[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Monday, November 10, 2008

[MFA-Wisma Games]
It is hard for us to match Malaysian hospitality. At the MFA-Wisma Games last weekend at Palm Resort in Johor, we were welcomed with great warmth and hospitality. Dr Rais Yatim and his wife Datin Sri Masnah were our hosts. At the welcome dinner, Datin Sri Masnah sang Shanghai Beach in Cantonese beautifully. She told me that Dr Rais, who speaks fluent Cantonese, taught her the pronunciation.

The following morning, my wife and I joined them for badminton. They had been forwarned that the standard of badminton my wife and I played was kindergarten level at best. We played not too badly only because the shuttlecocks arrived near where our racket heads were.

This was the 9th MFA-Wisma Games. Although Foreign Ministry officials have a duty to serve their country's national interest, it helps when ministers and officials know one another. It is easier to be creative and find win-win solutions when there is goodwill and trust. Dr Rais' predecessor, Syed Hamid, mixed the teams so that each team had Malaysian and Singaporean officials on the same side.

As Dr Rais had to rush back to KL for meetings, I spent the rest of the day visiting Iskander Malaysia, Pontian, Tg Piai and Kukup. Nusa Jaya is developing nicely. My wife bought white pomfret and black kurau at the fish market in Pontian where we bumped into the MCA Assemblyman YP Song. He greeted us warmly and made sure we were properly hosted for dinner at Kukup. Tg Piai, the southernmost tip of the Eurasian Mainland has a lovely mangrove park. At the jetty which faced Indonesia's Karimun island, I lay flat on the bench enjoying the cool sea breeze.

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