Wednesday, June 6, 2012
KING OF MALAYSIA HOST BIRTHDAY TEA PARTY FOR 3,000 AT NEW NATIONAL PALACE
The new palace at Jalan Duta
The red carpet was not ready when I arrived with Tan Sri Datuk Seri Dr Jason Goh at 2.15pm
The huge tents to accomodate the 3,000 guests
Part of the red carpet for Their Majesties
A worker gives the red carpet a final sweep using an old fashioned but effective broom!
The royal Guards of Honour take their place
A stunning sight
His Majesty the 14th King of Malaysia and 27th Sultan of Kedah arrives under the golden umbrella
Her Majesty the Queen of Malaysia and His Majesty the King of Malaysia
Puan Sri Norainee, wife of Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin in blue chatting with First Lady Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor
VIP guests seated at the right of Royal Table
Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyddin, His Majesty the King of Malaysia, Her Majesty the Queen of Malaysia, First Lady Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Puan Seri Norainee Abdul Rahman wife of Deputy Prime Minister and former First Lady Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Tun Mahathir
All standing to attention as the national anthem Negara Ku was played
As I had met Her Majesty at the private Chinese New Year luncheon earlier this year, I waved at her and she smiled graciously
After the national anthem ended, all sat and chatted
THE KING OF MALAYSIA, SERI PADUKA BAGINDA YANG DIPERTUAN AGONG SULTAN ABDUL HAMLIM MUADZAM SHAH, HOSTED A ROYAL AFTERNOON TEA PARTY AT THE NEW NATIONAL PALACE IN JALAN DUTA ON SUNDAY 3RD JUNE 2010 FOR SOME 3,000 MALAYSIANS AND FOREIGN GUESTS.
Just as the Queen of England was celebrating her Diamond Jubilee in London, the King of her former Crown Colony was celebrating his 84th birthday in the brand new, supposedly Rm 1 billion Istana Negara (National Palace) in Kuala Lumpur.
Now both the Queen of England and King of Malaysia are equal but when Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne of United Kingdom on 6 February 1952, she was also Queen of Malaysia then Malaya and British Borneo and of course was of higher rank of the then King of Malaysia who is a mere 2 years younger as she is 86 and he is 84.
The Yang DiPertuan Agong was born on 28 November but his official birthday is celebrated on the first Saturday of June, following the British tradition. Mind you, the Brits chose June because it is the start of summer proper where good, blue-skyed weather can be expected as the Queen's late father's birthday was in December where dark skies and foul weather were the norm so he established the first Saturday of June to be his official birthday. This year it is the third Saturday of June which is 16 June as the first Saturday was 2 June which is the Diamond Jubilee Weekend which officially ended Tuesday 5 June.
Of course in Malaysia it is summer all year long so we could celebrate the King's birthday on 28 November which would enjoy the same exact weather conditions. As it was, there was torrential rain and generally gloomy, doomy and foul weather on 3 June during the 1,000 ship flotilla! And it rained on and off throughout the entire 4-day Diamond Jubilee! In England the weather could be brilliant in the dead of winter or sloshy throughout the height of summer! I remember once I was in London and it was so freezingly cold and windy in July that I had to run inside a public phone booth and locked the door to keep the cold out! There were no shops as I was in a residential area!
Our present King has established several records. At 84, His Majesty is the oldest King and longest serving Sultan in the history of Malaysia as he will have reigned for 54 years come 15 July 2012 as he became the 27th Sultan of Kedah on 15 July 1958. He was born on 28 November 1927.
LONG LIV ETHE KING!
Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah is the 14th King of Malaysia and the first and only Malay Sultan to be the Yang Di Pertuan Agong twice! This is due to the grace of God who has granted the 27th Sultan of Kedah such a long and even more important, healthy life.
LONG LIVE THE KING!
His Majesty served as the 5th King of Malaysia from 1970 to 1975 with his first wife Sultanah Bahiyah who died in 2003. Even more unusual, his second reign as King of Malaysia or Yang DiPertuan Agong is with his second wife Sultanah Hamimah Hamidun who he married in 1975. Never before has this happened and we are so happy for His Majesty he is able to ascend the throne of Malaysia twice with two wives!
LONG LIVE THE KING!
Even more amazing, during his first Kingship, Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah's Prime Minister was the late and great Tun Abdul Razak Hussein who was Prime Minister from 1970 till 1976 which pratically echoed the reign of Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah!
LONG LIVE THE KING!
And now, incredibly, his second Kingship has the son of Tun Abdul Razak Hussein as his Prime Minister! What a case of de javu! And how amazing and auspicious that His Majesty has been served by 2 Prime Ministers who are father and son! This is really an epic event in the annals of Malaysia.
My hands are quivering from amazement as I type this!
The oldest reigning King of Malaysia is also the first to stay in the new Istana Negara in Jalan Duta as his reign started on 13 December 2011. At 84, His Majesty is ahead of the second oldest King who was Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah of Selangor who became King aged 73.
Tycoons, important politicians, VIPs and peasants all came dressed in their finest to celebrate the Royal Tea Party in the compound of the National Palace under huge tents. Fans and mobile airconditioners whirred as the sun bore down relentlessly.
Some were heard discussing the dress code as batek, our national fabric, was banned!
We examined our invitation cards under 'Etika Pakaian Untuk Majlis Jamuan Teh DiRaja 2012' (Clothing Ethics for the Royal Tea Party 2012) that showed photographs of what could and could not be worn. On the section under 'Di Larang' (Banned) were shown 4 photos of T-shirt, short-sleeved shirt, jeans and batek shirt!
We were stunned as surely a long sleeved batek shirt should be acceptable since this was an afternoon tea party from 2 pm to 5pm and not inside the palace. Nor was this an investiture or formal ceremony. Of course ghastly, low-class and cheap t-shirts, tattered, faded jeans and short sleeved shirts in cotton, silk, denim, linen, polyester or whatever fabric should be forbidden but all were shocked batek was banned!
We were also amused shoes were ignored so presumably we could wear Nike, Reebok, Adidas or Sketchers! Non-Malays were requested to wear dark business suits with ties while Malays were supposed to wear Baju Melayu which was worn by almost all. Ironically some men accompanying the King WORE BATEK LONG SLEEVED SHIRTS! But they were not banned and allowed to walk almost next to the King! Is this double standard or what?
National costumes for women were allowed but not dresses showing their legs, regardless how shapely their legs were. Some Indian women were annoyed their racial costume the saree was banned if their stomach and belly areas were exposed. Presumably they could wear a camisole that covered their tummy but as one Indian lady complained bitterly, "But the saree cannot be worn with a long sleeved blouse as our arms are always exposed! This is not a matter of being sexy or provocative as this is our national costume and no one is allowed to change national costumes surely? This is like forcing women wearing veils to remove them or telling the Japanese not to wear their obi and substitute it with a leather belt!"
Agreed a Chinese woman, "The photo on the invitation card shows a Chinese woman wearing what looked like a wedding costume which has long sleeves and long skirt covering her shoes. Another photo shows a knee-length cheongsam that is banned. I don't mind wearing a long cheongsam that reaches my ankle but what about the slits for the legs? How if the fan blows my cheongsam and exposes my thighs? Am I supposed to sew up the slits in which case I am unable to walk and have to be carried from car to chair and back again?"
For men, the dress code states; Malay Costume with Songkok, Lounge Suit and National Costumes. For women, it is Baju Kurung with scarf, Long sleeved Kebaya with shawl, Long sleeved and long Western dress and National Costumes.
Still, I must say the security men were very relaxed, broad minded and accommodating and did not adhere strictly to the rules or some people would be thrown out. I saw women in knee length frocks and men in batek or just long sleeved shirts.