Got your copy of My Johor Stories?

Some of the personalities that I featured in the Portraits section of My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage, were not present at the launch event but I made sure that each one of them or their family members, received their copy.
                                      
Proudly showing off my book [L to R] Chong Yii Ern,
See Ca Dai, Tan Chai Puan, Yap Leong and Pauline See
A few days before the event, when we went to give Puan Ramlah Mohamed the invitation, she agreed to come and I even made transport arrangements for her.

However, due to very unfortunate circumstances, her plans changed and she could not be with us on that day. So immediately after the event, my mum and I went to see her to present her with a copy of my book.

Ajith Baskaran Dass also wanted to come but on the morning of my event, his mother was unwell. So he spent the better part of the day, consulting doctors and admitting her to the hospital. I only managed to get hold of him late the next day to present him with my book.

With Ajith Baskaran Dass
The family of the late James Ho was delighted that their father was remembered in my book. Later I went to present a copy of my book to his wife, Mrs Ho and asked her grandson (who was there) to read about his Ah Kong to his grandmother.

When I first wrote to Adeline Tan to let her know that I will be featuring her mother, Dawn Parry, under Portraits in my book, she thanked me and said, “We are grateful she can be honorably remembered in your book.”

She was keen to obtain copies for her sister who resides in Perth, Australia, her Aunt Esther in Vermont, USA, who is her mother’s younger sister, her Uncle Sonny Ngui in Kuala Lumpur, her mother’s younger brother and her cousin Karen Ngui in Singapore, saying, “I’m sure they would love to read about my mother in your book and enjoy the other stories too.”

Adeline was gracious to add, “May the book be well-loved and treasured by all who read it.”  She could not come for the launch event as she had planned to join her SIGS Form Five classmates for a reunion in KL on the very next day.

Eunice Wang [Left] with Chang May Yong
“After dinner, I sat down to read and finished reading the whole book. It was a lot of nostalgia for me…remembering the ais kacang at Ee H’ng, buying books for school at Johor Central Store… enjoying supper at the Sungai Segget hawker centre [pasak-kia!], waiting for a bus at the bus station on Jalan Wong Ah Fook. And the wet floors of the nearby market!

Also the scouts jamboree held in Istana Gardens as my grandfather was a Chief Scout who still wore the scout uniform as he visited the camp in those days!

And dear Mr Heng, our official photographer at every school function. I belonged to that era!”

Adeline clearly summarized much of the nostalgia in Johor Baru which touched readers from that era who shared the same experiences.

Doris Boo with Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad
Dave, the Chiew family representative at the event, received a copy of my book which he duly passed to his brother and wife who were busy at work – business as usual – in their family’s Shanghai laundry at Jalan Tan Hiok Nee.

Dave declared that his brother and wife were enjoying my book. And it warmed my heart further when he told me, “Most of my siblings have gone out and bought multiple copies each of your book!”

Speaking of siblings, I had the pleasure of personally delivering my books to my sister, Pearly and her family in the UK recently. I also brought a set along to present to my cousin, Bernice and her family, who reside in Wimbledon.

One morning, I was at the table signing the books for Bernice when Jackson her older son, joined us. Quinlan, his 7-year old brother was still playful and quite oblivious of what was happening.

With young nephew, Jackson Maling, in Wimbledon, UK
Jackson looked at the book cover and his eyes widened as he recognized me from my brand identity (avatar). “It’s you!” yelled the excited 10-year old.

“Yes, it’s me,” I calmly replied, trying hard to keep a straight face. “You’re an author?” Jackson asked in a voice thick with wonder.

Keeping my tone normal, I replied, “Yes.” And Jackson jumped on me, clutching my arm and almost broke it (thankfully it was not my signing arm!) as he hugged me.

Charlotte Monterio with Putri Zanina Megat Zainuddin
My nephew, Aaron, hand-carried a batch of my books back to our family in Perth and put some in the post to our relatives in Sydney. It was indeed, amusing to see photos they shared of how the family was enjoying the book Down Under!

Today, Yvonne Yap, mother of young artist, Yap Hanzhen, shared a screen shot of Hanzhen’s website where she shared photos of Hanzhen at my book launch and pages from the book opened to the Portraits section on his story.

She apologized for the delay in posting them as she had trouble retrieving the photos but it’s a small matter because I’m happy to share a spot with him – even if it was a late post!


Photo shared by Sze Mei
Today I also received a photo from General Manager of MPH Publishing, Sze Mei with a brief message that said, “Hi Peggy, Good Morning. My Johor Stories still a bestseller for two consecutive weeks.”

This is indeed good news! A glance at the photo she shared showed shelves of books in MPH bookstores with the Bestselling books. A closer look revealed that my book is on the top shelf – far right – in a tiny space – in spot No. 4, still within the top five titles!

As I said before, getting into the Bestsellers list is an absolute bonus because I started this project without any expectations. I’m just deeply grateful for the love and support from readers everywhere!

Meanwhile I’m receiving feedback, comments and messages from the event and recent blog posts. Among them was, Yvonne Loh, a guest at the event who told me that she had a beautiful experience and more than once, she became very emotional.

Friends from the JB International Women's Association
Josh D’Silva said he looked around the hall that day and could see it in everyone’s eyes, it was a personal joy for everyone to be present. He said the event was intimate and sincere, and we/he too felt a range of emotions. Happiness being the primary one and he confessed, a few of us got teary-eyed too!

I couldn’t help but agree with him as I reviewed photographs from the event and saw how the camera captured some raw emotions… It just made the event even more meaningful and memorable.

[L to R] Ann Loh, Doris Boo and Evelyn Chong
[L to R] Rajpal Singh, Gregory Lui and Derek Pua
Screen shot from www.hanzhen.org that Yvonne Yap shared with me
Readers who wrote me from abroad also asked how they could get their hands on My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage and I replied, advising them to order through website, www.mphonline.com

Readers like Trevor Lee, wrote me through Facebook asking how to get his book autographed.

I’m pleased that I could reply on a positive note because I have arranged to be at MPH Bookstore in Johor Baru City Square on Saturday, Aug 26, from 2pm to 3.30pm, to meet readers and autograph books.

When he received my reply, Trevor wrote, “You bet I’ll queue up there on the 26th!”

It will be good to meet readers but be sure to introduce yourself when we meet!