As I have always been writing online for Malaysia Asia, I never had a chance to submit my work to these awards but in 2013, the Ministry of Tourism in Malaysia opened up a 'blog' category for the first time and thus I submitted my article for the specific category. This was back in June 2013 where I totally forgot about it as I have been frequently traveling around Malaysia and also Asia.
An invitation came in mid January 2014 when I was on the road and it was to attend the gala dinner here in Kuala Lumpur. There was no notice about being a finalist or nominee but I replied 'yes' and went on with my daily work until two days before the awards where a final reminder was sent to me.
At the Tourism Malaysia Awards Dinner, the dress code was strictly black tie and for me, it was a rare occasion to be seen in a suit, but it felt rather good to be in the presence of everyone who was dressed to the occasion. A number of VIP's from the tourism industry were seen networking, socializing and catching up while some old friends whom I have not seen in ages were there as well. It was actually nice to attend a black tie function I thought as most of the time I would be the media.
|Jaclyn Victor performs during the Tourism Malaysia Awards Dinner|
Then the award presentation started. The first was the Best Homestay Award which was given out to the Sungai Sireh Homestay in Selangor. It then followed by a performance then another award category. When it reached the media awards, I started to feel the butterflies in my stomach. When they announced that in the media category, there were a total of 82 nominee's, I kind of lost hope as there were many talented writers out there, including many from the international level and seeing that they put up the Jury Merit Awards, I immediately told myself that there was no chance at all for me to win this.
Malaysia Tourism Awards 2012-2013 and the Malaysia Tourism Awards Trophy
The winners were called one by one for best magazine, best English article, best Chinese article, then for Indian article, there was no winner and during that moment, I was busy cutting a piece of Charred Beef Tenderloin and putting into my mouth. As that precise moment, the MC announced for Best Tourism Article for Blog - David Hogan Jr for Malaysia Asia.... my heart sank and the butterflies all came alive. Immediately grabbing the napkin and wiping my mouth, I stood up and proceeded to the stage to receive the award.
I then realised that the chunk of tenderloin was still in my mouth and I couldn't get rid of it thus I chewed as fast as I could while walking up. One of the most embarrassing moments in my life, I quickly swallowed what I could and by then I was in front of the tourism minister. I apologized to him for my chewing and shook his hand where the minister then congratulated me and led me to stand by his side for the photo opportunity with the award.
Up on stage, I could not believe it that I had won this award. I was speechless, beyond awe, stunned and trying my best to hold a straight face while smiling. Janice my partner was down there with my camera taking photos while far at the back, I saw hoards of television cameras and photographers. This must have been the proudest moment in my life, receiving one of the tourism industries most prestigious awards which I have always dreamed of. And again, an odd moment when I remembered how I was chewing my way there.
|Receiving the award from the Minister of Tourism Malaysia|
|Winners of Tourism Malaysia Media Category 2012/2013|
As dinner came to an end with the final awards given out, a final performance was done before everyone started to leave. I met with old friends from Sabah Tourism Board and made some new ones along the way. It was indeed a surreal experience for me to win this prestigious award as I was also told that the panel of judges consisted of 59 judges!
|Me, Esther Choi (Best Mandarin Article) and Shahidan Jaafar (Best Malay Article)|
|Janice and me after the awards|
You can also see the full list of the Tourism Malaysia Awards Winners 2012 2013 which is published by Malaysia Travel News. A huge thank you to the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia and Tourism Malaysia for the Best Tourism Article for Blog Award.