Kee Hua Chee, in white dragon shirt, with Soren Ravn, managing director of Carlsberg Malaysia and the Carlsberg team and the Gods of Wealth and the 118 ft long green Carlsberg Dragon!
The Great Dane Soren Ravn standing tall and mighty on the stage
When Carlsberg holds an event, it is a major tour de force!
A traditional greeting from the honorary Chinese!
Soren Ravn looked to his left so I followed his gaze...
...only to discover this 118 ft long Green Dragon! It emerged slowly and made its way towards the stage! I almost dropped my Leica D-Lux 20 camera from shock!
Even Soren Ravn looked stunned as I could tell from my Superman vision.
WHEN CARLSBERG, THE WORLD'S GREATEST BEER FROM DENMARK, THREW A CHINESE NEW YEAR PARTY TO USHER IN THE YEAR OF THE YANG BLACK WATER DRAGON, I KNEW IT WOULD BE MORE THAN THE USUAL FREE BEER, LION DANCE AND SEXY GIRLS FLOATING AROUND WITH TRAYS OF BEER. AND IF THE BUDGET COULD STRETCH, A SINGER OR DANCE TROUPE MIGHT BE THROWN IN AS BONUS.
SURE ENOUGH, CARLSBERG'S 'WELCOMING THE YEAR OF THE DRAGON' WAS A SPECTACULAR AFFAIR OF WORLD CLASS STANDING. INDEED, SINCE ITS 'WHERE'S THE PARTY' FIESTA LAST YEAR, EVERY CARLSBERG EVENT IS NOW EAGER AWAITED AND TO GET INVITED MEANS YOU ARE AN OFFICIAL MEMBER OF THE HIP AND HAPPENING HORDE.
THERE WAS A LION DANCE, NOT JUST PRANCING ON TERRA FIRMA BUT ON POLES SINCE THE TROUPE WAS A CHAMPION AND A DRAGON DANCE WITH WAS A MORE ELABORATE AND COSTLY AFFAIR AS MORE PEOPLE WERE INVOLVED TO CARRY OUT THE DRAGON'S SINUOUS AND COILING MOVEMENTS. THIS DRAGON WAS PINK AND I HAD NEVER SEEN A PINK DRAGON BEFORE! REMINDS ME OF PLU WHICH IS HIGH TIME AS A PINK DRAGON STANDS OUR SINCE ALL THE DRAGONS I HAD SEEN WERE EITHER RED OR GOLD OR A COMBINATION.
THE PINK DRAGON AND WHITE LION WERE EYE-CATCHING ENOUGH AS THE STAGE WAS BUILT IN FRONT OF THE MAGNIFICENT THEAN HOW TEMPLE, ONE OF THE LARGEST IN SOUTH EAST ASIA DEDICATED TO TAOIST GODS AND GODDESSES. I DECLARE THE SETTING COULD NOT BE MORE STUNNING AND AWE-INSPIRING.
THE STAGE WAS SO ARTFULLY BUILT IT BLENDED PERFECTLY WITH THE TEMPLE SETTING AND AS YOU CAN ADMIRE FROM MY PHOTOS, IT LOOKED LIKE IT HAD BEEN PART OF THE TEMPLE ALL THE TIME. BUT NO, AFTER THE EVENT WAS OVER, IT WAS QUICKLY DISMANTLED.
Held at 10.30 am, the sun was hot as it always burns just before Chinese New Year which is an auspicious sign of yang (male) energy, the emcee invited Soren Ravn, the handsome and sexy Managing Director of Carlsberg Malaysia to stand atop the stage, surrounded by 8 golden lions and 8 Gods of Wealth. There Soren stood, at the very top and dressed, like all the management team, in red Chinese costume. He stood akimbo as pixmen clicked away and since I could not tear my eye from this honorary Chinese, I noticed after a while he turned his head towards his left.
Being so smarty-pants, I followed his gaze and almot dropped my Leica V-Lux 20 from astonishment! To my extreme right, amid the coconut trees, a green dragon was emerging. This was far bigger than the pink dragon! At a staggering 118 feet long (a lucky number) this dragon was too huge to be handled by men carrying poles and it was a gigantic balloon made in China at great expense and arrived just a week ago. Parts of its body were designed to mimic Carlsberg beer bottles. I thought maybe they were real bottles dangling from the mouth but I was told this was too risky as bottles might fall and hit someone and a kiss from the dragon like this can be very painful so a dragon balloon was ideal.
The green Carlsberg Dragon slowly floated towards the stage and finally towered over it for a sight that will be etched in my mind forever! It was that dramatic. Even more spectacular than my dragon shirt with matching dragon pants that had stopped traffic earlier as everyone removed their Carlsberg from their mouths to have a better look at my sartorial splendour.
Anyway the applause (for the dragon, not me sadly) eventually slowed and we media clambered on stage to get a better look and take a close up photo of Soren Ravn and the Carlsberg team. There I was, clicking away when Soren saw me and asked me to join him for a special photo for my blog! What an honour! I could feel it in my bone marrow as I was coming this would be a special day and this was it! A wonderful way to greet the coming Year of the Water Dragon!
I think I will enlarge this picture and make a poster to hang on my wall.
Kee Hua Chee with the big boss of Carlsberg Malaysia!
I moaned the heat was killing me but the hours before high noon when the sun was at its highest and strongest was the best time to launch this salutation to the mighty, majestic and magnificent dragon! I was drenched with sweat and git sunburned but it was worth it.
Soren Ravn, as an honorary chinaman now, had the wisdom to consult the world's greatest feng shui master and leading feng shui author Lillian Too. "Carlsberg wanted to do everything right based on Chinese culture and feng shui so we, as the best beer, went to the best feng shui authority and asked Lillian Too for advice. As you can see, we followed her advice and everything went as smooth as, er, Carlsberg."
Full page colour advertisements in The Star, the best, leading and most authoritative newspaper in Malaysia and possibly Southeast Asia, showing the coiling and rising green Carlsberg Dragon also features a quote from Lillian Too.
Declares Lillian Too the world's most successful (she owns mansions in Bangsar, Mercedes-Benzes, World of Feng Shui business empire and other assets like jewels and shares which I have yet to ascertain the value) feng shui master and author, "The Green Dragon symbolises auspiciousness, courage, vitality, strength and an abundance of good fortune in 2012".
Unless you are colour blind, you will notice Carlsberg bottles are green so the dragon must be cloaked in green!
If you look carefully at the rising Green Carlsberg Dragon, you will realise the dragon's body in The Star's advertisement is composed of rows of Carlsberg bottles while the tail and golden flaming pearl are splashes of golden beer! So ingenious!
The dragon is also ascending skywards and not sideways or downwards to signify progress, upward mobility and consistent success.
A pink dragon that is normal sized and a green dragon stretching 118 feet sounded like an overload of auspiciousness but there was another! A third dragon standing 15 ft! This time, it is a statue, immobile but has a trick up its sleeve or rather, inside its gaping mouth!
Put your hands inside and a golden pearl drops into your hands. I opened mine and inside was a fortune paper that read 'Changes are coming so embrace them!' plus a tiny gold ingot for luck. I placed mine inbetween the feet of my Standing Buddha at home so I think I will be even richer this year!
This dragon sculpture was crafted entirely of genuine green Carlsberg bottles and even its whiskers were composed of bottles! What a precious work of art and I hope Carlsberg will keep it and build a Carlsberg Museum in KL along the lines of its world class and world famous Glyptotek in Copenhagen, Denmark, home of Carlsberg.
It will look great on my balcony too!
Carlsberg, thorough various fund raising efforts over the past 1o years, has raised a humungous RM 409 million for the development of Chinese schools so the more you drink Carlsberg, the more you help Chinese schools! Of course the RM 409 million was not raised overnight but over the last 25 years! But still, the sum was so high I had to email Soren Ravn to demand an explanation! Even if they raised RM 4.09 million over the last 25 years, it is still a commendable effort but 10 times that sounded incredible so being a Doubting Thomas, I demanded a breakdown and here it is.
Explains Soren Ravn, "The RM 409 million is part of our 'Top 10 Chinese Charity Campaign'. Each year Carlsberg organises and pays for a big show that travels across Malaysia to around 10 to 20 selected Chinese schools to perform during a big dinner show. Of course the locals buy tables and contribute towards a cause for the school, which could be a new or improved gym, library, computer room, assembly hall etc. We cover the full costs of the show so all the money raised from table sales and donations go straight to the schools' causes. This is our contribution to local Chinese communities and we are glad of the strong support from parents, schools' alumni and prominent local businessmen. Yes we are very proud of what we have done for the past quarter century!"
507 schools have benefited from this Carlsberg initiative and some schools even raised as much as RM 2 million from their dinners! Amazing and so worthwhile. Let's hear a round of applause of Carlsberg for supporting the Chinese community!
Then there are more goodies galore of the golden kind!
Carlsberg is having a CNY redemption promotion worth RM 4,888,888 which includes 8 pieces of pure 999 gold dragon sculptures worth a staggering RM 9,999 each!
Failing which, there are 999 gold pendants worth RM 999 each and 688,888 bottles of limited edition Carlsberg Gold pints in special festive packaging now available till 6 February.
NOW THAT CALLS FOR A CELEBRATION!
Btw 'That Calls for a Celebartion' is Carlsberg new slogan and not coined by me though I would have used 'This Calls for a Celebration' and not 'That Calls for a Celebration' as the word 'this' is closer and more personal. If Carlsberg changes their slogan, it is due to my genius!
HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR TO ONE AND ALL!
What a spectacular sight!
A sight to behold
Even the waves are green like Carlsberg bottles
The Carlsberg team
Friends and fans of Carlsberg
Since the Fire element is missing this year, one must wear red more often to compensate!
Kee Hua Chee wore white which matched the colour of the sleeves of the Gods of Wealth!
Soren Ravn and wife Malene Ravn and their children Anders and Emma who flew in from wintry, freezing Denmark just the day before and were still suffering from jet lag!
The Ravn clan
Based on their parents, Emma will be Miss Denmark and win Miss World and Anders will be a movie star and hire me as his manager
A calligrapher was on hand to script your Chinese name gratis
I love this pink dragon!
This lovely pink dragon is a rara avis!
A coiling pink dragon surmounted by white lion! So auspicious!
Yang energy being generated amid a brilliant blue sky
Sinuous and slithery and pink!
Dramatic view! Actually I was crouching next to the dragon to escape the sun as it provided shade! Wonder how the 2 guys inside felt! Must be an oven inside like a sauna!
No wonder dragon dancers are so slim as they get a sauna all the time while inside
Soren Ravn with pretty daughter Emma getting the golden pearl of fortune from this 15ft dragon
Emma Ravn gingerly put her hands inside the dragon's mouth to collect the ball
The green Carlsberg bottles were used to fantastic effect
Now is the turn of York Spencer, director of sales of Carlsberg
Here is his golden ball
Kee Hua Chee got his ball too
Careful but luckily this dragon did not bite
Now you know what to do with your empty Carlsberg bottles!
The red lanterns that have become the symbol of Thean Hou temple
Kee Hua Chee in his famous Angry Bird shoes and Adrian Winson, top supermodel
Lanterns outwards towards the city
That is my name Kee Hua Chee in Chinese
Aaron with Kee Hua Chee
Kee Hua Chee and York Spencer and their names in Chinese calligraphy