Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Tuesday August 31, 2010

PM launches mega low-cost terminal project


SEPANG: The opening of the world’s first mega terminal for low-cost carriers – to be known as KLIA2 – will mark the nation’s growth and leadership in aviation not only in this region but also the world, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

He said considering the exponential traffic growth in the low-cost sector, the Government had prioritised the immediate development of a terminal that would meet low-cost travel needs for the next 10 to 15 years.

The plan was a variation of the original KLIA Master Plan as low-cost travel and its extraordinary boom was not previously envisioned or anticipated.

were able to accommodate the low-cost carriers’ needs for the past few years at the current Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT),” Najib said at the project’s ground-breaking ceremony here yesterday.

“However, the time has come to revolutionise the airport terminal design for low-cost carriers and passengers in order to stay ahead of competition.”

The new low-cost carrier terminal is being built to handle 30 million passengers per year initially and has the flexibility to allow for expansion to cater for future growth and changes to the operational models of aircraft.

Landmark project: Najib signing a plaque at the ceremony in Sepang yesterday. With him are (from right) Kong, Malaysia Airports Berhad managing director Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad and chairman Tan Sri Datuk Dr Aris Othman.

Located 2km from the current Main Terminal building, KLIA2 will allow for easy inter-terminal transfer and better connectivity between the two.

The Prime Minister said KLIA2, targeted to be completed in April 2012, was expected to boost the nation’s tourism industry by attracting more airlines and visitors.

He added that the facility would increase tourism revenue from RM53bil last year to RM168bil in 2020.

In his opening speech, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said the new LCCT would meet passengers’ expectations with built-in walkways, bigger space per passenger and total separation between arrival and departing passengers for improved security.

He added that the new terminal would have an integrated transport hub, connecting various modes of transportation such as taxis, buses and the Express Rail Link (ERL) service.

Kong said the aviation industry was undergoing a paradigm shift with the accelerating growth of low-cost carriers defining the future of air travel, especially in Asia.

Webmaster : We look forward to the completion of the new LCCT Terminal at KLIA. When completed, we expect more tourists to visit Malaysia in general and Melaka - World Heritage City - UNESCO in particular. KLIA 2 is just about 1 and a half hours from Melaka.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Tiny shoes for lotus feet

Raymond and Tony Yeo, the only Chinese bound foot shoemakers, give TANYA ABRAHAM an insight into the ancient custom of binding of women's feet and their business.

“Asking a woman about her bound feeT is akin to prying into her most intimate and private moments”

Now a souvenir: Raymond Yeo shows his wares.

Raymond and his brother Tony Yeo are surprised that I am an Indian. They have many questions about India and her strange customs. Like sati; it baffles them that a woman should give up her life for her husband. I, in turn, find it strange that the two men are Chinese bound-foot shoemakers. They laugh!

I am seated inside ‘Wah Aik Shoemaker', their tiny shop in Malacca amid a display of tiny shoes and newspaper cuttings on the walls. Both Raymond and Tony promise to educate me about their business and the custom of foot binding, in exchange for answers to their questions. I promptly agree; they, after all, are the only bound feet shoemakers left in the world today.

Status symbol?

It seems almost impossible that the Chinese woman of yesteryear could be without bound feet. It is like expecting to see an English woman without her corset in the 18th century. It was a sign of femininity; and a sensuous one too. “The smaller the feet, the more attractive it was for the man, thus getting her a wealthy and eligible groom,” explains Raymond between sips of Chinese tea. If on her wedding day the woman did not display the prized ‘Lotus feet', it was a sign of extreme disgrace and a poor show of her family's status.

Much of a Chinese woman's future depended on her marriage and, in turn, her feet. During the Sung Dynasty, (960-976 BC), dancers' desire for feet the size of a lotus flower was promptly copied by courtesans and upper class women: it became a symbol of social standing and the luxury of having not to work. Eventually the lower classes began imitating them, so much so that the bound feet became a status symbol.

Raymond reveals some details that intrigue me. He blows at the golden liquid in the cup clasped in his palms, his eyes fixed on the tea: “Asking a woman about her bound feet is akin to prying into her most intimate and private moments”. Chinese men attached a certain erotic value to the feet. If a man was allowed to touch a woman's lotus feet, it was a sign of approval, indicating that a relationship could be started between them.

I ask him about the women in his family: “Once the Chinese came to Malay, the tradition died a quick death. But there, of course, remained women who had bound feet, and others in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore as well. When my grandfather came to Malaca (from Hainin province in China) in the early 20 {+t} {+h} century, he found this shop was more lucrative than the coffee shop he initially started.”

Only producers

Women flocked from the most interior regions of Malaysia to pretty their small feet (it was only natural that the most beautiful shoes be chosen to adorn the most treasured part of their bodies), and once the last bound feet factory in China was shut down in 1998 (the custom was banned in 1912), Wah Aik Shoemaker became the only producers of the lotus feet or golden lily shoes.

The suffering and the pain were sometimes so intense that some could barely touch the ground for months on end. One woman, Raymond recalls, told of endless days of extreme agony, when she would cry to sleep every night. “She had her feet bound when she was four years old. Her mother used silk wrappings almost 20 yards long. This forced all her toes except the big one to go under the soles of her feet, upon which a heavy stone was placed. It eventually crushed the arch of her feet and broke the toes, pulling them towards the heel.” Raymond added the elderly woman, then 80 years old, visited his shop in a fancy car accompanied by an army of servants to choose the colours of silk for her shoes. “She was proud of what her suffering had gained her.”

That was more than a decade ago. And the only woman Raymond and Tony now know with lotus feet lives in Kuala Lumpur. Still the delicate shoes they make with extreme precision continue to have a market, “mostly with tourists, who buy them as souvenirs.” That is then carried away to lands afar, to keep alive stories of a 1000-year-old custom.


elaka gets 4.89 mil tourists as of June
Sunday, August 29th, 2010 12:36:00
MELAKA: A total of 4.89 million tourists, 21 per cent of them from abroad, visited Melaka as of June this year, said state Tourism, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Datuk Seet Har Cheow.
He said the figure was encouraging in the state's endeavour to achieve its target of getting 8.2 tourists by the end of this year compared to 8.9 million last year, of which 18 per cent from abroad.
He said most of foreign tourists, who visited Melaka, were from Singapore, China, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Tourist arrivals in Melaka will increase dramatically if there are more direct flights between Melaka and other countries, he said, adding that the state government was holding discussions with Chinese and Thai authorities on the proposed direct flights between Melaka and Nanjing and Melaka and Hadyai.
He said the upgrading work of refuelling facilities at the Melaka International Airport would be completed in December to enable it to accommodate wide-bodied aircraft such as Boeing 737.
The upgraded airport will be a catalyst to the Melaka tourism industry, he told reporters after delivering a speech before the breaking of fast with the media and orphanages organised the Melaka chapter of the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents in Ayer Keroh here last night.
On anti-Malaysia protests in Jakarta, he said it had not affected tourist arrivals from Indonesia and Malaysians visiting the republic from the state.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Friday August 13, 2010

Ex-sailor exhibits his life-long love for Jalur Gemilang


MALACCA: His life-long love for the Jalur Gemilang started when he sailed around the world in ships bearing the Malaysian flag.

Now 51-year-old Mohd Aboo Baker Yaakob has turned his family home into an expression of his patriotism.

Mohd Aboo, a former sailor with MISC Bhd, has diligently braved the elements every August since 2006 to decorate his family home in Kampung Morten with the Jalur Gemilang, including painting the entire roof with patriotic motifs.

“I love my country and was proud to sail around the world for 12 years in ships carrying the Malay-sian flag.

“Because of this I started a yearly family tradition of decorating and painting my entire home with the Jalur Gemilang and representations of Merdeka,” he said.

The only one: Mohd Aboo (left) and his son Zaeed putting the final touches to the roof decorations.

Mohd Aboo said it was a challenge to get the work completed with the fasting month falling in August.

“I started decorating and painting about a week ago and managed to complete it just in time for the first day of fasting,” he said, adding that he spends an average of RM1,000 on paint and other paraphernalia.

This year, however, he spent more than RM2,000 as he used better quality paint.

“It is not only 1Malaysia but the only one in Malaysia,” Mohd Aboo said proudly while putting the finishing touches to his roof.

Mohd Aboo, whose family home is located in the historic city’s only protected heritage Malay village along the banks of the Malacca River, said he hopes his 19-year-old son Zaeed Mohd will continue the tradition.

“It is hard to find others willing to help as they have to spend hours up on the roof under the sun.

“Luckily, my son seems interested,” he added.

One of his proudest moments was when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak stopped to take photographs of his home during a walkabout at his village in February.