Thursday, December 22, 2016

Human Rights Training In Jakarta

I came back from Jakarta over a week ago and my office's jobs piled up my head till I had terrible mental block. It was like a revenge for going away to China and Indonesia for too long. Today I feel almost back to track with my demanding work and strict Japanese clients who actually help to keep me on my toes.

I was happy and honoured to be invited by my old friend Peter Tan, to be his P.A. and accompany him to attend the recent ASEAN Secretariat Human Rights Training where he was invited to speak in their workshop. My friend Peter had come a long way after his swimming pool tragedy when he was only 18 years old, where he had dived at the shallow end by mistake and suffered from serious spinal cord injury which affected his limbs and mobility. He has struggled a lot to adapt to his fate and needs to use a wheel chair all his life. We lost touch briefly after I went to US and he got married later to a lovely banker wife who has a heart of gold. She was busy lately and unable to accompany him for this trip, so I tagged along instead.

1. We had a quick lunch at KLIA as we didn't expect MAS to serve us
lunch for this short 2 hours flight to Jakarta. Our friendship spans over
30 years today and it was very good to catch up again.

2. It was an eye opener to understand how passengers like Peter, with
special needs are being escorted to their seats in the aeroplane
using the special very narrow wheel chair, provided by the airlines.
Sadly, our AA do not have this special wheelchairs till now.

3. In Jakarta, the airport's personnel in pink uniform wheeled my
friend Peter from the plane all the way through immigration, baggage
claims until he got into the taxi to our hotel. I just tailed behind
and jumped through all the long queues too. Yay!

4. We stayed at this trendy upscale part of Jakarta City where
I could not see the slums or cardboard houses like my previous trip.
There are so many security and policemen guarding the city.
They strictly DO NOT ALLOW any photography of any buildings
yet I took them to share with you all. LOL

5. We stayed at this fabulous JW Marriott Hotel which has the
best and friendliest 5 Star services I had ever experienced.
Trust me, their services are really top notch.

6. The whole neighbourhood is very swanky with beautiful
buildings yet they stopped me from taking photos!
I should be sharing good things since I am not
a threat or terrorist.

7. One for the album by the Christmas Tree inside
the JW Marriot in Jakarta.

8. My room's window overlooked The Ritz Carlton Hotel
on the left.

9. Their F&B manager personally escorted my friend around the
restaurant and briefed him on all the exotic and delicious food.

10. I was not surprised that Japan has voted this hotel as
The Best Hotel in whole Asia! The photo is the Japanese award.

11. The whole buffet spread from breakfast to lunch and dinner
were all fantastic and good.

12. I had lots of fried pork bacons for breakfast!

13. At the 3 day event of ASEAN Secretariat Human Rights Training,
they focused on the Human Rights Mechanisms/Systems and Disability Awareness.
One excellent speaker HE. Dr Seree Nonthasoot from Thailand
shared many important demographics on the plight and needs of the disabled
population around the world. The other invited speakers touched
on other important issues too.

14. His slides pointed out that China has the highest number of
85 million disabled people! That is way higher than our whole
population of Malaysia.

15. Indonesia's disabled population is over 6 million people yet
there is so much to be done to create awareness to provide all
the assistance for the population with special needs in all
the areas from toilets, road accessibilities, public transports
and every where. I always paid attention to these issues ever
since my friend suffered from his spinal cord injury.

 16. It was Peter's turn to speak together with his partner from Laos.
He is Samnieng Thammavong who suffers from polio.

17. They gave an interesting question to all the participants.
It was an easy question, yet they were tongue tied before
giving various answers. I myself learnt something from this.
What is Disability and Where is Disability?

18. The whole group of participants from Asean countries took a farewell photo.
Yours truly sat on the floor at Peter's feet.

19. This place is the departure gate at the Soekarno–Hatta International Airport
which looks cosy! The flight home gave me a new opener on the issues
of the many people with special needs around us. Japan has one of the
best facilities in the world for their aging population which is
growing very fast. Someday, we will all grow very old and weak
where we need to have the right and proper facilities.
I am wondering whether our country will be ready
for my future needs?

Peter Tan is now a weekly columnist at
Borneo Post. You read his articles HERE.


Monday, December 5, 2016

Attractions Of Silk Road - Xi'an & Dunhuang

Yesterday I have just returned from China after being away for 10 days. I have experienced very cold winters and seen many new eye openers which were captured in over 1000 photographs. Honestly I am still mentally tired after the long train rides and flight home. In a few days, I will be off to Jakarta for a few days on my good friend's invitation. So I decided to post just some preview photos here before I find quality time to sort the photographs and compile them for your reading pleasure.

Greetings from our room at Ramada Hotel in Xi'an.
It takes 5 hours by plane from Kuala Lumpur to reach
Xi'an at the Shaanxi Province. The temperature was
like averagely High 7C and Low -3C.

 We took their normal train ride from Xi'an to reach Dunhuang
which is a very ancient city at the Silk Road journey. The train
took us 24 hours each way. Lots of sceneries of mountains,
farms and melted snow along Gobi Desert. Their average freezing
temperature was like High -3C and Low -7C. Dunhuang is
located in the Gansu Province.

This map illustrates the journey from Xi'an to Dunhuang.

 It was a very memorable trip to see the ancient Mogao Caves which we
had talked for many years. We also visited the Mingshan Mountains
and rode camels across the desert!

We took the miserable train back to Xi'an and spent 3 days
visiting the places & temples we have missed since our last trip in 2014.
We enjoyed riding bicycle around the entire city wall of Xi'an
and saw all the tall skyscrapers in the big city within 2 hours.
Xi'an City was the first capital of China and was better
known as Chang'an with a population of over 4.5 million
inside the crowded city itself! This is the most highly 
recommended place to visit after having visited
Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chengde, Chengdu, Nanjing,
Jiuhuashan, Suzhou, Emei Shan and others!


Unforgettable Day

😓 Yesterday was the weakest day of my whole entire life. I had to crawl my way to stay at my sister's place. At her Mont Kiara condo...