Towards more caring and inclusive communities

On a recent road trip around Johor with stops and overnight stays to explore and experience several towns, I saw how less developed, smaller towns and municipalities like Muar and Batu Pahat were compared with our state capital city, Johor Baru.

Sidewalks at Jalan Petri in Bandar Maharani or Muar are
kept clear for pedestrian use and neatly paved with
tiles to aid the visually-impaired to use it with ease 
With its well preserved heritage buildings and pre-war shophouses, Muar, the historic town of Bandar Maharani, struck me as a laid-back and charming destination.

As in Kluang and Batu Pahat, Muar has its share of physical amenities like parks and green spaces, specifically those at Tanjung Emas Park on the banks of the Muar River.

In a chat with the hotel receptionist, I discovered that Muar no longer has any movie theatres and if they wanted to watch a current movie, they would drive to either Melaka or Batu Pahat. So their favourite destination for local outings was still Tanjung!

As I met Muarians, the name Muar folks like to call themselves, I discovered their deep sense of belonging and pride in its culture and heritage including the town’s economic development and security, a place where they grew up in and could raise a family.

Compared to JB which has expanded from Downtown JB to sprawling suburbs with neighbourhoods like Bandar Baru UDA, Bandar Baru Permas Jaya, Bandar Dato Onn, Bukit Indah and Iskandar Puteri, Muar remained virtually unchanged except for the broader one-way streets that traversed the town in a simple grid.

Driving around Muar was a breeze because the network of one-way roads took me around the same grid and after a few times, I began to recognise the roads and landmarks!

Raised to municipality status in 2001, public parking payment in Muar uses tear-off parking coupons that should be displayed on the car dashboard.

JB City Council traffic enforcement staff doing their
jobs in an effort to deter recalcitrant drivers from
parking indiscriminately at non-designated areas
I however, noticed a parallel between most drivers in Muar and JB: they are either lazy, stingy or simply inconsiderate, because cars are also indiscriminately parked at non-designated areas. This bad attitude largely contributed to the traffic congestion.

In JB, I recently noticed that concerted effort is being made to keep drivers from parking their cars indiscriminately on the side of Jalan Ayer Molek, particularly the stretch in front of the Istana Gardens and JOTIC building.

However, recalcitrant drivers still persist in parking there and risk getting a City Council summons and fined for parking at an undesignated area. I appears that as long as there was no enforcement, these careless motorists would just park at their own whim and fancy and risk getting a summons.

Sidewalks, as its name describes, are pavements for pedestrians to walk on. But the sidewalks in front of the JB Courthouse are indiscriminately parked by rows of motorcycles to the point where it was impossible for pedestrians to walk!

It is also virtually impossible to walk comfortably in Downtown JB where most sidewalks are occupied by carelessly parked cars and motorbikes or portable tables from food stalls. This causes cracks and its uneven surface, pitted with litter and puddles from recent rain, are also safety hazards for pedestrians and wheelchair-bound people.

In Muar, when I walked around the network of roads near Jalan Petri on a weekend morning in search of my satay pagi breakfast, I was delighted to walk on the clean and well-maintained sidewalks without having to avoid any obstructions.

I was impressed that sidewalks here were properly kept clear for pedestrian use and also neatly paved with tiles aimed to aid visually-impaired pedestrians.

Walking back from a delicious satay pagi breakfast, I spied a crowd gathered at the mouth of a back-lane between rows of pre-war shophouses off Jalan Sulaiman.

Curious to see why, I walked closer and realised they were in a queue to buy freshly made apam balik from a stall there. If this was also a breakfast food popular with the locals, I too must have a taste of this hot pancake.

A clean and uncluttered back lane
off Jalan Sulaiman in Muar
So I placed my order with the busy vendor, who was working non-stop to serve the queue of customers. Prepared to wait for my order, I wandered down the back-lane and was stunned by how clean and uncluttered it was!

As far as the eye could see, the walls were unmarked and it appeared to be a safe path to walk. The road surface was properly tarred and its sides clearly painted while some property owners even maintained potted plants to decorate the rear of their buildings.

In another part of Muar, the wall of a back-lane off Jalan Abdullah, was the choice of a mural artist who created the Ferry Pier 3D mural, a 3-dimensional design featuring a real sampan to evoke memories of how early settlers had a livelihood with the Muar River.

This reminded me of how the back-lanes off Jalan Dato Teoh Siew Khor in Kluang are also decorated with a series of creative wall mural in themes unique to their town: the iconic bat and their coffeeshop culture.

It also brought to mind the back-lanes in Downtown JB, a network of paths marked by graceful arches that were used by early settlers to walk to various parts of the old town.

Regretfully, the condition of these city back-lanes are nowhere near those in Muar or Kluang.

Signs seen in a hotel carpark for designated parking
spaces strictly for Single Lady Drivers Only
Last year, some of these back-lanes were cleaned up for events in the annual Johor Baru Arts Festival. But soon after the festival, the back-lanes reverted to their original state – unsightly and unsafe for pedestrians – a sight for sore eyes.

Speaking of unsafe, I’m seeing more signs that read: Single Lady Drivers Only, in mall and hotel carparks both in Kuala Lumpur and JB, where they are serious about providing designated parking spaces for unescorted ladies.

They acknowledge that ladies are often the victims of ruthless criminals and are now providing parking lots where ladies are less vulnerable in central and well-lighted areas.

While this is yet another positive step towards a more caring and inclusive community, the reality is that crime is rampant and criminals may even be lurking in the carparks of malls and hotels.

A version of this was published in the December 2017 issue of The Iskandarian 

The return of Aw Pottery

If you are a child of the ‘70s, you will probably be familiar with Aw Pottery. This brand made such a strong impact in the 1970s that ceramic enthusiasts may never part with the Aw pieces they own because these are now valuable collectibles.

Lee Lang [Left] with the writer at
the refurbished Aw Pottery Studio
The signature strokes of founder and sculptor, the late Aw Eng Kwang, garnered a host of fans and his masterpieces are still on display at our National Museum and the Singapore National Museum.

Back when Uncle Steven and his family lived at the Institute Haiwan dairy farm near Kluang, our family often spent weekends with them and enroute to the farm, we made regular visits to the pottery showroom.

Before the age of modern highways, our journey was a leisurely drive on the scenic route from Johor Baru to Ayer Hitam with a stop at Aw Pottery in Macap and onward to Kluang. So my love affair with Aw Pottery started more than 40 years ago.

Over the years, I often brought visitors and fans of ceramic-ware here who could appreciate the rough and rustic beauty of handcrafted Aw Pottery.

I distinctly remember how its entrance off the main road, was marked by sculptures of a pair of traditional Malay dancers covered with a mosaic of ceramic chips.

A pair of traditional Malay dancers marks the entrance
With the opening of the North-South Expressway, cars and tour buses abandoned the scenic route and Aw Pottery gradually ceased to be a popular destination on the tourist map.

But die-hard fans in search of creative pottery designs and garden deco, still found their way to Macap. 

When I shared my fond recollections of Aw Pottery in a news article six years ago, Pottery paradise off the main highway (NST, Johor Streets 15 Sept 2011), I was pleasantly surprised to receive feedback from readers and members of the Aw family, now based in the United States of America.

Family Business

In mid-1940, Aw, an immigrant from Chaozhou (Teochew) province in China, brought his skills in pottery making to Johor and set up a kiln at Macap.

His humble beginning was in producing latex cups to supply the booming rubber industry here.

Besides opening a small pottery plant in Johor, he had the foresight to expand his market abroad to the USA and products from their China pottery plants in Ru Yang, Chaoan and Guandong were exported for distribution in Seattle, Atlanta and San Francisco.

In 1980 Aw and his wife retired in Berkeley, California, where they passed away in 1996 and 2012, respectively.

In 2011, the email I received from the youngest daughter of Aw, Lee Lang, who operates Aw Pottery Northwest Inc., Seattle read: “I’m so happy to find your article. My sister and I are planning to be back in Macap to renew Aw studio and maybe reopen the restaurant someday soon. I grew up there and have many sweet memories. Your article has given me “the calling” to go home much more urgently and sooner than my plan.

True to her word, Lee Lang and her sister, Lee Hwa, returned to Macap in May 2012 and started work to restore Aw Pottery to its former glory from 2013.

Work began on two of their main attractions – the garden and their uniquely designed restrooms – while the entire property was tidied up with changing the roof and redecorating the showroom and the Aw Museum.

Sneak Peek

Lee Lang and I stayed in touch by email and in 2014, we finally met when she invited me over for a sneak peek of the refurbishing work at Aw Pottery – Johor’s pottery paradise in the 1970s.

A section of the refurbished Aw Museum
She fondly recalled that she was about 13 years old when Aw Pottery was at its peak in 1973.

Aw’s talent was undiscovered until his and children’s ceramic art were showcased at the First Sculpture Exhibition in Singapore, in 1967, followed by a solo sculpture exhibition in Kuala Lumpur in 1968.

In a tour of the Aw Museum, Lee Lang showed me the art by Aw and his family, created with traditional methods from China combined with local and modern designs in a distinctive Malaysian style.

Exactly 10 years ago in 2004, I had my first walk-through within the 50-meter long wood-fire kiln that her father built to bake his ceramics. Dubbed, ‘the dragon kiln’ for its length and shape, the kiln breathed its last in 1982.

Inside the dormant 'dragon' kiln
Left dormant since, its interior measuring 4 meters wide and 2 meters high, was then a dim and derelict, spider-infested cavern, littered with disused ‘saggars’ or containers made of high temperature refractory materials, used to protect the ‘green’ products from direct flames.

My second visit into the dormant dragon was with Lee Lang and it was a distinctly different experience. Lighted by the glow of coloured lamps, I saw disused ‘saggars’ neatly lined up against the walls and the entire length of the tunnel was clear of cobwebs!

It’s taking years of hard work for Lee Lang to upgrade the rambling property, applying new ideas to preserve the family’s legacy and a great deal was yet to be done so I waited with eager anticipation as everything was taking shape, slowly but surely.

Restored Beauty

Fast forward to today: The pair of graceful dancers are still standing guard at the entrance with a new signboard that reads, Aw Pottery Studio. My car tyres crunch to a halt in the parking area, grinding over a fresh layer of gravel laid on the packed-earth ground.

A section of the matured garden at Aw Pottery Studio
The same flight of steps leads up to the showroom with a front courtyard, landscaped with a variety of ceramic pots and jars in a creative cluster with a water feature.

I see staff inside the office and a few visitors browsing around but my eyes are riveted to the impressive changes in the extended showroom.

There’s something familiar, yet all new to me. Clever use of lighting, artistic displays and the ingenious ways water is featured, all work together to present a cool and calming ambience, one that visitors feel like taking home with them!

A range of handmade ceramic tableware created by
Japanese guest artist, Hiroshi Taruta
A glass wall separates the showroom from the newly set-up Aw Museum and I step inside, holding my breath in awe as I recognise some of Aw’s masterpieces, now displayed to its best advantage. It feels so good to see what Lee Lang has accomplished since we last met here.

Next to the bust of Tunku Abdul Rahman sculptured by Aw, I read its title, ‘Father of Malaysia’ and the small print which reminds me that this is only a replica of the masterpiece being exhibited in Muzium Negara, Kuala Lumpur.

Next to it, black-and-white photos show Aw with our nation’s first Prime Minister, shot at the unveiling of this sculpture.

One of the must-visit places at Aw Pottery Studio
is their restrooms
I take my time to admire each piece of artwork and can’t help smiling at the sculpture of a voluptuous woman dressed in baju kebaya, entitled, ‘Let’s go to pasar malam.’ How women dressed to go out in the 1960s is beautifully preserved in this priceless piece of art by Aw.

Armed with my camera, I explore the garden – now looking lush and matured – as I head over to the restrooms, eager to see how these famous bathrooms have been restored.

They are just as I remember, its outer walls with outlines of male and female figures dressed in traditional Malay costumes to indicate the Gents and Ladies and decorated by a creatively arranged mosaic of little bowls, saucers and ash-trays in a colourful three-dimensional design.

The interesting mosaic designs outside continues into the restrooms, the wash basin area and around the mirrors, now brightly lit by natural light streaming through fiber-glass roofs.

Lee Lang, the youngest daughter of Aw Eng Kwang,
was the driving force behind the revival of Aw Pottery
I’m going into the showroom again through its side entrance when I suddenly see Lee Lang with her hands full of ceramic jars and we both stop in surprise. “Why didn’t you tell me you were coming?” she cried! I just didn’t know she is back in Johor.

What follows is a happy reunion as Lee Lang shares with me, how she is developing handicraft activities and was inviting artists to inspire others and showcase their work here.

From a recent visit by a Japanese guest artist from Nagoya, Hiroshi Taruta, a range of handmade tableware was created.

As we go on a tour of the new showroom, I compliment Lee Lang for restoring Aw Pottery so beautifully and rebranding it as Aw Pottery Studio for ceramic enthusiasts to enjoy workshops in the art of pottery-making here. I'm sure her father approves of all that she has done.

Aw Pottery Studio at 13 Kampung Macap, Johor, is open from 8.30am to 5pm, Friday to Tuesday only. Advance arrangements advised for group tours and ceramic workshop activities, Tel: +607 – 7541476.

A version of this was published in The New Straits Times, Life & Times on 7 Dec 2017

A co-working space at Iskandar Space

Iskandar Space, another initiative by Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB), was recently launched by guest-of-honour, Chief Executive of Iskandar Regional Development Authority, Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, in its premises at Afiniti Medini, Iskandar Puteri.

Iskandar Space was launched in a simple ceremony
In 2015, I had the privilege of attending an event held here and was impressed with the wellness themed development, wholly owned by Pulau Indah Ventures – a 50:50 joint-venture between Khazanah Nasional Bhd and Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd.

In a tour of the property, I was informed about the specific purposes of the various blocks of buildings and cannot forget the beautifully landscaped gardens with refreshing water features.

This time, I was back here again to witness the launch of Iskandar Space, a co-working space designed to support and spur the growth of start-ups of Small and Medium Enterprises in Iskandar Malaysia.

Group CEO of Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, Nazrin Hassan,
presenting his keynote address at the event
The opening of such a space is part of Khazanah Malaysia’s place-making exercise to establish Iskandar Puteri as the preferred destination for investment and careers, education, sports and leisure.

In line with IIB’s desire to develop the local startup ecosystem and community building in South Johor, Iskandar Space was created.

It is a workplace solution for local entrepreneurs who can enjoy an instant work space equipped with premium facilities, including indoor and outdoor chill-out spots and of course, high-speed and secure internet connections.

Situated on level 2 of the CIMB Leadership Academy, Iskandar Space with its tagline: Community – Co-working – Events, covers 8,000 sq ft of fully-equipped open co-working space and private suites.

A section of the open office in Iskandar Space
Rates are from as low as RM20 per day or RM150 per month.

Iskandar Space has been working closely with Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, and early stage startup influencer, incorporated under the Ministry of Finance to provide government grants, equity investments and funding to qualified startups.

Qualified startups will also enjoy non-monetary aid such as commercialisation support, coaching and other value-added services, to meet their individual needs.

Group CEO of Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, Nazrin Hassan, said that Cradle has funded more than 600 startups including two from Johor since the start of this initiative.

A view of the private suites in Iskandar Space
From his observation, he noted that Johor entrepreneurs are more profit-driven. With Singapore as its neighbour, Johor has regional proximity to its advantage and commented, “Competition always brings out the best in everyone.”

Chief Operating Officer of IIB, Akmal Ahmad, said IIB promotes inclusiveness and described this as the beginning of another exciting chapter of Iskandar Malaysia.

Recognising the co-working trends happening everywhere, Iskandar Space will allow entrepreneurs to share a common work environment while their individual activities remain independent of each other.

He said a community defines a city and now that the hardware has been put in place in Iskandar Malaysia, IIB is focused on creating a community – adding in the software – to put the soul into the city.

Startup Johor is a community set up to educate, inspire and connect entrepreneurs in and around Johor through business partnerships and investment linkages.

Startup Johor, Community Director, Feng Lim, said Iskandar Space has the capacity to fit up to 120 people at a time and with its flexible rental rates, he described it as “the largest and coolest co-working space in South Johor.”

Since 2015, he was connecting and training existing groups of entrepreneurs in Johor and working with them to obtain the necessary financial support to help in their business startups.

He was pleased that these startup operators now have a ‘home’ in Iskandar Space which is designed with covered event spaces and open office spaces as well as private suites.

Over the next five years, he aimed to help startup entrepreneurs with better market access and to set up their own operations, through mentoring and training.

Mohd Salehoddin Abd Hamid, Akmal Ahmad and
Feng Lim [Fom Left to Right] speaking to the media
He explained that Iskandar Space will nurture the startup businesses and when they have developed a solid base, they should move out to their own business premises in Iskandar Malaysia.

They in turn will create jobs in the community and later become mentors to share their knowledge and experience with new startups here.

Senior Vice President, Investor Relations IIB, Mohd Salehoddin Abd Hamid said that entrepreneurs, SMEs and even Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and freelancers may join the programmes at Iskandar Space to help them take their work forward into the digital community.

Iskandar Space is also working with several agencies at state and federal levels to support an ecosystem for local entrepreneurs in Iskandar Malaysia as well as forming strategic partnerships with corporations, NGOs and foreign entities so that local entrepreneurs may tap on these networks.

For more info about Iskandar Space, visit website: www.iskandar.space

StageCraft presents more Malaysian Stories

Since 2014, StageCraft had been encouraging their students who are trained in public speaking skills, to get interested in theatre.

Elizabeth A. Louis, the director and principal trainer of StageCraft, believes there’s no better way to show off their abilities than to present it in a live stage performance, usually at the end of each academic year.
        
Elizabeth would encourage all the students aged between 7 and 17, to participate in various roles and let them perform live to an audience for an experience that will inevitably help them gain more confidence in public speaking.

Following the success of last year’s presentation of A Tapestry of Malaysian Stories that featured a few well-loved Malaysian folk tales or Cerita-cerita Rakyat Malaysia, Stagecraft decided to have the second edition of A Tapestry of Malaysian Stories.

Presented in black-box theatre style, the staging of A Tapestry of Malaysian Stories 2 was part of the programme of the 14th Johor Baru Arts Festival where an excerpt of the show was presented to the public Free-of-Charge, at Big Bites Café on Nov 18.

In black box theatre, every actor was dressed in black and will have limited use of props, costumes and accessories so that the audience may stretch their imagination as they watch the performances.

The full performance was held at the Setia Tropika Welcome Center, also known as the Setia Convention Arena, Taman Setia Tropika, in two ticketed shows on Nov 24 and 25.

The programme of five short dramas and one choral speaking presentation was presented with a 15-minute intermission.

Elizabeth described this year’s show as “two hours of comedy, history and drama in their original plays.”

This showcase of Malaysian stories aimed to bring together multi-ethnic children as they take on various roles, often as a character from a different ethnic group.

The performance of the second edition of Malaysian Stories included original scripts written for Geng Kampung, Chicken Kapitan, The Silent Tiger (The legend of Bukit Gemai), The Pepper Parade and Manjal, the Tamil word for turmeric or kunyit.

As I sat back to enjoy the show, I could see how some of the students took to the stage quite naturally and clearly enjoyed performing live to an audience.

In Chicken Kapitan, the cook [Left] struggling to tell
the captain and his dinner guests, the name of that dish
While the actors may only be students, they all did well but a special mention goes to the cook in the captain’s household in Chicken Kapitan.

She realistically portrayed the role of an elderly Chinese lady whose language skills was limited and reminded us that most elderly Chinese who learnt a new language, often had problems with pronunciation.

Her cooking skills may be commendable but her poor pronunciation probably resulted in how a dish like Chicken Kapitan earned its name!

I observed how Elizabeth and her team of coaches made every effort to keep their scripts as close to history/legend as possible but took literary license to tweak the stories for the sake of continuity and brevity.

The Johor Chingay Parade as it was portrayed in
The Pepper Parade
The Pepper Parade is a catchy phrase but the Johor Chingay Parade is clearly more than that.

I can understand how the name of this play was coined because the parade is a tradition of the Johor Gu Miao or Old Temple, the place of worship for the immigrant community of pepper and gambier planters.

Through this play, StageCraft paid tribute to the Johor ruler whose wisdom and benevolence united the Chinese dialect groups through the ‘temple of unity,’ as a common place of worship.

While pepper and gambier earned its place of honour in Johor, the Johor Chingay continues annually and in 2012, it was recognised as a National Cultural Heritage.

Through Manjal, I learnt that it is the Tamil word for turmeric or kunyit. The show was also a lesson in Indian culture because interesting snippets were portrayed in the play and woven into the dialogue, in an attempt to educate the younger generation.

A colourful scene in Manjal
One of the most ‘fun’ roles must be that of the son whose mischievous lines were a clever ploy not only to tickle but also to inform the audience.

I must confess that I couldn’t help but laughed aloud when he gave his own (hilarious!) version of the purpose of the pottu, the Indian tradition of wearing a dot on the forehead, in particular when it was red in colour.

Students as young as age seven are encouraged to participate in the performance because Elizabeth believes that stage experience is not only empowering and inclusive but also an opportunity to light the students’ passion for the performing arts.

The youngest students received the loudest applause for their choral speaking presentation which they delivered to the best of their abilities.

The youngest students in their choral speaking
presentation of Chimes of the Times
Groups of students came on stage to narrate their parts in Chimes of the Times, a choral speaking piece composed by Emelda Corea and Anne Louis, which described the disparity between the youngsters of today – also known as the fast-food generation – and those of yesteryears.

When I heard words and phrases like ice-ball, gula tarek, chapteh and gasing spinning, I privately wondered if the current generation understood what each of these mean!

I hope the students and youngsters in the audience may be intrigued enough to ask their parents and grandparents to clarify and in so doing, they may learn to appreciate some of the most popular treats and past-times in a bygone era.

In past years, StageCraft have successfully staged popular children’s stories like The Gruffalo, Piglet – a parody of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, False Awakening – an original written by the students, a modern version of Cinderella and many more.

StageCraft, which started in 2011 with some 40 students, has expanded to two centers located at Adda Heights and Nong Chik Riverside at Jalan Kolam Ayer. 

For more info about StageCraft, visit website: www.stagecraft.com.my  Tel: 607 – 3646050 or email: elizabeth@stagecraft.com.my

The Great Lego Race experience

This morning, I arrive early to be among the first to pit my skills against five mini-figure competitors in the Great Lego Race, Legoland Malaysia Resort’s Virtual Reality Roller Coaster.

The Great Lego Race combines a rollercoaster ride
with a Virtual Reality experience
I can understand how the park is chuffed at the launch of world’s first Lego Virtual Reality Roller Coaster ride and a never-seen-before in a Legoland theme park experience, in Legoland Malaysia Resort today.

This is ahead of the Great Lego Race being launched in Legoland Florida Resort and Legoland Deutschland Resort in 2018.

I’m familiar with Legoland Malaysia Resort – I was here at its ground-breaking and its first day opened to the media – and clearly remember the Project X rollercoaster, a ride situated close to the park entrance.

The Great Lego Race will take you 18 meters above ground
I remember watching the cars way up there, as they precariously negotiate the winding tracks, designed some 18 meters above ground level.

If I am nearby, I often hear the wailing screams of riders in the 4-passenger cars as they careen down the steep track at an agonizing speed.

When I reach the event area for the launch of the Great Lego Race, I realise that the Great Lego Race will replace Project X in a unique way.

If you are familiar with the thrills and spills of Project X, you will be happy to know that the entire experience of the Project X ride will be enhanced with the addition of Virtual Reality (VR) technology in an exciting new adventure.

A Legoland team member distributing VR headsets to guests
I’m excited to learn that the Great Lego Race will take riders into a unique Lego environment with the addition of characters, story-telling, action and humour.

This is because the ride includes monitors that display side-by-side images of the physical rollercoaster track and the corresponding VR environment.

For the full experience of being immersed in a completely new universe, guests are encouraged to ride the rollercoaster wearing the VR headset.

Legoland working in partnership with Samsung, will give riders – both children and adults – a whole new experience where Bluetooth technology will sync the virtual visuals with the rollercoaster’s twists, turns, drops and climbs!

Whizzing way up there on the Great Lego Race
As the crowd of privileged guests swelled, the excitement at the event area was palpable.

All were grouped according to colour – five different shades of lanyards – to take our turns for the first experience of the Great Lego Race, in an orderly fashion.

I watch as Legoland team members cordon off the area and redirect public guests through a path to the other side of the park.

A guest stops to ask about joining the ride and I overhear a Legoland team member politely assuring him that he should be able to do so later when the ride opens to the public from 3pm.

A 4-passenger car coming down
the track in the Great Lego Race
While waiting for the event to start, I get acquainted with the five mini-figures chosen to represent the way kids play with Lego toys, with no regard for rules, themes, characters or time periods.

There is Pharaoh (2010) who rides an ornate canopied litter carried by mummified servants, Surfer Girl (2011) who rides a rocket-powered windsurfing rig, Pirate Captain (2012) who steers a dinghy with a turbine powered sail, Trendsetter (2013) who rides an espresso-fueled scooter with a sidecar for her tiny dog and Wizard (2014) who drives a dragon-themed hot-rod.

The duration of the ride, I soon learn, is just three minutes so it’s good to be acquainted with the characters who should be whooshing by in the rollercoaster ride!

I remind myself to keep my eyes wide open throughout the ride to recognise the mini-figure characters but in such a rollercoaster ride, I can’t be sure if I can keep my eyes open!

Maybe it’s just the exciting anticipation but it seems like a long wait for each group to complete their ride experience before it is my turn… *

Get ready for the World's First Lego VR rollercoaster
In line with Legoland’s safety standards, guests below age 4 and stand 110cm in height, are not allowed on this ride. Guests must be above age 6 and 120cm tall to be allowed to ride alone.

Legoland Malaysia Resort offers Johor residents an exclusive offer for an Annual Pass at up to 50% off. Pay as low as RM195 or top up RM125 for the Premium Annual Pass.

This promotion can be purchased from Legoland Malaysia Resort’s ticketing counters and through its website.

For more info on promotions and activities, visit Legoland Malaysia Resort’s official website: www.legoland.com.my and stay connected with the resort via social handles Facebook and Twitter.

*Suffice to say that there’s nothing like a first-hand experience! Better get yours soon.