The birth of my book II

A few months ago I was at the DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Baru for a food-tasting event when I mentioned my book launch to my host – Marketing & Communications Manager, Grace Chiam – who was absolutely thrilled about it and she enthusiastically suggested to hold it there!

It did cross my mind to hold my book launch event at this hotel because it is situated at Jalan Ngee Heng, across the road from where I grew up at our grandfather's house. As Grace enthused about it, I agreed with her that it would indeed by ideal.

To make it official, I wrote to the hotel, requesting to check if they can accommodate my event on the given date and time. In five days, I received a reply which read: "I'm pleased to inform you that the date and time has been approved."

Throughout the journey to the birth of my book, I met with people with big hearts and the goodwill I received from their kindness and generosity, is rather overwhelming.

It started with the grant sponsorship from Think City followed by the advance order for 500 books by Member of Parliament of Johor Baru, Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad, and the goodwill continues.

After the hotel’s confirmation of the date and time for my launch event, I received the next message stating that General Manager, Simon McGrath, has offered to sponsor not only the venue but also the light refreshments!

When I recovered sufficiently from this piece of exciting news, I sent an email message to express my appreciation to Simon and I’m pleased to share his gracious reply, quoted as follows:

"Good afternoon Peggy

We are most happy to support your book launch, which is a further reaffirmation of the relationship we have enjoyed with you since the pre-opening of the hotel. We share your passion for the heritage of Johor and the stories that support the fabric of the history."

In another email, Neil Khor of Think City confirmed the attendance of Executive Director, Hamdan Abdul Majeed, at my book launch. The goodwill and generosity of Think City continued as Neil also offered to sponsor the catering of refreshments for the event.

DoubleTree by Hilton JB is situated at Jalan Ngee Heng
All this kindness is indeed heart-warming and since posting, The birth of my book, congratulatory messages have been pouring in, many with queries on how and where to buy the book. I'm deeply touched and encouraged that readers, both local and abroad, are asking how they may get their hands on the book. 

Messages that came in via Facebook, email and phone texts, echoed such warm sentiments that are both humbling and encouraging. And I'm grateful for each and every kind thought behind their words.

My guess is, in their excitement, readers may have overlooked the fact that this book has yet to be launched.

The good news is, after its launch in mid-July, the books will be available from all MPH Bookstore outlets nationwide as well as online via www.mphonline.com

Very soon, MPH will set up the link with the book details so that readers may enjoy the convenience of ordering their copies online. [Your patience is much valued.]

Among the many messages received was one from a reader in Japan who wrote:

"Ms Peggy, I always enjoy your blog about Johor Baru. I used to stay in Permas Jaya and often explored the old JB town in the weekend. After I returned to Japan, I still miss and come to JB occasionally. I just read your latest entry about your book.

My question is if the book is already available or not. I will come to JB on July 1 so I must purchase a copy at MPH at City Square it is out already. Please let me know. Thank you, Andy."

The site of our grandfather's house is now part of the
highway and its former driveway is occupied by a warung
I'm deeply honoured that on his visit to JB, Andy has factored in a visit to MPH Bookstore in City Square to get my book. But the books will not be in the store yet. So the convenience to order the books online, would be ideal for readers like him.

Meanwhile the work continues in the preparation for the book launch. This included a visit to the event venue in DoubleTree by Hilton JB, to have a better idea of the room layout.

Just as we reached Level 11, who should we meet there but two important men - Simon, the hotel GM and in-coming GM, Daniel Alcaraz. 

It was certainly my privilege to meet the new GM on an informal basis and I was deeply humbled by the glowing introduction that Simon gave of me.

When Simon told Daniel about how I've supported the hotel from the start, I had a sudden flashback to that day when Simon and I toured the hotel in its pre-opening stage. How we walked through the back-of-the-house and I saw the restaurant furniture, still in its plastic wrap!

This hotel is a special place to me, not least of which is its location, across the road from where I grew up in our grandfather's house at Jalan Ngee Heng.

To all my well-wishers, please accept my thanks and deep appreciation for your thoughtful messages. It means a lot to me.