Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dinner With YB Dato' Seri Chor Chee Heung

Try to go as high as you can; the higher you climb a mountain, 
you get to see things in a wider perspective."

words of advice from Kim senpai


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This is my first time flipping through the menu of the restaurant after so many visits.

The Minister of Housing and Local Government, Y.B. Dato' Seri Chor Chee Heung was in Tokyo recently with a group of delegates to have several meetings with the Ministry of Environment and some agencies in Tokyo. Accompanied by his wife, Datin Seri Cheong Guek Mee, a group of Malaysian students and those who are currently working in Japan were invited for a dinner with the minister and his delegated at Rasa Malaysia Cuisine Ginza last night.

There has been a lot of different kinds of experiences from my several dinners with the Cabinet ministers who came to Tokyo in the past. Some brought mooncakes for us during a Hari Raya gathering, while some put us airplane at the last minute. I wonder if it is my curse that whenever I arrive late at the dinner place, the whole delegates will be there already, but when I am early, they will be there late; that even sometimes, didn't come at all in the end haha wtf!

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The main table, where Dato' Seri had talks and ideas exchange with the students.

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A table which was occupied with mainly Malaysian businessmen who has made it big in Tokyo.

So this time, I decided not to arrive earlier or later, but to be there on the dot, although in the end I was late by two minutes. Sorry-lar, there was some human traffic jam inside the station lol! Like always, my curse will always be there. The delegate only arrived there almost one hour later as our stomach were already started to growl like Malayan sun bears.

We noticed that somebody were missing from the delegate when they were in the restaurant; Datin Seri, the minister's wife. The restaurant is right in the middle of Ginza - Japan's number-one destination for luxury shopping, and the wife is late for the dinner. Hmmm, I shall let you think of the hypothesis and make your own kesimpulan haha!

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The students who had a great time having casual conversation with Dato' Seri.

Each students were given a couple of little souvenirs from the Fire & Rescue Department. As I was the unofficial photographer (like always lol!), I wasn't seating on my table and I guess one of the staff of the delegates must have thought that I work in the restaurant or something. So, I didn't get my souvenirs.

Wanna ask also quite paiseh, so I just sat down after that, until Dato' Seri noticed the emptiness on my table haha!

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Finally got my cute key chain (yang sedia menyelamat) and USB thumb drive. By the way, that time on the key chain has always been 
4:25 and 55 seconds until now lol!

The delegates had a meeting with the Minister of Environment, Mr Goshi Hosono and discussed about the waste disposal management in Japan, and how the system, especially how the rubbish are separated in Japan, can be applied in Malaysia. Like what the CEO of Alam Flora, Datuk Haji Mohd Zain Hassan who was among the delegates in this trip, it will take some time before the system can be fully implemented back home. It requires a strong commitment both from the government and the communities. Having multiples of laws alone is not enough if the enforcement is not carried out and civil awareness of the people is still absent.

Alam Flora has just recently signed a 22-year contract with the government, in which they will revitalise the rubbish management in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang. Each household will be provided with a rubbish bin, and all the lori sampah will be replaced with new ones. As for the other states (except Selangor and Penang) in the Peninsular, it will be managed under two other companies.

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Satay with peanut sauce and cucmbers.

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Seafood tom yam kung.

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Air bandung cincau.

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Fried chicken with spice.

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Stir-fry mixed vegetables with scallops.

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Fish curry with brinjals and ladies' fingers, sweet and sour soft crabs, black pepper chicken with capsicums.

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The two chefs behind the kitchen who prepared the sumptuous dishes.

Born and breed in Alor Setar, in the northern state of Kedah, Dato' Seri Chor Chee Heung continued his studies in law at Lincoln's Inn London in 1975. As much as he loved the life in London so much, his parents insisted him to return right after he completed his studies. So, the only way for him to stay longer there is by doing his post-graduate studies in Business Law at the same place.

Knowing that it is not an easy thing to bertikam lidah with the ang moh in courts over there, he decided to returned to Malaysia in 1980, and commissioned as a Member of Chartered by Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, where he practised law for the next fifteen years. It was during this time he met his wife, who was then working in an insurance firm.

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Sharing his experiences during his student years in London.  

We talked about various stuff - current political scene in Malaysia, his thoughts about studying abroad, and even some personal stuff like his hobbies, etc. He has been a Member of Parliament for Alor Setar for the last five terms, since 1990, which prompted me to ask him if he is contesting in the coming general election. It was a negative reply from Dato' Seri, as he plans to take up his doctorate course after he retires from politics. It is inspiring to see the enthusiasm he have to improve himself despite age. At the same time, his believes the younger generations should be given chance to shine as well. Only if more MP shares the same sentiment. And by the way, he feels that the GE13 will be in June.

We also talked recent hot topics such as AUKU (Universities and University Colleges Act 1971), Lynas controversy and the many lubangs here and there through corruptions, in which I shall spare the details. However, I appreciate his readiness and transparency in not trying to deny that it existed in the "past", and "lesser" now. Anyway, it sometimes makes us wonder when one minister has one opinion while the other has a different idea on a certain issue. But I guess it is merely their personal view, which doesn't reflect the party of the coalition's stand.

At the end of the dinner, we spent some time talking to the working Malaysians who were at the dinner too. One of them was Kim senpai from Kangar, who has lived in Tokyo for the past 24 years! It was a nice conversation with him, a very bubbly, funny sometimes, and down-to-earth person. Talking to people like him, listening to his wise words of advice, sometimes makes us feel that there are still so many stuff in the world out there, yet to be explored.

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A group photo with Dato' Seri and his delegates with the Malaysians outside the restaurant along the busy street of Ginza.

And just like how he put it, whenever there's an opportunity, grab it as soon as possible.

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