Super Functional Food: A PAUPM Lecture Series

The Coconut Palm - photo downloaded from a VCO website

virgin coconutoil
Characteristics of VCO - photo from a VCO website

The speaker, Dato Ariff Othman, with the Alumni Wall of Fame in the bacground

1. Introduction. I participated in a lecture organised by the Alumni Association of Universiti Pertanian Malaysia (PAUPM) on Wednesday December 28, 2016 held at the Alumni Office, Chancellory UPM, Serdang Selangor. It was delivered by Dato' Ariff Othman.   This is the 38th in the Lecture Series organised as a fellowship to get Alumni members together to discuss issues and current technological development affecting the agricultural industry in the country. Being an occasional participant to this lecture series, I was attracted to attend this lecture for a number of reasons - firstly, Coconut brings back nostalgic memories of my first appointment as a young agricultural research assistant in-charge of the Crop Production Station (Coconut) of the Department of Agriculture located in the District of Hilir Perak for the period 1959 to 1965; secondly, the speaker was a colleague in MARDI and presently is with me in the Alumni Association of MARDI; thirdly, the continued stimulation of the intellectual activity and bonding relationship among friends.

2. Content of the Lecture. According to Dato' Ariff, there is a resurgence of interest in this commodity as a series of studies undertaken over the years have shown that coconut oil (CO) is one of the global healthiest foods, leading to the tremendous escalation in demand for this oil, particularly its virgin version (VCO), where it is not only consumed for health consideration but is widely utilised in cosmetics. For the uninitiated, Dato' Ariff, proceeded to explain that the ordinary coconut oil is derived from the copra i.e the dried kernel of the nut whereas VCO is obtained from the extraction process of the coconut milk.   Unlike other vegetable oils,  analysis shows that CO and VCO contain a high percentage of Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA) such as lauric, caprylic and capric, fatty acids that are similar to what is contained in mothers' milk, which have the properties of being anti-microbial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, easy to digest and not stored as fats in the body, with tremendous nutritional and health benefits to consumers . With these properties, Dato' Ariff emphasised with the power-point image, CO and VCO in particular VCO is now regarded as Super Functional Food and the Best Oil on Earth.
  The speaker indicated that there are around 77 reported uses of CO and VCO and their products but for the lecture, he devoted to only 20 uses, which among them are: treatment of Alzeimar, prevention of heart diseases and high blood pressure, curing of urinary tract infection, reduction of inflammation and arthritis, prevention and treatment of cancer, boosting immune system, improving memory and brain functions, improving energy and endurance, improving digestion and reducing ulcers and colics, easing gall bladder diseases, improving skin, preventing gum diseases and tooth decay, preventing osteoprosis, improving Type 11 diabetes, facilitating in weight loss, building muscles and losing body fat, caring for the hair, treating candida and yeast infection, enhancing anti-ageing and balancing hormones in the body.
  In his concluding remarks, Dato Ariff indicated that, following the increasing interest in the coconut industry, an International Coconut Conference was held recently in Bangkok, followed by a Coconut Workshop organised by PAUPM also just a few months ago. Another Conference/ Seminar on the commodity is also in the pipeline, possibly to be organised jointly between PAUPM and the Alumni Association of MARDI.

3. Q&A and Discussion Session. As the first to be recognized by the Chair, I commented that coconut is closely associated with the Malay culture and coconut palms are usually planted in the compound of their houses and that they are regarded as extremely useful crop, as all parts of the palm are beneficial to them - the roots have medicinal value, the trunk can be used as pillars in house construction, the leaves could be weaved for roofing, the nuts for its oil used for cooking, hair oil and medicine. The health and nutritional benefits of CO is a subject relevant to Natural Medicine Research Centre at Universiti Islam Malaysia (NMRC UIM) where I am associated with, where the Centre is undertaking studies on the practices in terms of physical activities and natural foods etc on healthy ageing among the peoples in Malaysia and also ASEAN countries. I went on to add that coconut palms are planted in the coastal areas of Peninsular. With the shortage of production of coconut in the country and the high demand for its products, it is perhaps appropriate to be considering the abandoned land and the marginal paddy-fields for the cultivation of the crop. Also, there is a need for all related agencies to come up with the strategic plan encompassing the supply chain of the commodity from primary production, processing, transportation, marketing both internally and for export. YM Dato' Seri Syed Razlan, President of PAUPM, interjected that we have the option of importing coconuts or growing our own. Currently, he said Malaysia is importing 600 million nuts annually, clearing the various import figures mentioned in the course of the proceedings.  According to him, coconut are hardy and adaptable plant and can be grown not only in the coastal areas as pointed out, but also on other edaphic and topographic environments. However, the bottleneck in the expansion of planting of the crop will be planting material as the Matag variety production is under the control of a plantation company.  Perhaps to overcome the planting material shortage the country can opt to grow whatever variety with the available planting materials.
  It was pointed out that at a Coconut Workshop organised by the Association a few months ago did come up with a proposal for the  establishment of a Board that will formulate a strategic plan,  providing direction in the development of the commodity but there were some reservations with this proposal.  The event ended around 12.30 noon with group photo session.                  

One of the Slides presented

Group photo of the participants with speaker

Selfie during the lecture

Glad to see that I am one of those selected as one the distinguished Alumni of Univeristi Putra Malaysia on its Alumni Wall of Fame (my photo - 2nd from left on the top row)

Posted on 30/12/2016