Trip to Kuching (24 to 26 September 2010)

The AAS Business Committee chaired by Mr Michael Yap, organised a very successful business and networking trip to Kuching, Sarawak, from 24 to 26 September 2010. The 12-member delegation led by President, Loh Hoon Sun, had a packed and interesting programme in those 2 short days, thanks to our gracious and generous host, Datuk Dr Philip Ting, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Malaysia-Australia Foundation (MAF), Vice-Patron of the Sarawak-Australian Graduates’ Association (SAGA) and Vice-President of the Sarawak Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

On arrival at noon on Friday, we were received at the airport, checked into the hotel and treated to lunch by Dr Ting. After lunch, those of us who were interested were brought to the Semenggok Orangutan Sanctuary where we came up close with the orangutan in their natural habitat. The other members went shopping.

In the evening, Dr Ting hosted a sumptuous seafood dinner where he arranged for us to meet the President of SAGA, Louis Ng and members, as well as members of the Malaysia Australian Alumni Council (MAAC). The MAAC delegation led by Puan Sri Dr Susan Cheah had arrived from KL to attend a Sunway College event and the Swinburne Sarawak 10th Anniversary Celebration in Kuching. Dr Ting’s family members also joined us at this reunion gathering where we re-connected with good friends from SAGA and also met some of Dr Ting’s business associates. After dinner, we adjourned to the home of Mr Dennis Lee, a prominent businessman in Kuching, for fellowship and drinks.

The next morning, we attended the 10th Anniversary Celebration of Swinburne Sarawak at its 16.5 acre campus. The Guest-of-Honour was Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr Alfred Jabu, Deputy Chief Minister who represented the Chief Minister of Sarawak as he was unable to be present. At the lunch, Mr Loh Hoon Sun presented a crystal paperweight as a Congratulatory Gift from AAS to Pro Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor Helmut Lueckenhausen. Our party adjourned to the Sarawak Club where there was further networking with other members of SAGA and staff of Swinburne and Sunway College over coffee and drinks.

The evening meal was held at Lot 101 where we were introduced to authentic local Kuching delights. With light breezes blowing, the setting was perfect for the outdoor feast. We sampled all the different types of noodles from “kolo mee” to “Sarawak laksa”, different varieties of “pangang fish”, BBQ chicken, satay, rojak and ended with “buboh cha-cha” and “yuan” dessert. We had been eating non-stop since our arrival. We wrapped up the evening with karaoke at a social club. Too soon, we had to take our leave as we had an early flight to catch the next morning.

To Datuk Dr Philip Ting and SAGA friends, many thanks for your warm hospitality and the memorable experience albeit, short. Let’s hear it from our participants.

“ A quick note to you to say what a great weekend I had, both professionally & socially. I enjoyed both your company & fellowship”

Dr Angelo Venardos, Member, AAS Management Committee

“Michael, thanks very much for all the coordination efforts (emails, calls, background work etc) in getting this trip successfully organised. Hoon Sun & team, congratulations once again on another successful event organised by the AAS. I can say (as of today) that AAS is the most active Alumni Association in Singapore (that does not have a full time secretariat staff). Keep it up!”

Mohan Balagopal, President/AIS, Associate Member/AAS

Peggy Tan
Vice President, AAS

The following photos summarise the mood of the whole trip.

A welcome drink on checking into the Batik Boutique Hotel
No prize for guessing – which is the real orangutan?
AAS Treasurer, Christina, making herself comfortable
At the Semenggok Orangutan Sanctuary
At Seafood Dinner at TopSpot with MAAC & SAGA friends – From left, Mr Kho Chin Heng, Dr Philip Ting, Puan Sri Dr Susan Cheah (centre), Louis Ng (behind Mr Loh Hoon Sun) and Joseph (black t-shirt)
More friends from SAGA and MAAC
Pro VC Prof Helmut Lueckenhausen (tallest) and faculty staff of Swinburne Sarawak with some invited guests
With Mr Abdul Ghani, Export Development Manager of the State Govt of Victoria in KL at the Anniversary Lunch
AAS President Loh Hoon Sun presenting a Congratulatory Gift to Prof Helmut on Swinburne Sarawak’s 10th Anniversary. On Prof Helmut’s right, are Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, Deputy Chief Minister and Datuk Sri Haji Adenan Satem, Chairman
Fellowship at the Sarawak Club – with Yushen Cui, First Secretary & Consul, Australian High Commission in KL
More tete-a-tete
A group photo for keepsake
Food, glorious food…….. Busy tucking-in
Very satisfied – my tummy’s full
Kuching buboh cha-cha – you’re my no. 1 choice!
I second that!