Saturday 31 March 2018

20th Malaysian Tourism Award 2016/2017

I was flabbergasted when I received an unexpected call from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC). They requested for my full name and announced that I am the finalist for 2016/2017 Malaysian Tourism Award under the Nature Guide category. "What have I done to receive this? How was I evaluated? When? Where?" These were the questions that came into my mind after receiving the call. More than a year ago, Puan Fuziah of Langkawi Tourist Guides Association (LTGA) asked for my email address and that was it. No interview, nothing to evaluate and qualify me as the finalist.

The invitation was emailed to me two weeks before the Malaysian Tourism Award 2016/2017 event on 28th February 2018 at the Putrajaya Convention Hall. I was unable to attend due to a birdwatching tour that I have confirmed on that day and the next. After a long thought of finding a suitable candidate to represent me, Raja Shaharil, my ex-colleague and a city guide from Kuala Lumpur Tourist Guides Association (KLTGA), came into my mind. Aha! Surprisingly, Raja Shaharil was also invited to this event as the finalist under City Guide category.  

Raja Shaharil kept me updated via Whatsapp on that grand and prestigious evening at Putrajaya Convention Hall.
The current Minister of Tourism and Culture, Dato Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz making his speech
At 10:40pm, Raja Shaharil delivered my first congratulatory wishes for the best nature guide award. And then followed by more photos and wishes via Whatsapp from Ashraff of Langkawi Canopy Adventure, Vijay from LTGA, Victor Lim from KLTGA and many more. News travel instantly these days!

Photos circulated in a Whatsapp group was forwarded to me

You can imagine me standing on this stage with an evening gown or baju kurung..LOL!
According to Raja Shaharil, Encik Basri Mat Ali represented me on stage to receive the award. Thank you Basri! And Raja Shaharil represented Muniesvaran from LTGA who won the best city guide award. Congratulations to you too, Raja Shaharil for being the finalist!  

Raja Shaharil had assignment in Langkawi on that weekend and he was kind to carry my award and delivered to me by hand. He revealed my judges which was published on a booklet that came together with the award. 

Was I shocked? Indeed! Well, I am not going to reveal the names of our judges here. Never in my mind that they were sent by the Ministry because I thought they were family and friends. They were arranged by an agent on a private mangrove boat cruise with me sometime in December 2017. I had a good laugh myself after knowing who my judges were.

Puan Fuziah (Secretary of LTGA), Othman and the committee organised our own award giving ceremony on 9th March 2018 which was held at Kampung Keda, Langkawi. 
Langkawi Nature Guide
LTGA from left: Puan Fuziah, Othman, Munieswaran, me and Encik Salleh 
...and a self-pose with my award :p

Wendy Langkawi Nature Guide
Evening gown not needed here! Photo by Kash of Kash Island Adventures

Wendy Langkawi Nature Guide

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Raja Shaharil, LTGA committee and members. Thank you so much to my family, friends, fellow guides 
for their congratulatory messages and to those who had supported my passion in any way, shape or form.