Monday, November 17, 2008

The RSGC Japan Tour 2008 (111) ...Seton Nakai Golf Club

Seton Nakai Golf Club is about 30 minutes away by road from downtown Fukuyama. It is located in the middle of the massive industrial complex of the JFE Steel, Japan's largest steel conglomerate.
The Seton Nakai is a links course very much like the many courses in Scotland. It hosted the Japan Mizuno Open for the past 10 years.

As at the Kurashiki Golf Course, the course had not yet recovered from the effects of the winter cold and the first cut and the secondary roughs had not yet fully grown to its normal state. As such we were spared from the difficulties faced by the professional players if and when the ball did not land on the fairways.

We were also fortunate that the day we were there, there was only a gentle breeze on a warm and sunny day. So we were spared from having to deal with strong winds which were common features of most links courses.
I played in a flight made up of Mr Yap Wing Sun from RSGC, and our hosts from Seton Nakai, made up of Zakisan (who played with me at Kurashiki the day before) and Takasan. Taka Yoshioka is the son of Yoshikosan, our host to both the clubs in the Fukuyama prefecture. Takasan runs his family-owned boutique hotel in Fukuyama.
.Zakisan, Yapsan, pakdoktersan and Takasan.....
Mr Yap Wing Sun teeing off at the signature hole par-3....
After the game we were entertained to a lavish lunch at the clubhouse. I could not help but noticed that apart from the usual Japanese spread, we were also served 'pulut kuning' and beef rendang. On my enquiry I was told by Yoshiokasan that they always served this dish whenever they have Malaysian visitors there. He said this dish (pulut kuning and rendang) was Mahathirsan's favourite dish!

RSGC's Captain, Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon, thanking Yoshiokasan for the splendid hospitality..

Yoshiokasan had been a regular visitor to Malaysia for many years having being involved with the setting up of our own steel plant in Kertih many years ago. That's probably how he knew what Mahathirsan's favourite food is....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

RSGC Japan Tour 2008 (11)...Kurashiki Golf Resort

After the game and dinner at the Biwako Golf Club, we were taken to the Kyoto JR Station to catch the bullet train to Fukuyama, about 1 hour away and south of Kyoto.
We were to play at the Kurashiki Golf Resort, courtesy of Yoshiokasan, a Japanese industrialist who became a member of RSGC recently. Yoshiokasan is one of the founder members of the Kurashiki Golf Resort.
part of the RSGC Japan Tour 2008 group..

Kurashiki Golf Club is about one hour by road from Fukuyama. Yoshiokasan had arranged a car to wait and direct our bus to the golf resort from the highway.
The resort is located on a mountain range and what a resort it was. Suddenly you are in a setting not unlike an alpine Swiss surrounding.
the club-house of the Kurashiki Golf Resort..

I was put in a flight with fellow RSGC members Anthony and Raja Ahmad. Raja Ahmad, by the way now resides in Perth, and had taken this opportunity to also visit his daughter who was working in Japan.

Anthony, Raja Ahmad, pakdokter and Zakisan....

The Japanese host in our flight was Yamazakisan, who preferred to be called Encik Zaki! He had in fact been a manager at an electronic factory in Pengkalan Chepa in Kota Baru Kelantan for many years until he retired at 65. However he still looks like he is in his fourties!...

practice green ....

an escalator/walkalator from the putting green to the next tee....

The course in general is characterised by very narrow and tight fairways along the sloping and undulating mountain terrain. So straight and accurate drives are essential so as not to loose too many balls.

the half-way hut where you are served warm sake and local delicacies..

a par-3 over water....

As it was in early spring, the fairways have not fully recovered from the effects of the cold winter. The grass have not fully grown thus giving the many stretches of brown carpet along the course.

Anyway it was such a pleasure to play in a pleasant spring temperature in such a pretty setting...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

RSGC Japan Tour 2008 (1)...

With the year creeping quickly to its end, I decided to look up some of the golfing highlights of the year which I had not blogged in my site.

The Royal Selangor Golf Club makes an annual visit to the Biwako Golf and Country Club every April of the year to coincide with the arrival of the Sakura in early spring. This is a return home- -and-away interport game between the two clubs.

The Biwako golfers normally visit RSGC in January when the winter makes it too cold to play golf in Japan. Some of them spend a month in Malaysia playing golf at the many courses all over our country.

Ever since ,Rastam, my son, started work in Tokyo 2 years ago, I have taken the opportunity to join this tour in 2007 and visit my son after each of that trip.

The 2008 contingent was made up of 26 golfers including several committe members of the club. We played a practise round on the first day and I was put in a flight with Adriansan, an Australian forex trader who is a member of RSGC, Azlansan who is the MD of Mycron Steel and Mr Yap Wing Sun from Penang who is a MD of one of the subsidiary companies of Wah Seong Corporation.

Azlan, pakdokter, Yap Wing Sun and Adrian..

We were caddied by a sweet young Japanese university student reading economics. She also happens to be in the Japanese Ladies Junior Professional Golf Training Programme. In Japan there is only one caddy to look after the flight of four golfers and the buggy runs on its own along a fixed track throughout the course controlled by the caddy using a remote control device.

I played my usual standard of golf, returning a score of 54/54. What made up for the game was the one birdie I made on the 1st Nine and a par on the 2nd Nine.
With Adriansan leading the pack ( Adriansan speaks Japanese well) we tracked to a local Japanese pub for dinner where we enjoyed the varieties of pub grub and drinks.

The interport game was held the next day and I was again partnered with Adriansan. The Biwako counterpart was made up of Okazakisan and another younger golfer whose name unfortunately has escaped my memory.

??, pakdokter, Adrian and Okazakisan

We were treated to a lavish dinner in keeping with the usual great Japanese hospitality.

group pic after the prize giving ceremony...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Lake Club Annual Championship 2008...

The Lake Club Annual Golf Championship 2008 was played on Saturday 8th November at the Peransang Templer Golf Club. 17 flights of golfers took part in this main event of the year. Jagjit Singh who was supposed to be in pakdokter's flight could not make it at the last moment leaving only three of us namely pakdokter (handicap 24), Zahardin (handicap 22) and Mr Shreeram Nadarajah ( handicap 22).

Shreeram, pakdokter and Zahardin..
Pakdokter's group was the 7th flight of the morning teeing-off from the 10th tee which happened to be the more difficult Nine of the course. Pakdokter started with a 'bang' scoring a par for the first hole.
the last flight from the 10th tee...Bert Tan, Tengku Yunus, Dr Siva (and Chin Hon Sin at the driving range) and the caddies
Pakdokter was hoping for a good showing, took a 4 on the next par-3 but subsequently managed only several double pars resulting in a total of 52 strokes for the 2nd Nine.
Zahardin at the par-3 hole No. 6

In the easier 1st Nine pakdokter managed to score a total of 50 strokes with a par at the par-3 hole No. 4.

Shreeram at the tee at hole No. 1
Although it was a nice day it was rather too hot and humid for comfort. The competition was played on a stroke-play format. Pakdokter carded 50/52, Shreeram scored 52/48 and Zahardin returned a score of 47/51. We returned a nett score of 78, 78, and 76 respectively.
Shreeram and Zahardin with the signature Bukit Takun in the background..

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

So, I was not alone...

I woke up early Wednesday morning to follow the US Presidential election results and was glued to my chair until the victory speech of President-Elect Barack Obama.
Half-way through his speech I found myself choked in tears. It is not often that I was moved by such a 'powerful' speech. I wonder what it was that 'moved' me so much.
I saw on TV Jesse Jackson was also crying. Later on Wednesday night, in the CNN interview ,even Colin Powell admitted that he shed tears during that speech.
So, I was not alone in this......
How, I wished , that one day, with 'Barakat - Berkat Allah - Barack' , Malaysia will be 'blessed' with someone who will rise with the same charisma and vision for a new Malaysia that transcends the the racial and religious divide.

Saman.....a novel by Ayu Utami

I saw this book on the shelf in my library before my recent trip to Jakarta and decided to bring it along for my reading. It was bought by my partner in 2006 during one of her business trips to Jakarta.
The book was first published in the Indonesian language in 1998 and had already sold 100,000 copies when the Australian Pamela Allen decided to translate it into English. And I must say that if its Indonesian version is as easily read as its English translation, then this is one good and interesting book as far as I am concerned.
It is the story of 'oppression' of transmigrant plantation workers in Southern Sumatra by the emerging giant oil palm plantation owners in cahoots with the local 'authorities'. Wisangeni who was a 'local' pastor became the 'champion' of the oppressed farmers who were subjected to human rights abuses. When the situation worsened leading to rapes, murders and killings, Wisangeni became a 'wanted' man on the run who escaped to New York under the name of Saman.
The story of Saman, narrated through the lives of his female 'friends', bravely explored (female) sexuality and love as well the subject of of religions, extramarital sex and politics.
Perhaps I should get a copy of the Indonesian version too.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Singapore River Boat Cruise...

I was free on the first day in Singapore before the interport golf games and my partner and I decided to do the Singapore River Boat Cruise.

For S$13, the 30 minutes ride took us from Clarke Quay down Singapore River and return.
old tug-boat refurbished into this cruise-boat...
the Boat Quay..
the Boat Quay..
the Fullerton Hotel...
the Singapore Merlion....
the Formula 1 Grand-stand and the Eye-on-Singapore...

the 'Durian at the Esplanade, concert and theatre halls and cafes and restaurants..

the Asian Civilisation Museum.....

early evening skyline....

lights on at the Clarke Quay...

it did not look like Singapore was in technical took us a while to get a table at the many restaurants at Clarke Quay...